Farview 2015 Hmong Flag Football Tournament

On May 9, Minneapolis’ Farview Park hosted its 2nd annual  Hmong flag football tournament. Eight teams and 300 people came to the tournament. Last year, a brand new turf football field was built at Farview Park,  Farview staff wanted to increase and diversify the people coming to Farview Park, and worked with several North Minneapolis Hmong football team to officially open the field with a Hmong flag football tournament.  Players had so much fun they turned it into an annual event. This year the tournament was even bigger, with 8 teams and over 200 players.  Termination X and Do or Die were the home teams  from Minneapolis: FSU, Chosen Disciples, Explosive, and We Dem Boyz came from Saint Paul:  Avengers came from Brooklyn Park:  and Warriors came from Blaine. The Farview flag football tournament was geared towards high school aged players. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Minneapolis cab drivers perpetrate racism as Star Tribune reporters witness blatant bias

After graduating with honors from Grambling State University this past Spring, Brittany Bentley returned to Minnesota to participate in the Teach for America program. Out of ten choices, Minneapolis was her fifth.  We moved to Minneapolis when my daughter was eighteen months old, but she has always believed she’d feel more welcome in other parts of the world. My daughter has grown to accept her placement here after meeting some of the 5th graders she will be teaching in the fall. Her experience this past weekend brings some realities back to the forefront. The race relations issue in this state exists at every level of the spectrum. Here is an account of what she experienced this past weekend while trying to hail a cab in downtown Minneapolis. “Two Caucasian reporters from the Star tribune come up to me and ask how long I’ve been waiting for a cab. I tell them that I’ve been waiting for over an hour. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | West Broadway business profile: Paradise Beauty Salon

Marie Egbujor has been operating Paradise Beauty Salon on West Broadway in North Minneapolis since 2009. The inviting salon is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 7pm. Ms. Egbujor is kept busy by her loyal clients; Paradise Beauty is famous for its Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday-only specials: $75 for a full weave sew-in, and dread retouching for just $40. Egjubor’s expertise is evident in her clients’ satisfied faces; “She’s very gifted at what she does; her hands are blessed” explained a client named Tiquita, who only entrusts her hair to Egjubor. However, what’s truly remarkable about Paradise Beauty Salon is the sense of calm, care and tranquility that one feels almost immediately upon stepping inside. “When you come in you feel the difference. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Homegrown talent has designs on a prosperous North Minneapolis

Jamil Ford lives and works in North Minneapolis. His relationship goes far beyond that though; he believes that his business, Mobilize Design Architecture, is an important part of creating a prosperous, dynamic and safe community there. His passion is to design beautiful and accessible buildings and housing at busy, blighted or crime-ridden intersections to spur economic development. Prosperity, security and pride, he believes, will follow.Ford is one of those rare guys who had his path mapped out in the 8th grade. He was the kid who was corralling friends to haul logs, lumber and railroad ties to build the clubhouse he designed. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Minneapolis’ Farview Park hosts inaugural Hmong Flag Football Tournament

On May 3, Minneapolis’ Farview Park hosted its inaugural Hmong flag football tournament.Eight teams vied to win the inaugural Farview Park Hmong Flag Football tournamentEight teams participated, and 300 people came to the tournament. Last fall, a brand new turf football field was built at Farview Park, with support from the Cal Ripken foundation.  Farview staff wanted to increase and diversify the people coming to Farview Park.  A number of Hmong flag football teams play and practice in north Minneapolis, and Farview staff asked players if they would be interested in having an inaugural flag football tournament to officially open the new field. The players gave an enthusiastic thumbs up, and members of team Termination X helped Farview staff plan the details of the tournament and invite teams to participate.On tournament day, five teams came from Minneapolis: Termination X, DOD, New Era, Outlaws, and Avengers.  Three came from Saint Paul: Family, Team Central, and EliteThe flag football tournament was geared towards high school aged players.Minneapolis’ newly elected councilmember Blong Yang gave words of support to the players, and threw out the ceremonial first football.  Before being elected councilmember, Blong Yang was a championship winning soccer coach for Farview Park.MPD officers Blake Moua, Kou Vang talk strategy with Termination X flag football teamMany people working with Minneapolis’ Hmong community came out for the event.  MPD Hmong outreach officers Blake Moua and Kou Vang walked the spaces between the games, shaking players hands and yelling words of encouragement.  Minneapolis Parks police officer Sam Xiong joined them in the afternoon.Tastiest Hmong Eggrolls this side of the PacificWhen they were not in action, players and fans enjoyed a cookout of hotdogs, Hmong eggrolls, and chips. The Hmong football players quickly proved that this was not your grandmother’s genteel flag football tournament.  For six hours the players weaved and swerved, crashed into each other, and threw spectacular passes.When the dust settled, the Saint Paul Family team walked away with the first  Farview Park flag football trophy, edging the gutsy and nimble Minneapolis New Era team 3 to 1Saint Paul  Family, winners of 2014 Farview Park Hmong Flag Football tournamentMinneapolis  New Era, runners-up in 2014 Farview Hmong Flag Football tournamentMinneapolis  Termination X, who helped plan and host the tournamentMany players urged that the tournament become an annual event. And Farview staff said they were ready to continue supporting the flag footballers.Farview Park is located in North Minneapolis. Councilmember blong Yang thanks MPD officer Blake Moua for helping at tournament Congratulations to the winners Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Councilmember Blong Yang gives City Hall tour to North Minneapolis Hmong students

