Blong Yang

Recent Articles

Transit riders bring concerns to Met Council

Routes, fares, shelters among issues raised in community engagement session
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Transit equity means more than additional bus stops or faster trains. Local residents are saying it also means an equitable voice in transportation decisions. “Equity is not just a thing, but it is about money,” said Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) head Anthony Newby after a May 10 public meeting attended by over 100 community members held at his organization’s West Broadway office. “That money needs to show up on a contract, on a piece of paper that needs to be held accountable to.”

Many in the audience were regular Metro Transit riders who strongly suggested that a transit advisory committee composed of both community members and the Metropolitan Council be established. Four Metropolitan Council members were there: Gary Cunningham, Adam Duininck, Jennifer Munt and James Brimeyer, all of whom told the audience that they were not authorized to make any final decisions but promised to take it to the entire 17-member body. Continue Reading →

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‘Now is the time’ to diversify the MPD

 Veteran officers campaign to bring more women and people of color into the Mpls police force
 

By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

 

It is no secret that historically the relationship between the Minneapolis Police Department and communities of color in Minneapolis has been tense, at best. Between brutality, shootings, racial profiling and other problems, the tension has led to the creation of a civilian review board, and even at one point, to federal mediation. Yet the tensions continue. Minneapolis police officer Eric Lukes, a 27-year veteran of the force, is attempting to put into place a long-term solution to improve relations: recruiting more people of color to be on the Minneapolis police force. To that end, with support from the Minneapolis NAACP, Minneapolis Urban League, and the Community Standards Initiative, the first of an undetermined number of events was held Saturday, April 19, at North High school to generate interest in the community to join the force. Continue Reading →

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Redlining targets Black Minnesotans and neighborhoods

Wells Fargo leads pack according to U of M report on sub-prime lenders

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

A new University of Minnesota Law School study shows that Blacks and other communities of color and low-income residents in the Twin Cities still lack access to credit. It is an update of a 2009 study that found that Blacks and Latinos — even with “very high income[s] — were much more likely to get sub-prime loans than very low-income White applicants.”

“It’s hard to believe that systemically a Black family that is making $157,000 a year is less likely to qualify for a prime loan than a White family that earns 40 [thousand a year],” noted Myron Orfield, the director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, which is housed at the U of M Law School. The report also shows that Blacks and other people of color who live in two North Minneapolis neighborhoods had the highest number of sub-prime loans compared to Whites in the same neighborhoods: 59 percent for people of color compared to 42 percent Whites in Near North; and 55 percent for people of color in Camden compared to 29 percent for Whites. These two areas also “were most dramatically affected” among Twin Cities neighborhoods. “Our report [reveals] discrimination in lending against individuals on the basis of race, and also discrimination in lending against neighborhoods on the basis of race,” noted Orfield, who heads the U of M Law School’s

Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (IMO). Continue Reading →

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Former mayor to mayor-elect: Get public support for a change agenda

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis in a few weeks will see a new mayor and several new faces on the city council. Betsy Hodges was elected the city’s first White female mayor, and the election also achieved three other “firsts” — the first Somali (Abdi Warsame), the first Latina (Alondra Cano) and the first Hmong (Blong Yang) among seven new city council members. “One of the things I think is awfully important is that the city government [now] really reflects the constituents that live in the city,” said Sharon Sayles Belton in an MSR interview. “We always questioned whether or not the wards would ever support us being able to elect more people of color to the city council or other units of government. “It’s clear, given the changing demographics in Minneapolis and with the right political construct, it is absolutely possible. Continue Reading →

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