Nano Days: Exposing Sabathani youth to nano technology

On Saturday, April 4, 2015, the Sabathani Community Center, in collaboration with the Bakken Museum, the Science Museum, the University of Minnesota, and S.E.L.F. International, Inc., hosted the fourth annual Nano Days. By definition, a nano is one one-billionth of something.For example, a nano meter is one-billionth of a meter and is so small that it can’t be seen on a macro scale. It requires a nanoscale to be seen. Scientists must use special tools when working with atoms and molecules at the nanoscale. Nano research is leading to new technologies that are dramatically changing and improving modern medicine, computers, cell phones, energy production and manufacturing.Photo by James L. Stroud, Jr.Bonnie Everts (far right) with Nano Days participantsIn fact, one demonstration during the Nano Days event showcased a waterproof, stain-resistant material used to make khaki pants and rain coats. Continue Reading

Seward Coop names new manager for ‘Friendship’ store

In the United States over the last four decades, more and more people in general and people of color in particular have gradually become familiar with the benefits of healthy eating and health food coops. Simultaneously during that time period, according to the USDA, Minnesota has developed into the second-largest food coop state in the nation.Seward Coop founded their first store in 1972 on Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis. In their long history, much like many of the Minnesota food coops, very few people of color, including African Americans, have worked in their stores as managers. Currently, after over 40-plus years, Seward Coop has hired Raynardo Williams, a 35-year-old African American born and raised in St. Paul, to manage their second location, which is under construction on 38th Street across from Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.The MSR spoke with Williams (RW) about his vision for the new location and his execution plans for that diverse area. Continue Reading

Bloomington’s ‘Special Presentation’ on Black History involved no Blacks

An all-White crowd heard about slavery and the Underground Railroad from an admittedly uninformed White presenterOn Sunday, February 22, in honor of Black History Month, the Bloomington Historical Society and the Human Rights Commission of Bloomington, Minnesota invited the public to a free “Special Presentation” on the use of quilts by slaves seeking their freedom via the Underground Railroad. Deb Meyer, from Henderson, MN was hired by the Bloomington Historical Society to present and unravel the mystery behind quilts and the coded patterns sewn on them to guide slaves along the Underground RailroadThe room in Bloomington’s Old Town Hall, 10200 Penn. Ave. S., was filled to capacity with just over 100 people, 90 percent of them women. Besides the MSR writer covering the event, there was only one other African American present. Continue Reading

After 21 years, North Minneapolis’ Hollywood Studio has trained over 1,000 in dance, seen students receive national awards

“So you think you can dance?” That’s not likely a question you would ask Diane Elliott-Robinson. Especially if you know anything about the Hollywood Studio of Dance’s reputation in regional and national dance competitions over the last 20 years.Elliott-Robinson is a national award-winning professional dancer, dance instructor, consultant, mentor, business woman and the founder and artistic director of the Hollywood Studio of Dance (HSD), located at 2128 West Broadway. It’s on the corner of West Broadway and Penn Ave. N. in Minneapolis, directly across the street from KMOJ-FM radio station.Elliott-Robinson became passionate about dance first on the streets of North Minneapolis, where she had a natural flair for it and was recognized by her peers as a good dancer. She was equally recognized for being a good street fighter. Continue Reading

Ad campaign highlights achievement gap

In April 2012, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children (RKMC) unveiled a public service campaign aimed at bringing more attention to the Black-White educational achievement gap problem in Minnesota and a focus on solutions that have worked towards closing it.The campaign has included skyway banners, print, online and radio ads. According to Doug Stone, public relations consultant for RKMC, “This media campaign is more like a community call to action, and the RKMC’s efforts to address the achievement gap began long before now.”RKMC was started by Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., which is a national trial law firm that has been in business for 75 years, with over 250 attorneys in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston and Naples, FL. Although RKMC has been operating since 1999, it doesn’t have a regular staff and relies on their partnership with the Minneapolis Foundation for administrative support.Since the RKMC was formed in 1999, “it has awarded more than $10 million in grants to educational programs and community organizations and another $3 million to social justice and public health programs,” Stone says. This $75,000 ad campaign is mainly trying to reach community and educational leaders and other foundations.The ads will raise the issue and suggest possible solutions in hopes that it will encourage a broader public discussion about how to close the achievement gap. In a series of scoreboards, the public service campaign also points out the gap between the number of days Minnesota students spend in school versus the number Japanese students spend: 172 for Minnesota, 243 for Japan. Continue Reading

Coalition forms to oppose voter ID amendment

A Republican proposal that would require that all Minnesota voters present a valid photo ID to cast their votes has already stirred up many media stories and much debate and controversy — and promises to continue doing so in the months ahead. Although the latest power move was made by Governor Mark Dayton, who on April 9 vetoed the voter-identification bill that the Republican-controlled legislature sent him, his veto will not prevent the proposed constitutional amendment from appearing on the Minnesota state ballot on November 6 this year.If a majority of Minnesotans decide to vote for it, everyone in the state would be required to show a current photo ID to vote. The governor used his veto message to urge Minnesotans to vote against the measure in November, calling it “unwise and unnecessary.”On April 17, 6-8 pm, a panel discussion on “Voter ID: The Civil Rights Implications” was held at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. The discussion was identified as the first of a series to be held on the topic. Continue Reading

Local law professor finds her calling in civil rights work

On December 3, 2011, the Minnesota Jaycees organization held their Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans (TOYM) awards celebration at the Earle Brown Center in Brooklyn Park. Associate Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds of the University of St. Thomas law school was recognized as one of those outstanding 10 people.Since 1950, the TOYM program has recognized outstanding young leaders ages 18-40 statewide. The young leaders are acknowledged for their contributions to Minnesota through service, thought, influence, community involvement and/or entrepreneurship. The aforementioned categories all apply to Professor Levy-Pounds. Continue Reading

We Win observes Kwanzaa at the Capri

On December 14 the We Win Institute held its annual Kwanzaa celebration. This year it was observed at the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis.The celebration included live entertainment by the We Win Institute students and others, as well as a special treat for those who love storytellers. Nothando Zulu, who has been performing for children and adults in Minnesota for more than 20 years and nationally for more than 15 years, entertained the audience with a little help from the children.What is Kwanzaa? It is an African American celebration traditionally observed from December 26 to January 1. During this time people reflect on the seven principles of Kwanzaa and recommit themselves to the collective achievements of a better way of life for their families and communities; share their knowledge of their ancestral history and culture; and enjoy the fruits of their labor.The foundation of Kwanzaa is the Seven Principles, or Nguzo Saba. Continue Reading