Best of Neighborhood News 1/30/19: NAACP chapters unite to target state’s racial wealth gap

Minneapolis and St. Paul NAACP chapters unite to target state’s racial wealth gap

The myriad racial disparities and issues affecting Black Communities in the Twin Cities have caught the attention of the National NAACP, which has announced that it will create an Economic Inclusion Plan (EIP) for the Twin Cities. This plan will include measures to address issues such as mass incarceration and economic injustice as well as entrepreneurship and rising education costs. At a leadership gathering in December, moderated by Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Redmond, handpicked panelists from both Minneapolis and St. Paul areas were brought together, all “recognizing that these economic disparities are impacting both of us and that we need to be able to work together and move forward,” said Redmond. Continue Reading

Women who lead MPLS NAACP

Best of Neighborhood News 11/24: Women who lead MPLS NAACP, Fourth Precinct protest status

The Minnesota Women’s Press published a feature profiling the ways the new women leading Minneapolis’ NAACP chapter are taking a fresh approach that combines activism and policy-making. Revitalizing a venerable organization takes bulldog determination, says Nekima Levy-Pounds, the new president of the Minneapolis NAACP. That’s exactly the quality the organization’s first all- female elected board of directors has in abundance. In a special election in May – held because the Minneapolis branch had gone virtually dormant – NAACP members elected Levy-Pounds, first vice president Natonia Johnson, second vice president Cathy Jones, treasurer Helen Bassett, secretary Kerry Jo Felder, assistant treasurer Ashley Oliver and assistant secretary Bertha Daniels. The women didn’t run together as a slate. Continue Reading

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Do online petitions make a difference?

There are notable successes: after 300,000 people signed a petition opposing Bank of America’s enactment of a monthly fee on its debit cards, the bank dropped them. Although petition asking that charges be dropped against a woman named Julie Bass for growing vegetables in her front yard garnered a relatively modest 31,000 signatures, it was enough to persuade Oak Park, Michigan authorities to drop the case.According to CNN, more than one million people have signed NAACP and petitions in the wake of George Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing. Both petitions ask that the U.S. Department of Justice file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.Overall, how successful are online petitions? Are there petitions that are legally binding? I’m working on a story about online petitions to be published within the next few weeks. Continue Reading

Minneapolis NAACP changes leadership to a “younger model”

In 2004 when Duane Reed was recruited as president of the NAACP, he made a commitment to the community to serve two years. Reed says he has never been able to say no when it comes to helping out in his community, but after retiring from the corporate world he thought he would have time to do the things he enjoyed most, like spending time with his grandkids and fishing. However, as president of the Minneapolis NAACP, Reed said, “Two years became four; Four years was not going to become six.”
Just last year, the national NAACP changed leadership to what Reed describes as a “younger model” in appointing 35-year-old Benjamin T. Jealous as their president. Years before this occurrence, Reed began mentoring Booker Hodges, now 31, in preparation for leadership of Minneapolis branch of the organization. Only after accepting the appointment did Reed realized how taxing a position it was. Continue Reading