Recent Articles

Help! We need family therapy








As a mental health professional and someone who has deep concern for Black people and our future, I cannot stress the importance of family. The family unit is the foundation for your future. Whenever an element of trauma and/or abuse is introduced into the family structure, the foundation become fragile. When trauma and or abuse is introduced into the family structure, the family fabric begins to wear and ultimately will tear. If we are to be honest about the state of Black families, we can say that a significant number of our families are in despair. Continue Reading →

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I remember when the community supported us








By Lovell Oates
Contributing Writer


Second in a series
Last week: I remember these things because the times were very different in these institutions when the community would stop by and check on us. Those memories were from around 12 years ago, that’s about how long it’s been since I have seen people from my community come in and give the pure unadulterated truth.  

I know some people will read this and are like, ”Hell no! I helped Joe the first five times he got out of jail, then, he went next door and stole Mrs. Johnson’s TV.” We must understand these are no strange happenings. It is by design that Joe and other clowns like him are released on the community continuously. Continue Reading →

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Condoleezza Rice: war criminal, race hustler








There are a myriad of reasons why Condoleezza Rice was a bad choice to speak at the University of Minnesota on Keeping Faith with a Legacy of Justice: the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The first is that it is downright hypocritical. Rice is not an expert on Civil Rights. In fact, her life and her career are all a reflection of her disdain for civil rights. Neither Rice nor her family believed in the efficacy of the struggle for the rights of Black people to be free of Jim Crow racism in the United States. Continue Reading →

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The continuing battle of Sgt. Michael Keefe

And the disappearance of  Black police officers from the MPD








See my August 29, 2007 column regarding the courageous battle waged by Lt. Michael Keefe of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), “A profile in courage and integrity — the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe” (link below). Keefe was demoted to sergeant as part of a mean-spirited vendetta against this White officer and against some African American police officers. The August 2007 column provides insight into the latest battles currently being fought within the city and within its police department. And even though Mayor Betsy Hodges and city council members have said they are committed to equity and fairness in the governance of the city of Minneapolis, a couple of major battles centering around equity in the MPD questions their commitment. The first deals with the attempt by the City of Minneapolis, in State District Court, to avoid releasing information from the now six-and-a-half year lawsuit battle brought by then Lt. and now Sgt. Continue Reading →

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Some class sizes reduced in new St. Paul teachers’ contract

Trust an ongoing issue between teachers, district

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer



The St. Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) and St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) both cite “seven community-developed priorities” in the three-year “landmark contract” that was settled last month and approved earlier this month. These priorities include smaller classes and hiring more teachers and staff. Two key persons directly involved in the negotiations, SPFT President Mary Cathryn Ricker and SPPS Chief of Staff Michelle Walker, last week spoke to the MSR in separate interviews. Continue Reading →

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Biased news coverage benefits only the bigots








A State legislative audit released earlier this year offered some options for strengthening the State’s four councils of color that advocate for Blacks, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans. Unfortunately, recent published reports and editorials in both Twin Cities daily newspapers focused narrowly on these groups’ alleged shortcomings and questioned whether they should continue to exist rather than clarifying the auditor’s actual intent, as the MSR’s reporting has disclosed. Especially targeted by media criticism was the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM). Newspaper articles hinting at financial mismanagement by its leadership questioned the point of continuing its State funding. Over the past two weeks, the COBM’s director has offered a passionate defense of the organization in the MSR not provided in other media outlets so quick to attack. Continue Reading →

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Award-winning director brings Passing Strange to Twin Cities

Actor feels free to take risks at Mixed Blood
Director-actor-playwright Thomas W. Jones II, hailing from Atlanta as founding artistic director of Jomandi Productions, owns an enviable Twin Cities presence, consistently working at Mixed Blood Theatre, currently directing and performing in Passing Strange. His track record is remarkable. Starting with directing. Jones walked off with a Helen Hayes Award for Samm Art Williams’ Home and his original script Bessie’s Blues. No mere hat-trick. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis musician selected for Doris Duke Artist Award

Minneapolis native, New York-based pianist and composer Craig Taborn among 13 jazz artists to receive 2014 Doris Duke Foundation awards


Earlier this week, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced the first-ever recipients of the Doris Duke Impact Awards and the third group of individuals to receive Doris Duke Artist Awards. According to the press release, “both awards are part of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, a special ten-year initiative of the foundation to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial challenges that are specific to the performing arts. Doris Duke Artist Award recipients receive $275,000, and Doris Duke Impact Award recipients receive $80,000. Since commencing in April 2012, the program has awarded a total of $18.1 million to artists in the fields of jazz, dance and theater.” The 2014 jazz related award recipients are:
2014 Doris Duke Artist Awards

Oliver Lake
Steve Lehman
Roscoe Mitchell
Zeena Parkins
Craig Taborn
Randy Weston

2014 Doris Duke Impact Awards

Muhal Richard Abrams
Ambrose Akinmusire
Steve Coleman
Ben Monder
Aruán Ortiz
Matana Roberts
Jen Shyu


Pianist and composer Craig Taborn is multi-talented in the realms of straight-ahead and free jazz. Continue Reading →

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