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David beats Goliath!: How the little guy beat the mega-corporation

With all the Republican obstructionism and Democratic spinelessness in Washington, not to mention the distractions of the Obamacare website, it can be hard to feel good about politics at all — let alone tap into the sort of optimism that inspires and motivates many of us in the first place. Here, then, is a story of a small statewide organization that brought a multi-billion-dollar, multinational corporation to heel.

Minnesota has the worst-in-the-nation racial jobs gap. In 2011, for instance, 18 percent of African Americans in the Twin Cities were unemployed — more than three times the unemployment rate for whites in the city. This stems from broader problems in the criminal justice system in which Minnesota has historically had one of most disproportionate rates of incarceration for African Americans as compared with whites. While, thanks to criminal justice reform, that rate has fallen — from 23:1 in the 1980s and 90s to 9:1 in 2005, that still means a lot of African Americans in Minnesota have a criminal record stemming not just from their past wrongdoings but from a skewed criminal justice system that convicted and sentenced African Americans more frequently and harshly than whites.

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