President Trump’s tweet puts sanctuary city spotlight back on the Twin Cities

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

Tapping immigrant roots to side-step traditional food business models

“Hustling is in our blood,” Chef Yia Vang said. “I’m not doing anything different than what my parents and my grandparents were doing in Laos and Thailand.”

Vang operates Union Kitchen, a Hmong American pop-up restaurant, alongside his cousin Chris Her. Like many immigrant food business owners, Vang’s culinary journey had humble beginnings. What started out as cooking phở in garages at church-sponsored backyard parties four years ago evolved into a pop-up restaurant just shy of two years old, now having found temporary residency outside of Sociable Cider Werks in northeast Minneapolis. Similar to Union Kitchen, Donburi is a pop-up Japanese restaurant offering up rice bowls, poke bowls and fresh sashimi. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 7/26: Minneapolis Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs hires immigration attorney Michelle Rivero

New director for new department: Minneapolis Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs hires immigration attorney Michelle Rivero

Established just this year, the Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs in Minneapolis has hired a director for their office, immigration attorney Michelle Rivero. The office was created to accommodate an increasing need for social and legal services for immigrants in the Twin Cities, providing full-time advocacy to more effectively support these constituents. Rivero’s role as director will include developing new programs for immigrants, as well as promoting education around immigration policies, rights and existing services. “Minneapolis has wisely made the decision to follow the footsteps of other cities such as New York City, Chicago and Seattle, recognizing that we’re stronger when we’re welcoming our immigrant communities,” said Rivero. Read a full interview with Rivero at MinnPost. Continue Reading

Community Voices: [PHOTOS] Minneapolis comes out strong for “Families Belong Together” nationwide march

 

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 30, Minneapolis was one of 600 cities and towns across the country to come alive with thousands of people vigorously and collectively denouncing the U.S. government’s federal immigration policies as part of the Families Belong Together nationwide march. Photographer Nancy Musinguzi’s recent photos captured the over 7,000 people who marched to build solidarity among different cultural groups, organizations and socially progressive movements.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best of Neighborhood News 3/28: Washburn Fellowship program gives resources to people of color becoming counselors

 

Washburn Center for Children has established a new fellowship for people of color in order to address the disparity between the number of POCs seeking mental health services and the number of POCs offering them. The Fellowship includes a stipend to help cover the cost of schooling and unpaid internships, professional mentorship with other POCs, and a supportive cohort of fellows. “This program comes from our commitment to advancing equity in the field and to helping expand the number of therapists of color,” Tom Steinmetz, [CEO of Washburn Center], said. “We realize our mission through the services we provide to children and families. By expanding the number of therapists of color in the state we directly impact access to care.”
Learn more about this fellowship and who it benefits at MinnPost. 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