Karen Clark

Recent Articles

Minimum wage increase likely

Several Minnesota elected officials from around the state took part in a Minimum Wage Challenge last month to experience what it’s like to live on the state’s minimum wage. Advocates for raising the state’s minimum wage have emphasized that it’s not just workers in large urban areas who need the increase. All too often, they say, political issues in Minnesota are presented as pitting the interests of the Twin Cities metro area against those of the rest of the state, also known as “Greater Minnesota.” But despite the rhetoric, raising the minimum wage cuts across all geographic boundaries. Heidi Durand, a city councilmember from Moorhead, Minnesota, just across the border from Fargo, North Dakota, discovered as much when she joined Working America’s Minimum Wage Challenge. “I grew up in a working class home and I always knew my mom was an expert at stretching a dollar,” Councilmember Durand said, “And like a tidal wave, this challenge has brought her values back into my life.”

The minimum wage budget in 2014 is harder to stretch than it was when Durand was growing up. Continue Reading →

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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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The politics of the plate — Big money talks in limiting your right to know what you are eating

 

 

When we are told to watch what we eat, many of us are counting calories. We are told to count the amount of fat, sodium or sugar in our food. Research says that tracking food in this manner helps us make better food choices possible. Yet there are aspects of our food that are not as easily quantified as grams of fat, salt or sugar. This aspect of our food is not measurable and is beyond our realm of choices. Continue Reading →

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‘Long overdue’ Black museum dedicated

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Roxanne Givens’ dream of a Black museum finally became a reality as the Minnesota African American Museum (MAAM) was formally dedicated last weekend. Those present for the ceremony agreed they were sharing a momentous occasion. “When Roxanne had the epiphany, I was just as excited as she was,” says Judie Carmichael Brown of the museum’s founder and acting director. Brown, herself a founding board member and public relations chair, told the MSR that an estimated 200 persons attended last Friday’s three-hour event at the former Coe mansion, which the museum board acquired in 2008, located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 18th Street South. Master of ceremonies T. Mychael Rambo called the event the “Who’s Who of everybody,” including as it did local and national politicians, business leaders and community folk. Continue Reading →

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Waste disposal poses pollution threat to Northsiders

 

 

 

 

 

News Analysis

By Lissa Jones

Contributing Writer

 

Proposals are currently under consideration to significantly increase emissions from Minneapolis polluters that have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities of color such as those in Phillips and on the North Side. On April 3, several community organizations sponsored a “Reality Check” on air and water pollution at Kwanzaa Community Church to discuss the potential impact of the proposed increases on the health of these neighborhoods and the people who live there. The event flyer invited the community to “hear about the status of Northern Metals and HERC (the garbage burner) in North Minneapolis and how their emissions may impact your health.” About 25 people were in attendance, including State Representatives Karen Clark and Joe Mullery, as the panel presented their findings and concerns to the group.  

 

 

 

The panelists were Jeff Skrenes of the Hawthorne Community Council; Lea Foushee, environmental justice director with the North American Water Office, a nonprofit organization chartered in 1982 to educate people about solutions to environmental problems; Lara Norkus-Crampton, a nurse, garbage burner activist, and former planning commissioner for the City of Minneapolis; and Beverly Propes, a public health nurse. Their presentations covered the status of the legal work on Northern Metals; examined the correlation between the pollution emissions and health outcomes for children attending school in the affected neighborhoods; reviewed studies from across the world detailing the health effects of pollution emissions on communities with incinerators; and looking at alternative solutions through the lens of a community organizer. Continue Reading →

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As stadium bill gets lawmakers’ attention,‘People’s Hearing’ takes on housing crisis

 

 
GOP denies formal hearing on suspending home foreclosures
 

News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

Last week, on the same day that the Minnesota legislature held its public hearing on whether the Minnesota Vikings football team should have a new stadium built with the help of public funds, a housing hearing of another type was being held. This one dealt with the very real problem of the foreclosure crisis. However unlike the stadium hearing, the hearing on the bill to institute a two-year moratorium on foreclosures was given no formal approval by GOP leadership, forcing the sponsoring legislators, State Representative Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) and State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL- Minneapolis), along with the People’s Bailout Coalition, to hold a “People’s Hearing.”

“For the past few years, so many of our community members have faced devastation from the terrible effects of our unstable housing market — the foreclosure of their homes,” said State Representative Clark at a March 15 press conference announcing a bill seeking a two-year moratorium on  foreclosures in the state. Clark said she wanted to give those struggling a chance “to tell their story, a story unfortunately that is too familiar for so many around the state.”

The bill sponsored by Clark and Dibble, HF 1886/SF 1521, seeks to freeze for two years foreclosures of owner-occupied properties. During this moratorium, homeowners would be required to continue their current mortgage payments or pay 41 percent of their incomes, whichever is less. Continue Reading →

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