In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander History Month, this film examines how Asians are not the model minority (quiet and high achieving) that stereotypes would want you to believe. The film unpacks the myth and highlights Asian activist history in the United States and in Minnesota.
Michelle Montbriand is not willing to sit back and lose her home. A former cook, a single mother of two, and a grandmother of four, she has turned herself into a community organizer as she and her neighbors take on the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) in a battle to save their community. Montbriand is one of the few white residents of the Glendale Townhomes, Minneapolis’ last remaining public housing development. She has lived in her townhome since 2003 and describes the community as unique, tight-knit, and where everybody knows each other.
Ladan Yusuf also has made her home at Glendale. A community organizer originally from the East Coast, she lives with her teenage daughter, also a community organizer. As an educated, Somali, woman of color, she says it has been difficult to find her place in the Twin Cities because of the racism she has faced. As a Glendale resident, however, she has found a place as a community leader and as someone trusted and appreciated by her fellow residents.
Montbriand, Yusuf, and their neighbors worry that they may be about to lose their homes as the city of Minneapolis and MPHA consider the future of the Glendale Townhomes. While they love their homes at Glendale, the 64-year-old public housing complex has fallen into disrepair. The residents want the city to simply fix their townhomes, the city seems poised to redevelop instead of rehabilitate. Three out of the city’s four possible plans for Glendale include redevelopment of Glendale’s site–potentially displacing residents to do so.
Resident and community elder Saciid Ali said via translator, “The worst thing that can happen to a refugee is to lose their home. There is no housing we can afford, no other community like this, support is near here.”
“If Scott Seekins had taken photos of Auschwitz and inserted himself into those photos, I can’t even imagine the moral outrage,” said Anishinaabe artist and activist Ashley Fairbanks. “This is art about genocide.”
Inside the crowded Douglas Flanders & Associates gallery on May 14, one of Minneapolis’ most recognizable artists, Scott Seekins, opened his exhibit “The New Eden,” a collection of paintings and drawings depicting the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. Many of the pieces seem to mimic Plains Indian art forms, including work created on ledger paper.
This week: a profile of Minnesota’s new chief inclusion officer, Seward Towers has rare public housing success, Amy Goodman speaks for KFAI and Joe Soucheray may be replaced with a potato.