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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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Program offers safe refuge for Black women living with HIV/AIDS

Shanasha Whitson

Shanasha Whitson is the WILLOW program coordinator at the Minnesota African American AIDS Task Force (AAATF). WILLOW, which has been around for three years, used to be a four-week program. It was formed by women who are HIV positive for other women who are HIV positive. Continue Reading →

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Forum to challenge the education status quo

Mahmoud El-Kati

A forum on addressing how to better educate Black children is scheduled for April 20 in North Minneapolis. BEST Academy Founder and CEO Eric Mahmoud is the expected keynote speaker at “The Education of Our Children in the 21st Century” at BEST Academy, located in the former Lincoln Middle School building on 2131 12th Avenue North. The free public event from six to nine pm is sponsored by the Sankofa Series, a local grassroots organization.
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Youth-police relations subject of St. Paul gathering

Youth2

While officers voiced opinions of the lack of respect by young citizens of the Twin Cities, teens voiced similar frustration with their peers. Young men and women spoke up about being stereotyped and falsely profiled. Continue Reading →

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Seward Coop names new manager for ‘Friendship’ store

Raynardo Williams

Seward Coop founded their first store in 1972 on Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis. In their long history, much like many of the Minnesota food coops, very few people of color, including African Americans, have worked in their stores as managers. Currently, after over 40-plus years, Seward Coop has hired Raynardo Williams, a 35-year-old African American born and raised in St. Paul, to manage their second location, which is under construction on 38th Street across from Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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Conferees defend all citizens’ voting rights

Keith Mayes

The struggle for democracy by Blacks for most of this country’s history has included the right to vote, a right that according to some is still being challenged. “Democracy is under siege,” proclaims U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). He and U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) held forums in North Minneapolis and Madison, Wisconsin on their constitutional Right to Vote Amendment.
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