editor position

Open Call for Contributors

Twin Cities Daily Planet, an award­-winning online publication powered by Twin Cities Media Alliance (TCMA), is looking for contributors who reflect our mission to amplify and connect marginalized voices. For us, marginalized refers to the communities who have historically been oppressed in society and kept out of mainstream media, such as people of color, LGBTQIA, immigrant and refugee, indigenous, ex-offender, low-income and disabled communities. There is room on our platform for mission-centered work that comes from allies to marginalized voices – and we welcome that. But such work needs to forward the conversation beyond the realities marginalized communities deal with every day. The Daily Planet endeavors to share stories that challenge dominant narratives, bring context and nuance to complex issues, and support and spotlight local communities. Continue Reading

We expect better from the StarTribune

The StarTribune article on March 18, “Nonprofit paid to help with minority hiring at stadium short of goal…Workforce Is Diverse, But No Thanks to Nonprofit That Was Hired to Help”, totally missed the mark. We expect better of the StarTribune. This story was far beneath the standards we expect from a major newspaper in a growing and diverse community. It is no secret that Minnesota has the worst racial disparities on most socioeconomic indicators in the nation. The success of minority employment hiring on the Viking Stadium construction could have far-reaching implications for the economic well-being of our community as a whole. This begs the question of why the success of the Viking’s Stadium, which is exceeding all its workforce and business development goals for people of color, is not being trumpeted. Rather than applauding and understanding this unprecedented accomplishment, the StarTribune squandered this opportunity to educate its readers concerning employment disparities in our cities.  Instead, it chose to unfairly castigate a well-respected African-American led legacy institution – Summit Academy Opportunities Industrialization Center (SAOIC) and its African-American leader Louis King.King, like many others, may have underestimated the actual effectiveness of Mortenson Construction, THOR Construction, subcontractors, the MSFA equity program and the trade unions; and therefore overestimated the actual needs on the project. Continue Reading

The hands that feed us: Workers at the Minnesota State Fair

Every year crowds of people head to the Minnesota State Fair, thinking about the food they’ll eat, the rides they’ll take and the people they’ll watch. But how often do we notice the people who make this whole thing happen? From the people who make and serve us the food, to the ride operators, to the folks who clean up after us — who’s working behind the scenes at the fair? This photo essay is just a start in telling the story of the many people who work behind the scenes to give us the Minnesota State Fair. Continue Reading

THE EQUITY LENS | No driver’s license, no employment

In the conversations about unemployment and poverty, “personal responsibility” and “self sufficiency” are loaded words thrown around to suggest that the unemployed and the poor should take control of their life, get a job, and pay their fair share of taxes, rather than “freeloading” off the state.  While I disagree with the language used and assumptions that simplify the plight of the poor, I would have to agree that employment is important and essential to economic empowerment. Ask the poor what they need the most, and the answer is not “more benefits,” but “a job.”Job Growth and OpportunitiesThe Department of Employment and Economic Development Department (DEED) reported that 9,500 jobs were added in December, bringing total job gains in the state to 45,900 in the past year. Of the industrial sectors, the construction industry is up 6,500 jobs from a year ago, a 7.5 percent growth rate that is more than triple the U.S. growth rate of 2.2 percent in that industry.It’s important to note that the construction industry pays particularly well ranging from an hourly wage of $15 to $30, way above the minimum wage. We often see the poor stuck in low paying jobs with little to no chance of career advancement, but an industry like construction allows for promotion, where the hourly wage/ salary can increase, and is a felon-friendly job field. Continue Reading

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Cam Winton wants to offer “fresh eyes”

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Cam Winton considers himself a “fresh face” in Minneapolis’ political landscape, partly because he has lived in Minnesota for less than ten years, and also because, as a Republican running as an Independent, Winton believes he is an outsider who can bring “fresh eyes” to the business of city hall.Appearing on August 14 at the Minneapolis home of Vanessa Dayton, Winton shared his views with a small crowd as part of a casual “meet the candidate” series. He was the fifth candidate to speak to potential voters in this series, and was invited by Dayton, who said Winton is a promising candidate of interest to, “young professionals in Minneapolis.” Other articles on this series of candidate appearances:• Minneapolis mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges wants Minneapolis residents to be “militantly immodest”• Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jackie Cherryhomes claims “trifecta of experience”• Mark Andrew highlights green dreams in Minneapolis mayoral campaign• No more lemmings: Minneapolis mayoral candidate Don Samuels on educationAs a 34-year-old with two young children, Winton spoke of his desire to reach out to similar young families in order to create a “city that works for everyone.” In Winton’s view, Minneapolis has become an attractive place for recent college graduates beginning their careers, as well as empty nesters from the suburbs who want a more urban lifestyle, but, he said, the city needs to function better in order to remain livable for families.Winton cited snow plowing as one example, criticizing it as slow and inefficient.  Winton maintained that, for families trying to get out the door each morning, this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.Winton also expressed interest in closely reviewing the city’s contracts for garbage removal, saying he neither favored nor disapproved of contracting only with companies that employ union members. He said he wants every option considered so that the city will not be tempted to “do what it’s always done.”Winton then spoke about the need to rework the city’s regulatory services division, in the interest of encouraging entrepreneurial activity and job creation. Winton believes there should be less red tape involved, and that less regulation will lead to job growth more quickly than what he called “blue ribbon committees and task forces.”On the topic of education, Winton said he was interested in trying to change the city’s charter to allow the mayor to appoint school board members. Continue Reading

