Asian American protesters support Black Lives Matter in a Nov. 24 march in Minneapolis.

When Asian American politics and Black Lives Matter met at Macalester

When asked what is the mission of the Million Artist Movement (MAM), which calls itself the “artistic arm of Black Lives Matter,” Sandy Augustin said “We want to artfully dismantle white supremacy.” Agustin co-organized and facilitated the Power Gathering: Asian American Resistance and Solidarity at Macalester College back in October in collaboration with the Givens Foundation. That event was a part of the larger and ongoing convenings across racial and ethnic groups called by MAM. Continue Reading

A young girl marches with protesters in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 24

When do we #SayHerName? Examining the systems behind the death of Jamar Clark

As protesters aligned with Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis (BLM-Minneapolis) took to the streets over the past few weeks, the now-familiar message was clear: Clark did not deserve to meet his untimely death on a North Minneapolis sidewalk by a bullet in his head. His death, another tally in a string of fatal encounters between unarmed black men and law enforcement agencies across the country, was another notch in the need to address the issue of discriminatory police practices and for reform. The formulaic response to yet another police killing also meant a backlash against the narrative of who the real victim was in this fatal encounter. Continue Reading

Sun Yung Shin

Writing towards utopia: An Interview with Sun Yung Shin

I caught the final reading for the 2014 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers recipients early in September, as this year’s fellows – Susanne Aspley, Susan Power, Shannon Gibney and Josh Ostergaard for creative prose and Kelly Barnhill for children’s literature – have begun to hold readings as fellows as part of the Loft’s McKnight series.

Two facts stood out to me about the 2014 fellows: they – Carolyn Williams-Noren, Danez Smith, Sierra DeMulder, and Sun Yung Shin – were all poets, and they all were marginalized voices, if not in terms of gender, then by race or sexual orientation or multiple intersections. Continue Reading

Sagirah Shahid and Michelle Baroody

Navigating the world – and home – through film at Minnesota film festivals

“I learned about Palestine through stories, like a fairy tale,” one of the interviewees reminisced in the live-action-and-mixed-animation documentary, “The Wanted 18,” about a Palestinian town’s quest for self-determination at the beginning of the intifada and the absurd lengths the Israeli government and military went through to stop it, featured at Mizna’s 10th annual Arab Film Fest (AFF) at the St. Anthony Main Theatre earlier this month. Continue Reading

Black Fair - White Privilege

“Minnesota Nice” and Minnesota’s Racism

Minnesota Nice is the transplants’ nice way of calling born-and-reared-here Minnesotans passive-aggressive. For those of us who’ve lived in other places, such indirectness is baffling at best, and emotionally abusive at worst. In other words, it’s not nice at all. Continue Reading

Amoke Kubat

Amoké Kubat stages healing in racial divide between black and white women

“I’m at a point in my life where I have forged a place where I can write, and I’m writing things out that maybe I’m still trying to make sense of,” Amoké Kubat says as we spent an early autumn afternoon talking about her new piece, “Angry Black Woman and Well-Intentioned White Woman.” The work-in-progress debuts tonight at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave South in Minneapolis, at 7 p.m. followed by a Q & A and reception. Continue Reading

Duchess Harris

Whose work gets to be considered activism?

Photos by Kayla Steinberg
It would be easy to say from interviewing Duchess Harris that her wisdom comes from her nearly 30 years as a scholar and professor, teaching about the mechanics and dynamics of how race and racism works, particularly on how they infuse the laws that govern the nation, this state and our lives. Easy, yes—but not quite correct. Harris knows what she knows because she occupies an uneasier position: activist-scholar. She’s that professor who believes what she and her colleagues posit, preach and produce in peer-reviewed journals, conferences and books needs to be available to the rest of us outside of academia. Her teaching and her civic involvement in local politics is how she helps bend the arc toward justice. Continue Reading

jens feminist inclusivity

Walk the Walk: Inclusivity in feminist protest

Photo taken by Erin Ross
Perhaps I was listening for it, but I did not have to listen long. A person I do not know came up to me and said, “Dude, there are actual titties down there.” He gestured over his shoulder around the large hill of Gold Medal Park. I was on my way to work. I don’t even remember what I said in response—maybe nothing—but internally I had plenty to say. Something along the lines of “Get out of here, you creep,” was among these thoughts. Continue Reading

Photo – David Maung, 2013 Tijuana, Mexico

Exhibit at 801 Gallery explores what immigrants see in a new country

What does it take for someone, especially an adult, to leave the only land he or she knows as home, for a place where he or she knows few if any people, little about the culture and is rendered speechless by the new language? The four photographers (Jill Holslin, Selma Fernandez, David Maung and Jorge Santiago) featured in “Mexican/American/Mexican,” the current exhibition at Arts at 801 Gallery, have faced this decision, and their choice of place has informed their work in unusual ways. Laura Migliorino, a photography professor at Anoka Ramsey Community College, curated this exhibition, which examines the question: what does an immigrant see in a new country? Some years ago, Migliorino was working on a project in Tijuana, Mexico documenting the present-day use of recycled WWII workers’ houses that had been transported from San Diego after the end of the war in 1945. While there, she and her collaborator Anthony Marchetti met American artists who had moved to Tijuana from Southern California, many because of much cheaper rents, and became part of a burgeoning arts culture in the city. Continue Reading