Best of Neighborhood News 2/8: Candidate hopes to change historically white Hennepin County board

LaDonna Redmond, a Twin Cities food justice advocate, is vying to be the first person of color to serve on Hennepin County’s commission. According to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Redmond, running for District Three, wants to empower historically disenfranchised people. “The County is really an unknown governmental layer. It is a very powerful layer. [It] distributes $2 [billion] a year in funding across the system. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 1/29: Minneapolis City Council discusses combating sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

A Minneapolis City Council committee discussed plans with law enforcement and a local nonprofit to combat heightened sex trafficking during the Super Bowl LII on Jan. 18.  As reported by the Minnesota Daily, the Minneapolis Police Department is using undercover operations and building relationships with the hospitality industry to combat the issue. In addition, 12 community organizations formed an Anti-Trafficking Response Committee. “We know sex trafficking occurs. Continue Reading

Principles of less eligibility: The human cost of prison labor PART II

If you were to turn over a chair in a Minnesota public library, like at the Buckham Memorial Library in Faribault, you might find a tag noting the chair was manufactured by MINNCOR, a quasi public-private business operation within the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC). MINNCOR products are made by Minnesota inmates who make furniture for everything from public libraries to student dormitories. They also weld docks for Minnesota lakes and pack balloons destined for festive events. Additionally, minimum security work crews organized through the DOC – separate from MINNCOR’s operations – build low-income homes in greater Minnesota and have even assembled a sports facility dome on the University of Minnesota campus. The work of these inmates is all around us, yet hidden in plain sight. Continue Reading

Principles of less eligibility: The human cost of prison labor PART I

Jesse, an inmate whose name has been changed for his safety, began his incarceration in 2006 initially working as a baker for 25 cents an hour in St. Cloud. He later got a job pressing license plates for 50 cents an hour. During yet another job in prison folding and packaging balloons, Jesse noticed the balloons were being transported and sold by Anagram. While getting paid pennies on the dollar, his labor was being exploited for corporate profit. Continue Reading

The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Best of 2017

It seems like every think-piece or nonprofit email included the words “Now, more than ever” in 2017. While unprecedented challenges and tragedies rocked our national conscious in 2017, this year was the one when – more than ever – we as a community turned toward the hyper-local to affect change. For 11 years, the Twin Cities Daily Planet has always had a focus on local. But now, nearly three years into our mission of amplifying and connecting marginalized voices, that focus has become a platform for our local communities – especially those who have historically faced oppression – to own and assert their stories in an ever-changing world. From the highest municipal elections turnout in years, landmark workers’ rights ordinances, and growing resistance in the face of police brutality, racism and anti-immigrant bigotry, communities told their own authentic stories on our platform. Continue Reading

grand jury

Could a police-free city be a viable option in Minneapolis?

Police abolition is not a topic that fits the traditional confines of Midwestern small talk. So, when I asked about two dozen people at bus stops, in coffee shops, at the library and some acquaintances if they would share their feelings about the idea of a police-free Minneapolis, it’s not too surprising that few people were willing to talk to me at all and none of those who would would go on the record. Some said they didn’t know enough about the topic. Most of the people I approached listened politely and then quickly declined. A few others’ eyes glazed over after hearing the word “reporter.”

One man answered my questions openly. Continue Reading