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Youth Coordinating Board lauded for making Downtown Mpls safer

By Jerry Freeman

Senior Editor


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 →

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Community organizers lay foundation for racial equity agenda in Minneapolis

OUR MPLS: strategic proposals aimed at keeping City leaders accountable to communities of color

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer


With new leadership now at Minneapolis City Hall, a coalition of locally based organizations have developed a new racial and economic justice agenda for the city. Their dialogue at a recent community meeting reflected a new enthusiasm and optimism for moving with this new leadership in “moving racial equity forward.”

“What would racial and economic justice in Minneapolis look like?” asked Vina Kay last week during a monthly community meeting hosted by Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden at Butter Bakery Café on the city’s South Side. “We have a lot of trouble thinking that way about [racial justice] in Minneapolis,” she said, adding that the community needs to help City leaders see “that these disparities run throughout our communities and cut across multiple issues.”

Kay, research and policy director for Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP); Hope Communities Organizing and Community Building Director Chaka Mkali; and Avi Viswanathan, an organizer for HIRE Minnesota spoke on OUR MPLS, whose key components include “authentic community engagement” by City leaders with communities of color and low-income communities “in defining City priorities,” prioritizing bus rapid transit in low-income neighborhoods, and more investment in youth programming. “We came together in mid-December because we saw this as an opportunity — a lot of new leadership” including a new mayor and several new council members in Minneapolis, recalled

Kay. Minneapolis “is a racial and unjust city right now,” she pointed out. Continue Reading →

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