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MPS superintendent bids farewell to all-consuming job

Bernadeia Johnson

She leaves proud of many achievements as ‘a fierce advocate for children’

Among the “frustrating challenges” she often faced during her nearly five years as Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) superintendent was the unfair “characterization” she received from some in the Black community, says Bernadeia Johnson, who announced her resignation last month. Her last day is January 31.
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Mall protester Levy-Pounds vows to fight charges

Nekima Levy-Pounds

Bloomington presses ahead with effort to recover ‘lost revenues’

Despite written pleas by local and national elected officials and a petition with over 40,000 signatures against it, the City of Bloomington has announced it will seek “lost revenues” from 10 people associated with last month’s Black Lives Matter Minneapolis demonstration at the Mall of America.

Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson, who filed charges last week, is seeking restitution, including at least $25,000 in police overtime, stated a Black Lives Matter Minneapolis press release last week.

University of St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the 10 persons charged with up to eight misdemeanors, told the audience at the January 15 Council on Black Minnesotans’ (COMB) Day on the Hill in St. Paul, “I was charged…because I have been outspoken against police misconduct [and] police brutality.” She characterized the action as “prosecutorial overreach and misuse of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Levy-Pounds, in a brief MSR interview after her scheduled appearance at St. Paul’s Christ Lutheran Church, said that the charges against her, if she were found guilty, carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison and an $8,000 fine, which “is retaliatory in nature because I have been outspoken in the media about the tactics being used by Johnson and Mall of America.” Continue Reading →

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From the MSR Legacy Archives: Juvenile Jive Part 2

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What say, swooners and crooners? Well, hep cats, shall we start our weekly debate about those cats that are gruesome and the chicks that rate? Two cats that really rated high Saturday night were Nathan Bonner and Willis Reed who were really digging that jive all right! Continue Reading →

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Bolder Options connects youth with mentors and fitness

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Bolder Options, at 2100 Stevens Avenue South in Minneapolis, has been offering mentoring programs and services to youthful first-time offenders and truant students for more than 20 years. Kari Davis, Bolder Options’ chief operations officer, explained that “We’re an activity-based mentoring program, where we use running, biking and swimming.”

She also said that program participants regularly work with mentors and are required “to do two-to-three activities in order to graduate from the formal mentoring program, and then they transition into our Alumni Leadership Network.”

Davis, originally from Newark and Freehold New Jersey, moved to Minnesota, she

told the MSR, about 22 years ago. Before coming to Bolder Options, she worked in diversity inclusion and as a program officer for the United Way. She served on Bolder Option’s board about 15 years ago and became its COO in the last few years. Davis works very closely with the organization’s president, Darrell Thompson. Continue Reading →

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From the MSR Legacy Archives: Juvenile Jive Part 1

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Creep, leap, holler and wail, cause I am about to begin my tale: There was a jump at Banham’s on Friday night and I mean cats were really jumping…well, all night. Some of the fine feminine were Jean Cannon, Sally Williams, Jane House, and many more fine chicks. Also saw Virginia Beasly, who was looking mighty fine — Jack. Continue Reading →

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Generation Next’s education data reveal no surprises

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We’ve heard it before: Kids of color lag behind Whites

When it comes to Generation Next, partnerships and outreach play a key role in their hoped-for success. “We’re kind of an opt-in effort, and the more folks you get to opt-in the greater [our] likelihood [of success is]” said Jerimiah Ellis in a previous MSR article (“Outreach director brings diversity to Generation Next team: St. Paul NAACP takes a wait-and-see approach on endorsing initiative,” Dec. 25, 2014). What plays into the success of Director of Partnerships and Outreach Jeremiah Ellis? Continue Reading →

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St. Paul YWCA director ends 20 years of service

William Collins

Billy Collins was first male E.D. in St. Paul, second in the nation

William “Billy” Collins soon will begin his next phase of life. The longtime YWCA of St. Paul executive director is set to step down in April after 20 years of service. “I want to get away from working 50-60 hours a week,” admits Collins, promising that although he’s retiring from the Y, he isn’t retiring from being “a presence in the community. Continue Reading →

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