Best of Neighborhood News 3/14: Minneapolis Park Board looks to build memorial honoring survivors of sexual violence

Following in the wake of the #MeToo movement and heightened visibility for sexual assault survivors, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board is considering funding a memorial in Boom Island Park. Break the Silence, a local group of survivors and allies, is seeking the Board’s support for the construction of the memorial, and commissioners have voted to explore funding options. “The memorial concept holds true to what we have seen nationally, that when survivors tell their stories they unconsciously give other survivors permission to tell theirs,” [Sarah Super, Break the Silence organizer] told the board. Find more details on the prospective project at The Journal. Native theater company debuts first full production

Turtle Theater Collective, a Native theater company based in Minneapolis, debuted their first full length production on March 9 at The Southern Theater. Continue Reading

Artist cooperative, Electric Machete, works to forward Latinx artwork in St. Paul’s gentrifying West Side

“History books tell you that Aztecs and Mayans have disappeared, but we’re in front of you now.”

Xilam Balam, artist, screen printer, audio engineer, lyricist, producer, teaching artist and one of the five founding members of the Electric Machete Studios said this as he sat at a table along with myself and Reynaldo Lara, another of the Electric Machete artists. I’m visiting the Electric Machete Studio space on the West Side of St. Paul. They’ve just finished a screen printing workshop with high school students. Sketches of nude bodies cover the walls around us, remnants from their last “People of Color & Indigenous Peoples (POCI) Figure Drawing” class, an opportunity for exclusively POCI artists to draw in safe space…so that they have equal opportunities to draw from each other and learn from each other. Continue Reading

One year along the Green Line: Barbeque thrives, but not because of the light rail

I called Ron Whyte, one of the owners of Big Daddy’s Old Fashioned BBQ on University Avenue in St. Paul. I was trying to ask him how the trains of the Green Line had affected his business since the line opened a little more than a year ago. It was mid-afternoon, and he was behind the counter.

“Call after 6:00 pm, when we’re closed,” he told me. “I can’t talk. We keep getting customers.”

Big Daddy’s BBQ is doing well. The success is less about the Green Line and more about entrepreneurship, but the spark for the new success came from the new light rail just outside their door. Continue Reading

Outdoor Hmong Music at the History Center

Check out these great photos of a partnership with the “We Are Hmong Show” at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul, the Center included a night of Hmong Music in its “9 Nights of Music” series, which is held in the outdoor plaza space between the State Capitol and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Continue Reading

No Blues for Adelabu: A Mississippi Ride with Amoke Kubat

As part of the 2015 Mississippi River Revue, put on by the Mississippi River Fund, artist and community organizer Amoke Kubat gathered some friends onto a Saint Paul riverboat to share stories of African and African American river life.

Check out the sounds and sights of the two-hour trip up the Mississippi and Minnesota. The evening full of song and story ended with a pledge to protect Sweet Water. Continue Reading

“Your Crew vs. My Crew” creates community amidst competition at Rondo Days [Photos]

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

J4, the Hmong Freedom Festival [Photos]

If you live in Saint Paul, you probably know about J4, the annual gathering and freedom celebration that takes place each July 4th weekend in Como Park. The event has been going on for 35 years, and was founded to mark the anniversary of Hmong immigration into the United States. Continue Reading