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Sharon Sayles Belton
Sharon Sayles Belton

Outstanding Service to the Profession: Sharon Sayles Belton

Sharon Sayles Belton, who helped revitalize neighborhoods as Minneapolis mayor, is working to advance the recovery of Twin Cities areas damaged in the unrest following George Floyd’s death.

Sayles Belton is doing so as vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Thomson Reuters, which committed more than $1 million to rebuilding north Minneapolis, the Lake Street area and University Avenue in St. Paul.

Sayles Belton, serving from 1994 to 2001, was Minneapolis’ first African American and first woman mayor. She’s seeking long-term answers to issues stemming from Floyd’s death with the legal community, law enforcement and community members.

Her role with Thomson Reuters is “to be a part of the solution, a part of the rebuilding, and a part of the healing.”

Sayles Belton credited CEO Steve Hasker with recognizing that Thomson Reuters, with 6,000 employees at its Eagan office, should actively “help the Minneapolis and St. Paul communities get through this crisis.”

The company has awarded $925,000 in grants to 17 organizations supporting rebuilding efforts, offering anti-racism education, promoting access to justice and meeting residents’ basic needs. It doubled the paid hours off for employee volunteer work.

To this end, more than 35 employees volunteered, Sayles Belton said, to help the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives expand its mission promoting equity in the administration of justice and its call for strong relationships between law enforcement and communities.

Thomson Reuters also presented an eight-part seminar to help employees understand issues leading to and surrounding Floyd’s death, as well as its aftermath, Sayles Belton said.

“The mayor’s response to our community’s collective grief and anger was to pull us closer, leveraging togetherness to find comfort,” Judge Jeffrey Bryan of the Minnesota Court of Appeals said. “Through her continued leadership in the most affected neighborhoods and in the corporate world, she is bringing hope for the future.”

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2020 here.

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