Let your voice be heard: End the high costs of prison phone calls

Did you know that more than 15,000 children in Minnesota may not have the chance to send holiday greetings to their parents? This is because these children have an incarcerated parent. Due to the high costs of prison phone calls, it is difficult for many of these children to remain in contact with their parents during the holiday season. The harsh reality is that a 15-minute collect phone call received from a loved one who is incarcerated can cost roughly $6.45. Further, these children may also miss the opportunity to visit and spend quality time with their parents, since prisoners are incarcerated an average of 100 miles away from home and their families. As you can see, phone calls are truly a vital source of communication in order for families to remain connected. The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice seeks to ensure that children and families can remain in contact with their incarcerated loved ones by advocating for the costs of prison phone calls to be capped at a reasonable amount. Continue Reading

#BlackLivesMatter and #ChargeMeToo

As one grand jury after another refuses to indict police who have killed black men, #BlackLivesMatter protests continue across the United States. I marched on November 25, missed Saturday’s MOA protest, and will probably march again. Like many people, I keep hearing the same questions on Facebook and from friends and family. Before the next family gathering, here’s my short question-and-answer. Continue Reading

Crop insurance: Good enough for Monsanto, good enough for sustainable agriculture

From the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction department: In 2007, Monsanto talked the USDA’s Risk Management Agency into giving farmers a discount on crop insurance premiums if they planted the company’s triple-stacked GMO corn. Reportedly, some reviewers of the proposal raised concerns that the premium subsidy would unfairly benefit a single private company. Continue Reading

BEHIND THE STORY | Public dollars, private land and freedom of speech

Two years ago, I attended one of the most amazing acts of public expression I think I’ve ever experienced. It was at the Mall of America- a Round Dance held in the rotunda where I witnessed over a thousand people, mostly Native American, sing and dance in a circle as drums played. Not a protest, exactly, it was really more of a healing prayer and a call to action, precipitated by the Idle No More Movement, which got started in Canada over tribal sovereignty issues.Related article: Thousands protest at Mall of America, spark mall shut-down; 12 arrestedI’m not exactly why the 2012 roundy was allowed to occur by MOA security without a hitch when in the following year, a similar action was nipped in the bud. Last year, I reported for The Uptake how Idle No More organizers received letters not to attend a planned action, and were arrested upon arrival. The protest did not take place.It’s possible the 2012 round dance was given prior permission while the 2013 one didn’t. Continue Reading

Thousands protest at Mall of America, spark mall shut-down

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