Monthly Archives: December 2012

Lawyers’ committee submits testimony to senate hearing: ‘Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline’

 

By Lawyers’ Committee staff

Contributing Writers

 

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) applauds Senator Richard J. Durbin for convening the important hearing “Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline” before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights on December 12. This hearing will expose the deep inequality in disciplinary practices plaguing our public schools and its damaging effects on our youth. The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the practice of pushing students out of the classroom and into the justice system through use of harsh exclusionary discipline policies. Within the past two decades, many schools have increased their reliance on law enforcement officers and exclusionary policies, such as out-of-school suspension and expulsion, as a means of reducing school disruption. As a result, too many of our most vulnerable youth find themselves excluded from the classroom setting, arrested, and/or referred to juvenile court for what might be viewed as common misbehavior. Continue Reading →

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A nation in pain, a nation whose heart is broken again

When news began to flash across the airways Friday, December 14, that a tragedy was taking place in Newtown, CT, the magnitude and the heartbreak of this violent and insane action began to sink in. Twenty of the 26 lost lives were six- and seven-year-old children dying from multiple gun shots from an assault/combat rifle. This incident caused me to pause and relook at what to write for this end-of-year/looking-forward-to-the-future column, especially in terms of the tragedies in Minneapolis’ African American communities in terms of education, jobs, housing and getting caught holding the bag to pay for a stadium neither the state nor city can afford. In terms of school shootings, we remember Virginia Tech; Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation; Springfield, OR; Columbine, CO; Jonesboro, AR; Blacksburg, VA.; and 1927 Michigan: 45 killed, mostly children. Recent school killings have also been in Norway; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Sana’a, Yemen. Continue Reading →

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Child protection laws should better protect parents and children

For the last decade, I have watched the erosion within the judicial system concerning Children and Family Services’ child protection department. With few options, low budgets and stringent timeline laws, more single mothers and families are being required to sign over custody of their children or suffer the consequences. The purpose of child protection was initially meant to protect at-risk children, removing them in only the worst-case scenario, offering services to rectify whatever problems and address challenges needed to be met, with reunification being the end result.

In the last 10 years, new laws were enacted to limit time for reunification to six months for newborns and toddlers, and one year for all other children under the age of 18. This would seem a considerable amount of time for anyone who has not experienced the wrath of the child protection system, with its sometimes unrelenting hold over one’s life with guardians ad litem, who speak for the children and are unpaid volunteers. In fact, more and more women are being required to turn their children over as a ward of the state if there is no family to take the children. Continue Reading →

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Young White men in crisis: Race, gender link mass shooters

The most recent massacre, the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, took the lives of six- and seven-year-olds. It has shaken our nation to its core. The enormity of this devastation is incalculable. There are the small coffins of the victims killed during a holiday season at a tender age. It is also the death of the safety of a Norman Rockwellian belief in a perfect community. Continue Reading →

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This Week’s Entertainment Spotlights

Ray Covington

Fri., Dec. 28, 9:30 pm
Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill
761 Washington Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-8188
or www.bunkersmusic.com
Cover is $7. Sat., Dec. 29, 9:30 pm: Chase and the Ovation:the music of Prince
Cover is $7. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities Black Film Festival founder on 10 years of stars and screenings

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Ten years ago, Natalie Morrow wanted to establish an annual Black film screening event on the comparable level as similar events held in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Since then, the Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) has been held each September in such places as Augsburg College (twice), at downtown hotels and once at now-vacant Block E. Stars such as Nate Parker, cinema icons such as Pam Grier and countless screenwriters, directors and documentary producers have been special guests over the years as well. Among this year’s 14-film festival September 27-30 at St. Anthony Main Theatre included a tribute to the late Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard), two unheralded 1970s classics (The Spook Who Sat by the Door and Black Brigade), a documentary on the final season of sports at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and a comedy filmed in the Twin Cities. “I’m happy that I am still on the right track in selecting the right films,” says Morrow in an interview with the MSR.

High Card Trumps, a six-minute film, was among several shorts shown at this year’s TCBFF. Continue Reading →

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Sports highlights, plus banished words of 2012

Two members of our MSR sports experts’ panel recently released their 2012 best sports stories. Nate Parham of Swish Appeal places at the top of his list the Indiana Fever winning the 2012 WNBA championship. “I think Tamika Catchings [the finals MVP] has done so much for women’s basketball…throughout her career. I think the entire women’s basketball world was rooting for her to win a championship. People are comparing it to LeBron James [winning his first NBA title this year].”

Baylor’s undefeated season “obviously was a huge story,” Parham says. Continue Reading →

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Just the facts! A lack of diversity in Minnesota sports

I hope you had a great Christmas. This time of year grips me like you cannot imagine. It’s a time of joy and reflection. I have taken to social media at FitzBeatSr., my Twitter handle. No Facebook for me. Continue Reading →

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