Partnership, white supremacy and dance: Macalester student artists reflect on Black and Asian American intersections

In October, Macalester College hosted a Million Artist Movement “Power Gathering” themed around Asian American resistance and solidarity. That event was a part of the larger and ongoing convenings across racial and ethnic groups called by MAM. Following the event and inspired by the conversation, The Twin Cities Daily Planet published a story in December discussing the different intersections between Black and Asian American history and art. However, the original story left out a key voice in the conversation: the young artists who are shaping the future of how these intersections manifest. As a continuation of the previous article, Andrea Plaid reached out to Macalester dance students Sophia Hill and Niara Williams about their experiences as Asian American and Black American (respectively) students and artists, and how those experiences intersect. Continue Reading

Asian American protesters support Black Lives Matter in a Nov. 24 march in Minneapolis.

When Asian American politics and Black Lives Matter met at Macalester

When asked what is the mission of the Million Artist Movement (MAM), which calls itself the “artistic arm of Black Lives Matter,” Sandy Augustin said “We want to artfully dismantle white supremacy.” Agustin co-organized and facilitated the Power Gathering: Asian American Resistance and Solidarity at Macalester College back in October in collaboration with the Givens Foundation. That event was a part of the larger and ongoing convenings across racial and ethnic groups called by MAM. Continue Reading

Macalester students fight administration over controversial art project

Students at Macalester College have once again demonstrated their ability to think constructively and enact change in the face of academic and artistic repression, even if the culprit is their own administration.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Months ago, Macalester College senior Elsa Goossen proposed a community art installation to the Macalester administration, to be on display during its 21st annual International Round Table. This project, which would take the form of a chain link fence decorated with student art and writing, was to highlight migrant experiences and bust myths surrounding worldwide borders. The administrative body approved the mock border wall, agreeing to place it on Old Main Lawn, the highest-traffic location on campus.Three weeks ago, citing dubious concerns over student and community sensitivities, the administration changed its mind about both the length the wall would be allowed to stay and its location. Goossen and other organizers proposed many compromises, including a two dimensional “tape border” in the same area, obelisks (an historical border marker) leading from the originally accepted location to the new location, and multiple fence “sections” that would lead along and only partially bisect the walkway of the newly imposed location.None of these last-minute compromises were accepted by the administration, despite its inability to provide reasons that student art of this nature should not be on display during an international event concerning migration. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Socially conscious rapper M.anifest rocks The Cedar as part of the African Summer series

At first I was wondering if M.anifest’s June 15 performance was going to be cancelled as only about a dozen people were there at the beginning of the show, the second in The Cedar’s African Summer series. Then the opening act, Minneapolis local, Ashley Dubose, came on stage and was so personable and sweet that it didn’t matter how many people stood around as she did a fantastic job to create a feel good atmosphere for the main act.Ashley especially connected with the group with her song “Life Goes On.” Her style is neo-soul and reminded me a bit of Nelly Furtado when she sang “Like a Bird.” It was touching to see her mom out in support of her. As she continued to sing her repertoire for the night, the crowd began to build and by the end of her set, everyone was glad to be there.About ten minutes after Ashley left the stage, M.anifest came out, and there were applause and shouts of joy from the crowd of fans. Not knowing what to expect as the last time I listened to rap music was way back to the Sugarhill Gang, I was more than pleasantly surprised with the songs and sounds of M.anifest. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Brother Ali visits student protesters at Macalester College

Minnesota-based hip hop artist, Brother Ali, made an impromptu visit to a group of student activists protesting the administration’s relationship with Wells Fargo bank on Wednesday. Brother Ali, who continues to be active in the Occupy Homes MN movement, spoke to the students on the steps of Weyerhaeuser, Macalester College’s administrative building.The contingent of student protesters is associated with Occupy Homes MN and opposes the college’s partnership with Wells Fargo due to the bank’s foreclosure practices. The students launched a sit-in earlier this week, occupying the administrative building since 10 a.m., Tuesday.“What we’re really supposed to be doing is educating leaders for the future,” said Ali of higher education, “so what you’re doing is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.”He added, “Students were the bulk of energy in the civil rights movement; students ended the war in Vietnam effectively; students have done a whole lot throughout time, and so this is a part of a legacy that you’re adding onto.”The student group brought their grievances to the attention of the administration months ago, beginning a yearlong dialogue about potential divestment from Wells Fargo and a reallocation of funds to a community bank. Dissatisfied with the pace of reform, the students issued a deadline to the administration for a final decision to be announced on Thursday, April 18.In response to the demands Macalester CFO, David Wheaton and Assistant Vice President for Finance, Kate Walker released a memo on behalf of the administration describing in detail their reasons for maintaining their business with Wells Fargo. While accurate data is difficult to access, they acknowledged that Wells Fargo may be the biggest forecloser in the state of Minnesota, but added that this may be a factor of Wells Fargo’s large market share, as opposed to a matter of aggressive policies particular to the bank.The memo noted that 70% of Wells Fargo’s mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that those institutions are responsible for setting policy regarding foreclosure. Continue Reading

“Immigration is not a black and white issue”: What I learned at the Mascaras y Milagros Cultural Conversations

On June 15, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA). Now, individuals who immigrated to the United States as children and who meet certain eligibility requirements can defer deportation for two years. The deferment is subject to renewal, and eligible applicants can also apply for work authorization. Continue Reading

At Ordway-sponsored Cultural Conversations, Mexican-Minnesotans decry discrimination and call for better-informed discourse about immigration

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts’ two-week festival Mascaras y Milagros: Mexican Arts in Minnesota concluded on October 26 with a performance by jazz musician Poncho Sanchez. During the festival, the Ordway sponsored a series of art and cultural events that celebrated Mexican art and culture in Minnesota. A sequence of talks titled “Cultural Conversations” provided an opportunity for community leaders, activists, and artists to comment on relevant issues for Mexicans and Latinos. The two final conversations focused on immigration and spoken word.Editor’s note: Anna Hoeschen attended the Mascaras y Milagros Cultural Conversations and submitted two posts: an objective news report and an essay including her personal perspective. She asked which I’d prefer to publish, and I suggested that in the interest of opening a discussion about personal perspective in citizen journalism, we publish both. This is the news article; click here to read the writer’s personal perspective. Please share your own perspective in the comment section, below, or by submitting a response post to Continue Reading