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Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department

Retaliation continues in the department I now call the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Misconduct. Former employees of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department affirmed this in testifying to its “toxic” environment at the March 19 hearing on the reappointment of Velma Korbel to head the department. Among those testifying were Ms. Semone Desal and Ms. Kristin White. Ms. White testified that when she reported to human resources of the environment of corruption and cronyism inside the department, she was fired the next day. It is telling that the council votes were split, 9-3, to reappoint. Continue Reading →

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Be part of the sunshine! Change the system!

The new faces of the Mpls NAACP: MSR’s recent story on the new officers of the Minneapolis Branch of the NAACP (“Minneapolis NAACP swears in new members,” Feb. 27) revealed among other things that women now constitute a majority of the new leadership, including for the first time several African immigrant women who bring impressive skills and experience to the organization. In the interest of introducing MSR readers to these new leaders, this is the second of a series of stories profiling three women from our African immigrant communities who appear determined to bring the historic civil rights organization’s power and prestige to bear on the obstacles currently inhibiting progress in our communities of color. Space permitting, we will allow these women to present their views in their own words. 

This week, meet Farhio Khalif, NAACP Assistant Secretary

 

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

Farhio Khalif speaks of her life in terms of a “journey,” and what a journey it has been. Khalif ‘s journey began in Somalia and made stops along the way to Minneapolis in Italy; Birmingham, Alabama; Florida; Washington, D.C.; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Continue Reading →

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Current NBA stars honor their Black Fives predecessors

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we approach the wind-down days of Black History Month 2014, it’s refreshing to see other Black contributors besides the usual few names often presented — such as overlooked Black athletes who labored in virtual obscurity during the Jim Crow era. Thanks to the nonprofit Black Fives Foundation in New York for “tell[ing] the story of the pre-1950 history of African Americans in basketball.” The “Black Fives” name comes from the all-Black basketball teams that played in Brooklyn, Harlem, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Pittsburgh, Newark and Los Angeles. These teams “ushered in the Harlem Renaissance period, smashed the color barrier in pro basketball and helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement,” wrote founder Claude Johnson on the foundation’s website (www.blackfives.org). Johnson and director Loren Mendell teamed up with Fox Sports Net, which broadcasts NBA games for 13 teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves, to create a series of 30-second TV vignettes honoring Black Fives era pioneers during Black History Month. They are aired during halftime of the telecasts. Continue Reading →

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Safe Harbors bill offers new hope to exploited young women

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

 

In 2011, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM) launched MN Girls Are Not For Sale, a five-year four-million dollar effort to end the sexual trafficking of girls and young women. The sad fact is, despite WFM’s staunch commitment to this crucial cause, girls and young women are still for sale. Until concrete measures are resolutely brought to bear, this insidious, illicit market thrives with wretched, far-reaching, life-destroying consequence. The Department of Justice identifies Minneapolis-St. Paul as a major child sex-trafficking center, one of the nation’s 15 largest. Continue Reading →

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Security reduced at Vikings games

Sheriff Richard Stanek objects: Why didn’t others?  
The National Football League’s directors of security ordered all 32 NFL teams to ban law enforcement officers working NFL games from being armed: no more bringing their weapons to work at the stadium. Besides “why,” why did they try to keep it secret? Two stood up against it. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek stood their ground. Continue Reading →

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Grambling State football in turmoil over athletic conditions

Although the Grambling State football players are back at practice and expect to play the rest of the season, the reasons why they didn’t play last week still remain unresolved. “Although we are going to continue our season, we have not forgotten the situation and how we’ve gotten here,” said Grambling senior Naquan Smith on Monday to NOLA.com and the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. The team forfeited last Saturday’s game at Jackson State after the players chose not to practice or play. In a letter sent to Grambling school administration, the players wrote, “The athletic complex…is in horrible condition, and has many hazards that may contribute to our overall health…mildew and mold…on the

ceiling, walls and floor.”

They also complained about the poor facility conditions and practice equipment: “The uniforms are poorly cleaned and contribute to the multiple cases of staph infection. Several players have been infected with staph multiple times.”

“The last issue we would like to address is the firing of our head coach, Doug Williams,” added the players. Continue Reading →

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When it comes to health, place matters

By Dr. Brian Smedley

America’s Wire Writers Group 

 

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is an achievement Americans can be proud of. Making sure that all our brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren have proper health insurance makes us a stronger, more prosperous nation. Amid this important change, however, we cannot ignore the work that remains to be done, especially in communities of color. Insurance cards are not enough. To become a society with better health — not just better health coverage — we must also look at the role “place” plays in the lives of minority communities. Continue Reading →

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Locals joined bus ride to D.C. for 1963 March commemoration

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A small but very enthusiastic group of Minneapolis-area residents returned from last Saturday’s commemorative march in Washington, D.C. pledging to work together for change. As the oratory at the 1963 March on Washington, which featured Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, was important then, so was last weekend’s march, believes Hattie Bonds. She and her two young sons — her “change babies” as she proudly calls them — were among the nearly 30 people who left Sabathani Community Center last Friday for a two-day bus trip to the Nation’s Capitol. They joined thousands from around the nation to mark the 50th anniversary of the original August 28 March on Washington

Last weekend’s event was “spearheaded” by National Action Network (NAN) along with other legacy Civil Rights organizations and various unions that sponsored it, explained Bonds, a member of NAN’s Minneapolis chapter. She told the MSR prior to leaving for D.C. that she hoped that those who attended the march last weekend would be moved to action. Continue Reading →

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Recognition of early ‘Black Fives’ players long overdue

The NCAA this year is celebrating 75 years of March Madness. Before it became an overhyped trademark, and before it became a behemoth cash cow for everyone but the players, the annual tourney for decades was a White-only affair. The celebrating hoopla shouldn’t overlook this fact. Claude Johnson founded the Greenwich, Conn.-based Black Fives Foundation in 2001. It is named for the number of Black players on the court and the basketball league of the same name that ran for nearly 50 years (1904-1950), at least three decades before the Negro Leagues. It also was a clear affront to the racially segregated unwritten rule that limited the number of players of color allowed on the court  (two at home, one on the road), a rule that existed in the NBA, its forerunner the National Basketball League, and in college hoops well into the 1960s. Continue Reading →

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