Community Justice Project

Recent Articles

Racial Equity Justice Day at the Capitol a multicultural rally

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer


By most accounts, 2013 saw some promising action by the Minnesota State Legislature, such as passing the Dream Act and the Homeowners Bill of Rights. But with Minnesota at the bottom nationwide in terms of racial equality, there is clearly much work to be done. To that end, last week the Organizing Apprentice Project (OAP) held the Racial Equity Justice Day at the Hill, an event that included a multiracial and multicultural mix of people and organizations — and that was attended by a few state legislators as well. The purpose of the rally, said Vina Kay, OAP’s director of research and policy, was to “attend to unfinished business in 2014.” The rally began in the Capitol Rotunda and included speakers and spoken word performances. Speaking were artist Brother Ali; Vina Kay; rap/hip hop performers Lioness and Guante; Peggy Flanagan of the Minnesota Children’s Defense Fund; Jovita Morales of Mesa Latina-Waite House; Nique Mabrey from

OutFront MN; Fernando Rodriguez, a sophomore at Owatonna High School and leader of Central Campesino Youth; Archie Davis of Trillium Works from Duluth; Nicole Buckanaga of Leech Lake; and Emilia Gonzalez Avalos of Navigate. Continue Reading →

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Local law professor finds her calling in civil rights work



By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer


On December 3, 2011, the Minnesota Jaycees organization held their Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans (TOYM) awards celebration at the Earle Brown Center in Brooklyn Park. Associate Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds of the University of St. Thomas law school was recognized as one of those outstanding 10 people. Since 1950, the TOYM program has recognized outstanding young leaders ages 18-40 statewide. The young leaders are acknowledged for their contributions to Minnesota through service, thought, influence, community involvement and/or entrepreneurship. Continue Reading →

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Once an inmate, a mentor now pays it forward to others


“My name is Rachel Campbell, and I’m straight up off the block.”

These are the words that Campbell uses when she stands before her women’s group at the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility (ACF) each week. What she means is that she too has stood behind those bars looking out at a world that has offered neither kindness nor help when she desperately needed it. She knows what it feels like to be “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” and she has paid the price for giving up on herself and her dreams.

Campbell grew up in a poor family with a single mother and nine siblings. She loved her family, but ongoing issues of abuse and neglect led to feelings of hopelessness and anger — feelings that often drive teens to unhealthy choices. She left home early and began spending time with men and women who further diminished her chances of a happy or healthy future. Continue Reading →

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