LaDonna Redmond

Recent Articles

People of color seek an environmental message that includes them

By LaDonna Redmond

Contributing Writer

 

It is easy to dismiss the environmental movement. It seems that so many of the messages that come from environmentalists are related to things that are defined as White or ideas that are not of any concern to African Americans. It may also seem like the environmental movement is trying to “unring” a bell, making the behavior attached to protecting the environment from human harm inaccessible and unrealistic. The environmental movement categorizes the natural world’s existence over people. The goal of protecting the planet and not people is troubling for communities of color. Continue Reading →

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Historical background of African American cooperatives

By LaDonna Redmond

Contributing Writer

 

Mary Alice Smalls was a member of the New Riverside Café, a workers’ cooperative in the Cedar-Riverside community in the 1970s. Known as the Haight–Ashbury of the Midwest, Cedar-Riverside was a national center for counter culture, and the New Riverside Café was known as the community’s living room where customers could pay what they could afford. According to Smalls, “There were very few people of color that knew about the co-op and those that were interested were interested in alternatives to capitalism. Some were more militant than others.” It was that militancy that seemed to undo the work of the cooperative. “Decisions were made by consensus, anybody could block a decision, sometimes people would block a decision for political reasons that were not linked to the issue at hand.” said Smalls. Continue Reading →

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African Americans in the Twin Cities co-op movement

By LaDonna Redmond

Contributing Writer

 

 

“There were two African American owned co-ops in the Twin Cities,” according to Gary Cunningham, former staff of the old Bryant-Central co-op. Gary’s uncle, Moe Burton, was the energy behind the co-op that formed in 1975 on the corner of 35th Street and 4th Avenue. Decades earlier, in 1946, the Credjafawn Social Club formed the first African American Co-op, the Credjafawn Co-op, which was located a few blocks from the current Mississippi Market Co-op location at Selby and Dale. St. Peters AME church member and Central community resident, Gregory McMoore became concerned when he learned from a Wilder Foundation report that found that you can predict the life expectancy of people by their zip code. Continue Reading →

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Seward coop plans for second store run into questions of race, class and food justice

By LaDonna Redmond

Contributing Writer

 

“Will the store cause a rise in rents?” one community resident asked during the July public meeting about Seward Community Co-op’s plan to open a store across from Sabathani Community Center. At the heart of the discussion were questions about race, class and food justice. How can Seward Co-op serve a community that is primarily African American and working class while it currently serves a community that is White and middle class? In other words, can a White-led co-op serve a Black community? A few weeks prior to the community meeting, the Bryant community grapevine had gotten news that a local cooperative wanted to expand in the community. Continue Reading →

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Wilder Foundation hosts unFRAMED conversations

Blacks discuss Zimmerman verdict’s effects on youth
 
By Jamal Denman

Online Editor

 

 

On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the Wilder Foundation’s Wilder Center for Communities played host to what was referred to as a “community conversation,” where members of the Twin Cities community were invited to listen to and partake in a discussion about what impact the aftermath of the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent verdict in the Andrew Zimmerman trial will have on how young people — particularly young people of color and specifically African American boys — are taught and raised by those who care about them. The event, billed as unFRAMED: The Lessons of the Zimmerman Trial, was organized by Barbara “Bob-e” Epps and Dave Ellis of the Black Men’s Early Childhood Project (BMECP). Epps is a consultant to the Science Museum of Minnesota, which had started hosting an exhibit called The Wonder Years, an exhibit that “looks at early childhood development from prenatal to age five,” Epps explains. The Science Museum also started hosting a series of conversations, which they called “citizen’s conferences,” where “up to 100 people from a cross section of populations come together, look at the exhibit, and then have a discussion about what [the exhibit] means to them, what their thoughts are about children, and what do they want to invest [in them].”

In early 2012, Epps was asked by the Science Museum to help facilitate similar types of community conversations throughout the state, and she gladly said yes. “I suggested that they bring African American men together and have a dialogue with them,” says Epps. Continue Reading →

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March on Washington – 50 years later

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set the stage for the environmental justice movement
 

I  was not alive August 28, 1963. The March on Washington was held 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and eight years to the date of the lynching of Emmett Till. Being inquisitive, I look for clues in history that might lead to our freedom from oppression. I often find myself looking through the words of Dr .Martin Luther King for inspiration. I admit that I often skip the “I Have a Dream” speech. Continue Reading →

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Climate change is the defining issue of our time

 

 

During his State of the Union address, President Barak Obama proposed that the United States take the lead internationally to address climate change. He quoted John F. Kennedy, who said, “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.”

When thinking about this climate problem, many in communities of color do not feel that they are responsible for climate change. It’s not the behavior of poor people and communities of color that has got the earth off balance. I am not asserting blame — I am stating the obvious. Poor people and communities of color are most impacted by climate change but contribute the least to it. 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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First annual Baraza conference ‘a huge success’

Event launches movement to improve Black women’s health and wellness
 

Part 2 — see part one in the current print edition of the MSR

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

The October 6 Baraza Conference presentation by Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., was titled “Claiming Your Right to Wellness: Sisters in Recovery from Life” and addressed powerful issues such as trauma, grief and loss as they relate to both personal and professional relationships, and offered the audience exercises to improve wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Akinsanya is a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of the African American Child Wellness Institute. One of the things she discussed during her talk was cognitive reframing, such as when one thinks of a glass as half full or half empty. So, when you do reframing, what you do is look at a situation from another side. Dr. Akinsanya asked the audience to think of one negative thing you say about yourself that keeps you locked down. Continue Reading →

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Conference brings Black environmental thought to Twin Cities

Everyday Black folks missing from the eco-dialogue

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Tuskegee University hosted the first-ever Black Environmental Thought (BET) conference in 2007. The University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Center hosted last weekend the second such event on September 21-23. The U-M’s African American and African Studies (AAAS) department, the Institute for Advanced Study and St. Paul-based AfroEco were key organizers of BET II, which was billed for Black scholars, activists, farmers and other environmentalists “to engage in translocal and transnational dialogues about environmental justice.”

“It took us five years to do this again,” proclaimed U-M Professor Rose Brewer in her welcoming remarks. AAAS Chair Keith Mayes added that too often “Black folk and people of color are left out of the [environmental] discussion.”

Environmental issues are “fundamental Black issues,” noted AfroEco’s Sam Grant. Continue Reading →

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