Black History Month Spotlight: Toni and Melvin Carter

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Lindsey LaBelle
Web Editorial Assistant


For Toni and Melvin Carter, being a good parent means being a good citizen.

As part of Black History Month, the Minnesota Timberwolves are honoring leaders who are making a difference in the community, and for Toni and Melvin, community and family are king. Both are deeply involved in bolstering the infrastructure of their community through non-profit and diplomatic work.

Toni Carter has been the Ramsey County Commissioner from District 4 since 2005 and is chair of several committees. She is the first African American ever to serve on a county board in Minnesota.

“We always knew that if we were going to raise our children in this community, then we’d have to get involved with children and families,” Toni said. “We had to help prepare a way for those who are less fortunate, and really, for all our neighbors together.”

Prior to her election to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, Toni served as a member and chair of the St. Paul Board of Education.

Melvin Carter is co-founder of Save Our Sons, an organization that works with at-risk African American youth.

“I was a police detective, and I saw the kids getting in trouble,” Melvin said. “I saw the statistics getting worse, I saw the crimes getting worse, the gangs and drugs getting worse. The outcome, the fallout, was getting more disastrous.”

For nearly 20 years, Melvin and the Save Our Sons organization have been reaching out to young men to encourage them to avoid inner city pitfalls and help them reach their potential.

One man Melvin mentored became a lawyer after spending several years in prison. He then went on to earn two law degrees, one of which allows him to practice law without restriction. This man introduces Melvin as his surrogate father, and the two remain best friends.

“The best part is just seeing the young people and the families who are able to do well as a result of the work you can do,” Toni said. “It’s laying a foundation together with neighbors and others for our community’s better future. That feels good.”

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