Best of Neighborhood News 10/16: “Know-Your-ICE-Rights” placards to be placed on MPD cars

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is implementing policy which requires all Minneapolis Police Department squad cars to carry newly made placards which inform potential immigrant detainees of their rights. The cards are written in English and Spanish and note one’s rights not to inform police of their birth country, immigration status or citizenship status. This policy comes at the reluctance of the Minneapolis police officers union; Lt. Bob Kroll said, “We’re all for immigration, but if people are here illegally they aren’t subject to our rights.”

In regards to his decision to implement the placards, Mayor Frey said, “Our immigrant community is a huge part of what makes Minneapolis an amazing city. And as mayor, I have an obligation to do everything I can to make sure their talents and their contributions stay right here in Minneapolis.”

Read more at The Downtown Journal. Facebook as a tool for English language learning

Three instructors at the University of Minnesota, Jenifer Vandek, Kendall King, and Martha Bigelow, who all specialize in second language acquisition, recently published a report on how using the social media platform Facebook can offer immigrant students a more accessible  medium for learning. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/27: Bell Museum exhibit features Ojibwe and Dakota voiceovers

At the newly renovated and reopened Bell Museum, the voices of Ojibwe and Dakota children inform about natural science dioramas, depicting nature scenes from around Minnesota. The inclusion of these voices was intentional, hoping to showcase the persisting existence of these languages in the face of cultural destruction through colonization. “They chose the words for the conversation,” said Cindy Ward-Thompson, Bdote Learning Center founder and current director. “We used a lot of children in the process because we wanted to show others that Dakota and Ojibwe are still vibrant spoken languages and that the language is alive in children as well as elders.”

Read more at The Circle. Creative writing space uplifts Black and POCI voices

Black Lines Matter is a project of Black Table Arts, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for Black and POCI individuals to have their creative expression centered and uplifted. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/19: Somali immigrants utilize farmer training program to establish farms in Minnesota

For many immigrants with hopes of making a living off farming, owning and operating a farm can seem like an impossible task between startup costs, attaining Minnesota agricultural knowledge and finding a market for produce. The Minnesota Food Association (MFA) works to alleviate some of these challenges by offering an in-depth, hands-on farm training program for immigrants, refugees and other individuals from historically marginalized communities. As part of this program, many Somali immigrants, including Naima Dhore, have been able to find success in organic farming, sustaining the food system and carving out a niche for immigrant farmers to develop and hone agricultural skills. “The most important piece in the process for me has been letting [members of the East African community] know where their food is coming from and what their responsibilities are in terms of taking care of this planet that we all share,” said Dhore. “That’s the biggest takeaway.”

Read more at The Somali American. Continue Reading

Not your backbone: Black women want more from the DFL

This piece is part of Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series covering the 2018 elections season. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents. Earlier this year, Ken Martin, chair of the Minnesota DFL, released a Black History Month statement acknowledging that Black women are essential to the party. In his statement, which was released shortly after several women from local organization Black Women Rising called for a meeting with the Chair, Martin wrote “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party. Continue Reading

Restoring an echo of humanity for inmates through a different kind of public health

Erin Sharkey is preparing for a nature writing course she will offer at the Faribault Correctional Facility, a medium security prison. “It would be great to be able to have people spend time in nature when they are thinking and writing about nature,” said Sharkey. As a local artist, writer and instructor at the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Sharkey would like to bring in sensory-rich objects, such as leaves, as a writing prompt for the students. But, she is not allowed to take a leaf inside the prison so she brings pictures of leaves. The everyday struggle to maintain one’s humanity inside Minnesota prisons remains largely out of sight. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/12: ‘Disapproved Books:’ New Weisman exhibit highlights censorship in prison system

A new exhibit at the Weisman art museum, “The Section of Disapproved Books,” allows guests to look at and flip through over 400 books banned by prisons across the country. The library contains several popular covers, highlighting the subjective nature of prison book banning and encouraging visitors to think critically about the use of censorship in the prison system. “The goal would be to affect these regulations,” said creator Daniel McCarthy Clifford. “[Banning these books] is a pretty arbitrary process, and I think bringing awareness to it could affect some policy change.”

Find out more at MN Daily. Franklin/Hiawatha Native homeless encampment faces City-mandated removal by end of September

In the Franklin/Hiawatha corridor, many homeless Native individuals have formed a small community encampment, sleeping in tents and helping each other to survive the harshness of homeless living conditions, as well as receiving regular assistance from volunteers. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/5: Motion to dismiss charges in police shooting of Justine Damond

 

The attorneys of Mohamed Noor, the police officer who shot and killed Justine Damond in 2017, have filed to dismiss the charges against Noor on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and a failure to demonstrate probable cause. The attorneys suggest that statements made by county attorney Mike Freeman undermined Noor’s right to a fair trial. This case is one of 10 fatal police shootings in 2017 alone. “Knowing that the night of July 15th ended in tragedy, it is easy to second-guess the split second decision of Officer Noor to draw his firearm and shoot,” write Noor’s attorneys, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold, in a Hennepin County District Court filing. The trial for this case is set to begin in late September. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/29: Networking, empowering and healing at Because Black Life Conference

Along with a team of artists, organizers and educators, poet Keno Evol held the first Because Black Life Conference in the Twin Cities. The conference focused conversation around issues that impact black communities in our neighborhoods and making space for networking, healing and community building. “Black thought, black people and Black concerns. This is a bridge for networking which we will leave, perhaps, with mentors and mentees. We want to have community engagement initiatives from our conversations. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/22: Expos celebrate natural black hair and beauty, encourage wellness in beauty industry

Although the Twin Cities has an increasingly diverse population of people from different racial backgrounds, Minnesota has long been considered a “flyover” state for beauty products aimed at black and brown people. However, two new beauty expos, the Twin Cities Natural Hair Expo and the Shades of Beauty Expo, are changing the conversation around POCI beauty and wellness in the Twin Cities. The two expos brought beauty practitioners from around the country to the Twin Cities who are interested in creating a beauty landscape that reflects our communities, as well as discussing the health effects for folks using damaging chemical hair products to mimic European beauty standards. “For so long, we have been left out of the discussion of what beauty looks like,” said Sherryln Thompson, Shades of Beauty Expo founder and producer. “We have been given image after image of blonde hair and blue eyes as a stereotype of beauty. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/15: Fostering Native children in Native homes imperative to preserving culture, preventing erasure

Although the Indian Child Welfare Act requires the state to place Native children with family or kin when possible, there is a severe shortage of Native foster homes to accommodate this need. Staff in the Native foster care network stress the importance of giving Native children homes that can address their culture, teach traditions and help them learn to navigate the world as a Native person. Placing children in Native homes will also serve to prevent cultural erasure. “It’s really a difficult task to figure out what they know and how you can support it,” said Victor Walter (Bois Fort Ojibwe), foster parent. “Whether it’s going to powwows, putting out a spirit plate at meals, smudging or sweat lodges…you really have to find out what the kids are used to and at least support that. Continue Reading