Minnesota Voices is a TC Daily Planet feature that highlights individuals from many different places in our community. They are not just the usual voices who are quoted in news stories and appear on editorial pages (though those people may appear from time to time), but artists, business owners, community organizers, teachers, and more.

Minnesota Voices stories are, above all, interesting and personal. These stories are NOT dry, formulaic, or the same old, same old message that a lobbyist or advocate has given sixteen times already. Minnesota Voices focuses on who people are and what they do in the world, and on what motivates their lives. For information about writing a Minnesota Voices article, click here

MN VOICES | Anne Long at Plymouth Christian Youth Center

Anne Long (Photo by Scott Russell)

Anne Long has worked for the Plymouth Christian Youth Center in North Minneapolis since 1973, including the past decade as executive director. She lives seven blocks from the Center and has been a part of many initiatives over the years to improve the north side. The Center is a $3.7 million operation, including a contract alternative high school. The Center also owns and operates the Capri Theater, one of the latest efforts to improve educational opportunities for youth and revitalize the community. Long sat down and talked to Daily Planet reporter Scott Russell about her life, the Center and North Minneapolis.

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MINNESOTA VOICES | Dr. Ghafar Lakanwal

Photo by Steve Wewerka, Steve Wewerka Photography, © 2009. Photo courtesy of the Saint Paul Foundation

Dr. Ghafar Lakanwal is a native of Afghanistan, an ex-political asylee, a Muslim immigrant, a U.S. citizen, a victim of racism, and someone who fights against racism. Each facet of Lakanwal’s identity has impacted his life in a unique way, some facets more than others.

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MINNESOTA VOICES | Ramón León connects business and justice

Growing up working in a family-run furniture business in Mexico, Ramón León learned from his parents that social justice is paramount to running a good business.

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MN VOICES | Jack Reuler and Mixed Blood Theater

Photo by Steve Wewerka, Steve Wewerka Photography, © 2009. Photo courtesy of the Saint Paul Foundation.

In the converted old firehouse that the Mixed Blood Theater calls home, audiences can see diverse ensembles collaborating for a common purpose: To perform high quality, socially conscious theater.  But much of Mixed Blood's programming happens offstage. They also hold performances in schools, churches, offices, and juvenile detention centers. It's all part of founder Jack Reuler's vision that theater can effect powerful change when it is part of a collaborative, grassroots effort. Reuler's activism earned him a recent nomination for the Facing Race Ambassador award, which honors those "who excel in creating opportunities for people of all races to understand the impact of racism."

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John Poupart: Work on strengthening American Indian communities honored by McKnight Foundation

Cutline: (Photographer: Mark Luinenburg / Copyright: The McKnight Foundation.)

“Our oral history defines who we are. Our language comes from the Creator as a gift to us as a people, and we are the original people of the Western Hemisphere.

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MN VOICES | "We need to end child prostitution": Mayo Clinic's James A. Levine, author of "The Blue Notebook"

Photo courtesy Random House

Think slavery is history? Think again. Right now, in 2009, there are more slaves in the world than ever before in human history—an estimated 27 million.MORE »

MN VOICES | Artist, activist Ricardo Levins Morales

Ricardo Levins Morales (Photo by Sheila Regan)

After 30 years, the Northland Poster Collective is closing its doors, ending a rich history of using art to create political change for soMORE »

MN VOICES | Francisco Segovia makes his mark in El Salvador and MN

“Don’t just sit down and keep the seat warm. Do something.” That was what a high school teacher told Francisco Segovia, director of the Waite House Community Center in South Minneapolis.

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