Recent Articles

Year-end reflections of 2014:


A year of confusion and expectations

ThroughMyEyesnewSuccess or failure is in the eye of the beholder. The year 2014 has been a clear example of confusing differences of opinion and expectations. As we said in last week’s column, discussions of race are affected by the eyes of the beholders.

We offer three criteria: (1) the different versions of the golden rule of all the great religions, (2) the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that is incorporated into the constitutions of most of the 148 nations in the U.N., and (3) as we wrote last week, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s double concern of nonviolence as the method and non-waiting as the practice for advancing human rights in the Civil Rights Movement. Not adhering to these principles hinders successful interpretation of issues of race.

The tragic assassination of two New York police officers of color has heightened tensions in New York City and around the country. Shifting emphasis to minimize or marginalize discussions of race hinders movements for civil and human rights. The key is teaching people how to fish (Nellie Stone Johnson’s “no education, no jobs, no housing”) and not preventing them from learning to fish, making them dependent on government and nonprofit organizations that, in reality, hold them back.

Two thousand fourteen is bringing other concerns to 2015. Will Republicans who will now control both houses of Congress work with the current president, or will they become more driven to obstruct and undermine, further weakening our democratic institutions as our strength comes from unity, not division? Our democratic institutions will be thoroughly tested. How will the beholding eyes of the future interpret the strides we make in 2015?

Will those strides include democracy, free thought and speech that allows us to debate civil and human rights for all, not just for a small controlling group? Who will fight to maintain history’s human right to witness interpretations of history that feature fairness, opportunity, and justice for all? Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

The MSR 2014 year in review

December 4, 2014: In response to the Eric Garner ruling demonstrators organized an 
event that made its way to City Hall in Minneapolis. Between 1:20 and 2:30 pm, around 
130 demonstrators took to 35W and closed it off. The march went from the 35th street exit  on 35W and headed north to downtown Minneapolis.
December 11-17, 2014

December 4, 2014: In response to the Eric Garner ruling demonstrators organized an event that made its way to City Hall in Minneapolis. Between 1:20 and 2:30 pm, around 130 demonstrators took to 35W and closed it off. The march went from the 35th street exit on 35W and headed north to downtown Minneapolis. Photos for “The MSR 2014 year in review” courtesy of contributing photographers Chris Juhn, Issa Mansaray, Onika Craven, Steven Floyd, Charles Hallman and Mel Reeves. President Obama visits St. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

Minnesota Fringe Festival presents 169 shows in Minneapolis

The Midwest’s largest performing arts festival opens July 31
MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Midwest’s largest performing arts festival, opens July 31 in 19 venues around Minneapolis. The festival will play host to 169 shows of live performance, with each show performing at least five times. The result is 878 performances, running concurrently throughout the 11-day festival. Size is not the festival’s only unique quality, however. Every show in the festival’s lineup is chosen by random lottery. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

16th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival in full swing June 26-28 in St. Paul


As the summer of 2014 is upon us, and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival is happening this weekend, June 26-28 in downtown St. Paul in Mears Park and nearby clubs, now is the time to show your love for the art and music made by the distinctive voices soon-to-be heard at this year’s TC Jazz Fest, celebrating its 16th year and established track record of attracting over 30,000 music lovers. And here’s more good news, Metro Transit is offering free rides to the festival on Friday and Saturday.  

So, what does 21st century jazz sound like coming from the cosmopolitan cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis? We’re about to find out. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Gopher candidates for NFL Draft find the experience ‘overwhelming’




There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players.  

This week: Gopher football players Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen


The waiting game hopefully is nearing its end for former Gophers Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen. These two are the only Minnesota players being considered in this year’s NFL Draft, which begins Thursday. If projections are accurate, Hageman will be the first Minneapolis City Conference player to be selected in the opening round and Vereen, the Valencia, Calif. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

March Madness begins



Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Memorable musical moments from 2013


People have a huge thirst for connection. How well a song or an experience stays with you can be as easy as answering the question, does this art have resonance, or not? If I were to put together a musically inspired compilation of this year’s wide sampling of recorded music that I’ve heard and the live music that I’ve experienced this year, it would include an amazing group of talented artists who continue to challenge themselves as they give us something creative and personal. As I surf the memories of my mind from this year I can’t help but start at the beginning. To kick off 2013 in spectacular fashion was Minneapolis native and Blue Note Records artist Jose James who performed music
from his album No Beginning No End. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,