Shining stars: Stargirl Initiative aims to help young girls feel empowered

Being a teenager sucks. Being a teenage girl sucks more.


Legislature invests in health equity

While Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation, our state also has some of the worst disparities in terms of health outcomes between white residents and people of color. This February, Minnesota’s Department of Health (MDH) released Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota, which documents just how severe these disparities are and makes recommendations for how Minnesota can make sure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to live healthy lives, regardless of factors including race, income or sexual orientation.


Reflections of New Minnesotans: Queer identity, immigrants and communities of color

In this episode, Qais Munhazim joins host Julia Nekessa Opoti to discuss his own experiences as a gay, Muslim immigrant, as well as general issues of queer identity in Twin Cities communities of color. [Audio below]

Close harmony: The singing Steele sisters reflect on love, family and music

If you know Minnesota music, you know the Steele Family. Two sisters - Jearlyn and Jevetta - and three brothers - JD, Fred and Billy. Raised in a gospel singing family in Indiana, they migrated one by one to the Twin Cities. (A third sister, Janice, lives in California.)


Minnesota rallies in support of abducted Nigerian girls

A protester at a May 10, 2014 rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota carries a sign condemning the enslavement of Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram. (Photo: Senah Yeboah-Sampong/Mshale)

A May 10 rally condemning the abduction of more than 200 students from a school in Chibok, Nigeria brought members of the state’s Nigerian population and the broader African Diaspora together in St. Paul. Held in the State Capitol rotunda, speakers at the rally voiced concern for the victims, questions about the Nigerian government’s level of accountability, and the potential role the United States could play in securing their return.


Take notice: Nigeria abductions are not an anomaly

Like many other people, I am outraged by the April 14 abduction of hundreds of young girls from their school in northeastern Nigeria by the insurgent group Boko Haram. The group attacked again on May 6, kidnapping eight more girls–this time from their homes–to prevent them from attending school. While we do not know exactly where the girls were taken or how they are being treated, it is likely that many of them will be raped and sold into sexual slavery. Some of the girls are as young as 12, and as a mother I can only imagine the nightmare the girls and their parents must be living.


Allegations of sexual assault of high school student in jail not surprising

Last month the Star Tribune reported that an 18-year-old high school student who was being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Sherburne County Jail suffered repeated sexual assaults by his cellmate. The student, who had been taken into federal immigration custody, was housed with another “boarder” in the jail, a convicted sex offender who was locked up in the Sherburne County Jail under a contract with the Minnesota Department of Corrections.


A whisper

The sappy cards and flowers and pretty boxes of chocolate in every store I see mock how I feel on this particular Mother's Day. Over 234 girls were stolen from a place that was supposed to be a safe haven, a place where girls could learn in order to create a better life for themselves and their families. I just don't know how to think about this. All I can think of is a moment I had a few nights ago with my own daughter.


Women's economic security on the move

Legislators and advocates have been working hard this session to build opportunity for all Minnesotans through closing the achievement gaps in education, improving racial health equity and addressing economic disparities that women face.


House passes standard-setting bill for dealing with pregnant inmates

Since 2009, there have been 66 births by women serving time at the state’s women’s prison. Approximately a dozen women incarcerated there at any one time are expecting a child.

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