Women Leading Change: Profile of Barbara Arnwine

Barbara Arnwine has played a key role in advancing justice in the arena of civil rights. Arnwine has served as the President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for over 26 years. Within this leadership role, her stance has been strong and her commitment has been unwavering to secure through rule of law, equal justice under the law. One such example is her determination to protect one of our most fundamental rights— voting. She has waged war against the direct assault of democracy as evidenced by laws and policies which restrict access to the ballot box. Continue Reading

St. Paul March Planned to Honor the Historic Selma March

The public is invited to participate in a march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic and bloody Selma marches of 1965, catalytic events that led to the passage of the U.S. Voting Rights Act.Cheryl Chatman, Executive Vice President and Dean of Diversity at Concordia University-St. Paul, one of the organizers, said that many local religious, academic, and civil rights institutions have come together to plan the march. “We feel it is critically important to remember this major turning point in the U.S. Civil Rights struggle—and to underscore the Civil Rights work that still needs to be done,” she said.People interested in joining the march are asked to arrive at the Minnesota State Capitol at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, for a brief introductory program. The half-mile route will cross the Cedar Street Bridge over I-94, recalling the Selma marchers who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge en route to protest laws and practices that denied black people the right to vote. The St. Continue Reading

Demands by Whose Diversity? aren’t new

[See original post here: http://www.mndaily.com/opinion/letters-editor/2015/02/23/demands-whose-diversity-aren%E2%80%99t-new]It’s clear. Many in this administration are out of touch with the weight of the equity and diversity issues they extol. In a speech to the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 13, 2014, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler stated, “I want to speak about serious matters — from student debt to how we seek to tackle some of the state’s and world’s grand challenges — from widespread hunger to the inexcusable achievement gap in our schools. But I do need to put first things first … Continue Reading

Juxtaposition Arts, One Minneapolis One Read feature work of iconic black artist Gordon Parks and Brooklyn photographer Jamel Shabazz

Renowned international photographer Jamel Shabazz hosted an intergenerational, street photography workshop in the Twin Cities last week as part of the third annual community conversation for One Minneapolis One Read. This year, the citywide read teamed up with Juxtaposition Arts to host a residency with the Brooklyn photographer, lecturer and teacher of the visual arts.Every year, the community read program selects a book and hosts a community conversation to encourage citywide reading in Minneapolis. The book this year is A Choice of Weapons, written by the late Gordon Parks, an African American photographer, artist, filmmaker and writer. Parks is most known for his photography for Life magazine, and as director of the iconic 1970s film, Shaft.The crowd was fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to Robin P. Hickman, the great-niece of Parks, who spoke about his legacy and beyond, as well as his experience moving to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1928 at the age of 16, after his mother passed away.According to the One Minneapolis One Read website,  Parks’ autobiography tells how he “managed to escape the poverty and bigotry around him, and launch his distinguished career, by choosing the weapons given him by ‘a mother who placed love, dignity, and hard work over hatred’.”Hickman’s presentation was empowering, and it is clear Parks was an inspirational man. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | 50 years after the March on Washington: It’s time to arise to today’s civil-rights challenges

A version of this article originally appeared in MinnPostOn August 28, 1963, 250,000 Americans bravely descended on our nation’s capital to participate in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The peaceful protesters poured in from all over the country to urge America to make good on her promise of “liberty and justice for all.”The March on Washington occurred during a tumultuous time in American history in which African Americans experienced racial segregation, barriers to education, employment, voting, and housing. They also faced discrimination in many of our nation’s institutions and private establishments. Indeed, just nine years prior to the March on Washington, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that racially segregated schools for blacks and whites were inherently unequal and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.Although the High Court’s decision in 1954 was significant and represented a legal and moral victory for African Americans, the nation continued to struggle with issues of racial justice. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | In the aftermath of Zimmerman’s acquittal, racial justice remains elusive

Let’s face it, America has not done a very good job of reconciling its ugly and painful history of racism and oppression against African Americans and other people of color. The predominant attitude seems to be that what happened in the past stays in the past and that history has little to no bearing upon current happenings within our society. Sadly, as illustrated in the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin and in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, this could not be further from the truth. In this case, race played a significant role in the fact that Trayvon Martin, a young African American male, was profiled and stereotyped by Zimmerman as a criminal who was “up to no good,” as he walked in the rain through a gated community in Sanford, Florida.The lingering perception of the Black man as criminal and suspicious has plagued young African American men since the days of slavery and beyond. In fact, throughout the South following the abolition of slavery, laws were created that made standard behavior by Black men a crime and led to high rates of incarceration for that segment of the population. Continue Reading

OUR STORIES | Taharra Patterson: Terrance Franklin “could have been my child”

St. Louis Park resident Taharra Patterson was one of 250 protesters at the Justice for Terrance rally on May 31. She attended the protest because she is against police brutality and, “this easily could have been my child, and if it were my child I would have wanted someone to do it for me. So I’m here for justice for the family,” she said. Patterson also supported the Trayvon Martin rally last year.What does she hope will come out of protesting? Continue Reading

OUR STORIES | Willie Walton: “He didn’t deserve to die like a dog”

Terrance Franklin’s uncle spoke to Twin Cities Daily Planet Community Engagement Editor Lolla Mohammed Nur while marching through downtown Minneapolis at the Justice for Terrance rally on May 31. Willie Walton, along with Franklin’s father, other family members and supporters, is demanding that Minneapolis police release details about the May 10 shooting that led to Franklin’s death.”We want those Minneapolis cops that killed Terrance, that slaughtered him in the basement, we want them brought to justice,” he said. “Terrance is unarmed. He’s not known for carrying a gun, so why did they slaughter him? He’s not a known criminal. Continue Reading

OUR STORIES | Demetrius H’ro: Terrance Franklin shooting is about systematic racism and “effeminating black men”

Demetrius H’ro is a local spoken word artist who marched at the Justice for Terrance rally on May 31. Terrance Franklin was a 22-year-old who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police on May 10.H’ro attended the rally because he wants to help “start a movement” against institutionalized racism and police brutality, especially toward black men, he said.”I’m in a system that’s trying to effeminate me as a black man and take away my inner power. You notice it in subtle ways that you deal with police, or maybe a job interview,” he explained. “The murder of Terrance [Franklin] is just another part underneath that entire umbrella called ‘racism,’ which is raining down on all of us people of color.”H’ro added, “It’s a part of a problem that’s affecting me and other people of my skin color and anyone that is a victim of systematic racism.” He ends with a powerful message to Minneapolis police and other authorities he sees as hiding behind institutional racism.Related stories:• Protesters demand justice for Terrance Franklin, police prosecution• OUR STORIES | Willie Walton: “He didn’t deserve to die like a dog.”• OUR STORIES | Taharra Patterson: Terrance Franklin “could have been my child”Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation. Continue Reading

Remembering Chairman Fred

Screeching tires.  Flashing lights.  Heavily armed men rushing up the dark stairwell open fire through walls and doors on the sleepers inside.  When it is over at least 90 holes mark Continue Reading