Recent Articles

Students tour southern Black colleges

St. Paul church celebrates 10 years of HBCU campus visits
By Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

Contributing Writer

Last month, St. Paul’s Progressive Baptist Church (PBC) sent 68 youth on a tour to visit seven Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the South. PBC is celebrating their 10th anniversary in providing youth with educational opportunities that instill an appreciation for their heritage, culture and aspirations to pursue higher education after high school. Students from 31 schools took part in the tour along with two nurses, one photographer, one security person and 16 chaperones. Continue Reading →

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Hayden-Champion ethics delayed

Republicans defend complaints; accused deny charges
By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer


After the second hearing as part of the ethics complaint against Democratic State Senators Jeff Hayden and Bobby Champion, the process has been placed on hold. The complaint, filed by six Republican Senators on September 24, consists of two major allegations:

The first reads, “According to a Star Tribune article dated September 12, 2014 (“North Side school effort called failure”), Sen. Hayden and Sen. Bobby Jo Champion ‘threatened to withhold state aid if the Minneapolis school district did not approve the contract [for a project with Community Standards Initiative (CSI)].’”

The second part of the complaint concerns allegations that “Sen. Hayden participated in the misuse of federal, state and local funding by accepting trips and other perks such as per diem as a member of the Board of Community Action Minneapolis.”

The first of two probable cause hearings to date was held by the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct on October 23. Much of that hearing centered on concerns that the Minneapolis/CSI portion of the complaint was founded on reporting by the Star Tribune that relied on unnamed sources. DFL Senator Tony Lourey at that hearing criticized the Republicans who brought the complaint for relying purely on unsourced media accounts, and for not doing their own preliminary investigation. We asked Senators David Hann, Michelle Benson, and David Thompson to elaborate on their decision to go forward with the ethics complaint on that basis. Continue Reading →

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Pilot program outfits 36 Mpls cops with body cams

More police ‘accountability and transparency’ are hoped-for outcomes

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Minneapolis City and police officials pledge that the body camera pilot program now in effect will “enhance transparency and accountability.” Mayor Betsy Hodges, both during her election campaign and after taking office, has advocated the body camera use by police. Since last Friday, 36 Minneapolis police officers from the First, Fourth and Fifth precincts have been wearing body cameras during their on-duty shifts. Police Chief Janeé Harteau told the MSR at the November 7 City Hall press conference, when asked if the cameras will help improve strained relations between her department and the Black community, “I would think it would be an absolute help to be able to capture the officers’ interactions with the public.”

Two different camera types will be used in the pilot program. Officials believe that because of Minnesota’s typical unpredictable weather, this is a good time to test them. Minneapolis is one of the northernmost cities to use body cameras. Continue Reading →

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Raid a diva’s closet to boost self-esteem


Mentoring program helps girls dress for success
Raiding a DIVA’s Closet (www.projectdivas.com) is an excellent example of communal self-empowerment, benefitting the public at large and an imperiled group in specific — girls and young women who much more often are the targets of sexist exploitation than they are recipients of a serious helping hand. Founders Keeya Allen and Neda Kellogg are directing a grassroots initiative that, along with providing an affordable clothing and accessories outlet, effects outreach to salvage and improve lives. Few things are as self-defeating as negative choices impressionable young females are encouraged to make. Accordingly, when they encounter positive alternatives, such as this extension of mentoring program Project DIVA, the result indeed is rewarding. Keeya Allen, image director and image coach for Project Diva and creative image consultant/co-operator for the thrift shop Raiding a DIVA’s Closet, comments on why the enterprise was established. Continue Reading →

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MN Black lawyers support future law students

MABL President Maria Mitchell

On November 8, the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) Annual Scholarship Gala will celebrate and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The Gala’s theme will be “Honoring the Past and Building a Brighter Future.”

The event, to be held at the Minneapolis Marriot City Center from 6-9 pm, will feature:

• Charles Joseph Jones, one of the original Freedom Riders, who now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina

• Roderick Palmore of General Mills, founder of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and author of the acclaimed and influential A Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession

• Speaker Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Arnwine is an activist concerned with civil rights and racial justice issues and was involved with such activities as the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the 2006 reauthorization of provisions of the Voting Rights Act. • A silent auction of a series of portraits of Freedom Riders by Charlotta Janssen, an artist out of Brooklyn, New York

Dinner will be served; the cost of attendance is $100 for MABL members and $125 for non-members. Advance reservation is required; reservations may be made through the MABL website, www.mabl.org/, and more information about the Gala or about MABL may be obtained by calling MABL President Maria Mitchell at 612-348-9933. Continue Reading →

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Diversity hiring on the rise where new State goals apply

‘People’s Stadium’ reports ‘better than anticipated’ progress 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Second of a three-part story
Both the Minneapolis Civil Rights and St. Paul Human Rights Departments agreed in 2006 to accept the state workforce hiring construction goals set by the Minnesota Human Rights Department. At the time, the six-county Twin Cities metro area hiring goals were 11 percent people of color and six percent women, and 18 percent for “substantial” projects. “I still think there’s some confusion on who they apply to,” said Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsay on the workforce hiring goals. “If you are talking about a state department or agency [such as] the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority, the Metropolitan Council, the Metropolitan Airport Commission and the Metropolitan Mosquito Board, then the workforce participation goals apply,” he explained. Continue Reading →

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Cynicism, Anger, Optimism in Play on Election Day

Voting in Oxford

There is hope mixed with cynicism and anger vying with optimism as Americans cast ballots across the country. Seventy-one-year-old Jim Brinley gave voice to the discontent of many Americans from a polling place in Louisville, Kentucky — fittingly casting his ballot at Our Mother of Sorrows church. “I’d like for us to get back to government as it should be — small, listen to the people, let the people decide, let the states decide,” said Brimley, who favored Republican candidates. Michael Laughlin, a self-described radical moderate, had his say from a polling place in Denver, where the psychotherapist held out hope that Democrats would be able to keep control of the Senate but fretted about whether ordinary people are being heard anymore. “My biggest hope is that we don’t do more damage than we’ve already done,” Laughlin said. Continue Reading →

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Northsiders march against police brutality

The third and final police-community forum is scheduled for Thursday, October 30 at Brian Coyle Community Center. But some Northside residents say that City officials are doing more listening but still taking too little action to address current concerns about police brutality. “There is a crisis going on of the value of life of Black and Brown people in this country. I don’t believe they are hearing [these concerns],” said Keno Evol of Save the Kids, a local group that organized a peaceful march from North Commons Park to the fourth precinct station on Plymouth Avenue North and back to the park just after sundown on Wednesday, October 22. “I think they need to take seriously what they already heard,” Evol told the MSR while he and over 50 persons of various ethnicities walked down Penn Avenue. Continue Reading →

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