Minneapolis march and vigil remembers 147 homeless people who died in 2013

Minnesota homeless people who died during 2013 were remembered in a December 19 march and vigil in Minneapolis. Nearly 300 people marched 28 blocks through downtown Minneapolis in 15-degree temperatures, carrying the names of Minnesota’s homeless who passed away this year. “We hold the annual march to honor and remember, in this case, 147 people who generally are not memorialized at the time of their passing,” said Stephen Horsfield, the director of Simpson Housing Services, which helped organize the event.  “We want to bring some dignity to the lives of the people and the people who remember them and also call attention to the issue.”

People of all ages, gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center to pick up signs provided by the organizers, with the name, age and hometown of those to be remembered.  Then, silently, they walked west to Nicollet Avenue and followed it south to the Simpson Overnight Center on 1st Avenue for the memorial service. “[Homelessness] has touched my life,” said Theo Park, a pastor at the Gethsemane Episcopal Church, who was part of the march.  “I’ve always lived indoors but I’ve served in shelters with men living rough.  I see it on the doorstep of my church.”

“I always say being an advocate means actually showing up [even if its cold],” Park continued. While there has been a lot of progress made over the last few years providing affordable housing and moving homeless people off the streets and out of shelters, homelessness remains a persistent challenge. Continue Reading

Minneapolis Northside Arts Collective presents landscape show

The Heritage Park Center is hosting visual works from around the metro for a show titled Landscape.  Organized by the Northside Arts Collective, the show will run through the beginning of February.Started in 2003, the collective has over 200 members aiming to enrich the northside community through the arts, but is open to artist from around the metro.  Their focus is creating a network of artists and organizations to help provide opportunities for northside communities to enjoy art.Since the NAC began using the Heritage Park Center as a gallery two years ago, their shows have become quite popular says Carney, with regular shows occuring every few months.The upcoming show will be on display at the Senior Services Center in the Heritage Park complex, located at 1015 4th Avenue North, in Minneapolis.With more than 100 pieces, some as big as eight feet, Landscape will include a wide variety of mediums and styles dedicated to any kind of landscape scene.  Carney will be showing a photographic panorama that’s 100 inches wide.  “Talk about gigabytes of data,” he said about the piece. Having a large place for the show has been really helpful, says artist and board member, Pat Carney.  “It’s really attracting a lot of artists from around the metro, all those people who have big pieces [which wouldn’t fit in small galleries] get a chance to show them.”Check the Northside Arts Collective website for announcement of date and time of a mid-January reception, which will give artists and anyone else interested, a chance to meet and discuss the work.        Continue Reading

Cedar Riverside’s Brian Coyle Center celebrates gym renovations

“I spent most of my 17 years growing up going through the programs here,” said Burhan Mohumed, a 23-year-old who now acts as a mentor at the Brian Coyle Center. “It’s like that with a lot of kids, they spend the majority of their time here. It’s really the heartbeat of the community.” The Brian Coyle Community Center recently completed renovations to its gym with the hope it will be able to better serve community youth.On November 15, Mohumed was among the friends and community members who celebrated the center’s newly completed gym with food and youth presentations. The much-needed renovations replaced the old concrete and linoleum floor with a modern wooden basketball court, and also added new basketball hoops and bleachers.The community center is a vital resource for residents of Cedar-Riverside housing complex and the Cedar-Riverside Community charter school, providing social services, as well as self sufficiency, youth and volunteer programs.The $110,000 project was made possible by funding from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Pillsbury United Communities, which runs the center, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Project.Amano Dube, the center’s director, says the renovations are part of positive trends he’s seen in the community over the last few years.”Violence used to be very tragic, around 2007 there were a lot of shootings,” said Dube. Continue Reading

