Monthly Archives: February 2013

Living, surviving and thriving with a disability Bring the disability skeleton out of the closet

What is a disability? This is a multifaceted question. My opinion: A disability alters the “natural” or “normal” state of something or someone. The qualifier for this is who is defining “natural or normal states,” and how the definitions are received and applied by the public. My disability: partial paralysis of my left side, to which most people would apply the above definition. Continue Reading →

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Do you know how to respond to a mental-health crisis?

Mental Health First Aid provides the needed skills
By Vickie Evans-Nash

MSR Editor-in-Chief

First aid and CPR classes have been taught across the nation for years now, giving people with no medical training lifesaving skills in the event of a medical crisis. People suffering from mental health problems can pose a life-threatening crisis as well. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota offers lay people a class called Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) that will give them the skills needed to respond in cases of a mental-health crisis. “In a similar way to how regular first aid teaches people BAC (breathing, airway and circulation), in mental health first aid there’s an acronym ALGEE. It stands for assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen non-judgmentally, get appropriate information and support, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage appropriate self-help,” explains Anna McLafferty, the course instructor. Continue Reading →

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Crutchfield among ‘Top 100 Newsmakers’

Minnesota doctor Charles E. Crutchfield III has been selected by “The Grio,” a division of NBC News, as one of the “Top 100 Newsmakers Making History in the United States 2013”  for Black History Month. Former honorees  include Michelle Obama, Beyoncé Adrian Peterson, Tyler Perry, Neil deGrasse Tyson (physicist and astronomer), Susan Rice, LeVar Burton, Robert Griffin III, Gabby Douglas, Maya Rudolph, Keith Ellison, Tyra Banks, Rihanna, Quvenzhane Wallis, Ken Williams (general manager, Chicago White Sox), Wynton Marsalis, Charles Bolden, LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey. Continue Reading →

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U of M honors late MSR senior sportswriter

Kwame McDonald was highly regarded as educator, activist and friend to many

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team honored the late Kwame McDonald during halftime of Sunday’s Gophers-Illinois contest. The MSR senior sports columnist passed away of cancer on October 26, 2011 at age 80. A crowd of 14,625 gave McDonald, veteran Nathan Thomas, and Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Hiram Mann a standing ovation after the team’s public address announcer Dick Jonckowski read aloud each man’s accomplishments during Sunday’s “Celebrate Black History Month” ceremony. “I was so pleased to learn that [Gopher] Athletics wanted to do something for Black History Month, and they wanted to honor these individuals,” said Minnesota Assistant Vice President of Equity and Diversity Rickey Hall. Continue Reading →

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Haiti’s LGBTQ-accepting Vodou societies


As I celebrate Black History Month, I’d like to recognize one of my indigenous West African ancestral religions that’s not homophobic — even if some of the practitioners are. To the disbelief of many — it’s Vodun. Haitian Vodou is an ancestral folk religion whose tenets have always been queer-friendly, accepting people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions. It’s just one of the religions brought to the New World by the African Diaspora, but there is no religion that frightens and fascinates the world over as much as Vodou. Misconstrued by racist images of zombies rising from graves, jungle drums, cannibalism, orgiastic ceremonies ritualizing malevolent powers of black magic, and by today’s popular culture images courtesy of Hollywood’s and New Orleans’ tourism industry, Vodou is a persecuted and misunderstood religion. Continue Reading →

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Local anti-foreclosure movement put on trial


When Anthony Newby of Occupy Homes MN was brought up on charges recently of assault, disorderly conduct and trespassing for doing absolutely nothing wrong, it made it obvious what the U.S. justice system is really all about and who and what it really represents. Newby’s trial was meant to send the message to the Occupy Movement that if you challenge us and our criminality, we will use the arms of the State to push back. Newby won a partial victory when the disorderly conduct charge was thrown out and he was found not guilty of assault (which incidentally never took place) and charged with trespassing. His trial reinforced the fact that the so-called justice system does not exist to mete out justice, but rather as punishment to those who are very poor, working class, and colored. And, it’s also set up to shut down those who have the nerve to challenge its partners in crime, in this case the economic system. Continue Reading →

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Black History Month Calendar of Events


Through Wed., Feb. 20
Thursday, February 14


7 pm — Saakumu West African Drum and Dance Troupe Performance, Sundin Music Hall, Hamline Univ., 1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul

The Saakumu Drum and Dance Troupe is one of the leading traditional and contemporary dance and music groups in Ghana, West Africa. The group’s repertoire includes a range of spiritual, ceremonial, and contemporary African dance forms.

The performance is free for Hamline students with ID; community members may purchase tickets at the door for $5. For more information, contact Gail Nosek at or call 651-523-2511. Continue Reading →

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President Obama’s visit to discuss gun violence disappoints


What joy and excitement energized the Black community, individuals and organizations alike, anticipating seeing and meeting the first African American president, Barrack Obama, in North Minneapolis when he was in town Monday, February 4 to make a major speech on guns and violence in America. Although disappointed in what the president’s administration has not done for communities of color, and skipping North Minneapolis as a campaigner, expectations still ran high until they gave way to high disappointment when his visit turned out to be a PR drive-by, as his motorcade sped to and from the well-fortified police academy building at 41st and DuPont in North Minneapolis, leaving many bewildered and upset. The gun and crime statistics didn’t match ours of columns past nor address the concerns Harry Belafonte expressed at the February 1 NAACP Awards show: that Black Americans are the “most incarcerated, most unemployed, and most hunted in America,” nor the question Belafonte asked earlier regarding why contemporary discussions continue “to ignore decades of urban gun violence.”

The courtesy and respect denied the community in general spilled over to key leaders such as the Assistant Majority Whip of the Minnesota Senate, who received none of the considerations that should be accorded to a man of his political stature (he stands fifth in the line of succession for governor). One wonders how many were behind Senator Hayden being so disrespected by his own. Senator Hayden is known within the Black community for his significant expertise and experience. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities boys’ crown up for grabs

At the present time, it’s anybody’s guess who will represent the Minneapolis and St. Paul City Conferences in the Twin Cities boys’ basketball game next month. While St. Paul is in a three-way tie with Highland Park (led by DION BRADLEY), St. Paul Central (led by MARKUS TAYLOR-KNIGHTEN), and defending champion Johnson (led by QUASHINGM SMITH-PUGH), each suffering one conference loss, the city’s counterpart across the river is in a similar situation. Continue Reading →

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