Best of Neighborhood News 1/16: Dr. Joi Lewis’s debut book offers path to healing and liberation


Dr. Joi Lewis’s debut book offers path to healing and liberation 

Dr. Joi Lewis, originally from East Saint Louis, Illinois, says that many in Black and brown communities are suffering from intergenerational oppression and trauma. “That’s why healing ourselves is so radical,” said Lewis, life coach, self-care expert and author of Healing, The Act of Radical Self-Care. “It’s put out there in a commercial way like self-care is something that is for people who have means, who have money, as an extra thing that you do.”

Black women are often expected to be strong, able to tolerate and suffer silently any amount of mental, emotional, and physical violence due to racism, sexism, classism and other systemic oppressions. “Even when I was on campus, I was doing healing work,” said Lewis, referring to her 25-year career on college campuses as a dean, a vice president, and a chief diversity officer. “I was doing a lot of work around social justice and liberation work and connecting to the community. I just didn’t have the language for it.”

Read the whole story at Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

St. Paul Public Library hires first social worker to assist families  

A little over a year ago, SPPL announced plans to hire a social worker to support patrons at four of the system’s highest-need branches (Rondo, Sun Ray, Arlington Hills and Rice Street). Ruby Rivera, the first social worker hired by SPPL, was recently hired to provide an important and needed resource for patrons, able to connect them to mental health support and appropriate social services.

Rivera works five days a week helping people at the four different branches, committed to helping patrons including those who are from underserved communities, “I think this it helps people feel comfortable, because a lot of cultures have a stigma around mental health services, I can help with some of that because I am a person of color. I can say, ‘I know what that’s like. I grew up with the same sort of family where we didn’t seek mental health services.’ People appreciate that level of understanding.”

Find out more at MinnPost.

Indoor winter market and the value of cold storage for Hmong farmers

The Hmong farming community is not able to make the most of their labor due to lack of walk-in coolers that could keep more of their summer harvests preserved throughout the winter. “In the summer we have to stop harvesting crops like strawberries when we run out of cold storage space. We leave them unharvested in the field and then they rot,” explains Aneedda Xiong, daughter of expert farmers Xai Lor and Tongsee Xiong, owners of Bean Market farm, who sell their produce at Mill City Farmers Market. Storage crops like cabbage and sweet potatoes and earliest selection of summer crops are candidates for walk-in storage, but until recently, they lacked the funds to build one. The Mill City Farmers Market’s Next Stage Grant and other community resources can support more Hmong farmers. Tongsee and Xai are willing to mentor others who could use cold storage high-value crops such as flowers and fruit.

Read all about it and find the schedule for the winter market at Southwest Journal.