J Street founder to speak in Minneapolis

Israelis have recently gone to the polls in a contested Knesset election which will impact the country’s policy agenda and the discourse around Israeli-Palestinian relations for years to come.Please join us for a discussion between J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and Humphrey School Professor Brian Atwood, chair of Global Policy and former dean. They will examine issues surrounding the outcome of the election and what this means for Israel’s future, as well as the future for negotiations on Arab-Israeli peace.J Street, founded in 2008 with a stated aim of serving as the “Political Home for Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel Americans”, has played an active role in the debate surrounding Arab-Israeli peace. J Street President and Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami previously served in the administration of Bill Clinton, was Howard Dean’s national policy director in 2004, and assisted in managing a mayoral campaign in New York City in 2001. He lived and worked in Israel during the 1990s and was recently included in the Jerusalem Post’s list of the 50 most influential Jews in the World. The publication deemed him “a game-changer on the American Jewish landscape”.Please note this event is open to the general public so feel free to forward the invitation to any of our community partners or other interested parties.Jeremy Ben-Ami, president and founder of J Street, will speak on “Prospects for Arab-Israeli Peace in the Wake of the Israeli Elections” 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 14
 in the Humphrey Forum
 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 
301 19th Ave. Continue Reading

A map of Ethiopia.

We Are Your Neighbors: Things You Might Not Understand about New Immigrants

By PM English Level 5/6 Class at the English Learning CenterThere are many things that people in Minnesota don’t understand about new immigrants. There are many things in our culture that are different.First, our religion is different. Some new immigrants are Christians, some are Muslim, and some may be another religion. One difference for Catholics from Mexico and South America is that they celebrate Virgin Mary on December 12. Muslims pray 5 times a day. Continue Reading


Remittances are lifelines between many immigrants and family members’ survival in Somalia and other East African countries

A remittance is an electronic wire transfer of funds from one country to another. For decades, many immigrant residents of the United States kept family members alive through this way of getting money across borders. Fears that terror groups like ISIS or Al-Shabaab would find ways to divert remittances to a terrorist effort prompted the United States to close down all of the channels for funds, not just from here to Somali or Ethiopia, but also to England, Denmark, Sweden and other countries where East Africans’ relatives might be living. Following earlier efforts by Rep. Keith Ellison and other congressional leaders, channels were reestablished, but on February 6th, the only remaining US channel, the Merchant Bank of California closed its money services business clients’ accounts.A rally in late February by Somali/East African leaders, joined by local and statewide officials began exploring additional steps to be taken by Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to again reopen these channels. Ventura Village’s Sadik Warfa, who is also Deputy Director of the Global Somali Diaspora, located in the neighborhood, stated, “ Although it’s a federal issue and must be solved by federal action, we are going to do our part to meet and develop a united front and explore the next steps to be taken to resolve this crisis. Continue Reading

[Image above: Property tax capacity per household in the Twin Cities, 2004. From Myron Orfield’s book Region.]

The Inequality Debate Needs to be Careful about Scale

Two weeks ago, the Atlantic published a short (and facile) post called “the Miracle of Minneapolis” that (as is the way of media circles in insecure places) launched itself right onto the forefront of the Twin Cities social media scene. And, with good reason, the article re-kindledconversations about racial disparities that have been going on for years. Before I dive into my argument, I want to outline two crucial caveats. First, I love that we’re discussing racial disparities with increasing frequency these days. We have ignored the way that our cities have created wealth only for some (white) people, and made it almost impossible for others. The Fair Housing Act was only passed in the 60s, which isn’t very long ago, and we need to always remember how our cities treat people differently depending on race, class, and culture. Continue Reading