A new report indicates that the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has encouraged Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to use ketamine to sedate suspects, even in cases when the individual was already restrained and in cases when there was no evidence of any crime committed. The report states that the use of ketamine on those arrested has increased from three usages in 2012 to 67 in 2017. Ketamine is a powerful sedative drug that creates a trance-like state as well as inducing hallucinations and memory loss. “I would say fairly comfortably based on conversations I’ve had with folks [that] it is Black folks who are ‘noncompliant,’ that are being affected the most,” said Ward 4 Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham. “That’s frustrating.”
Read more at The Spokesman-Recorder.
Although it was mainly a plot to cool out radical activism, Labor Day is widely remembered as a celebration of the successful fight for the eight-hour day. Yet, while we’re approaching the United States’ 121st official Labor Day, it is now impossible for low-wage Minnesota workers to support their families while working only eight hours a day. Anthony Shields, a young community organizer with the workers rights campaign at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), remembers the struggles his single mother faced working two full time jobs. “I would only see my mother for five hours a day, and between those five hours, she was exhausted and trying to get some rest, just because her one full time job wasn’t enough for food, not enough for the rent, and not enough for clothes on our backs,” he said. “In retrospect I’m like wow, you hold resentment towards your parents or your family because of certain situations, but now when you peel back the layers, it’s the system of the economics, and my entire family is affected by it.”
This system of economic inequality and the struggles that Shields’ mother and over 220,000 minimum wage workers in the Twin Cities metro area face today, along with how activists across the country and in the Twin Cities are fighting for fair wages and schedules, remind local labor historian, Peter Rachleff, of the 1886 fight for the eight-hour day. Continue Reading
Since 1937, Columbus Day has been recognized as a national holiday. On August 12th, St. Paul becomes the sixth city in the United States to swap that holiday for Indigenous People’s Day. This marks the beginning of a hard fought effort to heal a deep wound at the heart of this nation. The resolution was sponsored by Ward One Council member Dai Thao and sailed through council chambers on a seven-zero vote. Members of the Native American community and the Saint Paul Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission drafted the original document. Continue Reading
Maxwell Collyard, author of “Ferguson, USA” at the MN Fringe Festival, quotes James Baldwin, “Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person — ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
Richard Pryor said the same thing more succinctly, “You come down to the jail looking for justice and that’s what you’ll find. Just us.” Whether you adhere to eloquent articulation or go in for a shoot from the hip quip, there’s no arguing against the significance of Collyard’s voice, a contemporary theater artist dramatizing the tragedy that resonated across the nation. It’s billed as what he calls, “a collage of voices and spoken word inspired by witness interviews, media coverage, and the Department of Justice report [on] Ferguson, Missouri. In this story, a tragedy in the neighborhood incites residents to expose and fight a broken justice system funded by poverty.” Hardly a new story in American society. Continue Reading
The second annual “Your Crew vs. My Crew” dance competition finished out this year’s Rondo Days, which celebrates the black community that once thrived where I-94 now cuts through St. Paul.
“Every year we celebrate Rondo Days and the people and community who once stood there,” Leviticus Martin, the host of the event, proclaimed to a cheering audience during intermission of the competition. “So keep that in your minds and in your hearts when you come to Rondo Days, to the festival, to the parade, to the competition, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the community, it’s about love.”
The competition took place at Gangelhoff Arena on the Concordia University campus on Saturday, July 18th and lasted almost three hours. The competition and dance exhibition included nine crews from Minnesota, Indiana, and Nebraska. Continue Reading
In a recent City Pages article on the St. Paul Schools, the words used to describe students were deeply troubling. They were not described as children or the developing youth, but as violent delinquents. These were certainly not my scholars, nor was it an accurate depiction of my work climate in a North Minneapolis school. Continue Reading
In a 10- 3 vote, Minneapolis city council members decided to move forward with acquiring the former Roof Depot site for a city owned water treatment facility, despite neighborhood opposition. Council members Johnson, Gordon and Cano voted against it. Members of the Phillips community, where the site would be located, say the proposed facility is yet another industrial site in a neighborhood plagued with pollution and environmental justice concerns. See the story in Monday’s Daily Planet for more background. There was a brief discussion about adopting an amendment put forth by ward nine council member Alondra Cano, which would have required city staff and departments to work with community members when developing the site. Continue Reading
People in the Phillips neighborhoods of Minneapolis are incensed about a new proposed water-maintenance site (or, a water yard) they say will add to the pollution of the area. Seeing little promise of new jobs from the new site, neighbors will be packing the Ways and Means committee meeting of the City Council on Monday to urge council members to vote no on allowing city staff to enter into negotiations over purchasing the property. “Phillips has been dumping grounds and forget-me-nots of polluters for several years now,” says Jose Luis Villasenor, the Executive Director of the local nonprofit Tamales y Bicicletas. He’s been a resident of East Phillips for 19-20 years. “We have been working with the community and local stakeholders about how to get rid of the polluters.”
The community group East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC) had two realizations when it came to the site, Villasenor said. Continue Reading
On Monday, June 1st, an hour after word began to spread of movement in the K-12 education budget stalemate between Governor Dayton and Republican legislators, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers sponsored a rally protesting potential layoffs of teachers, educational assistants, counselors and other staff, some of whom have already received pink slips. Parents, students, teachers and an elementary school principal spoke truth to power: members of the St. Paul legislative delegation, who sat in the front row of the auditorium at St. Paul Central High School. In attendance were State Representatives Erin Murphy, Dave Pinto, Rena Moran, Carlos Mariani, John Lesch, Sheldon Johnson and State Senators Dick Cohen and Sandy Pappas. Members of the St. Paul delegation not in attendance were State Representatives Alice Hausman and Tim Mahoney and State Senators John Marty and Foung Hawj. Continue Reading
Z.M. Thomas, a Minnesota-based comic book writer and publisher, claims to be a victim of First Amendment violations by the Transportation Safety Agency at Philadelphia International Airport. Upon returning from his round trip Delta Airlines flight to Wizard World ComicCon in Philadelphia, he discovered severe damage to most of his copies of his title “Bible 2”. Additional non-religious titles in his baggage were left undamaged. Among the titles that were left undamaged was his latest book “Sioux Falls”. This book is a retelling of his families’ experiences during the Sioux Uprising of 1862. Continue Reading