Duluth, Minnesota is a proud, resilient, and strong community filled with potential and surrounded by natural beauty. At the same time, not all of Duluth’s residents enjoy the benefits equally. In a report by the Knight Foundation entitled Soul of the Community, the results of a three-year study reported: “Fewer residents than in other comparable communities say it (Duluth) is a good place for racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, young adults without children, and talented college graduates looking for work.” The census, school and social services data confirms the perceptions of marginalized groups with the reality that racial disparities are extreme.
Duluth School District data for 2010 shows that 80% of white students graduate in four years compared to 34% of Native American students and 25% of African American students. 2010 census data for Duluth shows that 18% of whites live in poverty compared to 67% of Blacks and 56% of Native Americans. Recent data from St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services show that a person living in one specific area of Duluth can expect to live 11 years longer than a person living in another neighborhood of Duluth. These statistics should be of concern to all members of the Duluth community. How is our community going to prosper and grow in just and equitable ways, if such disparities exist?