Charles Hallman

Recent Articles

Mpls park board, along with City, addresses inequities

Park board retiree says his former coworkers are running scared
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A former Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) employee earlier this year emailed all nine park board commissioners, expressing concern about workplace conditions. The MSR received  a copy of the five-page email sent in April titled “Racism issues concerns at the MPRB,” which made reference to the January 2012 investigation report in which top MPRB officials and the commissioners “agreed to address the concerns on the disparities and racism issues, and not to use fear or retaliation [against employees].”

“The work culture has not changed since 2012,” wrote the former MPRB employee, who later spoke on the condition that their name would not be published. The park board workplace can be characterized as an environment of paranoia, and employees are “working in tremendous fear,” while some are scared to talk on fear of retaliation, added Bob Ramphal, a former MPRB recreation center director who retired earlier this year after 46 years and spoke to park board commissioners in April. He recently talked to the MSR and said that he regularly stays in contact with his former colleagues. “Sometimes the employees felt like that they couldn’t trust anyone,” he said. Continue Reading →

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MPD chief a no-show at community forum on police violence

Harteau’s absence attributed to ‘public safety’ threats
 
By Khymyle Mims

Contributing Writer

This past Thursday night, citizens from across the city gathered at the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis to take part in a “listening session” with the chief of police and other individuals who teach and work in the criminal justice field. Over 100 people from the community gathered to ask questions and express their concerns about police corruption and brutality in Minneapolis and elsewhere around the country. The plan was to direct these concerns to a panel consisting of Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, U of M Professor Dr. Rose Brewer, and author and Metropolitan State University Criminal Justice Professor Jason Sole, as well as lawyer and chair of the Police Conduct Oversight Commission Jennifer Singleton. Instead, the crowd addressed only Sole, Brewer and Singleton due to Harteau deciding not to attend. It was later relayed to the audience that Harteau’s decision came from her feeling it was not safe for her to participate. Continue Reading →

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Abusers not restricted to Black athletes

 

The average American sports fan typically is quick to judge, uses broad moral brushes in drawing conclusions, has selective ant-length memories, and vainly displays outrage whenever a Black person does something negative, whether speculative or not. The most recent example is right here in so-called progressive Minnesota, where last week both the governor and a U.S. senator decidedly made it political: Even if he’s found not guilty of child abuse charges, Adrian Peterson has been O.J.’d for life. Children of all races are abused every day, upon which both Gov. Mark Dayton and Senator Al Franken have been noticeably silent. But when Peterson was indicted for possibly abusing his young son with a

spanking, the two men who are running for reelection this November made an appeal to White women voters by calling for Peterson to be suspended, which the Minnesota Vikings last week backpedaled into doing. U of M Professor Oliver Williams, a noted expert in domestic abuse issues, told us last week, “My question [is] why were they asking [that Peterson] lose his job. Continue Reading →

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Mpls park board, along with City, addresses inequities

Outreach department works to reconcile cultural differences
 
By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

First of a two-part story

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges since her election nearly a year ago has made racial equity a cornerstone of her administration. The City Council earlier this summer approved her agenda, calling for all city departments to reduce racial disparities. Does this also include the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB), which historically has struggled with diversity issues both internally and externally? The MSR first published stories in 2012 on MPRB Black employees’ workplace discrimination investigated by the Minneapolis NAACP. Earlier this year, we received a copy of an email sent by Sixth District Commissioner Brad Bourn “about a morale crisis among many staff” pointed out by a retired employee during a board meeting. Continue Reading →

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Roberto Clemente’s family keeps his legend alive

The surviving members of the Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson families respectively are regularly introduced as baseball royalty. It’s rightly deserved. “It is recognition of our parents,” says Luis Roberto Clemente, one of Roberto and Vera’s three sons. “We in a very humble way accept it.”