Protesters march to Metrodome, denounce Washington team nickname as racist

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Metrodome on November 7. denouncing the nickname of Washington’s NFL franchise, the Redskins.Organized by the American Indian Movement, protesters carried signs, beat drums and danced their way from the Ancient Traders Market on East Franklin Avenue down Chicago Avenue, and arrived at the Metrodome around 5:30 p.m. to listen to speeches by the movement’s leaders and political supporters.The mascot issue has been a source of contention for years, with Minneapolis witnessing a similar protest back in 1992 when the Metrodome hosted the Washington team in Super Bowl XXVI.U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, Minneapolis Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges, City Council members from Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as professional Native American athletes including Vikings Pro Bowler Joey Browner and Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, all voiced their condemnation of the mascot.”We’re finally getting there,” said AIM’s national leader, Clyde Bellecourt, who expects the mascot name will be out in the next year. Momentum is building, as more and more public figures have begun speaking out against Washington, not just in Minnesota but nationally as well. Many high school and collegiate teams having retired their Native American mascots over the last few years.Even President Obama stated publicly he would really “consider changing the name” if he was Snyder, the owner of Washington’s team.AIM is considering its legal options to prevent Washington’s name and logo from being displayed.AIM’s legal counsel, Larry Leventhal, announced in a press conference on November 6 that they filed a petition with the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget to evaluate whether the new Viking stadium will be consistent with human rights standards.Leventhal said the appropriation of public funds for a new stadium which hosts a racist mascot would violate state and federal human rights laws which prohibit discrimination in public accommodations. Continue Reading

University of Minnesota panel refocuses Washington football mascot controversy on protecting youth

On November 5, the University of Minnesota hosted a symposium on race in sports and media for a more in-depth discussion of the issues surrounding the controversy over the Washington football team’s derogatory “Redskins” nickname. Speakers including AIM’s national leader, Clyde Bellecourt and U.S. Congressmember Betty McCollum, highlighted the impact that Indian caricatures have beyond a simple derogatory nature.“The issue is not whether the appropriation of Indian names and images is offensive.” said Bellecourt in an earlier statement. “The greater issue is the substantial damage indigenous sports names and mascots do to Indigenous children.”The larger issue AIM hopes to address is the effect caricatures like the Redskins logo have, not only on society’s perception of native people, but on native people’s perception of themselves. Bellecourt pointed to the reaction of young children upon hearing common game-time chants like, “massacre them” or “scalp them.””I knew we were native people but I never really knew what that meant,” said 21-year-old Chris Hammerly, the symposium’s youngest panelist. Continue Reading

Protesters to target Washington NFL team name at Thursday Vikings game

In response to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authorities decision to allow the use of the franchise’s nickname, “the Redskins”, the American Indian Movement has planned a march to the Metrodome followed by several speakers and presenters during the November 7 game.Protesters plan to march from the Ancient Traders Market parking lot on Franklin Ave to the Metrodome around 4:30 p.m. to listen to Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, as well as other speakers, and drum and dance performances.On November 5, the University of Minnesota will host a symposium on racism in sports and media in the President’s Room of the Coffman Union.Protesters allege that the use of the name “Redskins” by a publicly-funded stadium like the Metrodome violates the civil rights of American Indians.The Daily Planet is interested in hearing your views. Please contact Ben Markhart at bmarkhart at hotmail dot com if you have something to say — or comment below. And keep checking back — we’ll have updates after the November 5 symposium and after the rally.Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Reporting for this article also supported in part by Bush Foundation. Continue Reading

Minneapolis’s first GLBT housing complex opens on Lake Street

Friends and supporters came out in force on October 30, to celebrate the opening of Spirit on Lake, Minneapolis’s first GLBT affordable housing complex.The 46-unit apartment building, located on 13th Avenue and Lake Street, which officially welcomed residents at the beginning of September, will provide affordable housing and a supportive community for the city’s aging GLBT community.  The development is believed to be the second of its kind nationally, after Hollywood’s Triangle Square, The building also will serve as the new home for the Quatrefoil Library, one of the country’s few libraries to specialize in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender materials.”Our target is 70 percent GLBT residents,” said Kathy Wetzel-Mastel of PRG Inc., the non-profit developer who spearheaded the project.  “But the building will serve primarily as affordable rental housing, you don’t have to be GLBT.”The idea for the project started nearly eight years ago through work done by the Living Table United Church of Christ (formerly Spirit of the Lake UUC) and its partner organization, GLBT Generations, an advocacy group for aging gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.”For many older GLBT, there is a great deal of fear around safety and security, especially when it comes to giving up some of their independence,” says Barbara Satin, director of GLBT Generations.  “Often times nursing homes and assisted living facilities are places where they’ll go back into the closet because of they feel a lack of control and vulnerability.”While the younger generations of GLBT have grown up in a far more tolerant atmosphere, with great progress being made in Minnesota over the last couple decades, this has not always been the case. “You can’t even imagine the level of discrimination [in the past],” said resident Russ Lovasson.  “When I was younger it was different, I was exiled from church, I couldn’t find housing, I was let go from work for having HIV.  Having a place where your very being is no longer a reason to be rejected but accepted is great.”  Past discrimination and intolerance has had a lot to do with it, says Satin.  Poverty and instability can become serious problems for GLBT people as they age, uncertainty surrounding new neighbors and caregivers can make taking advantage of social support networks difficult.”I was probably the first person to move in,” said another resident, Bruce Sikkema.  “I spent the last year in a nursing home… and you have no idea how much that sucks.  Soon as I had the opportunity I jumped.”A 2013 report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force concluded the older generation of GLBT people are more at risk than most other aging demographics.  Over the course of a lifetime, disparities in access to competent health care, wages, and opportunity have lead to higher rates of poverty and some of the worst overall health among aging GLBT.According to the study, over 55 percent of GLB and 70 percent of transgender people report being mistreated in a medical setting or while attempting to find medical services.  Some 29 percent of GLB and 48 percent of transgender people reporting having avoided preventative health care out of fear of discrimination.When it comes to most senior living facilities the staff and other residents don’t understand the issues, said Satin.  Spirit on Lake will be a community where people can help support each other, especially older GLBT persons.For more information check out Spirt on Lakes website.   Continue Reading

