A young girl marches with protesters in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 24

When do we #SayHerName? Examining the systems behind the death of Jamar Clark

As protesters aligned with Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis (BLM-Minneapolis) took to the streets over the past few weeks, the now-familiar message was clear: Clark did not deserve to meet his untimely death on a North Minneapolis sidewalk by a bullet in his head. His death, another tally in a string of fatal encounters between unarmed black men and law enforcement agencies across the country, was another notch in the need to address the issue of discriminatory police practices and for reform. The formulaic response to yet another police killing also meant a backlash against the narrative of who the real victim was in this fatal encounter. Continue Reading

Budget Priorities

The slave patrol in the classroom

No sooner had the National Rifle Association and its congressional servants raised the call to place armed cops in every school, than videos began to surface of Black students thrown, dragged and beaten by “school resource officers” for such offenses as refusing to put down their phone or getting a drink of water during assembly. While not all schools have armed cops, the trend toward criminalizing childhood for dark children has been in motion for some time. Calling in the cops has become an accepted school response to temper tantrums, arguments and other minor forms of acting out. Continue Reading

Black Fair - White Privilege

“Minnesota Nice” and Minnesota’s Racism

Minnesota Nice is the transplants’ nice way of calling born-and-reared-here Minnesotans passive-aggressive. For those of us who’ve lived in other places, such indirectness is baffling at best, and emotionally abusive at worst. In other words, it’s not nice at all. Continue Reading

10-year-old pepper-sprayed by Minneapolis Police during downtown protest

Social media videos capture scenes of a police officer spraying protestors. Outraged, some protestors and community members are demanding action be taken against the officer.

Shortly after 10 p.m., videos began to surface showing protesters in the streets marching peacefully. Off camera, a police siren can be heard. Moments later amid screams, you could hear someone yelling, “You just maced a 10-year-old kid.” Continue Reading

Rage, Hope, Love Fueling Black Lives Matter Movement

 

“The problem is poverty. The problem is racism,” said Rev. Victoria Safford of the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church. “The problem is deep, deep, old oppression.”

Safford was one of more than 200 people who showed up outside an Edina, Minnesota court to support eleven people who have been charged with a variety of crimes after a December Black Lives Matter rally at the Mall of America. The problems of poverty, racism and oppression are at the root of what the Black Lives Matter movement is fighting against. What will it to take to fix it? Continue Reading

Judge denies Gag Order in Black Lives Matter case

Judge Peter A.  Cahill denied a motion for a pre-trial gag order at a hearing Friday for the defendants in the case about the Christmas protest at the Mall of America. The hearing set the dates for the upcoming pre-trials and trials of the individuals charged with a range of misdemeanors that include trespassing, unlawful assembly, etc. Around 30 total defendants set dates for either their trials or pre-trials, to take place next fall (with one exception, where a defendant requested a speedy trial, set for July). They were charged after a protest that occurred in December of last year, over police treatment of people of color, held at the Mall of America. “The defendants have first amendment rights,” Cahill said. Continue Reading

Dueling State of the City Events Reveal Rift Between Rhetoric and Reality of Inequality

These days it’s hard to tell whether Minneapolis is united about being divided. Last week, two contrasting “state of the city” events — Mayor Betsy Hodges official speech at the American Swedish Institute, and a rally the next morning organized a North-side grassroots group — illustrated the ongoing tension between the rhetoric and reality of racial inequality in Minneapolis.Hodges’ speech, an annual tradition for mayors across the country, emphasized the themes that led her to an easy victory in the 2013 election. As Gino Terrell wrote on the Daily Planet earlier this week, Hodges stressed education, income inequality, and climate change, as part of her plans for the upcoming year. But the well-received speech comes only months after Hodges’ efforts to devote city resources to addressing inequality became surprisingly contentious. During budget debates at City Hall, Hodges’ plans to address racial inequality sparked a small controversy, particularly in parts of the city that are struggling the most with foreclosures and racial inequality. While debating the budget, Council Members Yang and Warsame and other Council Members  voted to defund part of Mayor Hodges’ key proposals in favor of more “meat and potatoes” issues that impact neighborhoods like Jordan or Cedar-Riverside, home to many  of the highest proportions of people of color in the city. Continue Reading

MOA outwitted after Twitter fiasco

 Black Lives Matter exposes U.S. economic hypocrisyThe Mall of America (MOA) got caught with its underwear around its ankles last week when it tried to launch a #itsmymall Twitter campaign to promote the mall and to try to overcome the black eye it gave itself after its inane, but predictable, response to the peaceful anti-police violence protest last December.MOA has been trying to prosecute, persecute and defame activists from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, primarily because its protest took the position that the mall is public space, because it takes and receives public dollars and public subsidy. In an absolute stroke of genius, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis with its pro-Mike Brown, Eric Garner and anti-police violence protest in December, exposed the hypocrisy of private enterprise receiving public funding and public subsidy while enforcing private property rights.By hosting a protest at the mall, Black Lives Matter treated the mall as a public space, a town square, since receiving public dollars makes it, well, public. Ironically, by launching a campaign (#itsmymall), implying that the MOA is the people’s mall, it makes the point of Black Lives Matter, which is, it is a public space. So which is it, MOA, our mall or your mall?It also reveals that the MOA is experiencing financial pain as a result of the Boycott Mall of America campaign launched by Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter and all of us who joined the protest are correct: So-called private entities that take public monies (or public anything) that comes from taxpayers should not be afforded the rights of private property or private enterprise.What Black Lives Matter inadvertently exposed was the slick underbelly of U.S. economics, and that is that this system uses its citizens and their money to support the enrichment of big business. Continue Reading