Divas in Motion brings unique shoe styles to Twin Cities

Divas in Motion is a small, intimate boutique located on the corner of 60th Street and Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis. It specializes in offering unique, one-of-a-kind women’s footwear that is not likely to be found anywhere else in the state.Divas in Motion offers limited quantities of fashionable flats, heels, wedges and boots, as well as a warm and friendly atmosphere for every customer they serve.The concept for Divas in Motion came from 29-year-old owner and entrepreneur Tashawna Williams. Williams earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, where she also played basketball and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.The Minneapolis native — who is also the youngest of five siblings — returned to her hometown and became a teacher and mentor. Although she liked the fact that she was teaching and working with youth, Williams still felt like something was missing in her professional life.“I want to be happy in life, and I just didn’t want to be stuck in doing something that I just went to school for because I was interested in it,” she explains. It was her interest, that eventually grew into a love of fashion, that steered Williams towards the business of selling shoes.“I started the business with my best friend. We both had a shoe fetish.” Differing opinions on the direction the business should take led to a split in the partnership. Continue Reading

Deconstructing the school-to-prison pipeline

Save the Kids is an all-volunteer national organization that started in New York in 2009. Most of the people involved have been personally impacted by the criminal justice system through themselves or close friends or family members being incarcerated as juveniles or as parents and caregivers of young children.Left: Anthony Nocella (l)The core objective of Save the Kids is to promote alternative methods of dealing with youth who are in trouble or have made poor decisions rather than just locking them up and giving them criminal records. “We believe that no kid, no matter what they did, should be incarcerated,” says Anthony Nocella, a visiting professor at Hamline University’s School of Education and its Faculty Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching. “There’s better community alternatives that can be employed rather than incarcerating kids.”Right: Nicole RandolphNocella introduced Save the Kids to the Twin Cities area and started working with local community activists, educators, and others concerned with the well-being of young people to put together events at universities, high schools, and community centers spreading the word about Save the Kids and getting more people involved.Save the Kids has garnered the support of many people in the Twin Cities community who have also become active participants within the organization. Among them are people like Nicole Randolph, center director at the North Community YMCA Youth and Teen Enrichment Center; Leonel Dorvil, community alternatives liaison for Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Juvenile Probation Division; Robert Rivera, assistant director of the Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching; and Kim Socha, an English professor at Normandale Community College.Right: Robert RiveraAlso taking time out of their busy schedules to volunteer their energy and expertise to administering the activities and promoting the vision of Save the Kids are Nancy Heitzeg, a professor of sociology at St. Continue Reading

Is the hip-hop generation ready to walk in its greatness?

It was the third and final day of “From Vices to Verses,” a three-day conference that took place April 9-11 at the University of Minnesota. Panel discussions, performances, and workshops focused on various aspects of hip hop culture and its connections to community and education. Tish Jones, a spoken word artist, activist, and educator from St. Paul, did the honors of introducing keynote speaker Marc Bamuthi Joseph, starting with a story about how she personally came to know him. They met back in 2005, when Jones and about 20 other young artists took a trip to San Francisco to participate in the International Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam Festival. Continue Reading

Black Storytellers return to Minneapolis

For the eighteenth time, The Black Storytellers Alliance (BSA), in affiliation with the National Association of Black Storytellers, brought the annual Black Master Storytelling Festival to Minneapolis September 24 – 26, 2009. Veterans of narration were joined by amateur and aspiring storytellers of all ages in entertaining and engaging the audiences. The concept of the festival is based on oral traditions that Africans and people of African descent have been practicing since the beginning of time. According to their website – The mission of the BSA is “to maintain the art of storytelling as a primary source for positive instruction and reinforcement of the rich beauty embodied in the telling the ‘the story’!” Each evening’s activities were hosted by various venues in north Minneapolis and Golden Valley. Continue Reading

African Women Connect in Minneapolis

African Women Connect (AWC) hosted a community summit at the Center for Families in north Minneapolis on September 26. AWC is an organization started in 2004 by Liberian native Rita Apaloo. Their mission is to assist African women immigrants with adjusting to living in the United States. 
The focus of the summit was to provide a forum where African immigrant women can learn about the experiences of others who have been able to successfully make the transition. “We use their experiences to motivate and inspire other women, and talk about the real issues we face as immigrants. So it’s nice to have all these women to share ideas [with]” says Apaloo. Continue Reading

Anthony’s first day of school

When the new school year started for students in Minneapolis on September 1, 2009, it was Anthony Turner’s very first day in school. As he started kindergarten at Stonebridge Community School, Anthony had never been to pre-school, or day care, for that matter. It was the first time he was around so many other children his age. It was also Anthony’s baptism into the world without his parents – or any other family member – being in close proximity for more than a few minutes. Young Anthony could not wait for his first day of school before it came; his attitude was decidedly different afterwards. Continue Reading