Pop-up Museum shows good side of North Minneapolis

On October 30, artists of all kinds came out to show the colorful face of North Minneapolis, in the Tell Me Something Good pop-up museum.Hosted by the Capri Theater on Broadway Avenue, the event provided a forum for local artists and community members to combat negative views of the Northside by showing some of its good side.Pop-up museum have appeared all over the country in various forms but all seek to use audience participation to create dialogue on specific issues.  In this instance, numerous participants came together to tell an authentic Northside story.”Stories can be shared in a variety of ways,” said Amoke Kubat, a local artist and activist who spearheaded the project. “For some people the artifacts of our experience help them to find their own hidden narrative.”There were two parts to Wednesday’s museum —  a two-hour series of performances, and a gallery of visual art and audience contributed artifacts. Some of the visual art and artifacts are shown in the slideshow at the top of this article. The performance side of the event was hosted by Kubat with the help of another local artist, Truthmaze.  Song, poetry and spoken word, told stories ranging from children’s memories of their parents’ love, to parents’ memories of the violence that claimed their children.”With so much of the conversation out there being what’s wrong with the Northside, its great to hear what’s right, and there’s plenty of it,” said Northsider Brian Mogren.  “I left energized and inspired, hoping that this would become an annual event. There’s so much more good stuff happening out there to be shared and celebrated.”The evening’s display of art and story was the culmination of eight weeks of workshops run with the help of another local artist, Keegan Xavi, to help empower Northsiders to tell their stories.”It was hard to get people interested at first, they just didn’t know how to tell their stories,” said Kubat.  “But it didn’t take long before we had nine or ten people trying to get involved at one time.”The pop-up museum was made possible by a Story Circle Grant from the Minnesota Humanities Center. Continue Reading

New Minneapolis mosaic mural dedicated on Lake Street

As part of the Taste of Phillips Art Festival, close to 100 people came out on October 26 for the dedication of one of the largest community murals to appear in Minneapolis in more than a decade.On the corner of Lake and Bloomington, the project is the culmination of four years of work by the Semilla Community Arts Program of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.  The 1400 sq/ft mural involved the work of more than 300 volunteers, led by local artist, Greta McLain.To date, the Semilla program has worked with more than 1800 community members to create 19 murals in the neighborhood, ranging from garage doors to two large scale mosaics on the Andersen School, as well as more than 30 mosaic flower pots around the neighborhood.“The name of the program: Semilla, or seed, speaks to our vision of a new community,” said Rev. Patrick Cabello Hansel, co-pastor of St. Paul’s. “Phillips neighborhood is blessed with an incredible diversity and talented, courageous people.  Giving people tools to create beautiful art together also empowers them to work together to build community.”On the spiraling glass and ceramic mural appears the artwork of individuals in the form of their own seeds, as well as the seeds of the projects partners, Waite House, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, All My Relations Arts Gallery, Mercado Central and Global Market.”We want to recognize the seeds of art in everyone’s lives,” said McLain. “We all have grown from somewhere and here we see our own seeds surrounded by pollinators that have helped us grow in our community.”The mural dedication is aimed to be the first step in developing a Phillips Avenue of the Arts, which will continue over to The Heart of the Beast Theater on 15th Ave, then up to St. Continue Reading