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 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

Artist cooperative, Electric Machete, works to forward Latinx artwork in St. Paul’s gentrifying West Side

“History books tell you that Aztecs and Mayans have disappeared, but we’re in front of you now.”

Xilam Balam, artist, screen printer, audio engineer, lyricist, producer, teaching artist and one of the five founding members of the Electric Machete Studios said this as he sat at a table along with myself and Reynaldo Lara, another of the Electric Machete artists. I’m visiting the Electric Machete Studio space on the West Side of St. Paul. They’ve just finished a screen printing workshop with high school students. Sketches of nude bodies cover the walls around us, remnants from their last “People of Color & Indigenous Peoples (POCI) Figure Drawing” class, an opportunity for exclusively POCI artists to draw in safe space…so that they have equal opportunities to draw from each other and learn from each other. Continue Reading

How the ‘creative economy’ is killing culture on Lake Street

On Nov. 2,  a multiracial group of people gathered at Plaza Centenario on the corner of 12th Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis. Organized by the Immigrant Movement for Justice, Por Raza and Morena Minnesota, an ofrenda for Day of the Dead was built to honor family members and community leaders throughout the world who passed away due to injustice. The plaza was established by the tireless efforts of local community groups Cuernavaca-Cuernavaca-Axochiapan-Morelos (CCAM), Club Morelos (CM) and Latino artists. Towering above pedestrians stands a bronze statue of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata created by German Michel Leal, an artist from Morelos, Mexico, a sister city of Minneapolis. Continue Reading

#AGreatCityRises and the toll of gentrification on Northeast Minneapolis

I stopped at the corner trying desperately to remember the potholes and broken concrete I knew as a child. I creeped the car – like I would have back in the day – down the now perfectly manicured road with its “vintage” appeal, missing the cracked and crumbling concrete. My family came to Minneapolis after being forced out of St. Cloud by folks who thought that two blind people could not be adequate parents. For as long as I can remember, 216 Fifth Ave. Continue Reading

Still praying, still protesting

Char Madigan will be praying for peace during the RNC this year, a continuation of a career of prayer and protest that goes back more than thirty years. On July 4, 1976 in the Phillips neighborhood, near Portland and Franklin, Char Madigan started her peace activism. Out of her own apartment along with Rita Steinhagen and Laura Geyer, two other sisters of St. Joseph’s of Carondelet, she gave her personal phone number to the police and Chrysalis, a battered women’s shelter, to help anyone in need in her neighborhood … people on the run, new in town, etc. Hope CommunityThis brief history is taken from Hope Community’s Web site.Hope Community began as a place for people to gather in community. Continue Reading