St. Paul cops allegedly taser and arrest black male for sitting in public space

UPDATE: Christopher Lollie, the man identified in the video claims charges against him were dropped. Read more here.A video showing the arrest of a black St. Paul man for allegedly sitting in a public space and refusing to give up his name surfaced yesterday, Aug. 26 — only weeks after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri re-sparked the national debate on race and police profiling.The video, shot by the man’s cellphone, shows his interaction with officers as he attempts to pick up his children from New Horizon Academy in downtown St. Paul. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | You really don’t want to meet the Dicks at Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America

I’m not one to cry. Truth is, I rarely cry, but during a visit to Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America I was literally reduced to tears! The bartender was abusive, abrasive, and mean as HELL. I wasn’t sure why he was in a bad mood, but later found out that it is their “niche” to be mean as spitfire. Were they really trained to treat people like this, to the point of harassment? Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Breaking News! Obama is not a candidate for anything.

Shocking isn’t it? Barack Obama is running for no office, has no expressed political ambitions, and likely will never be a candidate again. But, you would not know it from those who have attacked him personally, often unfairly,  and in some cases with unrelenting scorn.The common allegations claim he is a Communist (and turning our country into a Socialist)  state…was not born an American citizen and is an illegitimate President (yes those guys are still out there)…is a closet Muslim (but still under the influence of Pastor Wright)… that he is an agent of the Anti-Christ … and there is even a tiny “impeach” contingent that works tirelessly on their fruitless agenda. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Why I’m Addressing Racial Justice in my Ward 3 Campaign

When Cam Gordon and some other Green Party members approached me about running for city council in Ward 3, I was hesitant. I had run for city council before with another third party, the Citizens Party, back in the 1980’s. At that time I was running against what felt like a Chicago-style political machine, run by Walter Dziedzic who served innumerable council terms in Ward 1. I recall, and not with fondness, the poor treatment I received running in a 3rd party in a DFL-controlled city, locked out of debate forums, dismissed by the media, and the thought of going through that again was not high on my list. But, now with Ranked Choice Voting and so many years of community engagement and experience behind my belt, I acquiesced to the idea of giving it another shot, believing in myself as a well qualified and credible candidate. Now in Ward 3, 2013, I find myself running against two machines, the old guard DFL machine of the incumbent and the slick, new guard machine of the DFL endorsed candidate. The dual machine politicos combined have sunk close to a quarter of a million dollars into their campaigns. Continue Reading

“Don’t Buy Miss Saigon” unity rally, in pictures

Artists, organizers, and community members convened in a unity gathering in downtown St. Paul’s Rice Park last Tuesday, to bring attention to what they see as racially offensive imagery and messaging in the play “Miss Saigon,” which was touring at the Ordway Theater earlier this month. A coalition of Asian American organizers and allies have brought together artists, activists and community members over the past several weeks to bring local, and even national, attention to the problematic play. The Facebook page for the event reads, “‘Don’t Buy Miss Saigon’ Coalition has been organizing against the stereotypes and misconceptions perpetuated by the production of Miss Saigon and the fact that it has come back to the Ordway for the third time. The Coalition has created the October 8 event as an opportunity for local Asian Americans and our allies to come together in solidarity and to share our own truth about what it means to be Asian American.”Above are some pictures taken by community organizer, Xay Yang, and the event’s photographer, Anna Min. Yang said the event was very well attended. “It was intergenerational and people were mobilized and energized. The organizers were strategic in their planning and had put in so much passion into this. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | We all deserve better than the Ordway’s Miss Saigon

I am a Vietnamese American woman, born and raised in Minnesota. I am friends with some of the protesters of Miss Saigon as well as a few members of the cast and crew of the show – this includes one of my best friends. At my wedding last year, she played an original song she surprised me with many years ago; she remains the first and only person to ever write me a song. I both love and respect her more than I can say. I emphasize this so you know I have spent a great deal of time doing my best to listen, understand, and empathize with everyone involved in the Miss Saigon controversy. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Ordway Center’s Miss Saigon: The show must go on

On September 22, 2013, the Ordway Center hosted a Cultural Conversation about their up and coming musical Miss Saigon, which is about a young vietnamese prostitute falling love with an America G.I. during the Vietnam War. This conversation was moderated by Hamline professor Colleen Bell, and education and programming staff of the Ordway Center. The purpose of this community conversation was to “provide a framework for understanding conflict in the arts.” Throughout the conversation, the facilitator directed the conversation to different topics such as the value of Miss Saigon, education, and responsibility as viewers. It was a great conversation that the Ordway Center organized for the community. The only problem was that the community was nowhere to be found.With the Asian American community hurt and angry about the Ordway Center’s decision to continue showing Miss Saigon,  you’d think that the Ordway Center would do its best to reach out and invite Asian immigrantsor Asian American leaders or organizations to their ‘community conversation.’ But as I walked into the room, I quickly realized that out of the 50 or more people that were there, I was one out of five Asian Americans/ immigrants present. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Miss America win, not a win for me

This past week, Nina Davuluri won the coveted Miss America title. Being the first Indian American to win in a historically racist and exclusive pageant, Nina’s win sparked racist tweets and backlash because she was deemed “un-American.” In online conversations, the topic that has been brought up quite a bit is that this is a sign of progress for women of color. Many of my friends believe that this Miss America win for Davuluri is a win for all of us, but how and why would we look to a pageant to indicate progress for all of us? Yes, she is the first Asian Indian woman to win, and surely little girls around the US can say “Hey, I can be exactly like her when I grow up. I can do it too,” but does this exactly signify change for women of color or empower us?No. Continue Reading