Recent Articles

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Understanding the multigenerational workplace

Prior to embarking on a career in Human Resources, I did not pay much attention to stereotypes or perceived notions about Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers. However, as I have become a student of people, I have noticed differences among these classifications, and I have found myself asking, “Who are these people?”

The following report provides perceived characteristics and some factors to keep in mind when managing or working in intergenerational organizations. A 2013 study by EY, formerly Ernst & Young, includes insights from more than 1,200 professionals across generations and industries about the strengths and weaknesses of workers from different generations, based on the perceptions of their peers. The participants from the study were both managers and non-managers. The study finds, among other determinants, that Millennials are tech-savvy, Gen X-ers are entrepreneurial, and Boomers are fiscally conservative. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Salute to the armed forces’ curlies!


On March 31, 2014 the Army released an updated appearance and grooming policy known as AR670-1. In the proposed changes, unauthorized hairstyles include twists, both flat twists as well as two-strand twists; dreadlocks of any style; and cornrows must be uniform and no bigger than a quarter of an inch.

As you can imagine, this created an uproar in many communities and has taken many to social media to express their outrage over the U.S. Army’s new regulations on hairstyles, which have been called “racially biased’’ against Black female soldiers.

These regulations apply to all Army personnel, including students at West Point and those serving in the R.O.T.C. and the National Guard. Although no ethnicity was mentioned, it’s not hard to conclude that certain sections specifically pertain to Black women, since they refer to hairstyles like cornrows, braids, twists and dreadlocks — limiting or banning them outright.

For most Black people, hair naturally grows in a curly/coily pattern that makes the hair come up and out from the scalp, not down or flat on the scalp. Thus, styling options can vary based on texture.

The biggest concern isn’t that the Army does not have the right to enforce a conservative code; however, they must consider the diversity of hair textures. An article written in the New York Times stated, “Army’s regulations assume that all hair not only grows the same way but can be styled the same way. For example, one permitted hairstyle is a bun. Yet because of the thickness of a lot of black women’s hair, a bun is not always possible unless the hair is put into twists first. But twists and dreadlocks, no matter how narrow and neat, are banned in the policy and labeled ‘faddish’ and ‘exaggerated.’”

In the Army Times, Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard, who wears her hair in two twists, stated, “I’ve been in the military six years, I’ve had my hair natural four years, and it’s never been out of regulation. It’s never interfered with my head gear.” Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Wiping away the dirt through the arts

A biweekly column in which various contributors from both sides of prison walls explore common ground for effecting change
When I was young, I worked with other kids in Phillips and Powderhorn putting murals up in lots and on buildings that might have otherwise just represented more of the same grime and decay that went on in much of the rest of these neighborhoods. I also took part in the Free Mumia rallies at Cedar-Riverside in the mid-nineties, only kind of understanding then what it all was supposed to mean in my life. I certainly didn’t anticipate when I was a kid that I would spend so much of my life in a prison cell. It has been a humbling realization of my mistakes and personal misperceptions. It has also shown me how people can be dehumanized in so many ways, and has taken so much from me and from my family. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

Preventive medicine: Police stops, a discussion for the times

A helpful checklist on what you should do and say if you are driving and get pulled over by the police 
Part  one  of  a three-part  column





Preventive Medicine is a board-certified specialty of medical practice that focuses on the health of individuals, communities, and defined populations. Its goal is to protect, promote and maintain health and well-being and to prevent disease, disability, and death. With that in mind, and considering recent and past events, I’d like to discuss, in a three-part preventive medicine series, safe and effective ways of dealing with police-citizen encounters. This is something everyone needs to review personally and review with family members and children. This week and next I will discuss vehicle stops conducted by the police. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Start your journey to health with three simple, if challenging, steps

Introducing a new monthly health column

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with my weight despite the fact that for over 20 years I have counseled and guided others. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the knowledge or resources. It had more to do with lack of discipline and my mindset in the areas of my understanding. Last year I decided to take control of my life, which included living healthier. This decision was necessary as I looked at leaving a legacy not only for my family but for the community in which I have served over the years. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,