Best of Neighborhood News 11/7: City of Minneapolis recognizes Lao Minnesotan artist Kaysone Syonesa

October 10 is now known in Minneapolis as Kaysone Syonesa Day in recognition of prominent local Lao Minnesotan artist. Syonesa has been active in the local theater arts scene for years and is an accomplished actor, director and playwright. She is a close friend and mentor in her community. The recognition comes at the request of the Southeast Asian Literature Interdisciplinary Theater Arts Center. Syonesa and her family came to Minnesota after the Lao Civil War. Continue Reading

A challenge to Stanek’s incumbency in the struggle for race equity

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. Robert Pilot, an educator and member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, said he and many other people in the Native American community started talking about the need to replace current Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek in Oct. 2016, after Stanek sent equipment and 30 deputies to Standing Rock in North Dakota. Continue Reading

Mere visibility or political power? Native women vie for lieutenant governor

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. In this year’s Nov. 6 general election, no matter which party prevails, our lieutenant governor will be a woman. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 10/31: Minnesota Black Author’s Expo connects Black writers and showcases new voices

De’Vonna Pittman, author and CEO at The Haven Publishing, and Jasmine Tane’t Boudah, author of Mothering Through Pain and Suffering in Silence, teamed up last year to offer a space for black literature artists to showcase their work, make connections and express their creativity to a wide audience. This year the MBAE is back in a larger space to give Black authors a place to share their art and talk to the community. This project comes in response to the lack of accessibility in the publishing world to new authors, especially women authors of color. “When we support Black authors, we support Black families, and that is a revolutionary act in the face of oppression and racism,” said Pittman. “The expo is an excellent networking event for the community, and people are looking forward to connecting with one another.”

Find the whole story at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Continue Reading

Hennepin County Commissioner Board has been all white since 1852 – and that might end on Nov. 6

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. “If you want to know if you are going the right way, follow women of color because we know where justice is. We are closest to the pain, which makes us closest to the solutions. Continue Reading

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

The next Hennepin County Attorney will control the criminal justice system for 1.2 million people

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. “The prosecutor is single-handedly the most powerful person in the courtroom,” said Elizer Darris, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice organizer. Darris is spearheading doorknocking about the role of prosecutors, elected officials known in some states as district attorneys and here in Minnesota as county attorneys. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 10/10: Native homeless encampment moved to navigation center

The Minneapolis City Council recently voted to move the Franklin-Hiawatha Native homeless encampment, known as Wall of Forgotten Natives, to a nearby “navigation center” on Cedar Avenue. This facility is to be a temporary shelter to help the homeless Native population have access to warm shelter and healthcare as the temperatures drop. The Red Lake Nation, owner of the new location, is invested in working with Minneapolis city officials to implement a long term solution, and has plans to build a six-story affordable housing complex on the location starting in 2019. “These are our people down here … The reality is, as tribal leaders, we need to step up, and it’s powerful when we do,” said Sam Strong, tribal secretary of the Red Lake Nation. Find the full story at The Circle. Continue Reading

Hennepin County sheriff’s office and the consequences of authority

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. Brian Fullman, an organizer with ISAIAH, a multiracial, nonpartisan coalition of faith communities focused on housing and racial equality in Minnesota, wants a sheriff who represents community. “I would like to see somebody who has directly been impacted by immigration or mass incarceration. Continue Reading