Best of Neighborhood News 12/23: MN cities score well for LGBTQ equality

Twin Cities score 100 for LGBTQ equality

The Column reports that Minneapolis and St. Paul received the highest possible scores for LGBTQ equality, according to data from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul each scored 100 points, the highest possible score. The average score for U.S. Cities was 56; all Minnesota cities scored above average. Continue Reading

Transit time hinders upward mobility

Community members, along with leadership from Neighbors Organizing for Change (NOC), Take Action Minnesota, ISAIAH, and several State representatives presented the report It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and Its Racial Implications, which was written by The Center for Popular Democracy, along with additional assistance from local partners. It highlights the racial disparities in the transit system and adds that extra time spent on commuting actually hinders people’s ability to lift themselves out of poverty. Anthony Newby, the executive director of Neighbors Organizing for Change, cited, “the need for more and better funding to get to the heart of racial disparity in transit.” All public transit users spend more time than drivers on their commute alone, but black and Latino transit users spend the equivalent of 3.5 weeks of work more than white drivers on their commute. A May 7th New York Times article reported that commuting time is the single strongest factor that changes the odds of escaping poverty. Continue Reading

Fire devastates West Broadway businesses, upstairs housing units

A Wednesday (April 15) early morning fire roared through a row of businesses and residences leaving many homeless and one high profile community organization in search of new operating facilities. The fire that started in the UnBank, a check cashing business located at 913 W. Broadway in north Minneapolis, quickly spread to neighboring businesses and second floor apartments in the connected row of the 900 block of West Broadway Avenue. The first call to the fire department came in around 8:30 a.m. and by 9 a.m. the fire had already claimed several of the block’s businesses and apartments. No injuries were reported but there was extensive property damage along the block.In addition to the UnBank, a longtime neighborhood grocery store, Brix, was lost, as was the headquarters to community action group, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC). While the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined, there is speculation that the fire could have been intentional.”All we know is that the scene is under investigation, but some folks on the (fire) department that I talked to said it’s unusual as to how quickly the fire spread and how hot the fire got,” said Anthony Newby, executive director of NOC.Calls to the Minneapolis Fire Department were unreturned.Newby said while his organization is without an office, he’s most concerned with those who are without a home due to the blaze.”Our first concern is for the residents who were living in the apartments on the second story,” said Newby. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.”More than just thoughts and prayers, NOC is sending relief as well. Continue Reading

Rights forum attacks racial income gap

Nearly 200 community members gathered at the Neighborhoods Organizing for Change office for a forum on workers’ rights in Minneapolis and throughout the state, including a need for earned sick and safe time, fair scheduling, a living wage, and ending wage theft on Saturday, February 28. “When I was working at McDonald’s, I had a baby and had to go back to work ten days later or lose my job–even though I had a C-section,” said Octancia Adams, an organizer with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. “They wouldn’t give me paid time off. We need earned sick and safe time for all workers.”Rosa Garcia Perez, a cook at McDonald’s organizing with Centro de Trabajadores Unido en la Lucha (CTUL), spoke about the difficulties of raising a family in a low-wage job. “I have to work the overnight shift by myself–and sometimes I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom or drink water,” said Rosa. “I’m currently four months pregnant, so I need to do both of those things a lot. Continue Reading

Fed Should “Freeze Interest Rates, Involve Citizens” Says Neighborhoods Organizing For Change

Not everybody is benefiting equally from the economic recovery. A new report shows in Minnesota blacks are suffering disproportionally to whites when it comes to employment.Anthony Newby, Executive Director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), delivered a report of about the current economic state of people of color in Minnesota and specifically the current and possible role of the Federal Reserve Bank. The new report from the Center for Popular Democracy says since 2000, wages in Minnesota have declined by 4.5%, current unemployment rate for blacks is 10.9% vs a white rate of 2.8%.This is the link to the full report “Wall Street, Main Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard:Why African Americans Must Not Be Left Out of the Federal Reserve’s Full-Employment Mandate”Newby argues that the Fed in addition to controlling interest rates, can control the rate of unemployment. He and Rev. Paul Slack, ISIAH President, ask that interest rates be kept at the current levels and that the Fed work to reduce unemployment.Why there is a Federal ReserveThe nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics. There had been strong resistance to a central bank since the founding of the nation. Continue Reading

Too hot to learn? Patrick Henry students speak out in Minneapolis

At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, August 27, students spilled out of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, hands waving in front of their faces like makeshift fans. It was hot outside, and maybe even hotter inside Henry’s nearly 100-year-old building.At a press conference called by north Minneapolis non-profit Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), along with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, organizers spoke about how the early start date for Minneapolis schools has impacted students and staff during this late August heat wave.No teachers showed up to speak at the press conference, but students had plenty to say. Sophomore Laura Sosa and her friend, junior Karen Miranda, said the school was “really hot,” which made them “tired” during the school day. Both girls said that some classrooms had temperatures of over 99 degrees, and that teachers “were complaining” about this.Sosa and Miranda also were grateful for the Gatorade-type water jugs provided by the district. Each filled their own water bottles several times during the day with the district-provided water.Also speaking outside the school was freshman Shaheed Bell, who said that the heat made students “not very productive.” Shaheed said that, while he didn’t think the lack of air conditioning was “unfair,” given how old the Henry building is, he does think school should start “after Labor Day.” Bell said it was so hot inside the school that no one could concentrate on their work.Senior Todd Riser also spoke out, saying students were “drowsy,” and “didn’t want to work.” According to Riser, a chemistry teacher told the students that their classroom temperature was “over 100 degrees.” In Riser’s view, such intense heat made it hard to concentrate.Anthony Newby, who is the executive director of NOC, called the press conference to raise awareness of equity issues. Continue Reading