Black Focus

Recent Articles

The abuse of Black children in MN’s education system — Highlighting the Mpls. and Bloomington districts

 

 

Thurgood Marshall wrote: “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody — a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns — bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

But what if you have no boots? The chilling reality in education is that some Black children are being denied boots in the first place. The only true way out and up for any child, Black or White, is education. But when purposefully denied, the eventual result is no job, and if no job, no housing for family. Continue Reading →

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The Vikings Stadium: a historic reckoning point in its history regarding the equity plan

 Vikings Stadium legislation called for an equity plan outlining Black participation in construction contracts and workers. Its absence is the story of continued injustice, discrimination, and official sneering at the idea of Black participation. This major story of 2012-2013 will be a 2013-2014 albatross around the necks of the self-appointed and imaginary Twin Cities leaders and journalists who stand silent as the Equity Plan sinks in “best effort” cement boots to a lake bottom. In the People’s Stadium’s two big broken promises — equity plan and “no new taxes” — we see how the “rights culture” of the 1960s has continued too many aspects of the Democratic Party’s White rights Jim Crow culture in American cities, with the purposeful disobeying of the requirement to bring an Equity Plan for seating African Americans at the stadium construction economic table. State legislature mandated an equity plan. Continue Reading →

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A nation in pain, a nation whose heart is broken again

When news began to flash across the airways Friday, December 14, that a tragedy was taking place in Newtown, CT, the magnitude and the heartbreak of this violent and insane action began to sink in. Twenty of the 26 lost lives were six- and seven-year-old children dying from multiple gun shots from an assault/combat rifle. This incident caused me to pause and relook at what to write for this end-of-year/looking-forward-to-the-future column, especially in terms of the tragedies in Minneapolis’ African American communities in terms of education, jobs, housing and getting caught holding the bag to pay for a stadium neither the state nor city can afford. In terms of school shootings, we remember Virginia Tech; Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation; Springfield, OR; Columbine, CO; Jonesboro, AR; Blacksburg, VA.; and 1927 Michigan: 45 killed, mostly children. Recent school killings have also been in Norway; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Sana’a, Yemen. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities Black Film Festival founder on 10 years of stars and screenings

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Ten years ago, Natalie Morrow wanted to establish an annual Black film screening event on the comparable level as similar events held in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Since then, the Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) has been held each September in such places as Augsburg College (twice), at downtown hotels and once at now-vacant Block E. Stars such as Nate Parker, cinema icons such as Pam Grier and countless screenwriters, directors and documentary producers have been special guests over the years as well. Among this year’s 14-film festival September 27-30 at St. Anthony Main Theatre included a tribute to the late Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard), two unheralded 1970s classics (The Spook Who Sat by the Door and Black Brigade), a documentary on the final season of sports at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and a comedy filmed in the Twin Cities. “I’m happy that I am still on the right track in selecting the right films,” says Morrow in an interview with the MSR.

High Card Trumps, a six-minute film, was among several shorts shown at this year’s TCBFF. Continue Reading →

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Sports highlights, plus banished words of 2012

Two members of our MSR sports experts’ panel recently released their 2012 best sports stories. Nate Parham of Swish Appeal places at the top of his list the Indiana Fever winning the 2012 WNBA championship. “I think Tamika Catchings [the finals MVP] has done so much for women’s basketball…throughout her career. I think the entire women’s basketball world was rooting for her to win a championship. People are comparing it to LeBron James [winning his first NBA title this year].”

Baylor’s undefeated season “obviously was a huge story,” Parham says. Continue Reading →

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Park Center-Osseo rivalry showcases b-ball talent

 

Last year in late December a friend of mine, former Minneapolis North and University of Minnesota women’s basketball player ELLEN HEBERT, suggested that I attend a boys’ basketball contest between Park Center and Osseo on Friday, January 6, 2011. I will admit I blew the invitation off at first. I live in St. Paul, and the thought of driving through traffic was enough for me to want to attend a game closer to my home. Not sure if it was voices I kept hearing or a gravitational pull that turned my car west on I-94 instead of east. Continue Reading →

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This culture of violence is tearing us apart

Once again the African American is being told he is not human…during the recent acts of murder of 20 innocent children and eight adults in the state of Connecticut. All of a sudden the White majority is outraged because they see themselves as the only human beings. However, we have lost lives across this nation in record numbers — in the city of Chicago, 584 to date this year, with over 1,800 shootings. Over the years in that same city they’ve murdered thousands of human beings. I’ve personally learned through my travels going back and forth across this country that we’ve lost thousands in every major city. Continue Reading →

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Encore careers: They’re not just for seniors anymore

Upon entering my 40th year, I decided that I needed a mid-life career change. I knew that it would be something drastically different from the course that I had embarked on in 1988 as a bright-eyed, newly graduated genetics student. My growing concern for the economic advancement of women, workforce development, and a desire to be my own boss urged me to move in a new and different direction. While working in a corporate setting for 22 years, I went back to school and obtained a master’s degree in human resource development. For years, I did pro bono work to gain experience. Continue Reading →

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Norovirus: the holiday ‘gift’ nobody wants, but many get

‘Tis the season of giving, but too many Minnesotans this time of year are giving and receiving something nobody wants: norovirus infection and the nasty illness that comes with it. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that can cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines, leading to vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Other symptoms can include low-grade fever or chills, headache, and muscle aches. Noroviruses are very contagious and are the leading cause of food-borne illness outbreaks in Minnesota, infecting thousands of people each year, said state health officials. Found in the stool (feces) or vomit of infected people, the viruses are transferred to food, water or surfaces by the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom. Continue Reading →

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Former Gopher star now promoting U of M ‘engagement’

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Quincy Lewis says a large part of his new role as an associate development officer at the University of Minnesota is to create and maintain “the passion” among the school’s many supporters. He also wants to improve relations between the school and the city’s Black community, which historically have generated mixed feelings over the years. “As for the African American community, we have to do a better job of asking for engagement, and when we get engagement then we have to perform,” proclaimed Lewis in a recent interview with the MSR.

With a new president and new athletic director, “I think sometimes when you have change, there’s new opportunities. Now it’s time to step up and come with some fresh ideas, some fresh engagements and some opportunities.  I think it’s a great opportunity for the university to be aggressive” in this area. Lewis said he is keenly aware of the historical distance between the school and the city’s Black community. Continue Reading →

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