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My day at Fenway

This column continues the Only One series in which this reporter shares
his experiences as the only African American on the scene. 
 

BOSTON — Prior to taking my third-row seat as the only Black reporter at the opener of last week’s Minnesota-Boston three-game series in the press box at Fenway Park, built in 1912, the Only One walked around the park and ran into just a couple of Blacks among the countless non-Black fans I passed during my several-blocks walk to Fenway. Longtime Boston resident Reginald Reese sells hot dogs outside the stadium. “[I] lived here all my life,” he admitted as he told me that the typical home-team crowd is ethnically mixed. Ironically, on this night the Red Sox and a local Latino newspaper co-sponsored “Latino Youth Recognition Day” at the ballpark. “It’s a wonderful ball park to come watch the Red Sox play,” boasted Reese, who easily could be Boston’s “sports mayor” as he continued his verbal city tour. Continue Reading →

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Bruins fans’ racist tweets crossed a hate line

Overlooked last week due to the released taped ramblings of the Los Angeles Clippers owner and its aftermath was the real-time racist bashing of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who scored the winning goal in the first game of his team’s playoff series against Boston. Spoiler alert: Subban is Black. The Bruins fans, who I wouldn’t venture too far off target by identifying as mostly Whites, went social media headhunting. They didn’t just cross the line but Evel Knievel-like jumped over it and crashed headlong into racist canyon. “The tweets were ugly, profane, and if they didn’t directly reference the colour of Subban’s skin, they used the hashtag of the n-word as emphasis,” wrote Canadian-based Amanda Kelly of Global News. Continue Reading →

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Gary Cunningham gives back, as his uncle Moe taught him

The ‘one story’ of European colonialism informs his work
By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

 

Minneapolis-native Gary Cunningham’s career has been long and varied, and his résumé reads like a “Who’s Who” of local government agencies and organizations. He has been involved with, at various times:

• NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis, where he was CEO and director of primary care;

• Hennepin County as director of planning and development;

• Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, as associate collegiate program leader and research fellow;

• Minneapolis Public Schools as executive director of human resource services/acting operations administrator;

• Scott County as administrator and chief executive officer; and

• The African American Men Project as its director. Before all of that, Cunningham was raised by his uncle Moe, a community activist who Cunningham credits with giving him the guidance that blossomed into a career of service. “There was an expectation that you would use

your skills, talents and abilities to give back and contribute to the well-being of the community, particularly African Americans and other people of color,” Cunningham explained about his uncle. After graduating from Minneapolis’ Central High School, Cunningham became involved with the Community Gardens in South Minneapolis and then went on to run the Grand-Central Co-Op, a grocery store across the street from his old high school. Continue Reading →

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Terror in Boston? Terror in America!

How fragile is our precarious democracy in the face of senseless violence? Two explosions exposed the fragile state of our precarious social contract at the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013, as three were killed and 175 or so injured, some badly, some losing arms and legs. As this column was written nine hours after the carnage (and published 8 days later), we don’t know yet if this was by domestic or foreign terrorists. Doesn’t matter. It was mean-spirited premeditation with malice aforethought, killing innocents to get attention and send a message. Continue Reading →

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