Drivers license bill stalls as session ends

Much-awaited legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses (HF97) was shot down in the House Transportation Committee as the 2015 legislative session hurtled to a close.  All House Republicans voted against incorporating the language into legislation at a 5-5 vote. “The bill is included in a transportation bill, and the only thing that the house has to do is to agree with the bill that is being proposed by the Senate. The House simply has no excuse not to do this this year. They made a commitment last year. Continue Reading

Leslie Ann Crosby spoke about her four hour a day commute

Transit time hinders upward mobility

Community members, along with leadership from Neighbors Organizing for Change (NOC), Take Action Minnesota, ISAIAH, and several State representatives presented the report It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and Its Racial Implications, which was written by The Center for Popular Democracy, along with additional assistance from local partners. It highlights the racial disparities in the transit system and adds that extra time spent on commuting actually hinders people’s ability to lift themselves out of poverty. Anthony Newby, the executive director of Neighbors Organizing for Change, cited, “the need for more and better funding to get to the heart of racial disparity in transit.” All public transit users spend more time than drivers on their commute alone, but black and Latino transit users spend the equivalent of 3.5 weeks of work more than white drivers on their commute. A May 7th New York Times article reported that commuting time is the single strongest factor that changes the odds of escaping poverty. Continue Reading

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Where is the equity audit for the Vikings Stadium?

Unlike the Twins and Gophers stadiums that had few minority workers, it was promised that this time there would be significant hiring of Twin Cities African Americans and the legislature would audit it, providing an annual review, audit, and certification. Instead, the Legislative auditor is not doing the equity category employment audits… Continue Reading

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Searching for shared truths on teaching and race

After 25 years of teaching in Minneapolis with predominately all-white teachers and administrations, one day, I realized it got down to this …

If I never saw a white person again, especially a white woman, it would be too soon! Continue Reading

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A Bemidji statue reveals uncomfortable Native history

We grew up hearing the story of local trader and store owner Andrew Myrick, who told starving Dakota people to “eat grass or their own dung” if they were hungry. He was one of the early fatalities of the 1862 US-Dakota War, a figure our very conservative father offered as a cautionary figure to encourage us to use civil discourse Continue Reading

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Seward Co-op’s Friendship Store and “Community Benefits”

As a longtime member of Seward Co-op, I have been eagerly awaiting the new Friendship Store, which is right down the street. And when I first heard about this Community Benefits Agreement that is being discussed, a vehicle whereby Seward Co-op agrees to commit to certain benefits for the communities most affected by their expansion store, I thought, yeah, that sounds like a good thing. And when I heard that Seward Co-op would be presenting a progress report at the Bryant Neighborhood Organization meeting on Saturday, April 25, I decided to attend as an observer and learn more about it. Unfortunately, I came from that meeting thoroughly confused. So before writing this report, I had to do some digging and find out what was lurking in the background. Continue Reading

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Fiesta Cinco de Mayo!

The Lowrider car and bicycle show is justifiably, one of the highlights of the Cinco de Mayo West Side Saint Paul Fiesta. The fiesta draws crowds of people along the closed off blocks of Cesar Chavez Street, drinking out of fresh pineapples, browsing the vendor goods, and checking out the lines of Lowriders that showed up for the event. Not being a car person of any sort, I felt immediately out of my depth. Several of the car and bicycle owners kindly answered my surely very ignorant questions, patiently nodding when I asked what was clearly a no-brainer. While the Lowrider show brings out people to ogle over cars and bikes, the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is also about celebrating one of the Twin Cities oldest Latino neighborhoods. Continue Reading

No Easy Answers

You go to a community gathering; you believe that the speaker, a white male, will listen and take you, a white woman, and your friends in: black and white men, black and white women. And he does, for a moment, but he seems to be crouching there, waiting to spring with his response. To give him credit, he lets us talk and even nods his head and affirms us. Yet he dominates the room. I wanted a circle, I wanted him to end the cyclic way his words came back and back and back to integration as the only solution to educational reform. Continue Reading

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Martin Luther King Goes to the Mall (or WWMD?)

“It’s important to make an example out of these organizers, so that this never happens again.” This message was sent to the managers of the Mall of America by Sandra Johnson, the City Attorney of Bloomington, Minnesota, where the Mall is located. The “organizers,” whom she also refers to as “criminals,” assailants” and “ringleaders” were involved in one way or another with a peaceful, multi-generational, multiracial rally held in the Mall’s rotunda to draw attention to racist police brutality. Such events are what “must never happen again.”

Johnson’s over-the-top push make the defendants pay for the police overreaction has raised eyebrows in legal and business circles and alarmed civil libertarians. The Mall had earlier rebuffed her proposal to punish Mall employees for showing sympathy with the rally, citing “the potential for further press.” “Further press” is what the City Attorney appears determined to deliver. Continue Reading

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The Sioux Chef opening highly anticipated food truck

The city of Minneapolis is anxiously anticipating the opening of The Sioux Chef’s first venue: Tatanka Truck. Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) made waves over the last year by introducing his unique approach to Indigenous cuisine. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, he attended college at Black Hills State University. Part of his drive to create an Indigenous cuisine, free of processed sugars, dairy or flour, came from just being a chef in Minneapolis since the early 2000s,

“I had been cooking since I was 13 in the Black Hills, in tourist restaurants. And I thought It was silly that there was no Native restaurants,” Sherman said. Continue Reading