New Phillips literary magazine to be unveiled January 29

“The Phoenix of Phillips”, a new literary magazine sponsored by the Semilla Community Arts program of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will make its debut at the Midtown Global Market on Thursday, January 29, with a program at 6 pm. The annual youth photography show of St. Paul’s “We Are Midtown Phillips” will also have its opening that evening.For the past eight years, St. Paul’s Semilla program has taught mosaics, mural arts, photography, puppetry and creative writing to over 1900 people and installed 21 murals and over 50 other artistic place holders throughout the neighborhood of Phillips. Continue Reading

From Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Bill Blazer: African immigrant entrepreneurs key to state’s future

The Minnesota Somali Chamber of Commerce held its first annual celebration dinner Saturday at the Safari Restaurant in Minneapolis.Bill Blazer, interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and other distinguished guests attended the Somali chamber’s gala dinner to celebrate and mark its achievements.Despite a slow start of the night, guests enjoyed the evening dinner and the dynamic interaction. Some of the dignitaries attending the event included Dr. Bruce Corrie of University of Concordia St. Paul, Faruk Cingilli, president of Turkish Somali American Friendship Association, Nasibu Sareva, executive director of African Development Center, as well as Unity Cooperative Council’s executive director Hussein Khatib.Mohamud Beenebeene, executive director of the Minnesota Somali Chamber of Commerce kicked off the gala dinner by thanking all the parties that have contributed to the chamber. Speaking mostly in Somali, Beenebeene shared the chamber’s history and achievements and outlined visions of the chamber going forward.The Minnesota Somali Chamber of Commerce was conceived by a group of business women and men in June 2013 and was launched in 2014. It represents more than 210 Somali businesses in Minnesota.“This initiative was formed by a group of men and women who wanted a business platform,” Beenebeene said. Continue Reading

Brief Analyzes Political Impact of Projected Eligible 2016 Voters of Color in Key Battleground States

The political implications of the nation’s changing demographics are already being felt in many states across the country. These implications are addressed in a new issue brief, “The Changing Face of America’s Electorate,” released today by the Center for American Progress, which examines 2016 election trends and patterns for voters of color.The CAP analysis identifies what the electorate is projected to look like in 2016 for key battleground states—including vital states such as Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, and North Carolina—and estimates the racial and ethnic makeup of the 2016 eligible voting population. Based on those projections, the brief demonstrates the potential political impact of electoral demographic changes through two election simulations.“Demographic changes have only become more acute in the United States since 2012,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, Vice President of Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress. “As people of color become a larger share of states’ electorates, the political implications for both political parties are evident: To win the presidency and many of the U.S. Senate races in the 2016 election, candidates will need to substantially engage voters of color.”The first simulation explored in the CAP analysis looks at how the demographic shifts will affect the 2016 election if voters across all racial and ethnic groups turn out and have the same party preferences as they did in 2012. In the second simulation, CAP holds voter turnout rates constant from 2012 but assumes that racial and ethnic groups revert to party preferences they showed in 2004. Continue Reading

Phillips Aquatic Center set to become reality

It has been another whirlwind month of looking for money everywhere we can to deliver on our promise to bring EQUITY, ACCESS & the OPPORTUNITIES that swimming can bring to all in Minneapolis! Of course, our answer to this seemingly befuddling political riddle is not new committees, or task forces, but rather, to update and enhance the first PUBLIC, indoor pool right here, in the heart of the Phillips Community! The Phillips Aquatics Center is a reality! Swimming lessons in Minneapolis will no longer only be for the more affluent, we are leveling the playing field! Our focus will be on saving our children first, but we will have adult classes as well. Continue Reading

Loondi Gras to blend Mardi Gras & Minnesota cultures

The music, foods, costumes and revelry of Mardi Gras will take a Minnesota twist at a “Loondi Gras” fund-raiser for VSA Minnesota, the state organization on arts and disability.Lundi Gras (the Monday before Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday) is taking on Minnesota’s “loon” look in a mash-up of Mardi Gras and Minnesota cultures at Gaviidae (the family genus of the loon species) Common. The fifth floor of its atrium in downtown Minneapolis, graced by a huge loon and waterfall, will host the fund-raiser on Monday, February 9 (the week before Mardi Gras due to the intervening Presidents Day on the 16th) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.Louisiana-influenced and Minnesota-created foods will include Crawfish Hotdish, Gumbo with Wild Rice, Hurricane Jello shots, Red Beans & Rice with Spam, King Cake in Bundt pans, Blackened Walleye fingers, Pra-loons and more. Musicians will include the Jack Brass Band and others playing Cajun, Zydeco, Dixieland and other great music from New Orleans – again with a Minnesota angle.Anticipate a costume contest, mask-making, face-painting, dancing, impromptu “second-line” parades and “naughty but Minnesota nice” high energy compared to the crowds and debauchery of Bourbon Street. A silent auction, too, will raise funds for the statewide organization, whose mission is to make the arts more accessible to people with disabilities. ASL interpreting and audio description will be available for participants with hearing or vision loss.Tickets – $40 and $25 for students and people on limited incomes – will be available January 6, the first day of Carnival season. Continue Reading

Minneapolis may soon get a commemorative Oromo street

The Minneapolis City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Jan. 12 to decide on Council Member Abdi Warsame’s application for commemorative street names along the city’s Cedar riverside area. Warsame’s proposal calls for 4th Street South between Cedar Avenue and 15th Avenue South to be named “Oromo Street,” and for the stretch between 6th Street and Cedar Avenue to 15th avenue South to be called “Somali Street.”The hearing is scheduled to take place at 4:30 p.m in Room 317 City Hall, 350 S 5th street in Minneapolis, Minn. The proposal is backed by the city’s Department of Public Works and the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, according to the Commission’s website. The Commission’s decisions are final unless appealed.For a city that boasts the largest population of both Oromo and Somali immigrants, such recognition would be a welcome development. Continue Reading

Move MN pitches 10-year plan to fund needed transportation improvements

Unions joined businesses, non-profits and local governments today in unveiling a 10-year plan to finance improvements to the state’s highways, bridges and transit systems.Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders have said transportation will be a top priority during the 2015 session. Move MN, a broad-based, transportation-focused coalition of more than 200 groups, jumped right into the fray, pitching its proposal at a Capitol press conference on the session’s third day.Move MN’s “10-Year Transportation Commitment Proposal” would generate an estimated $856 million annually with “modest increases” in fees and taxes that currently fund the state’s transportation system.The average Minnesota driver, according to Move MN, would pay about $1.60 more per week as a result of the increases, with Twin Cities residents paying an extra $1.30 per week as a result of a Metro-county sales tax hike, dedicated mostly to expanding public transit. Businesses would pay roughly $900 more per semi-truck annually under the plan.To justify the cost, transportation advocates pointed to Minnesota Department of Transportation statistics showing more than 65 percent of the state’s roads and 40 percent of its bridges will be more than 50 years old by 2025. Over the same time frame, freight semi-truck traffic is projected to increase by 30 percent, and the state will have 430,000 additional residents.State officials’ own estimates indicate Minnesota faces a transportation-funding gap of well over $1.5 billion annually.“Everyone agrees that an efficient, reliable transportation system is essential to Minnesota’s economic competitiveness,” Move MN co-chair Margaret Donahoe said in a press release. “But by 2025, Minnesota’s entire transportation system will be on life support as congestion, reliability and safety concerns put our state’s long-term economic health at risk.”Details of the proposal are available in Move MN’s full press release.Unions and labor federations supporting the Move MN coalition include the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, the St. Continue Reading