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Mpls NAACP elections result in all-women leadership

Caption: New Minneapolis NAACP officials (l-r) Ashley Oliver, Kerry Jo Felder, Helen Bassett, Cathy Jones, Nekima Levy Pounds, Natonia Johnson, Shirlynn LaChappelle and Wintana Melekin

The new Minneapolis NAACP leadership signals “a turning point” after an historic all-women slate was elected in a special election last Saturday, May 2.
Last weekend’s event at NorthPoint Health and Wellness drew nearly 100 persons, and the lobby had a precinct caucus feel with many lobbying for St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, who announced her branch president candidacy days earlier.
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UPDATED: Northside schools create partnership for student success

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A new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focus will be fully introduced this fall at both North Community High School and, a few blocks away, at the “new” Franklin Middle School. North Principal Shawn Harris-Berry and Franklin Principal Karon Cunningham are working collaboratively across the schools.
There was a strong relationship back in the ‘80s and the ‘90s” between the two schools, recalls Harris-Berry, a 27-year Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) veteran. Since then, however, both schools have undergone major changes. North now is a “small college-preparatory” high school with nearly 300 students. Continue Reading →

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School dean stands in the gap for students of color

Keary Saffold

“Black Lives Matter” is resonating in our nation and is bringing awareness to the changes needed to address many systemic barriers. For Keary Wayne Saffold, it is music to his ears. For the last 13 years he has dedicated his life to ensuring that every child hears that they matter.
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PHOTOS: The Facing Race Ambassador Awards

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The Facing Race Ambassador Awards took place Tuesday, April 28, honoring the racial equity work of Nekima Levy-Pounds, law professor and civil rights activist, and Lucila Dominguez of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) — in English, Center of Workers United. Continue Reading →

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damali ayo promises humor, stories and love in her Race Ambassador Awards keynote

damali ayo

Speaking to the MSR by phone, keynote speaker ayo said her address will encourage attendees to “shift from a mindset of fear to a mindset of love…love for ourselves and others.” ayo, an activist, conceptual artist, and author of satirical books How to Rent a Negro and Obamistan!, said she was taught and trained from an early age to be an activist by her activist mother. “I often refer to myself as her first foot soldier,” ayo said with a laugh. Continue Reading →

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Mpls advocacy group works to restore ex-felons’ voting rights

(l-r) Mike Griffin and Wintana Melekin of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change

“Forty-seven thousand Minnesotans don’t have the right to vote. They’re tax-paying citizens who have served their time, and they’re out. They’re in our community, they own property. They run businesses. They’re part of our community. And they’re denied the right to vote on Election Day, but they have to pay taxes.”
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