Best of Neighborhood News 10/31: Minnesota Black Author’s Expo connects Black writers and showcases new voices

De’Vonna Pittman, author and CEO at The Haven Publishing, and Jasmine Tane’t Boudah, author of Mothering Through Pain and Suffering in Silence, teamed up last year to offer a space for black literature artists to showcase their work, make connections and express their creativity to a wide audience. This year the MBAE is back in a larger space to give Black authors a place to share their art and talk to the community. This project comes in response to the lack of accessibility in the publishing world to new authors, especially women authors of color. “When we support Black authors, we support Black families, and that is a revolutionary act in the face of oppression and racism,” said Pittman. “The expo is an excellent networking event for the community, and people are looking forward to connecting with one another.”

Find the whole story at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 10/4: Council members vote against independent investigation of MPD and improper ketamine use

In a recent decision, Minneapolis City Council members voted 10 – 3 against funding an independent investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department after a report asserting that officers improperly encouraged Emergency Medical Services to administer ketamine to people in police custody. The investigation, recommended by Mayor Jacob Frey, was to be led by acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates and King & Spalding LLP, the Atlanta-based law firm where Yates is a partner. “This is something we all agreed was necessary just three short months ago,” said Council Member Linea Palmisano (Ward 13). “We heard from the community. Their asks were clear. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/27: Bell Museum exhibit features Ojibwe and Dakota voiceovers

At the newly renovated and reopened Bell Museum, the voices of Ojibwe and Dakota children inform about natural science dioramas, depicting nature scenes from around Minnesota. The inclusion of these voices was intentional, hoping to showcase the persisting existence of these languages in the face of cultural destruction through colonization. “They chose the words for the conversation,” said Cindy Ward-Thompson, Bdote Learning Center founder and current director. “We used a lot of children in the process because we wanted to show others that Dakota and Ojibwe are still vibrant spoken languages and that the language is alive in children as well as elders.”

Read more at The Circle. Creative writing space uplifts Black and POCI voices

Black Lines Matter is a project of Black Table Arts, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for Black and POCI individuals to have their creative expression centered and uplifted. Continue Reading

Not your backbone: Black women want more from the DFL

This piece is part of Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series covering the 2018 elections season. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents. Earlier this year, Ken Martin, chair of the Minnesota DFL, released a Black History Month statement acknowledging that Black women are essential to the party. In his statement, which was released shortly after several women from local organization Black Women Rising called for a meeting with the Chair, Martin wrote “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/12: ‘Disapproved Books:’ New Weisman exhibit highlights censorship in prison system

A new exhibit at the Weisman art museum, “The Section of Disapproved Books,” allows guests to look at and flip through over 400 books banned by prisons across the country. The library contains several popular covers, highlighting the subjective nature of prison book banning and encouraging visitors to think critically about the use of censorship in the prison system. “The goal would be to affect these regulations,” said creator Daniel McCarthy Clifford. “[Banning these books] is a pretty arbitrary process, and I think bringing awareness to it could affect some policy change.”

Find out more at MN Daily. Franklin/Hiawatha Native homeless encampment faces City-mandated removal by end of September

In the Franklin/Hiawatha corridor, many homeless Native individuals have formed a small community encampment, sleeping in tents and helping each other to survive the harshness of homeless living conditions, as well as receiving regular assistance from volunteers. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/29: Networking, empowering and healing at Because Black Life Conference

Along with a team of artists, organizers and educators, poet Keno Evol held the first Because Black Life Conference in the Twin Cities. The conference focused conversation around issues that impact black communities in our neighborhoods and making space for networking, healing and community building. “Black thought, black people and Black concerns. This is a bridge for networking which we will leave, perhaps, with mentors and mentees. We want to have community engagement initiatives from our conversations. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/22: Expos celebrate natural black hair and beauty, encourage wellness in beauty industry

Although the Twin Cities has an increasingly diverse population of people from different racial backgrounds, Minnesota has long been considered a “flyover” state for beauty products aimed at black and brown people. However, two new beauty expos, the Twin Cities Natural Hair Expo and the Shades of Beauty Expo, are changing the conversation around POCI beauty and wellness in the Twin Cities. The two expos brought beauty practitioners from around the country to the Twin Cities who are interested in creating a beauty landscape that reflects our communities, as well as discussing the health effects for folks using damaging chemical hair products to mimic European beauty standards. “For so long, we have been left out of the discussion of what beauty looks like,” said Sherryln Thompson, Shades of Beauty Expo founder and producer. “We have been given image after image of blonde hair and blue eyes as a stereotype of beauty. Continue Reading