Best of Neighborhood News 10/31: Minnesota Black Author’s Expo connects Black writers and showcases new voices

De’Vonna Pittman, author and CEO at The Haven Publishing, and Jasmine Tane’t Boudah, author of Mothering Through Pain and Suffering in Silence, teamed up last year to offer a space for black literature artists to showcase their work, make connections and express their creativity to a wide audience. This year the MBAE is back in a larger space to give Black authors a place to share their art and talk to the community. This project comes in response to the lack of accessibility in the publishing world to new authors, especially women authors of color. “When we support Black authors, we support Black families, and that is a revolutionary act in the face of oppression and racism,” said Pittman. “The expo is an excellent networking event for the community, and people are looking forward to connecting with one another.”

Find the whole story at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/27: Bell Museum exhibit features Ojibwe and Dakota voiceovers

At the newly renovated and reopened Bell Museum, the voices of Ojibwe and Dakota children inform about natural science dioramas, depicting nature scenes from around Minnesota. The inclusion of these voices was intentional, hoping to showcase the persisting existence of these languages in the face of cultural destruction through colonization. “They chose the words for the conversation,” said Cindy Ward-Thompson, Bdote Learning Center founder and current director. “We used a lot of children in the process because we wanted to show others that Dakota and Ojibwe are still vibrant spoken languages and that the language is alive in children as well as elders.”

Read more at The Circle. Creative writing space uplifts Black and POCI voices

Black Lines Matter is a project of Black Table Arts, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for Black and POCI individuals to have their creative expression centered and uplifted. Continue Reading

Restoring an echo of humanity for inmates through a different kind of public health

Erin Sharkey is preparing for a nature writing course she will offer at the Faribault Correctional Facility, a medium security prison. “It would be great to be able to have people spend time in nature when they are thinking and writing about nature,” said Sharkey. As a local artist, writer and instructor at the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Sharkey would like to bring in sensory-rich objects, such as leaves, as a writing prompt for the students. But, she is not allowed to take a leaf inside the prison so she brings pictures of leaves. The everyday struggle to maintain one’s humanity inside Minnesota prisons remains largely out of sight. Continue Reading