Our Open Letter to Legislators was meant to bring attention to bills that were well-meaning but ultimately had foundations in the stigmatizing Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. We are the first organization to advocate for more funding for our community; particularly for our youth, as more than 60 percent of our community is under the age of 35. We are, however, unable to support this appropriation as it stands and we have some recommendations to ensure our youth still get the support they deserve.
The “Equity” article of the Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill (Senate File 2356) appropriates $2M to Youthprise to provide “positive youth development, community engagement, legal services, and capacity building for community based organizations serving Somali youth, including youth engagement,prevention and intervention activities that help build the resiliency of the Somali Minnesotan communityand address challenges facing Somali youth.”
We believe this $2M could serve our community if appropriated directly to DEED as a competitive grant program for organizations seeking to improve the employability or basic skills of Somali Youth, or foster entrepreneurship in our community. Why? Somali Minnesotans deserve to access resources the same way other communities do and without language that stigmatizes.