38th Street and plans for renewal

The opening of the Seward food co-op on 38th and 4th Avenue is probably the biggest non-governmental development to hit 38th Street in at least 50 years. But it has brought into sharp relief the under-utilized and under-appreciated business districts along the rest of 38th Street.

Council Member Elizabeth Glidden has been tirelessly organizing community meetings to encourage neighbors to remember the old neighborhood and imagine new possibilities for the street. The first three meetings had visits by former residents who have left the ‘hood and become famous, like Judge Lajune Lange and Gary Cunningham.

Besides being married to the mayor, Gary Cunningham is the executive director of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and a member of the Metropolitan Council. A picture of the Bryant-Central co-op hangs on his office wall. He says it is one of his sources of inspiration. Continue Reading

Seward Co-op’s Friendship Store and “Community Benefits”

As a longtime member of Seward Co-op, I have been eagerly awaiting the new Friendship Store, which is right down the street. And when I first heard about this Community Benefits Agreement that is being discussed, a vehicle whereby Seward Co-op agrees to commit to certain benefits for the communities most affected by their expansion store, I thought, yeah, that sounds like a good thing. And when I heard that Seward Co-op would be presenting a progress report at the Bryant Neighborhood Organization meeting on Saturday, April 25, I decided to attend as an observer and learn more about it. Unfortunately, I came from that meeting thoroughly confused. So before writing this report, I had to do some digging and find out what was lurking in the background. Continue Reading

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

Nano Days: Exposing Sabathani youth to nano technology

On Saturday, April 4, 2015, the Sabathani Community Center, in collaboration with the Bakken Museum, the Science Museum, the University of Minnesota, and S.E.L.F. International, Inc., hosted the fourth annual Nano Days. By definition, a nano is one one-billionth of something.For example, a nano meter is one-billionth of a meter and is so small that it can’t be seen on a macro scale. It requires a nanoscale to be seen. Scientists must use special tools when working with atoms and molecules at the nanoscale. Nano research is leading to new technologies that are dramatically changing and improving modern medicine, computers, cell phones, energy production and manufacturing.Photo by James L. Stroud, Jr.Bonnie Everts (far right) with Nano Days participantsIn fact, one demonstration during the Nano Days event showcased a waterproof, stain-resistant material used to make khaki pants and rain coats. Continue Reading

Seward Coop names new manager for ‘Friendship’ store

In the United States over the last four decades, more and more people in general and people of color in particular have gradually become familiar with the benefits of healthy eating and health food coops. Simultaneously during that time period, according to the USDA, Minnesota has developed into the second-largest food coop state in the nation.Seward Coop founded their first store in 1972 on Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis. In their long history, much like many of the Minnesota food coops, very few people of color, including African Americans, have worked in their stores as managers. Currently, after over 40-plus years, Seward Coop has hired Raynardo Williams, a 35-year-old African American born and raised in St. Paul, to manage their second location, which is under construction on 38th Street across from Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.The MSR spoke with Williams (RW) about his vision for the new location and his execution plans for that diverse area. Continue Reading

St. Peter’s AME celebrates 135 years, Nachito Herrera to play benefit September 13

St. Peter African Methodist Episcopal Church celebrates its 135th anniversary this year. In recognition, the church will present a benefit concert by Cuban pianist, Nachito Herrera, on Saturday, September 13th, 2014. For more information, visit the church’s website. KFAI’s Allison Herrera reports on the south Minneapolis church’s beginnings, and what drives the congregation. [Audio below]

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New director keeps doors of Sabathani open for the community

Charisma and joy are emotions evoked from just a few minutes with Cindy Booker, new executive director of the Sabathani Community Center located on the South Side of Minneapolis. Her drive and professionalism can be picked up from a simple LinkedIn overview. However, if you want to see those qualities fueled by an uncommon passion, ask her about the Sabathani Community Center.

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‘A Right to Establish a Home’: Exhibit chronicles violent 1931 protests against black Minneapolis family

In 1931, postal worker and World War I veteran Arthur Lee moved into a new home in south Minneapolis at 4600 Columbus Ave. — where he, his wife Edith and six-year-old daughter Mary faced crowds as large as 4,000 people protesting violently to the presence of the young black family in what had been an all-white neighborhood.The Lees did not face this ordeal alone, however: Arthur Lee’s fellow workers from the post office, joined by fellow World War I vets, came to the Lee home to stand guard to protect the family from the mobs outside.In 2011, this story gained wider attention when the community organized an event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the protests and erected a plaque at the site of the Lees’ former home.Now the Lees’ story is the subject of a historical exhibit, “A Right to Establish a Home,” which will be presented at the University of Minnesota in the HGA Gallery at Rapson Hall, 89 Church St. SE, Minneapolis.An opening reception is planned for Friday, August 22 at 6:00 p.m. The exhibit will run through January 4, 2015.The exhibition interprets the protests and responses in the broader context of race and housing in Minneapolis, racism in Minnesota, and the individuals and organizations that defended the Lees.For more on the Lee family’s experience, see the July 2011 story from the Labor Review: www.minneapolisunions.org/mlr2011-7-29_lee_family.php.Related stories:House in south Minneapolis added to National Register of Historic Places (Paige Elliott, TC Daily Planet, 2014)Lee Family celebration: Wake Up Everybody (Linda Williams, TC Daily Planet, 2011)Thousands Honor Lee family courage in face of racist mob (Bill Sorem, The Uptake, 2011)South Mpls honors Lee family’s stand for racial justice (James L. Stroud, Jr., Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, 2011) Continue Reading