Recent Articles

The quest for health equity is lifelong

In 2002, April was designated as Minority Health Month to increase awareness about health disparities that exist for people of color. Even though April 2014 Minority Health Month is now past, we must continue to address health disparities head on every month of the year. Health disparities exist when certain segments of the population have higher rates of preventable diseases and mortality. Many populations are affected by disparities, including racial and ethnic minorities, residents of rural areas, women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. In a recent report to the MN legislature on health equity, the MN Department of Health stated that although Minnesota is deemed one of the healthiest states, African Americans and American Indians in the state have continued to experience higher rates of preventable disease as well as reduced life expectancy. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis musician selected for Doris Duke Artist Award

Minneapolis native, New York-based pianist and composer Craig Taborn among 13 jazz artists to receive 2014 Doris Duke Foundation awards


Earlier this week, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced the first-ever recipients of the Doris Duke Impact Awards and the third group of individuals to receive Doris Duke Artist Awards. According to the press release, “both awards are part of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, a special ten-year initiative of the foundation to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial challenges that are specific to the performing arts. Doris Duke Artist Award recipients receive $275,000, and Doris Duke Impact Award recipients receive $80,000. Since commencing in April 2012, the program has awarded a total of $18.1 million to artists in the fields of jazz, dance and theater.” The 2014 jazz related award recipients are:
2014 Doris Duke Artist Awards

Oliver Lake
Steve Lehman
Roscoe Mitchell
Zeena Parkins
Craig Taborn
Randy Weston

2014 Doris Duke Impact Awards

Muhal Richard Abrams
Ambrose Akinmusire
Steve Coleman
Ben Monder
Aruán Ortiz
Matana Roberts
Jen Shyu


Pianist and composer Craig Taborn is multi-talented in the realms of straight-ahead and free jazz. Continue Reading →

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Over 100,000 Black parents are now homeschooling their children




By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
Guest Commentator

We hear so much about the plight of Black children and their low test scores. We have not heard that African American children who are homeschooled are scoring at the 82 percent in reading and 77 percent in math. This is 30-40 percent above their counterparts being taught in school. There is a 30 percent racial gap in schools, but there is no racial gap in reading if taught in the home and only a five percent gap in math. What explains the success of African American students being taught by their parents? Continue Reading →

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Our elders are the carriers of our culture

For three-and-a-half years, a group of amazing people have been attending monthly gatherings here at the Cultural Wellness Center. Three-and-a-half years ago, I was asked to speak to a group of seniors at Sabathani Community Center on the topics of culture and wellness. I did not expect such a deep relationship would evolve. I readily accepted the invitation at the time because of the cultural studies that have given birth to my understanding of the value of the Ancestors and the Elders in African thought and spirituality. These two roles epitomize the old hymn “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder, Soldiers of the Lord.”

As we study African culture, we see how our people who have endured horrific treatment, direct destruction, and indescribable pain were able to preserve their spirit by creating metaphors of heaven as a place of refuge and salvation, through songs, stories, life ways and community laws. Continue Reading →

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Report examines coverage of LGBT issues in Black, Latino media



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer



A new report from The Opportunity Agenda points out that favorable public opinion about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color is slowly growing among Blacks. The national communications, research and advocacy organization released “Public Opinion and Discourse on the Intersection of LGBT Issues and Race” in September. It examined Black and Latino newspapers, Black magazines and Black online media over a two-year period (2009-2011), and found several common themes. Among them:

• Black newspapers and online news sites consider LGBT issues newsworthy. • The six main storylines found in Black newspapers, with HIV/AIDS receiving the most attention, include: homophobia, bullying and discrimination, culture, tension between gay rights and civil rights, religion and same-sex marriage. Continue Reading →

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Hip hop classes nurture creative expression


By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer


Arriving at renowned Watershed High School in South Minneapolis and walking to the “Hip Hop, History and the Arts” classroom to speak with curriculum founder-instructor Chadwick “Niles” Phillips is, to say the least, an interesting experience. The students have wrapped up rehearsal for the day, and he’s prepping them for the following evening’s premier of their artistic outing, “The Youth Performance Series (Act 4).”

This is, it’s clear, not simply a gathering reminiscent of Fame. These “at-risk” adolescents of color are taking advantage of the vital opportunity to pursue an alternative to the street life that more and more often sees minority youth ending up either victims or perpetrators of violent crime. The class is a viable alternative to having idle time on their hands and unwittingly following a dead-end path to a trouble-laden future. It’s a chance to begin realizing an ambition to do something positive with themselves and enjoy having their dreams nurtured to the fullest extent possible. Continue Reading →

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