Opportunity and diversity one industry at a time

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator


There is a missing component to the national discussion concerning how to strengthen and rebuild the American economy. It is true that high unemployment, a weak national infrastructure, the need for stronger public education, the concentration of wealth and the deficit are all challenges to the nation’s economy, but being left out of the discussion is the continued economic marginalization of racial and ethnic minorities. The American economy has always been strongest when it’s kept the middle class within reach for most Americans. But with White households holding nearly 20 times the wealth of Black or Latino households, and with rising disparities in unemployment, poverty, and income, the future of the middle class has never looked more uncertain. As the country rapidly becomes majority minority, the nation’s economic well-being is increasingly tied to overcoming racial-economic inequality. Continue Reading →

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Twins outdo Wolves as Whitest pro team in Minnesota


Unless things change, the Minnesota Twins won’t have a single African American player on its opening day roster for the 2013 season. In the span of a week — no pun intended — the team unloaded its last two Black players, outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere, to National League teams. Soon after last season ended, longtime first-base coach Jerry White was let go as well. Up to this point, no one has openly criticized the moves until now: the Twins’ “hot stove” moves left Bernard Walters, MSR’s go-to fan expert, with a cold feeling. “When I looked at the records of these pitchers, only one has a winning record,” he noted after analyzing both the trades. The only result we can be sure of is a Hall and Oates moment for Span (2002) and Revere (2007): They’re gone. Continue Reading →

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Top performers in boys’ hoops

The boys’ basketball season is off and running, and some of the state’s top players are already serving notice that they will be heard from before the season is over. Check out these top performances so far:

QUINTON HOOKER (Park Center) — The leading candidate for Mr. Basketball dropped 26 in a 72-70 victory over top-ranked Apple Valley. TYUS JONES (Apple Valley) — Considered by many as the top junior in the country, the point guard scored 20 in a loss to Park Center. RILEY DEARRING (Minnetonka) — The University of Wisconsin recruit had 16 in a 79-71 win over Robbinsdale Cooper. BRIDGE TUSLER (Osseo) — The all-state football player scored 16 points from his point guard position, helping the Orioles defeat Eastview 50-40. Continue Reading →

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Vikings lean on Peterson in 21-14 win


The Vikings ended a two-game losing streak with 21-14 win over Chicago before 64,134 fans at Mall of America Field Sunday while the first winter storm of 2012 was pounding the area with as much as a foot of snow on the Metrodome roof. The great Adrian Peterson continued his remarkable MVP-like season. His march to glory Sunday came with 154 yards, two touchdowns, and a season-high 31 carries. Most of Peterson’s yards, 104, were in the first quarter, helping the Vikings get off to a fast 14-0 start. And getting the partisan big crowd in the game, he ripped off another big 51-yard run. Continue Reading →

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Overall, hiring of Black college coaches has improved

But there have been setbacks; some still resist transparent coaching searches


The Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA) recently released its 2011-12 “Hiring Report Card for NCAA, FBS and FCS Football Head Coaching Positions.”

According to the BCA, there has been a 600-percent increase in the number of Black coaches at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) from three to an all-time high of 18 at the start of this season. Other good news: The most Black hires ever as head football coaches (28, 61 percent) have occurred in the nine years since the first BCA report card was published. Since the card’s release, Purdue hired its first-ever Black head football coach, and two Black-coached teams faced each other for this year’s Mid American Conference championship, while another (Louisville’s Charlie Strong) finished as a co-champion in his conference. “We have a lot of [Black] coaches being successful,” boasted BCA Executive Director Floyd Keith during a phone interview with the MSR.

The bad news, however, is that only six Blacks were hired during the 2011-12 hiring cycle out of 39 openings. And two Black coaches have been dismissed, including Jon Embree in Colorado after just two seasons. Continue Reading →

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Documentary confronts us with the grim realities of Black AIDS

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Released earlier this year, Endgame: AIDS in Black America (PBS-DVD), produced and directed by Renata Stone for WGBH/FRONTLINE, is an important documentary for the subject alone, keeping up awareness of a medical crisis many choose not to think about, much less candidly discuss. Stone also is producer of The Age of AIDS 2006’s award-winning FRONTLINE (PBS). Endgame brings sobering information. One bit of unwelcome news: Phill Wilson, head of the Black AIDS Institute, states at a World AIDS Day convention, “If Black America was a country unto itself, it would have the 16th worse epidemic in the world. Today in America, two-thirds of new cases of HIV among women will be Black… Seventy percent of the new HIV cases of youth will be Black.”

These facts alone are compelling reason to know more about the health issue of HIV than simply because you don’t want to catch it. Continue Reading →

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Media justice activists develop racial equity pledge


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Nearly 50 persons attended “A Gathering for Media Justice” held last weekend at Hamline University for community members and local non-mainstream media representatives. Sponsored by Community Action Against Racism (CAAR), Main Street Project and KFAI-FM, the December 8 half-day “conversation-based” event discussed media justice issues with an emphasis on local mainstream media coverage of communities of color. “People came [to the Saturday event] because they have a real hunger to see things different,” said Main Street Project Community Organizer Danielle Mikali. “I think oftentimes we feel frustrated and we don’t know where to turn. “As a media justice organizer, but also as an African American woman and mother, too often I don’t necessary know where to look in terms of the really great independent media outlets that are sharing stories,” Mikali said of the various local media that were represented at last Saturday’s event: the Cities’ two Black newspapers, the Twin Cities Daily Planet “and even cable — there were some cable access show hosts that were here,” noted Mikali. Continue Reading →

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When good people essentially do nothing

Power, politics, and policy and the influence they have over African American people

According to Pastor Terrance Jacobs, former director with the Gamaliel Organization who was appointed to Africa, power is the concentration of “organized people and organized money” (taken from the Alinsky model). Pastor Jacobs went on to explain, at the Minneapolis Neighborhood Hub’s Health Disparities training that was held in late October, that a state of powerlessness is a sin! My interpretation of his remark is that there is a whole lot of sin going around in Minnesota! In that one instance he essentially declared that seeking power is not a bad thing. Yet many of us have formed opinions about power to the effect that it is bad, that we don’t need too much of it,  and that anyone seeking too much power should be watched closely. Continue Reading →

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Enjoy your holidays in moderation, and stay motivated


The holidays are in full swing! Christmas parties at work, family gatherings, and a host of other events are filled with sweet treats — I love the holidays and the spirit that they bring, but my waistline doesn’t love the sweet treats (or maybe it loves them too much). Every year, the holidays present us with the challenge of maintaining a healthy weight or maintaining a weight-loss program. I’m going to share with you how to make workouts a priority with a busier schedule, when and when not to indulge, and staying motivated throughout the holidays. This time of year is my favorite by far. Continue Reading →

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Miss Black MN USA crowns two young queens


Krystle Igo-Ogbonna was crowned 2013 Miss Black Minnesota USA on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at the Hopkins Community Center Eisenhower Theater. At the same event, Shamerah Norman was crowned 2013 Miss Black Minnesota USA Talented Teen. Both young women will represent Minnesota at the 2013 Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant. Krystle is the daughter of Gladys O. Igbo and the late George Ogbonna. She currently resides in St. Continue Reading →

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