Breakfasting with Alondra Cano: Lots of work ahead on racial and environmental justice in Minneapolis’ 9th ward

In January, Alondra Cano officially started her new job as the council member representing the 9th Ward of Minneapolis. She said the work actually started the evening she was elected. Her phone began ringing and people began asking her to listen to them. As she started to make decisions she thought a lot about the responsibility and opportunity she had worked so hard for, and the trust so many people had put in her.

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The story of MayDay – 39 inevitable miracles

Is the MayDay Parade and Ceremony an unlikely miracle, or is it inevitable that something like this would emerge from this particular community? Most of the people I asked this replied with some variation of “a little bit of both!” On the one hand, it’s unique, and so powerful compared to the perceived resource and power of this poor-to-middling cluster of neighborhoods, but on the other hand, people in South Minneapolis have a hard time imagining their lives without it.

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Latino community leaders discuss work and organizing

Worker’s rights and immigration reform, the role of organizers in the community, and building connections among organizations were all part of the discussion at the January 22 Organizer Roundtable. Organizers from the Latino community gathered  at St. Paul’s Rondo Library for the Latinos in Action roundtable hosted by the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. Joan Vanhala, Coalition Organizer with the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, said “I believe there is some very dynamic organizing work and political work being done in the Latino community that needs to be highlighted more. And, also, … I found today the Latino community itself wants to come together and think big picture about their future and work together to make it happen.”Gloria Castillo, a panelist and community organizer with La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, added “I think these conversations need to keep happening, keep discussing how we can work together for a better community. Continue Reading

Why the Red Hot Art & Music Festival is better than the Powderhorn, Loring, and Uptown Art Fairs combined

Every year at around this time I consider the possibility of skipping the Powderhorn Art Fair for something more enjoyable, and every year I go to Powderhorn anyway despite myself, without knowing why. I don’t like the Powderhorn/ Loring/ Uptown Art Fairs, and it took me a really long time to feel comfortable admitting that out loud. I was an actual vendor at Powderhorn on a day so hot I was dripping from places I didn’t realize had sweat glands; it was miserable, but I live five blocks away so I have no excuse for not going. I’ve also worked the Red Hot Art & Music Festival and it isn’t hard to see that events are vastly different—and even on a sweltering summer day, it’s clear that one is significantly better than the others.Fair warning: as in my Bastille Day post, the following opinions may not agree with others’, but I won’t be pulling any punches with this one and I’m going to start at what I perceive to be the beginning. This is gonna be a long one.THE NAME: From this point on I’m going to be referring to the Powderhorn/ Loring/ Uptown debacle as the Twin Cities Art Fair because that’s what it is. Continue Reading

MayDay Festival 2013 preview

This year’s parade starts at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 5, on 25th street, in South Minneapolis between Cedar and Bloomington Avenues, and heads along Bloomington to Powderhorn Park (where the festival begins at 3). The 2013 theme, “See the World,” is inspired by a cantastoria (sung story) called “Hallelujah” from Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont. (Fun fact: they’re one of the oldest puppet theaters in the country, and it’s their 50th anniversary this year.) According to HOBT, “Hallelujah” is “a painfully honest and simple story about how our actions affect our beautiful world.”Despite fears that the theater’s budget wouldn’t allow for funding of the MayDay Festival this year, the festivities are on for May 5, 2013. But with a 33.3% budget reduction for MayDay from previous years, HOBT Artistic Director Sandy Spieler is appealing for public support. (Sandy’s plea generated a lot of comments about the cumbersome nature of donating on HOBT’s website, so here’s an easier way.) Budget woes aside, the 39th MayDay seems to be on track in the creative department. Continue Reading

The Powderhorn Art Fair turns 21 this year

Summer is art fair season in Minnesota and the Powderhorn Art Fair, now in its 21st year, should be on the top of your “to do” list. The Fair will run August 4-5, with booths spread throughout the 66-acre Powderhorn Park, in the heart of the city. Continue Reading

Help make MayDay

MayDay for 37 years has always been the first Sunday in May. For 2012, the 38th MayDay, the date is May 6. MayDay is the collective product of a very large and diverse community. It is many people assisting in a common celebration of spring and each other. Continue Reading