Monthly Archives: February 2014

Civil rights report highlights across-the-board disparities

Education gaps, high incarceration strongly impacts Black unemployment
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The “intolerably high unemployment rates” for Blacks in Minnesota has been oft-discussed in recent years, but a new Minnesota State Advisory Committee report on unemployment disparities provided a further analysis on the issue. “There have been previous reports that focus on unemployment disparities,” noted University of St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds on “Unemployment Disparity in Minnesota,” released in December by the Minnesota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The report provided “an in-depth analysis” on several areas that has impacted Blacks in Minnesota, such as arrest records and criminal justice contacts, access to capital for Black-owned businesses, and lack of access to government contracts. The report also “looked at disparities across the board facing African Americans so that we can paint a more complete picture on how many of these systems interact and collective impact that these systems have on the African American community,” she pointed out. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

White students’ discrimination complaints at MCTC create atmosphere of censorship

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Some believe that the administrative decision surrounding a Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) English professor who received a reprimand last year may have “far-reaching ramifications” for academic freedom. Shannon Gibney was reprimanded by MCTC last fall after students in her Mass Communications class formally complained to officials that she “offended them” during a discussion on racism. In a letter sent to all

Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF) members dated January 21, Liberal Arts Vice-President Damon Kapke wrote, “The MSCF is deeply concerned” after Gibney’s appeal was denied by the MnSCU System Office. Gibney is Black, and reportedly the students who charged her with discrimination were White. Kapke continued, “The actions taken against Ms. Gibney by her administration undermine the time-honored concept of academic freedom, the right of faculty to teach within their subject areas in an atmosphere of free intellectual inquiry without undue pressure from their administrations or outside groups that might find the lessons counter to their interests. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

St. Cloud leaders embrace the area’s growing diversity

Acknowledging the city’s ‘devastating’ history may help it leave ugly past behind
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis admits that although his city has changed in recent years, the past can’t be ignored. During a scheduled speaking appearance at a local breakfast last month on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the three-term mayor apologized for the city’s racial discrimination history. In an MSR interview last week at his City Hall office, Mayor Kleis told us, “The night before I was at the NAACP Freedom dinner, somebody at the event mentioned [to me] the editorial” written by St. Cloud State University Professor Christopher Lehman and published that day in the city’s daily newspaper. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

This Week’s Entertainment Spots

 

 

Habib Koité and Bamada

 

Sun., Feb. 23, 7 pm

 

The Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis

 

Go to www.thecedar.org or call

 

612-338-2674

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannibal Buress

Sat., Feb. 22, 7 and 10 pm

The Varsity Theater, 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis

Go to www.varsitytheater.org or call 612-604-0222

 

 

 

RJ and the Soul

With the Morning Kings

Thu., Feb. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Feed the children

Anybody with half a brain — or rather half a heart — knows that the U.S. is not what it portends to be, not even close. But the hypocrisy kind of rolls along as the worst of this very inhumane system posing as the best that humanity has to offer is usually kept just out of sight. Every once in a while you hear something or see something or something is revealed that exposes our society for what it really is. But what are we to expect? We have built a society on the very worst of human impulses: “Me first, get all you can, blame the victim, ignore the poor. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

A reappointment that is a mistake

Velma Korbel to again head Dept. of Civil Rights
 

Velma Korbel’s reappointment by newly elected Mayor Betsy Hodges to continue as Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) director is a huge mistake that nonetheless exposes the city culture we have long reported: that city government, regardless of who is in charge, is a culture opposed to diversity (the silence on this by the DFL, churches, foundations, and Black nonprofits places them in the same culture). Shamefully, leading Black organizations participate in this culture as they compete for their share of the spoils at the expense of those they are supposed to serve and represent. Velma Korbel’s reappointment continues a departmental disaster going back through two permanent directors and one interim director. The African American community will continue to be ill served as seen by the 99 percent White work force of the Vikings stadium. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

The Constitution contains roadmap to Black prosperity

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jessica Wright

Guest Commentator

 

When the United States Constitution was created, it was an instrument that was not enacted to advance people of color. People of color were never meant to benefit from the Constitution. We were thought to be too ignorant to interpret the meanings of the Bill of Rights and the amendments. I have been studying the United States Constitution for over a year and it is my own opinion that our prosperity lies within the bounds of the Constitution. If the Constitution were in fact studied, poured over and well thought and applied to the many struggles we face and have always faced — such as racism, discrimination, inequality and segregation — w could change all of these circumstances significantly and flourish. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Black History Month: now more than ever

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering.” — Lonnie Bunch, founding director, National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

Ever since the 2009 election of Barack Obama as America’s first Black president and the 100th anniversary of the National Urban League in 2010, the perennial debate about the need for Black History Month has intensified. Some have questioned the need for a special month to recognize the many unknown and unsung achievements of African Americans. With Obama as president, the logic goes, we have now achieved Dr. King’s dream of a non-racial America where everyone is judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I wish it were so. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

‘I’ll Fly Away’: Soul singer Jayanthi Kyle uses her talent to comfort mourning families

 

 

By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer

 

“There are funerals where they bring out a boombox and it’s so impersonal. It doesn’t honor or celebrate the person. It doesn’t touch souls the way live music can, the way a live human being could move with the spirit of the room, the feelings people are having, and pick up on that energy,” shares Jayanthi Kyle reflecting on what inspires her emerging work of singing at funerals. Kyle now offers the healing power of song to families who are celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed on. Kyle’s experience as a young woman in many ways prepared her for this work. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,