To answer this question, we turn to the story of the Blue Line Coalition:
With the landscape of our cities ever-changing, the Metro Blue Line light rail extension is planned to connect North Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park, running through neighborhoods with a majority population of people of color and immigrants. Major infrastructural investments like the light rail extension will impact our communities for decades to come, with economic impacts in the billions.
There is a long and damaging history in this country of transit planning and development negatively impacting communities of color, especially historically African American communities. We need look no further than the Rondo Community in St. Paul, decimated by the construction of Interstate 94 in the 1950’s and 60’s when highway planners failed to engage and listen to the concerns of the community. To ensure that this damaging pattern was not repeated, several community organizations came together in 2012 to form the Blue Line Coalition to advocate for community engagement in the planning process of the Blue Line light rail extension.
Today, Blue Line Coalition members have seen their impact on the policies and structure of the light rail plans, and in building community capacity. The Blue Line Coalition has created a couple of videos that demonstrate the power of community engagement as a key strategy to advance equity in our communities.
Check out the below video for a message to our partners in philanthropy about resourcing community engagement.
Watch the below video for a perspective from BLC member organizations on their experience organizing community.