Best of Neighborhood News 5/11: Community pushes for transgender-inclusion at Anoka-Hennepin School District


Andy Birkey from The Column reports Transgender students and LGBTQIA advocates spoke before the Anoka-Hennepin School Board again last month to call for more transgender-inclusive policies, including around bathroom use.

“I’m a proud transgender Latina,” Jennifer Soriano told the board. “You might not think about what bathroom are you going to use but for me that’s an every day thing.”

She said that forcing transgender students to use separate facilities singles out those students.

“We are just showing kids that its okay to treat people who are different wrong, in a wrong manner. It’s not okay and I think we can all agree on that,” Soriano said. “I am no different than any other students.”

The push for an inclusive policy was the third in the last three months and stems from a parent’s request more than a year ago to create a safe environment for her child. The call comes after years of protest from the LGBTQIA community, after the district was sued in 2011 for the hostile anti-LGBT environment at Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Read the full story and watch the School Board meeting over at The Column.


Spotlight on two Hmong woman artists: May Lee-Yang and Tsabmim Xyooj

From left, May Lee-Yang and Tsabmim Xyooj

Amy Doeun for Hmong Times wrote profiles on two rising stars in the Hmong community May Lee-Yang and Tsabmim Xyooj. Lee-Yang has a new play in the works with Mu Performing Arts, with a working title of “The Moon Embraces the Sun,” while singer Xyooj returns to music after a 15-year hiatus with a new album of Christian music.

Catch both profiles over at Hmong Times.



Proposed St. Paul ‘Rush Line’ nears final approval

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder’s Charles Hallman reported that a new line for Bus Rapid Transit is nearing final approval in St. Paul. The line, nicknamed the “Rush Line,” would run for 12 miles from downtown St. Paul to White Bear Lake.

The current plan is believed to be the best alternative, because it can serve “very concentrated [areas] of poverty [and] people of color,” stated project manager Andy Gitzlaff. The Rush Line BRT also will serve students, Regions Hospital, Gillette Children’s Hospital and Maplewood Mall as an “all-day type of service,” he noted: “ten minutes service every day [during rush hours] and 15 minutes throughout the day, and even into later night [hours]” with the seven days a week transit service.

If approved, the $240 million project will be completed by 2024.

Read the full story at MSR News Online.