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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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Local civil rights leader Matthew Little passes

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

Matt Little is gone, leaving a legendary legacy. He was widely renowned and will be well remembered as a Civil Rights Era icon who held a soul-deep commitment to empowering the African American community. Graduating North Carolina A&T State University in 1948, he relocated to the Twin Cities and, in 1954 became a board member of the Minneapolis NAACP, beginning a lifelong dedication to the organization. During his career, he was president of that chapter as well as president of the Minnesota state NAACP. Far from being a figurehead, Little was hands-on and counted among his most prized memories filing a federal lawsuit to integrate the Minneapolis Fire Department. Continue Reading →

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Former State Rep. candidate talks about Black leadership

Terra Cole says MN ‘good old boys’ political structure not supportive of women
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Is there a generational gap in local Black leadership? When recently asked, Terra Cole pointed out that she believes there is. With Minneapolis elections fast approaching, the MSR spoke with Cole for her perspective on the obstacles to becoming an elected official considering her 2011 run for the Minnesota State House District 59B seat. Cole said that there are two main reasons for the present generational gap. “There is a significant difference in the opportunities in the area of mentorship and knowledge transfer for people in my age group [persons who are in their 30s],” she pointed out. Continue Reading →

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Black Minnesotans lobby at the State Capitol

 
Can the new ‘Black agenda’ move the community forward? 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

There was nothing new revealed last week during the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Lobby Day at the State Capitol presenting their Black agenda to this year’s Minnesota Legislature. Billed as “Black Minnesotans Helping Move Minnesota Forward,” around 50 people listened on March 19 at the Capitol Rotunda to over 20 scheduled speakers before many of them visited legislators’ offices. “The last two years there was a collective group that sat on this African American lobby day, and this place was filled,” noted Rev. Jerry McAfee, who added that the COBM “didn’t reach out to anybody else. If this is about Black Minnesotans, why are you leaving Black folk out?”

Although McAfee didn’t blame the council’s new executive director, Edward McDonald, for the seemingly solo effort in planning last week’s event, the longtime pastor nonetheless added, “Some of the people around him on the council knew about it, and they should’ve said, ‘We will be stronger if we put everybody in together.’”

McDonald was hired and assumed the COBM executive duties last October. “Whether we like them [organizations that represent Blacks] or don’t like them, every African American group should have been a part of this, and there should have been meetings prior to this so that there could [be] one agenda. Continue Reading →

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What does it take to be a State Senator?

DFL Hayden describes full-time responsibilities of part-time role
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

When the 2013 Minnesota Legislative Session convenes January 8, State Senator Jeff Hayden officially will assume his office as Senate Deputy Majority Leader. The Minneapolis lawmaker is believed to be the first Black in history to be named to a high leadership post. Hayden told the MSR in an interview that Senate Majority Leader-designate Tom Bakk informed him of his new role November 14, nearly a week after the DFL became the majority party in both the Minnesota House and Senate in the Nov. 6 election. Hayden, Senator-elect Bobby Champion and St. Continue Reading →

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Chuck Wexler in town, security plan in place

While Democratic and DFL Party heavy hitters were in Charlotte, NC for the Democratic National Convention, including Mayor R.T. Rybak, the legendary Chuck Wexler, executive director of the powerful Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) was in meetings in Minneapolis (see my September 5 column, “Status quo fixes won’t stop the frightening violence”). Mr. Wexler was here to evaluate and sign off on a new security plan to deal with Minneapolis African Americans (read “youth”). These are not my words. These are words that came out of a number of meetings with Mr. Wexler and his associates. This new security plan includes monitoring and evaluating security conditions within the Somali community that again gives Mr. Wexler the possibility of implementing in other cities around the United States what will be developed here in Minneapolis. As happened some years ago, “Wexler helped develop and implement a comprehensive anti-crime strategy [in Minneapolis] that is now a model for public-private cooperation” (as crime still continues unabated, grain is a more reliable export). Continue Reading →

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