Jackie Robinson’s story is legendary and well known: His uniform number is forever retired by every Major League Baseball club. Chadwick Boseman and Nicole Beharie played Jackie and Rachel Robinson in 42. Continue Reading →

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Longtime friends from Puerto Rico reunite on Gopher volleyball team

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2014-15 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. Junior Outside Hitter Daly Santana is the only one of her class on this year’s Gopher volleyball team, a young squad with two seniors, six sophomores and five freshmen. Before the season began last month, U-M Coach Hugh McCutcheon pointed to the third-year player from Puerto Rico as an expected leader on his squad. “Daly has done a really nice job over the summer to become more consistent as a volleyball player, and also become a leader on this team,” he says. Continue Reading →

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BLACK CAUCUS DISCUSSES STRATEGIES FOR DFL ACCOUNTABILITY

Community members want more than talk — they’re ready for action
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

All DFL candidates should “represent” Black issues, says a member of the DFL African American Caucus, one of 14 recognized special-interest groups by the Minnesota DFL Party. The group meets on the third Saturday of each month. However, according to Hollis Winston, who joined the Black caucus nearly two years ago and was elected treasurer last year, most Black Minnesotans who tend to vote Democratic in local, state and national elections are too often taken for granted. Hollis says the group must be more visible and expand its membership base, especially among community folk. “Now that I have gotten involved, more and more I am realizing we need to connect with the African American community, all African Americans — not just the professional class or the middle class.”

Last week’s open meeting at the Lowry Library was attended by 30 persons who listed education, law enforcement and economic development as three key issues of concern. Continue Reading →

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TRIO teaches high school students the culture of college

Program director’s personal experiences inform her work with youth
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minerva Muñoz’s main mission is to help as many prospective first-generation college students as possible get ready for post-secondary studies. As a first-generation college graduate, Muñoz easily remembers how it felt upon her first arrival on a college campus where the majority of students didn’t look like her. “I was overwhelmed” as a University of Minnesota student in the early 2000s. “I wasn’t from here, and I needed family and community, and TRIO took me in.”

Muñoz is the University of Minnesota TRIO Upward Bound (UB) program director. Upward Bound is a half-century-old program that U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 began as part of his War on Poverty, an “experimental college preparatory program that targeted bright and economically disadvantaged high school students.”

The federally-funded U of M UB program works with students at three Minneapolis high schools: North, South and Edison. Continue Reading →

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A ‘hidden level of government’ few understand: county boards

Hennepin’s board lacks the diversity of those it represents
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Three of the seven Hennepin County Commissioner seats are up for election this November. If more people understood the importance of these positions, the Hennepin County Board might come to more clearly resemble the diverse population it serves. The MSR recently conducted an unscientific “barbershop poll” and learned that no one we asked realized that these seats were included in this year’s mid-terms, yet alone understood the commissioners’ influence on their everyday lives. Those individuals who responded asked that their identities not be made public. “We were just talking about we didn’t like the Viking stadium being funded by the public,” admitted one man, who added during his haircut that he didn’t know that the county board voted for it. Continue Reading →

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Dock Ellis a great, if flawed, American hero

Dock Ellis (1945-2008) was a good but outspoken teammate, a clubhouse cut-up who also had a substance abuse problem that some say kept him from being an outstanding pitcher.  Filmmaker Jeffery

Radice’s No No: A Dockumentary, which became available earlier this week on VOD and iTunes, tells the story of this “fascinating character.”

Prior to last month’s screening in Minneapolis, Radice talked about Ellis, a 12-year major league pitcher in the mid-1970s whose story largely has been told over the years, parts of it embellished by the man himself. “I became fascinated with Dock Ellis as an individual separate from baseball,” said Radice.   “What I found was that the truth with Dock was pretty close to what you heard about. He wasn’t a tall tale — he was a real individual. “He is a flawed hero in my story, but I think what’s so heroic about Dock Ellis is how he was able at a mid-point in his life to take stock of who he was as a man and adjust and make some changes…recognizing that he had a problem with his addiction and going out there and addressing it. Continue Reading →

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