J4, the Hmong Freedom Festival [Photos]

If you live in Saint Paul, you probably know about J4, the annual gathering and freedom celebration that takes place each July 4th weekend in Como Park. The event has been going on for 35 years, and was founded to mark the anniversary of Hmong immigration into the United States. Continue Reading

Heated Debate Over Low-Level Crimes Continues in Minneapolis

Minneapolis repealed the long-standing lurking and spitting ordinances on a 12-1 vote, with only Northside Council President Barb Johnson voting against the repeal. But for Nekima Levy-Pounds, the newly elected head of the Minneapolis NAACP, Johnson’s comments during the Council debate point to troubling assumptions.

“People who were present found her comments to be offensive,” Levy-Pounds, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, told me this week. “She inferred a couple of things that gave a racial aspect to some of the crime happening on the north side.”

As the ACLU report, entitled “Picking up The Pieces: A Minneapolis Case Study”, clearly shows, lurking and spitting are not the only crimes that unequally impact people of color.

Stay tuned. This conversation is just beginning. Continue Reading

Indigenous People Take the Lead at Sunday’s Anti-Pipeline Rally [Photo Essay]

Led by Minnesota’s Ojibwe community, thousands of people gathered on a lovely Saturday in downtown Saint Paul to march in opposition to the recently approved Sandpiper pipeline, which threatens the land in Northern Minnesota. For a rally centered around often atmospheric issues like stopping risky oil pipelines, ending destructive tar sands oil mining, and preventing climate change, it was a massive crowd. Continue Reading