African Americans

Recent Articles

Poverty and the criminal justice system are intimately related

One of the most critical, yet often overlooked aspects of poverty in this nation is the escalating incarceration rate of American citizens. The Justice Policy Institute notes that since 1970, the number of incarcerated Americans has grown nearly eight-fold to a total of more than 2.2 million people today. In addition, nearly five million more American adults are currently caught up in the criminal justice system through probation or parole. This precipitous spike in the U.S. prison population coincides with this country’s war on drugs and is representative of a proliferation in America’s poor, which now counts more than 46 million people among its ranks.  

The link between poverty and contact with the criminal justice system is well established. Continue Reading →

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Your work self: values at work

Introducing a new column from a longtime MSR contributor

 

 

Now that you have started the journey toward self-sufficiency, you need to identify your values at work. Values are conditions and attributes which we consider necessary to our well-being and on-the-job satisfaction. When we think of what we value, words such as family, time and love often come to mind. When we think of what we value at work, compensation, salary, benefits, achievement and recognition are some words that come to mind. As you begin to identify what you value, ask yourself the following questions:

 

Why do I want to work? Continue Reading →

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How to be a community activist: just show up

While speaking at a local college, I was recently asked a question by a student that I felt I would answer publicly. I was asked what does one have to do to become a community activist and how do you maintain your integrity once you become a community activist. The student also reminded me that this column is 10 years old this year — boy how time flies. The next column will showcase the highlights and history of this column over the last 10 years. Now, onto the question. Continue Reading →

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Lawyers of color names Levy-Pounds one of the most influential law professors in the U.S.

University of St. Thomas School of Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds is one of the most influential young minority law professors in the country, according to media and research company Lawyers of Color. Levy-Pounds was named to the company’s “50 Under 50” list for 2014, which recognizes law professors of color who are making “bold contributions to the legal canon and the community at large.”

As professor and founding director of the Community Justice Project, the School of Law’s award-winning civil rights legal clinic, Levy-Pounds fosters and inspires up-and-coming lawyers to work to improve the lives of members of under-served communities and youths in the Twin Cities. Challenging laws and policies that hold back communities of color, she has carved her place in the local civil rights movement. With Levy-Pounds’ vision, the Community Justice Project developed Brotherhood Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that uplifts and empowers young African American males who have had contact with the criminal justice system, are involved in gangs, or are at risk of such involvement. Continue Reading →

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Viola Wilder

 

April 19, 1924 — April 28, 2014

 

Viola Wilder, beloved sister, aunt, cousin, and friend, age 90, of St. Paul died on April 28, 2014. She is survived by her brother Joe Wilder; also survived by a host of relatives and friends. Services will be held Friday, May 2, 2014 at 11 am at the Newman-Benson Chapel at the Lyngblomsten Care Center, 1415 Almond Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108. Continue Reading →

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Bertha Mae Johnson Smith

February 12, 1920 — April 18, 2014

Bertha Mae Johnson Smith passed away peacefully at the golden age of 94 on Good Friday, April 18, 2014. Bertha was the first African American school teacher in the Minneapolis Public School District. She was a dedicated educator and was active in her community until her health failed her. Sister Bertha Smith was born on February 12, 1920, in Des Moines, Iowa. When she was five years old, her mother died and she and her siblings were left in the temporary care of a White family before moving to North Minneapolis with her grandmother and father. Continue Reading →

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Black female strength coach a true rarity

Conclusion of a two-part column

 

If it’s hard being a Black female coach in any sport, it’s more than likely harder still for a Black female strength coach. Mia Erickson of the Mayo Clinic Performance Center in Rochester, Minn. was the only Black among the four-person sport science panel at the U of M Tucker Center Women Coaches Symposium in February. “That’s just the way it is on seeing [strength] coaches that look like me,” she admits. “First of all, I’m in a male-dominated field, so there are not going to be a lot of female coaches. Continue Reading →

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A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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Cookie Cart receives grant from Hennepin County to improve recycling program

Cookie Cart, a Minneapolis bakery and nonprofit organization, received a $10,000 recycling grant in January, along with 10 other Hennepin County businesses and organizations. Now they’ll be able to make environmental sustainability a strong aspect of their business and up the ante on their recycling programs.

In addition to selling delicious cookies, Cookie Cart helps youth ages 15-18 gain first-time work experience while learning important life skills. All cookie profits are invested back into Cookie Cart’s youth employment program. Cookie Cart is currently expanding and relocating their bakery, and they will use Hennepin County’s business recycling grant to improve their recycling system and implement an organics recycling system. Organics composting is great for the environment — recycling food scraps, food-soiled paper products and other compostable items. A recycling hauler picks up the collected organics from a business and brings them to a commercial composting facility. Continue Reading →

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A call to action: Help your neighbor

The winter season 2013 through 2014 returned Minneapolis to the reality of Minnesota winters. We had been spoiled by the relatively mild winter seasons of the past few years

I own and operate a snow-removal company. This is the first season where I can say, “I got tired of snow.” I don’t mind snow, but for a while the snow was falling every three or four days. This put a strain on bodies, equipment and clients. We serve over 50 seniors and persons with disabilities. Continue Reading →

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