MN Medicaid Agency Finally gets it right – Let’s not party yet though – this is DHS after all

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Alright – so, if you know me, read my blog or have learned the history of Minnesota’s Early Intensive Behavior & Developmental Intervention program, then you know dealing with DHS is a rollercoaster; Minnesota weather is more consistent than them. It all depends on who is in charge. Sometimes even if the commissioner or assistant commissioners are about equity, the middle management are almost never on-board with equity, diversity and equality.

It is tiring and exhausting to keep asking the same thing year in – year out. What is the same thing – have people who reflect us train families, providers, ask those who are from diverse communities to also train like you do the uppity whites, be fair, be kind, be fair, have compassion for autism families and their children, did I say be fair? You see the fiber and core of this agency is at best bias and at worst racist. This will never change because the oppressor never wants to share power, knowledge or resources with the oppressed.

I am technically retired, but DHS’ EIDBI staff are on my last nerve in how they lately have been having two white priviledged women drive this program without any transparency or accountability. And, how those in charge of them support them with a blind eye and a deaf ear without finding out the whole truth because they cannot handle the truth.

At any rate, finally, they had Back to school support and advice training for providers and you will never guess who was silent. Wait for it….drum roll pls…….Ms. Berning, you know the overrated and always protected white woman. They finally gave the ONLY person of any color or even with a suntan in EIDBI division (Ms. Vang) the opprotunity to drive this training. It gets better they finally asked actual people of color to train us. Wait what? where they drunk? They had three Somalis (one male and two females) and I could not see their faces because they did not tell us to watch or their cameras were off, and of couse, they silenced us to ask to turn the cameras on – so there might’ve been other minorities. It was like Mozart music to my autism mom ears. I got what they said, how they said it and thier tone was as welcoming as the spring in Minnesota when all of the snowbirds come back.

It remains to be seen if they will do this again. I do know one thing. Ms. Vang knows more in her little finger than both Ms. Hicks and Ms. Berning’s heads combined. If I remember it correctly, she was:

Yingya Vang

Committee Administrator

Human Services Finance and Policy Committee

House DFL Caucus

To be a committee administrator of any committee let alone health finance and policy is being as smart Albert Einstein. You have to know how to move and think fast, how to multitask, remember the kazilian bills that go through this committee and be fair to everyone which is something Berning and Hicks struggle with. Yet, EIDBI manager – Mr. Flint does not utilize Vang’s talents and calmness. It does not matter what kind of question you ask her or your comments, she remains calm under pressure while Berning’s face gets red and annoyed and Hicks tries to silence you. Vang is a breath of fresh air who should be given the same opportunity, training and responsibilies the two white ones have been given. In fact, in my humble educated opinion, she would be better at being the policy lead instead of Hicks.

To the minorities they have given a chance to speak who are Somalis:

  1. Hilib iyo cunto aan idiin soo bislaynay ayaad cunaysaan oo ku raaxasanaysaan.
  2. Ha iloobina dadkii jidka idiin furay
  3. Ha ogalaalina in nala kala qaybiyo
  4. Caruurta Soomalida ah ee maangaarka qabta iyo reerahooda u hagar baxa or caawiya.


The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Retired Advocate

Category: Autism Policy