Best of Neighborhood News 11/14: Student trans rights activists march in response to transphobia at UMN

University of Minnesota’s College Republicans group added a panel to the Washington Avenue bridge the which states that “the proposed pronoun policy mocks real social issues,” in reference to a newly proposed university gender expression policy. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, students and faculty marched across the bridge in protest to the panel and the marginalization of the transgender community that it represents. Find the full story at Minnesota Daily. Minneapolis College announces staffing changes to bridge the educational opportunity gap

The Minneapolis College Division of Equity and Inclusion announced addition of permanent staffing with the goal of increasing opportunities available to members of marginalized groups in the Twin Cities area. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 10/16: “Know-Your-ICE-Rights” placards to be placed on MPD cars

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is implementing policy which requires all Minneapolis Police Department squad cars to carry newly made placards which inform potential immigrant detainees of their rights. The cards are written in English and Spanish and note one’s rights not to inform police of their birth country, immigration status or citizenship status. This policy comes at the reluctance of the Minneapolis police officers union; Lt. Bob Kroll said, “We’re all for immigration, but if people are here illegally they aren’t subject to our rights.”

In regards to his decision to implement the placards, Mayor Frey said, “Our immigrant community is a huge part of what makes Minneapolis an amazing city. And as mayor, I have an obligation to do everything I can to make sure their talents and their contributions stay right here in Minneapolis.”

Read more at The Downtown Journal. Facebook as a tool for English language learning

Three instructors at the University of Minnesota, Jenifer Vandek, Kendall King, and Martha Bigelow, who all specialize in second language acquisition, recently published a report on how using the social media platform Facebook can offer immigrant students a more accessible  medium for learning. 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

Best of Neighborhood News 8/15: Fostering Native children in Native homes imperative to preserving culture, preventing erasure

Although the Indian Child Welfare Act requires the state to place Native children with family or kin when possible, there is a severe shortage of Native foster homes to accommodate this need. Staff in the Native foster care network stress the importance of giving Native children homes that can address their culture, teach traditions and help them learn to navigate the world as a Native person. Placing children in Native homes will also serve to prevent cultural erasure. “It’s really a difficult task to figure out what they know and how you can support it,” said Victor Walter (Bois Fort Ojibwe), foster parent. “Whether it’s going to powwows, putting out a spirit plate at meals, smudging or sweat lodges…you really have to find out what the kids are used to and at least support that. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 7/11/18: City Council members consider change to charter providing council oversight on police department

Within the current city charter of Minneapolis, the mayor has “complete power over the establishment, maintenance, and command of the police department,” including hiring and firing of officers and chiefs. In response to the recent fatal police shooting of Thurman Blevins, several City Council members expressed interest in modifying the charter to give City Council members oversight on the police department, mitigating the power afforded to the mayor and creating another avenue of accountability. “Right now, we have more oversight of our potholes than we do of our police,” Council Member Andrew Johnson (Ward 12) said. Activists and others have also weighed in on the issue, including Nekima Levy-Pounds. “We want support from the city,” Levy-Pounds said. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 2/15: Minneapolis educators rally for fully-funded schools

More than 300 Minneapolis educators and community members protested at the Davis Center Tuesday night to advocate for better school funding in teachers’ contract negotiations. As reported by North News, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) is asking for smaller class sizes, more school support personnel and restorative practices, among other demands. “According to [Minneapolis Public Schools], MFT’s proposals would cost the district $160 million. According to Sullivan, even with district cuts adding up to $27 million, there would still be a $6 million hole to fill – the district will be asking Minneapolis taxpayers and the state legislature for additional funding support over the next year.”
To learn more about why Minneapolis Public School educators are rallying for fully-funded schools, check out the story at North News.  

New book, future restaurant from Twin Cities Oglala Lakota Chef

The founder of The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, published a cookbook-memoir-manifesto, “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.” According to the Southwest Journal, Sherman wants to decolonize and evolve indigenous foods in order to re-establish a connection with his culture and ancestors. Continue Reading

St. Paul’s school resource officer policies still leave district room for improvement

On May 25, 2016, St. Paul School Resource Officer Bill Kraus forcibly arrested then 19-year-old Darion Bell outside of St. Paul Central High School. Bell, a Black youth who had recently transferred out of Central to the High School for Recording Arts, was on Central’s campus to visit one of his former teachers. Kraus used mace to detain Bell and violently slammed Bell to the concrete. Continue Reading