MOA outwitted after Twitter fiasco

 Black Lives Matter exposes U.S. economic hypocrisyThe Mall of America (MOA) got caught with its underwear around its ankles last week when it tried to launch a #itsmymall Twitter campaign to promote the mall and to try to overcome the black eye it gave itself after its inane, but predictable, response to the peaceful anti-police violence protest last December.MOA has been trying to prosecute, persecute and defame activists from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, primarily because its protest took the position that the mall is public space, because it takes and receives public dollars and public subsidy. In an absolute stroke of genius, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis with its pro-Mike Brown, Eric Garner and anti-police violence protest in December, exposed the hypocrisy of private enterprise receiving public funding and public subsidy while enforcing private property rights.By hosting a protest at the mall, Black Lives Matter treated the mall as a public space, a town square, since receiving public dollars makes it, well, public. Ironically, by launching a campaign (#itsmymall), implying that the MOA is the people’s mall, it makes the point of Black Lives Matter, which is, it is a public space. So which is it, MOA, our mall or your mall?It also reveals that the MOA is experiencing financial pain as a result of the Boycott Mall of America campaign launched by Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter and all of us who joined the protest are correct: So-called private entities that take public monies (or public anything) that comes from taxpayers should not be afforded the rights of private property or private enterprise.What Black Lives Matter inadvertently exposed was the slick underbelly of U.S. economics, and that is that this system uses its citizens and their money to support the enrichment of big business. Continue Reading

FBI director on police violence

I kept waiting for someone to call out the FBI director James Comey’s recent so-called candid speech on race. Surprisingly too few people did, but he clearly should be called out because he didn’t have an honest conversation about race. However, he reminded us that this is more likely to stay the way it is.An honest conversation would have included telling cops to stop brutalizing and murdering U.S. citizens, not justifying their savage behavior. While people like the socially unaware Don Lemon of CNN applauded FBI director James Comey’s speech saying he was courageous. The truth is that the director actually codified and gave justification to police violence aimed at Black folks, while at the same time blaming Black folks for their own victimization by law enforcement.To be fair, he acknowledged that it is the unjust system that has put Black folks in the position they are in. Continue Reading

OPINION | KSTP and Pointergate: Not as surprising as we want to believe

KSTP’s outrageous Pointergate story has caused quite the stir on the Internet. Daily Kos called it the most racist piece of journalism in 2014. I think it fits right in with the stories that suggest that Black people are going to riot if there isn’t a grand jury indictment of Darren Wilson in the Mike Brown Jr. case.

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OPINION | On the ground in Ferguson, MO

The MSR sent writer Mel Reeves to Ferguson, Missouri to personally observe and report on the aftermath of unrest there following an incident of police violence that left a young Black man dead and triggered an outbreak of protests and rioting. Last week, in “Mike Brown is laid to rest,” his observations were from the funeral. This week, he describes events leading up to the funeral.Saturday, August 23 It’s hot in St. Louis and extremely humid yesterday. Last night it had to be high 80s. Continue Reading

OPINION | Who killed Mike Brown? What to do?

Mike Brown is dead. The Ferguson police took their time in giving up the killer, Darren Wilson. But we know the name of his accomplice. So we know who and what killed Mike Brown. It was the political, economic, social system called capitalism.It was this system that continues to manufacture the image of criminal Black people. Continue Reading

White professionals already cashing in on ‘People’s Stadium’— But promises that construction will benefit communities of color remain unkept as deadlines approach

While there is much talk about possible delays in the construction of the “People’s Stadium,” it appears that the Vikings and MSFA are still confident it will be built. And according to a recent Associated Press (AP) article entitled, “Many already cashing in on Vikings stadium,” lots of white collar professionals have already profited from the proposed stadium.Incidentally, it appears at this point that the only people who may be left out of the benefits are people of color.Despite lots of compelling testimony last Friday at the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) meeting by several prominent African Americans and Somali leaders, it was all but ignored. Practically all of the media outlets in the Twin Cities were in attendance, but none reported [as of yet] or followed up with the testimony of the Black folks who were complaining that it appears that Blacks may yet again be left out of a major development project.Right: Abdizirak Bihi, at right in foreground with red tie, with others from the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center and Summit OIC students in the background who hope to be included in the stadium construction project (Photo by Avi Viswanathan)MSFA Board Chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen, who seemed a bit annoyed by the testimony, did respond. She voiced her concerns that the public testimony part of the meeting was going on too long and that speakers were not sticking slavishly to their three-minute time limit.“I always worry when we have a process and we don’t follow the process,” said Kelm-Helgen.Ironically, speakers were complaining about the failure of the MSFA to follow a process that has already been mandated by the Minnesota legislature, which is to make sure that an Employment Assistant Firm (EAF) is hired to facilitate both the recruitment and hiring of minorities for the construction of the Vikings stadium.An RFP for this Employment Assistance Firm was issued in April, and the unified community response was submitted in May. Despite lots of assurances of commitment to employment equity goals, a contract has not been negotiated although construction is scheduled to start November 7.“We were assured that we would be intentionally included,” complained Alfred Babington Johnson. Babington Johnson’s Stair Step Foundation has come together with a conglomerate of other training, employment and outreach organizations to form one Employment Assistance Firm, ostensibly to ensure outreach and job training activities across multiple communities of color.“This hopeful narrative has become a sad story and has the potential of becoming a nightmare,” Babington Johnson said. Continue Reading

Speculation runs wild in Franklin shooting case — Without an ‘official’ report, family and friends remain skeptical, plan May 31 protest

Terrance Franklin, the 22-year-old who on May 10 was shot and killed in the basement of a South Minneapolis home by police after a pursuit, appeared to have been shot five times in the back of the head and twice in the back according to a knowledgeable source who saw Franklin’s body; the source requests that his/her name be withheld.

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South Minneapolis grandmother spared eviction by Occupy campaign

After a public pressure campaign led by Occupy Homes MN ’s Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone, Gayle Lindsey, a nursing assistant and grandmother in South Minneapolis who was facing imminent eviction, has won an 11th-hour loan modification on her mortgage from M&T Bank. Lindsey bought the home in 2001 and was given an adjustable-rate loan that rose by a few hundred dollars last year.“I was struggling, but I still paid, it,” she said. But, last year, hours on her second job were cut from 30 per week to only five, and she found that she was unable to afford her monthly payments.Early last year, she said, M&T Bank, based in Buffalo, New York, sent a letter threatening foreclosure. More letters, these from the bank’s lawyers, followed. She began seeing a credit counselor, hoping to get a loan modification, but she couldn’t find the paperwork the bank wanted.“I never talked with anyone at the bank,” she said. Continue Reading