Are Minnesota schools supporting black students? Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators hears parent, community distress.

About 30 community members, including several former educators, attended the August 8 community public hearing sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators.  Some expressed anger and disagreement with the effectiveness of current practices and strategies in Minneapolis Public Schools. They were confused as to how new programs would help and just how their involvement would increase effectiveness as they’ve not really been given the voice that MABSE is promising them.The August 8 hearing at the Minneapolis Urban League was hosted by Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, Minnesota Department of Education commissioner Brenda Cassellius and MABSE president Francine Chakolis as speakers. As the Minneapolis Public School district is a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, Johnson spoke of the district’s connection and ongoing partnership with MABSE. The hearing was the first of three in a series titled “Reclaiming our Village from the Pipeline to the Penitentiary.”Community members at the meeting had a variety of connections with Minneapolis Public Schools. Continue Reading

DANCE REVIEW | Alvin Ailey dancers shine at Orpheum Theatre

On May 1 and 2, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was in town at the Orpheum Theatre. Artistic director Robert Battle admitted when he opened the show that “We haven’t been here for a few years, but we’re here now. I’m happy and I want to share my happiness.” He said that he measures the audience’s happiness by ticket sales. The dancers performed for a packed house.

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Afro Art Trippin’: Obsidian Arts broadens local perspectives on black culture

Located at 3501 Chicago Ave. S., Pillsbury House plays host to several organizations, theatrical productions and community programs. One of them is Obsidian Arts, a smaller organization with a big mission—and an even bigger intent to impact the Minneapolis arts community. Aside from unique exhibits, local artist work and an arts book club, Obsidian Arts promotes global artistic awareness through their Afro Art Trippin’ initiative.Drawn together by the organization’s motto, “an insatiable curiosity about black culture and art,” enthusiasts belonging to the group have traveled to destinations including Detroit, Houston, Mexico, Cuba, Paris, and London since the organization’s official founding in 2001.“Sometimes I think black organizations approach culture with a sense of familiarity that doesn’t allow them to see the changes and the beauty that is there,” said Obsidian Arts director Roderic Hernub. “Who knew London has a Black History Month? They do it’s in October. Continue Reading