City Denies Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair

The city of St. Paul which is in the state with the worst income gap in America and the second worst achievement gap has denied The Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair an opportunity to rent the centrally located Oxford/Jimmy Lee Community Center for the event. The request was denied due to an outdated city ordinance.

According to the Park and Recreation’s director and staff members, the city ordinance prevents any event from earning money on city property. Which is senseless!  We cannot continue to do the same things we have always done and expect different results. Allowing events like The Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair could bring money not only to the Park and Rec centers, but to our State and the city of St. Paul. People will travel from different states for successful Expo’s.  The success of this event depends on the location. The event has to occur in an area that is accessible and well known to the African-American community.

The city of St. Paul and the state have complained of how they have been unable to reach the minority business owner. What a waste of an opportunity for the city to support such an event! Not only should they have allowed the rental of Oxford Community Center they should be partnering and sponsoring the event. Especially after Minnesota Department of Transportation fell short of their diversity goal and more than 92 percent of contracts went to white women. If the time is not now, then when? Instead, the city has put up a roadblock. Isn’t this hypocrisy? I am tired of the false promises of the state of Minnesota. We can no longer keep the status quo; we must do something different and get this ordinance changed.


The event is free and open to the public. It educates, inspires, and provides financial gains for the African-American community. The event will go on at the YWCA in Minneapolis on April 9, 2016.

If you would like more information on the Expo or can help in getting this ordinance changed visit or contact

To email the mayor Chris Coleman:



January 28, 2016

Councilmember Dai Thao’s response to Parks and Recreation Department’s decision to deny Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair application to rent Jimmy Lee Recreation Center

 SAINT PAUL – Councilmember Dai Thao today released the following response to the Parks and Recreation Department’s denial of Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair:

“It is troubling the City’s Parks and Recreation Department would not accommodate a Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair at the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, especially, when the organizers of the event thoughtfully and intentionally made it a point to make their event accessible to the historically marginalized African-American Rondo community, where I represent and whom I serve.

The City works with many organizers of races, runs, and festivals, who have access to public spaces, charge participant fees, and sell merchandise. These were similar requests from organizers of Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair but they were denied. I’m disappointed the City would not partner with the organizers and made administrative decisions such as these, further creating barriers to marginalized communities from accessing opportunities and prosperity. If we want better outcomes for all residents regardless of their skin color, we cannot continue to talk about wanting racial equity without having accountability. I will be calling on the Director of Parks and Recreation Department and Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Department  to review and rectify administrative policies that continue to perpetuate racial disparities within our City.

I encourage the organizers of Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair to consider Saint Paul again for future events. My office is open to all partners who are ready to work on racial equity.”

Contact: Mai Chong Xiong

651-266-8611 (o)




  1. People of all ethnicity shouldn’t put up with these biases! Investigating the power behind this issue and publish their pictures, names, positions, home addresses and phone number! Post all of that info on social media, radio and posters then watch change occur! Terry E.

  2. The Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department released the following statement regarding the event application by the Black Women’s Expo and Jobs Fair to host a privately managed event at Oxford Community Center.

    “We are excited at the potential of hosting the Black Women’s Expo and Jobs Fair in the City of Saint Paul,” states Parks Director Mike Hahm. “While we have not yet received a formal request from the event organizer, we continue to discuss potential options. There are challenges to hosting the kind of event she describes in a public space but we have a meeting scheduled for early next week with the organizer and the City’s Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Department (HREEO). HREEO Director Jessi Kingston and I have been working on this since Wednesday when the issue was brought to the attention of the Mayor’s Office. We are confident that with everyone around the table we will find a solution.”

    “Our department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity is actively involved in advocating for minority and women owned businesses. We think this is an exciting opportunity for the community and look forward to finding the optimal location.” Said Director Jessica Kingston

    The City of Saint Paul has rules in place to restrict private individuals and organizations from conducting commerce and financially benefiting from events or activities at publicly owned community recreation facilities. These rules ensure all community interests are protected and recreation centers remain open and accessible to all during public hours. The event concept as communicated would require special considerations due to potential merchandising and private revenues received by private individuals as part of the event. In addition, the event organizer was informed of various logistical challenges with hosting an event with 1,000 attendees at this particular facility, including access to adequate parking and impacts to other activities scheduled at the facility.

    “The event organizer is a great champion for her vision of the Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair,” states Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann. “We are excited to work with her to resolve the remaining challenges with the event concept and welcome Councilmember Dai Thao to be a part of the solution to bringing this vibrant event to our City.”

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