In a tweet shared this April, President Trump said he is “giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only.” The tweet came mere hours after both the Department of Homeland Security and a White House official insisted that that idea had been rejected. When asked about the verity of their statement, the president equivocated. His only political conviction, of course, is to continue casting people seeking refuge at our border as burdens to bear. And yet, amid the sound and fury of all the politicking, cities that call themselves sanctuaries stand to be impacted the most. But what exactly it means to be a “sanctuary city” remains unclear. Continue Reading
December has been a terrible month for human rights—from the U.S. Senate’s report confirming the use of torture, to the slaughter of Pakastani school children, to two grand jury decisions not to indict police officers for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Overall, 2014 has been an extremely troubling year. Some human rights abuses garnered a lot of attention; many did not, taking place under the radar of the media and public conversation. Let’s consider a few examples, and let them serve as a call to action. Continue Reading
On this week’s episode, Julia Nekessa Opoti and guest Ahmed Tharwat discuss the recently released CIA torture report. Ahmed Tharwat also discusses his personal experience as someone who has been tortured. [Audio below] Continue Reading
Minneapolis Southwest High School student Laye Kwamina reads his poem “Letter To My Unborn Black Child” at the Human Rights Day Rally on December 6, 2014. His poem, laden with references to violence against blacks such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, held the crowd spellbound. In it, he contrasted the stark realities of life for blacks in America with the unending love parents have for their children. He read, “Dear unborn black child, Don’t jaywalk. Don’t eat sandwiches. Continue Reading
With the Twin Cities metropolitan area rental market the tightest it’s been in years, some people who are undocumented are falling prey to extortion by unscrupulous landlords, who seek to take monetary advantage of a potential tenant’s illegal status.
Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to focus on the seminal issue of the human right to access to food, an issue so complex, political and gnarled that I’ve given up the quest to plumb the depths – until Pope Francis brought it up. Truth to tell, the Pontiff didn’t conjure it up out of the rarified atmosphere of the Vatican – the challenge to unravel the issue has fostered countless efforts, stymied many and challenged human rights activists for a couple of centuries. Continue Reading
The Anti-War Committee of Minnesota continued their protests this week. This time, the group set their sights on another Minnesota lawmaker and the mainstream media for what the protesters call a complacency over the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestine.
Members of Minnesota’s Oromo community plan to rally Friday in St. Paul and are calling for a hunger strike to mourn the deaths of student demonstrators gunned down last week by Ethiopian security forces in Addis Ababa.Oromo students and others in Ethiopia have been protesting since April 26 a plan to develop the capital Addis Ababa, saying the proposal will displace farmers in the city outskirts, erase significant landmarks and dismantle the rich culture and identity of the ethnic Oromo people. Because the Oromia region surrounds Addis Ababa, an expansion of the city will mean a further blow to the region and its people, who have been marginalized for decades, they say.Addis Ababa city officials argue the plan will develop and improve the city — one of the fastest growing cities in Africa — and its surrounding suburbs.Thousands of people, mostly university students, took their anger and frustration to the streets of Addis Ababa to express their disapproval of the plan unveiled in April. The ongoing demonstration erupted in violence May 1, the day U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Ethiopia as part of a tour of Africa.There are conflicting reports about casualties, with government officials saying the death toll has grown to 11 and witnesses counting nearly 50 dead.Community Sketchbook focuses on the economic and social challenges facing communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, and how people are trying to address them. It is made possible by sponsorship support from The Minneapolis Foundation. Continue Reading