By Jerry Freeman
The joint goal of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB) and the Downtown Council last summer was “to interrupt a troubling behavior cycle of disruptive and disengaged youth” in the city’s downtown area. “The results are more than impressive,” noted Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau at a February 13 morning ceremony at Minneapolis City Hall, pointing to a 42 percent reduction in juvenile crime in the downtown area and an eight percent decrease in overall violent crime last year. “There [also] was an 11 percent decrease in “late night” violent crime,” she added. Harteau credits the work of the YCB, who partnered with local large corporations and community groups “to connect the troubled teens to opportunities. They promoted better behavior guidelines…offering the teens passes and bus tokens to help them get home safely.”
Sixteen YCB staff members were presented with the Chief’s Award of Merit Certificate during the City Hall ceremony: Akim Anderson, James Everett, Bryon Hawkins, Terrall Lewis, Tameika Williams, Shane Zahn, Latoya Balogun, Johnell Hallman, Wendell Johnson, Dave Marcotte, Darrell Young, Evan Barnett, Tangene Hayslett, Sarah Klouda, Jernell McLane and Amged Yusuf. Continue Reading →
The H.I.T is back after an extended break. I and the majority of the investigators took sometime off to bring the next generation into this world, but we are back now. First I want everyone to read Jerry Freeman’s book In a Kick-Ass Sentimental Mood. The book is a very good read. I was initially scared to read it when I saw that it was over 700 pages long, but I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was and how it stayed true to Jerry’s social justice ideology. Continue Reading →
By Jerry Freeman
In view of former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes’ return to the political scene with her current mayoral campaign, we are reprinting, with the author’s permission, this story that appeared on MSR’s front page March 7, 2002, five months after Natalie Johnson Lee replaced Cherryhomes as the Fifth Ward’s council member.
When Minneapolis City Council Member Natalie Johnson Lee came to her City Hall office January 3 , newly elected and ready to assume her duties, she expected to find the Fifth Ward’s records there, records she needed to brief and prepare herself. Instead, she found a desk, a blank computer, and a small cardboard box containing eight thin files. Certain there had to be more, Johnson Lee began opening the banks of file cabinets lined up outside her office. They were all empty. She asked Billy Binder, former aide to former council president Jackie Cherryhomes, where the ward’s files might be. Continue Reading →
By Jerry Freeman
In view of the former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes’ return to the political scene with her current mayoral campaign, the MSR is reprinting, with the author’s permission, a commentary that appeared in these pages August 23, 2001, two months before the Fifth Ward elected Natalie Johnson Lee to replace Cherryhomes as their council member.
Minneapolis has a shadow government, and its name is Jackie Cherryhomes. Judging from the prevailing media slant on Minneapolis city politics, the mayor [Sharon Sayles Belton] is the captain at the helm of our metropolis, steering the city through the shoals of scandal and controversy, while the city council and its president labor on our behalf in comparative obscurity behind the mayor’s lead. When troublesome issues arise, such as abuses of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), the [Brian] Herron extortion case, or reduced bond ratings, reporters and photographers show a marked tendency to focus primarily on the mayor and only secondary on the council president. In case of the TIF, major heat was applied to the mayor, while Cherryhomes got off with just a quote or two buried deep in the text. Yet the reality in Minneapolis is just the opposite: In this strong-council-weak-mayor system, Jackie Cherryhomes wields the real power, with the mayor’s role of secondary importance in the decision-making process. Continue Reading →
By Dwight Hobbes
It’s said that those who can, do, and that those who can’t, teach. In the publishing racket, more than one grousing writer would attest that those who can’t do, edit. Not the case with Jerry Freeman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR). Freeman has been editing at MSR — which, closing on 80 years, is Minnesota’s longest-lived African American publication (and, for that matter, the state’s oldest minority-owned business) — for the past decade. At the weekly community newspaper, he has developed a nettlesome reputation by assigning staff ace writer Charles Hallman stories delving into no small amount of controversy, among them a story on Black clergy members’ views on gay marriage and the series “Chasing The Tornado Money” (parts one, two, three) on just how much relief funding actually found its way to North Minneapolis victims of the deadly, vastly damaging tornado in 2011. Continue Reading →
By Jerry Freeman
MSR Senior Editor
Lots of people talk about “giving back,” “reaching back,” “paying it forward,” all expressions of how important it is that those who have been fortunate return the favor to others. That principle is alive and well at the local chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), which is showing the rest of the Twin Cities what it really means to extend a helping hand to the next generation. BDPA has been quietly and steadily doing just that for the past eight years. An eighth annual award ceremony, held January 4 at the Downtown Radisson, was an opportunity for BDPA staff and volunteers to show off the fruits of their 2012 labors: a new cadre of students who, thanks to the program, have come closer to entering professional careers in the field of information technology. Most of us with a few years under our belts remember the so-called “nerds” of our high school days with plastic pocket protectors lined with multicolored pens who wore slide rules (now very obsolete) holstered on their belts and made the rest of us look bad on math and science tests. Continue Reading →
By Jerry Freeman
MSR Senior Editor
Over 100 people braved below-zero temperatures Monday, Jan. 21, to march in the Second Annual MLK, Jr. March for Jobs, Justice and Housing organized by Occupy the Hood MN. The march’s aim was to honor the human rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Participants took to the skyways after marching for five blocks in the freezing cold down Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Marchers included activists fighting for welfare rights, housing rights, immigrant rights and labor rights. Advocates for better quality public education for all joined the march with Native Americans from the Idle No More movement. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
Almost immediately after the tornado struck North Minneapolis in May 2011, the Minneapolis Foundation established its Minnesota Helps Fund and raised $1,756,060 to assist Northside residents. Many other groups and organizations furthered the cause with food drives and fundraising events. On July 14, MSR began a series of stories called “Chasing the Tornado Money” with the following subhead: “Community individuals, local corporations and foundations have contributed well over a million dollars in donations, grants and matching funds to assist North Minneapolis residents affected by the May 22 tornado. Responding to questions from readers about where all these dollars are going, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder decided to provide a community service by reporting, in the interest of transparency, on just where the funds have gone and how they have been used.”
One year and several “Chasing the Tornado Money” stories later, the MSR interviews three individuals representing three major contributors to the recovery effort — the foundation, the participating community organizations, and the Northside Community Response Team — on how they now view the work completed and the relief provided to storm victims through funds totaling more than $2 million.
“Our fundraising efforts were really concentrated on the first year [of the recovery],” reports Minneapolis Foundation Grantmaking and Special Projects Director Jo-Anne Stately. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman, Staff Writer
and Jerry Freeman, Senior Editor
Last October 13, the MSR reported on protests by several hundred students and faculty at St. Cloud State University over the firing of a top administrator of color, Dr. Mahmoud Saffari, the SCSU former associate vice president for enrollment management. Hired in 2003, he brought significantly greater racial diversity to the admissions and recruitment office and to the university as a whole during his nearly nine-year stint until he was let go in September. University officials have declined to comment on the reasons for his firing, citing the Data Privacy Act. Dr. Saffari has been equally silent — until now. Continue Reading →