CTUL's Merle Payne talks organizing the "unorganizable"

(Photos by Joel Haskard)

At 40 years old, Merle Payne is soft-spoken with a trim beard and unassuming nature. He is the co-director of Centro de Trabajodores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), an organization “where workers build power to lead the struggle for fair wages, better working conditions, basic respect, and a voice in our workplaces.” CTUL made national headlines recently by winning a Responsible Contractor Policy with Target that will be implemented for new cleaning contracts at their stores in the metro area.


Asylum applications not as easy as "A-B-C"

Several weeks ago Jon Stewart joked that it seemed entirely reasonable for unaccompanied minors to traverse the complex network of the United States asylum process without legal representation. Stewart began rambling off forms N-400, I-130, and I-140 (none of which will grant you asylum) as routes to obtain different immigration statuses. Stewart quipped, “If they didn’t fill out the forms, can’t we just deport them?” And to the heartless adults willing to ask that question, I say, “Try doing it yourself.”


GLOBAL GROCERIES | Cinco de Mayo Mercado deserves its many fans

(Photos by Stephanie Fox)

I came across Cinco de Mayo Mercado almost by accident.


Twin Cities Saudi woman bridges gap between Islamic and Western worlds through art

(Courtesy of Hend Al-Mansour) Twin Cities artists Hend Al-Mansour and Michal Sagar collaborated in creating “Shadow Sisters."

Have you seen the tree trunk standing before a corner house where Hague Avenue intersects with Pierce Street north in St. Paul?


Minnesota state officials scramble to calm Ebola fears

As fear grips West Africa with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus wreaking havoc in unprepared countries — Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leona and Nigeria — the Minnesota Department of Health is in a race to calm fears of a possible Ebola outbreak in the Twin Cities.


Making an example out of the most vulnerable

I spent the week of July 28th at the Artesia “family detention” center, a four-hour drive from both Albuquerque and El Paso. I was part of a group of roughly ten volunteers (attorneys, translators, and administrative staff) trying to stop warp-speed deportations and to see that the “residents”— mothers with their children — received some modicum of due process. This was the first week there was a full-time volunteer attorney presence on-site during the month since the center opened.


New maps affirm old disparities, segregation in Twin Cities

(Images courtesy of Wilder Research) Above, data compiled from the 2010 census show the highest concentration areas of Twin Cities residents 65 years of age and older.

Minnesota Compass, funded through the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, released an interactive map this week using the most recent census data for Minneapolis and St. Paul. The data shows distinct boundaries in the sister cities, separating neighborhoods based on age, ethnicity, income, education and poverty levels.


Oromo Sports Federation puts on a successful #OromoWeek

The 18th annual soccer tournament organized by Oromo Sports Federation in North America (OSFNA) held from Aug. 2-9 in Minnesota wrapped up last weekend after what has been described as the most successful event in years.


Educating future nurses as a ticket out of poverty

FHCA Founder, Rachelle Simmons and her class gather around a patient during a hospital tour.

Sometimes, an airplane ride can change your life. Rachelle Simmons was college visiting in Baltimore with her son, and mentally noted something unique.

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