Black Folk: Cause for a Different Type of Reporting

Attorney, Jeff Hassan is Executive Director to the African American Leadership Forum. The mission of AALF’s Executive Director is to create full employment, build wealth, close the achievement gap, affect legislative policy and promote healthy living in the Twin Cities African American Community. To accomplish these tasks, Mr. Hassan must first address an age old issue that affect the thought process of every day Minnesotans, especially those who read the Star Tribune. These thought processes could very well inadvertently affect legislation and funding crucial to change necessary in the African American community. As a father is to his child and as a leader is to his tribe —Mr. Hassan is the Alpha Male, and he is very protective of African American leaders and passionately demonstrates this in his open letter to the Star Tribune today. Continue Reading

Three St. Paul principals weigh in on discipline and disparities

As part of our series on discipline and disparities in St. Paul Public Schools, we talked to three SPPS principals whose schools are at various stages of implementation of PBIS and the racial equity work. Daniel Mesick, principal of Como Park High School, Doug Revsbeck, principal of Harding Senior High, and Dr. Mike McCollor, principal at Washington Technology Magnet, talked about what their schools are doing to address suspension disparities, what’s working, and what challenges lie ahead.When it comes to discipline, what strategies succeed?  The picture is as complicated as a Hmong paj ndau story cloth. Pull on the discipline thread, and other threads follow — not only PBIS, but also mainstreaming students, racial equity training for teachers, focusing on suspensions, and even principal bonuses. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | You really don’t want to meet the Dicks at Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America

I’m not one to cry. Truth is, I rarely cry, but during a visit to Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America I was literally reduced to tears! The bartender was abusive, abrasive, and mean as HELL. I wasn’t sure why he was in a bad mood, but later found out that it is their “niche” to be mean as spitfire. Were they really trained to treat people like this, to the point of harassment? Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | East Side of St. Paul is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ until a serious incident happens

In recent weeks, a devastating incident occurred on the Eastside of St. Paul where several teens allegedly beat a passerby until he was unconscious. This is a circumstance that no person should have to endure. One of the notable pieces of information that has surfaced is the fact that the passerby was white and the teens were African American. Although some within the broader community argue that the attack was based on race, the reality is that in light of the circumstances under which the attack occurred, the victim could arguably have been any individual who was within the vicinity of the young people in question. Actually, a similar severe beating of an innocent Black man, Edwin Daniel, by five young Somali men occurred on the Eastside just a few years prior to this most recent incident.The factors that contribute to these types of horrific episodes, including shootings by young people against other young people, may revolve around underlying issues at the intersection of race and poverty that are pervasive on the East Side of St. Continue Reading

“Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” at the Science Museum of Minnesota humanizes the legendary civilization

If the concept of “timely” can possibly apply to a civilization that reached its peak of population and prosperity 1,500 years ago, Maya, the giant exhibit now having its world premiere at the Science Museum of Minnesota, arrives at a good time for the ancient culture. After Mel Gibson’s bloody Apocalypto (2006) and the misreading that made the Mayan calendar a laughingstock when the world failed to end last year, it’s about time to step back and drop some cold hard science regarding this legendary civilization.Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed does indeed deliver cold hard science, wrapped in a feel-good package that plays up the Mayans’ accomplishments in art, science, and sport while downplaying the bloody side of Mayan life. Nor does the exhibit delve too deeply into the question of the Mayans’ relatively sudden decline, now most commonly attributed to a drought that pushed the giant Mayan cities, which were already putting a severe strain on available natural resources, past the limits of sustainability.For understandable reasons, Maya is also relatively light on authentic artifacts. The most imposing structures in the exhibit are replicas, albeit in some cases made from casts that reveal more detail than could be seen on the decaying, vandalized originals. Still, the exhibit is cleanly designed, with about the right amount of text.The place to begin your Maya exploration is at the Omnitheater, where the film Mystery of the Maya provides, along with images of Mayan structures and artifacts in their original Mesoamerican context, a sense of drama that the exhibit distinctly lacks. Continue Reading

Karamu Forum promotes civic engagement

An ambitious civic engagement movement is being launched by several African American churches in collaboration with Solidarity, a social activist volunteer group. This collaborative effort towards community self-education, presented in a series of community forums, will begin at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m. – 12 Noon.This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a document signed by President Abraham Lincoln, January 1, 1863. This anniversary, along with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, August 28, 1963, will be used as a back drop to critical questions to be raised at the forum. Together, the Proclamation of 1863 and the inspiring March on Washington represent two of the greatest events in our national heritage: The signing of the Proclamation by President Lincoln and the groundbreaking patriotic oratory of Martin Luther King Jr. These events are separated by 100 years and yet are joined at the hip in the struggle against the institutions of enslavement and segregation, which was a legacy of slavery and the caste system.Discussion on two recently-produced Hollywood feature films, “Lincoln” and “Django Unchained,” will broaden the content of the forum. The release of these two films marks unprecedented territory for the American film industry. Continue Reading