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jackie Cherryhomes claims “trifecta of experience”

As a mayoral candidate for Minneapolis, Jackie Cherryhomes believes she has the “trifecta” of experience that makes her a strong candidate. This trifecta includes her government experience from twelve years spent on the Minneapolis City Council, her background in community organizing, and her recent work in the business world as a consultant.Cherryhomes was invited to speak at the home of Kenwood residents Charlie and Julie Zelle, to a crowd of around 40 interested voters and supporters.  She was part of a “meet the candidate” series organized by Minneapolis resident Kate Mortenson that features individual candidates speaking to voters and then answering questions. The next candidate to be featured is Betsy Hodges, who will appear on Wednesday, August 7.Cherryhomes began her speech by identifying three issues that she sees as related: health, housing and jobs, and the disparities within them.  She spoke of the many positive transformations going on in Minneapolis, such as the development of the North Loop district, but said that she wants “all citizens” to have the benefits of such transformation.Housing is a central topic for Cherryhomes, based on her experience on the city council. When asked about density in Minneapolis, she spoke about the need for more low income housing in the city, and her belief that it should not be concentrated in high poverty neighborhoods. Continue Reading

Disruptive innovation: Changing future for Minnesota students, educators

“My dream is to be a singer,” said one Susan B. Anthony Middle School student. Another student wrote that he wanted to be a doctor, while one girl told me she hoped to open her own business. As a volunteer exhibitor for Rêve Academy at the recent Minneapolis STEM Expo, I had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of middle school students who shared their dreams with us. What struck me most was that no matter the dream, each of these students would need to learn how to use certain technologies during the course of their careers. With the way the music industry has been changing, even the aspiring singer will probably need to have some knowledge of how to record a video of her singing to post on YouTube in the hopes of “going viral.”As innovative applications of technology increase, many industries, from entertainment to healthcare to retail, are experiencing what Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen, terms “disruptive innovation,” or an innovation that creates a new market and eventually overtakes an existing market. One example of a disruptive innovation is the cell phone, which offered portability, but was initially expensive and of lesser sound quality than a traditional phone. Continue Reading

Connecting parents, educators, and others who work with people with developmental disabilities

Educators, psychologists, social workers, and behavioral therapists were all part of the mix. Moms, however, comprised the largest portion of the audience at an October 8 Get Connected! community meeting focused on the importance of addressing challenging behaviors early in life. This helps children with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience full inclusion as they grow up, then fit more successfully into the workplace as adults, participate fully in the community, and lead happy, productive lives.Although it’s not widely known, people with developmental disabilities constitute one of the largest disability groups in North America. One out of every 10 Americans has a family member with a developmental disability. Families often feel isolated, which is where The Arc comes in. The Get Connected! Continue Reading

Minnesota Karen community celebrates warm St. Paul welcome

“Minnesota may be cold, but the hearts are warm,” said Priscilla Aung, one of the first Karen refugees to arrive in Minnesota more than ten years ago. Now, approximately 6,500 Karen live in the state, making St. Paul home to the fastest growing Karen population in the United States.The Karen are an ethnic group from the mountainous border region of Burma and Thailand, where they are the second largest ethnic group in each country. The community has suffered a tragic history of being persecuted by the Burmese military junta for over 60 years. Several hundred refugees from other ethnic groups in Burma, including the Kachin, Mon, and Shan, have also made Minnesota their home. Continue Reading

MN VOICES | Kathy Tunheim tells a new jobs story in Minnesota

CORRECTED 6/29/2012: A year and a half ago, Governor Mark Dayton asked Kathy Tunheim to serve as a senior adviser, working to generate a public discussion on jobs and job creation. Tunheim is the principal and CEO for Tunheim Associates, a public relations and media firm and is the president of IPREX, a worldwide network of public relations firms. Her job as senior adviser to the governor for job creation is a part-time, volunteer position.When asked what she and the administration hoped to accomplish, Tunheim said that they want to start a discussion that asks: “What do facts and analysis say about what will drive job growth and economic vitality in Minnesota; what kinds of jobs should Minnesota focus on creating and where is our competitive advantage; and what are the specific opportunities before us and how do we seize them?” One year later, said Tunheim, “We thought the most important thing was to listen.” Since January 2011, when Dayton took office, she and her colleagues working with the administration asked, “What are you seeing that is creating jobs? What’s working? What are the things that really get in the way?She said different parts of the state are facing different challenges and are facing different economies. “In the metropolitan urban core, there is a misalignment between the jobs that employers are trying to fill and what the skill sets are,” Tunheim said.  The challenge in northwest Minnesota  is quite different. Continue Reading