Mel Reeves

Recent Articles

178 days and counting

Ebola crisis: U.S aid late coming
The Ebola epidemic brings us folks in the U.S. face to face with some stark realities about what we value. Let’s be clear, it is an epidemic. According to the World Health Organization there have been 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths since the first case was reported six months ago. According to Dr. Michael T. Osterholm of Minneapolis, “the Ebola epidemic has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.”

The former head of the U.S. Center for Disease Control said recently, “The level of [world] response to the disease has been totally inadequate.” This brings us face to face with one of our most stark and disconcerting realities: We really aren’t that concerned about folks in the rest of the world, especially the so-called developing world. This is even more so when applied to Black people, in this case Black Africans. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

On the ground in Ferguson, MO

News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


The MSR sent writer Mel Reeves to Ferguson, Missouri to personally observe and report on the aftermath of unrest there following an incident of police violence that left a young Black man dead and triggered an outbreak of protests and rioting. Last week, in “Mike Brown is laid to rest,” his observations were from the funeral. This week, he describes events leading up to the funeral.  

Saturday, August 23 


It’s hot in St. Louis and extremely humid yesterday. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Mike Brown is laid to rest

News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


The MSR sent writer Mel Reeves to Ferguson, Missouri to personally observe and report on the aftermath of unrest there following an incident of police violence that left a young Black man dead and triggered an outbreak of protests and rioting. Beginning this week, Reeves provides a journal of his observations and conversations with local people about what has happened there and what the future portends. 

Dispatches from Ferguson
FERGUSON, MO — At 10 am on Monday, August 25, the time of the Michael Brown funeral, it was very hot, around 97 degrees and humid. The press was out in full force, and folks could barely get into the Friendly Temple church without nearly being assaulted by the media, which clearly were trying hard to find a different angle on grief. For those who may have somehow missed the unfolding of this tragic story, shortly after noon on Saturday, August 9, an unarmed Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. A candlelight vigil that turned violent was followed by two weeks of rioting, looting, and street battles with police and National Guard troops along with some peaceful protests and continuing disclosures of the longstanding racial tensions in this mostly Black community governed by mostly White elected officials. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

On calling for calm while our people suffer

I have to admit I hate for folks to tell me to calm down, because if I am not calm it’s usually for a good reason and I am upset at some grave injustice. There are times when I am not quite calm. I found it odd and maddening that so-called leaders — or more appropriately misleaders — actually called a press conference on the Sunday following the incident to tell people to calm down after Al Flowers was nearly beaten to death in his own home. By the way, the press conference that followed a few days later was great and well attended. The chief of police should know what we think of her coming on our community radio asking for calm. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Can police invade your home without a warrant?

Community activist Al Flowers beaten by police
News Analysis 

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


“I could feel every one of the blows — all 30 to 40 of them,” explains Al Flowers, longtime community organizer. Flowers was beaten by Minneapolis police who said they came to pick up his 16-year-old daughter because she was out of range of her electronic monitoring device. Police failed to pick up the daughter, but they did beat up and arrest the dad, Flowers, instead. Yes, police claimed to come to Flowers’ house at nearly 12 midnight on Friday, July 25, supposedly to pick up his daughter but did not take her into custody. In fact, the daughter was cleared of any wrongdoing by juvenile authorities on Monday. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

On hating evil


As I heard folks say that they hated the Miami Heat (and some people decided to tell me about basketball who I didn’t know even followed the game), I couldn’t help but think that we could sure use this amount of “hatin” and passion on some real pressing issues. And let’s keep it real, LeBron James hasn’t laid off anybody’s parents, or caused your cousin to be locked down for 20 years, ’cause he had a little weed on him. Chris Bosh didn’t cut off unemployment benefits when people needed them most. The Heat didn’t have anything to do with the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Heat didn’t drop any bombs on anybody from a drone and then not even acknowledge the fact that people were killed, that they weren’t aiming at them, or call them collateral damage as if their lives meant nothing. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

South West Light Rail advocates see gains for communities of color

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


As Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council prepare to hear the public’s thoughts on the proposed South West Light Rail Transit (SWLRT), the effort to secure it has created some strange bedfellows. The Met Council has been cheerleading its passing, along with community advocacy groups who see the new rail line as an opportunity for more shared equity. Even the Star Tribune in a recent editorial called out Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges for failing to take leadership, as well as those who have been beating the equity drum. And some of the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) opposition to the SWLRT claim that the proposed light rail system will not be equitable but rather “trickle down transit.”

The SWLRT is a $1.68 billion (feds will pay half) proposed light rail project that will stretch 16 miles and run through Minneapolis, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Why is there no Malcolm X Day?

It’s unfortunate that Malcolm X doesn’t have a holiday. He clearly is deserving of a holiday. If anyone should have a holiday, it should be him. I have been trying to think about why he hasn’t gotten one, though he has been honored with a stamp. It’s one of the reasons I was pleased that we put on the First Annual Minnesota Malcolm X Conference last week. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Organizing to unite the African world

Omali Yeshitela discusses his work in ‘the ongoing struggle’

By Dwight Hobbes
Staff Writer


The only thing more dangerous than the truth is someone committed to telling it with the courage of his or her convictions and without regard to politically correct protocol. That characteristic has distinguished such iconic individuals as Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Dick Gregory and Martin Luther King. While his isn’t a household name, Omali Yeshitela nonetheless is to be reckoned with as a statesman of integrity and as a voice that refuses to compromise. When Yeshitela, chair of the African People’s Socialist Party, relates to revolution, it’s not from an armchair. He was there, sleeves rolled up, holding the front line in the 1960s Civil Rights Era throughout the thick of it all, as the U.S. saw its most momentous upheaval since the Civil War. It isn’t lost on him that both of these landmarks confronted the subjugation of African America. This country bit off more than it could chew by enslaving Black people and has spent hundreds of years choking on it ever since. So, it couldn’t be more fitting that Yeshitela addressed the First Annual Twin Cities Malcolm X Conference this past Saturday in North Minneapolis. There is, of course, no Malcolm X Day, despite the fact that he and Martin Luther King, Jr. fought, lived and died for the same principle of equality. White liberals look on King as a sort of kindly, non-threatening figure. Malcolm, on the other hand, scared them witless. His memory still casts a disquieting pall, lest a successor emerge. Someone like Omali Yeshitela. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,