Recent Articles

Passion for Black history, culture leads couple to found company

Liberation Clothing and Gifts and Black History Expo result

By Isaac Peterson, III

Contributing Writer


About two years ago, Karla said to her husband Anthony, “Now is the time to start our own business,” and Liberation Clothing and Gifts was born. Karla, originally from Detroit, and Anthony, from the Chicago area, both relocated to the Twin Cities when they were young. Each showed an intense interest in Black history and culture from an early age, and both were frustrated with the lack of that type of information found in the public schools they attended. Of her time attending high school in Anoka, Karla says, “There weren’t very many people of color. They did not celebrate Black History Month or MLK Day at all at school. Continue Reading →

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Documentary of student voices ‘transforms’ participants, changes lives

In Student Voices – The New Wilderness, 100 diverse local youth discuss racism, bullying, their educational experiences
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Working for the Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, Carolyn Lakanen saw firsthand that a safe and respectful learning environment was necessary, especially with the student population becoming more diverse. To that end, a couple of years ago she brought in New Wilderness Project, a national organization that “explores diversity and community through creative expression and adventure,” to help her produce a five-part documentary series. “I had no clue where to begin when we first started,” admits Lakanen, who worked for the district’s student services for 22 years. Nonetheless, 100 students were selected to participate. “You have students from Andover High School, which is known as a wealthy, White high school, verses Champlin Park High School, which is known as having much more diverse populations as far as ethnicity, race and also class [are

concerned]. Continue Reading →

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Met Council’s commits to fairness for all

Diversity director Kirkpatrick ‘really proud’ of accomplishments

By Dwight Hobbes 

Contributing Writer



The Metropolitan Council has been responsible to serve, in the region, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Washington, Carver, Scott and Dakota counties. The 17-member municipal entity, with main offices located in St. Paul, is charged to provide essential service critical to the public good, working with local communities to, among other duties, operate the region’s largest transportation system, collect and treat wastewater and provide affordable housing opportunities for citizens of low and moderate income. Accordingly, it is no small matter that such a body includes an Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, accountable to ensure, as the Council’s Pledge of Nondiscrimination states, “access to all our programs, services and benefits without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or socioeconomic status.”

Heading up that department over the past five years is Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Director Wanda Kirkpatrick. “When I took this job,” she states, “the Metropolitan Council [was] well on our way to having diversity, inclusion, affirmative action, [and] equality opportunity be a part of everything we did. Continue Reading →

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