On March 28, Newly elected Minneapolis councilmember Blong Yang gave a tour of City Hall to 20 North Minneapolis Hmong students on spring break from school.trying on hardhat councilmember Yang uses in city tunnelsFirst they crammed into councilmember Yang’s office.  Then they walked the halls of city hall.Some are more spellbound than others by councilmember Yang’s wordsThe students got to see council chambers where for 30 minutes they took over city council. They also saw the office headquarters for Minneapolis police, firefighters, and  Hennepin County sheriff’s office.The new mayor of Minneapolis – at least for the next 30 minutesAlong the tour, students talked with councilmember Yang about what they wanted improved in their neighborhood, from fixing potholes to fewer gunshots to more soccer fields to less snow.The next councilmember YangCouncilmember Yang talked about how important it was to stay in school, and hoped some of them would follow him as members of the Minneapolis city councilPractising his best Law and Order courtroom staredownBlong Yang is Minneapolis’s first Hmong councilmember. Many of these students know him better as soccer coach for the Farview Park soccer teamAfter the tour of city hall, the students got a chance to walk through the skyways and try some pizza.Hmong students run into councilmember Cam Gordon outside city hall, thank him for supporting Hmong police officerEnjoying some downtown pizza after city hall tour Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Absolute Tire and Wheel is a winner on West Broadway

Photo credit: Shaina BrassardAbsolute Tire and Wheel on West Broadway in Minneapolis was green before it was cool, and not just because green is owner Ron Ide’s favorite color.Today, as it did when it opened in 2006, Absolute Tire and Wheel, 220 West Broadway, Minneapolis, works to minimize used tires’ impact on the environment. “We spend a lot of money to recycle tires,” said Ide, who said the tires are then turned into useful goods such as playground mulch that protects children from fall-related injury. “We’ve always done that, because it’s important.”In addition to recycling used tires, Absolute Tire (www.absolutetireandwheel.net) does the environment and customers’ wallets a huge service by offering previously-owned tires and wheels to the public. Used tires sales constitute a big part of its business.”We also sell a lot of wheels, and we take trade-ins, so if a guy comes in and wants a different set of wheels to make his car look better, but doesn’t want to spend $1,500 and is willing to trade in what he has, we can make that happen,” said Ide.The shop has a wide variety of products and services and, likewise, a wide variety of customers, from fathers looking for the safest, most dependable tire and wheel setup for their teenage daughters to professional athletes with a taste for flashy rims. Absolute Tire sells, installs, mounts, inspects, and rotates new or used tires and wheels, and also inspect brakes or installs batteries, starters and alternators.During the past eight years, Absolute Tire has seen impressive growth.”When I started here, we only had one of the three (service) bays,” said Ide. Gradually, the business took over the lease for the entire garage, hiring more employees along the way.In addition to providing impressive customer service, running a successful business and protecting the environment, Absolute Tire and Wheel is a good neighbor. Ide and his staff recognize themselves as part of a larger business district. 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

Refugee nerdery

MarsCon is coming up this weekend, one of the first major science fiction conventions of Minnesota each year, along such popular conventions as ConVergence, Diversicon, Crypticon, Anime Detour, Arcana, MinnCon, and the like, each a celebration of the fantastic and the futuristic. I enjoy these events. As I often tell my writing colleagues, I think many literary festivals could take a cue from events such as these, where you see so much passion and talent on display. Continue Reading