Nekima Levy-Pounds

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Mall protester Levy-Pounds vows to fight charges

Nekima Levy-Pounds

Bloomington presses ahead with effort to recover ‘lost revenues’

Despite written pleas by local and national elected officials and a petition with over 40,000 signatures against it, the City of Bloomington has announced it will seek “lost revenues” from 10 people associated with last month’s Black Lives Matter Minneapolis demonstration at the Mall of America.

Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson, who filed charges last week, is seeking restitution, including at least $25,000 in police overtime, stated a Black Lives Matter Minneapolis press release last week.

University of St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the 10 persons charged with up to eight misdemeanors, told the audience at the January 15 Council on Black Minnesotans’ (COMB) Day on the Hill in St. Paul, “I was charged…because I have been outspoken against police misconduct [and] police brutality.” She characterized the action as “prosecutorial overreach and misuse of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Levy-Pounds, in a brief MSR interview after her scheduled appearance at St. Paul’s Christ Lutheran Church, said that the charges against her, if she were found guilty, carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison and an $8,000 fine, which “is retaliatory in nature because I have been outspoken in the media about the tactics being used by Johnson and Mall of America.” Continue Reading →

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MPD chief a no-show at community forum on police violence

Harteau’s absence attributed to ‘public safety’ threats
 
By Khymyle Mims

Contributing Writer

This past Thursday night, citizens from across the city gathered at the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis to take part in a “listening session” with the chief of police and other individuals who teach and work in the criminal justice field. Over 100 people from the community gathered to ask questions and express their concerns about police corruption and brutality in Minneapolis and elsewhere around the country. The plan was to direct these concerns to a panel consisting of Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, U of M Professor Dr. Rose Brewer, and author and Metropolitan State University Criminal Justice Professor Jason Sole, as well as lawyer and chair of the Police Conduct Oversight Commission Jennifer Singleton. Instead, the crowd addressed only Sole, Brewer and Singleton due to Harteau deciding not to attend. It was later relayed to the audience that Harteau’s decision came from her feeling it was not safe for her to participate. Continue Reading →

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Mayors pledge racial equity

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Twin Cities could be the nation’s best example for racial equity — so pledge the mayors of the state’s two largest municipalities. In welcoming the estimated 500-plus attendees at the August 5-6 “Convening on Racial Equity” at the University of Minnesota, both St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges told the audience that they are committed to addressing racial equity in all aspects of government and society. The two-day conference was co-sponsored by 10 governmental jurisdictions and over 40 local and national community-based organizations. “It is critically important that we leaders come together and work through every aspect of what we do in our cities and in our states to make sure that we are truly an equitable society,” stated Coleman. Continue Reading →

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MSR’s 19th Annual Graduation Celebration

By Raymond Jackson
Contributing Writer

 

 

On Tuesday, May 7, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) newspaper sponsored its 19th Annual Graduation Celebration to acknowledge African and African American senior students finishing high school. This year’s event was held at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.  

Shed G, co-host of The KMOJ Radio Morning Show, emceed the event, which awarded six graduates Cecil E. Newman Scholarships and two graduates Launa Q. Newman scholarships. Cecil Newman is the founder of MSR; his wife, Launa Q. Newman, carried on as publisher after her husband’s death. The food served was home style, with many in attendance returning for seconds. Continue Reading →

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Lawyers of color names Levy-Pounds one of the most influential law professors in the U.S.

University of St. Thomas School of Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds is one of the most influential young minority law professors in the country, according to media and research company Lawyers of Color. Levy-Pounds was named to the company’s “50 Under 50” list for 2014, which recognizes law professors of color who are making “bold contributions to the legal canon and the community at large.”

As professor and founding director of the Community Justice Project, the School of Law’s award-winning civil rights legal clinic, Levy-Pounds fosters and inspires up-and-coming lawyers to work to improve the lives of members of under-served communities and youths in the Twin Cities. Challenging laws and policies that hold back communities of color, she has carved her place in the local civil rights movement. With Levy-Pounds’ vision, the Community Justice Project developed Brotherhood Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that uplifts and empowers young African American males who have had contact with the criminal justice system, are involved in gangs, or are at risk of such involvement. Continue Reading →

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Civil rights report highlights across-the-board disparities

Education gaps, high incarceration strongly impacts Black unemployment
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The “intolerably high unemployment rates” for Blacks in Minnesota has been oft-discussed in recent years, but a new Minnesota State Advisory Committee report on unemployment disparities provided a further analysis on the issue. “There have been previous reports that focus on unemployment disparities,” noted University of St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds on “Unemployment Disparity in Minnesota,” released in December by the Minnesota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The report provided “an in-depth analysis” on several areas that has impacted Blacks in Minnesota, such as arrest records and criminal justice contacts, access to capital for Black-owned businesses, and lack of access to government contracts. The report also “looked at disparities across the board facing African Americans so that we can paint a more complete picture on how many of these systems interact and collective impact that these systems have on the African American community,” she pointed out. Continue Reading →

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Humphrey Public Affairs panel agrees: King’s Dream remains a dream, not our reality

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The 1964 Civil Rights Act became law 50 years ago, and the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs this year is hosting a series of events to commemorate the historic legislation. Last week’s panel discussion at Cowles Auditorium with local civil rights activists was the beginning. Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice Chair Dr. Samuel Myers characterized the January 23 event, cosponsored by the center and the African American Leadership Forum, as “a critical discourse and discussion about how far have we come and where we need to go.”

University of St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, the event’s keynote speaker, told the audience of around 40 people that Dr. King’s legacy too often is romanticized, especially his 1963 I Have A Dream speech. “That speech was amazing — according to many people, it is the greatest speech that’s ever been made in American history,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Race discrimination persists in school discipline practices

By Mary Turck

Contributing Writer

 

In early January, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder jointly announced new federal guidelines on school discipline. Why? “Racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem today, and not just an issue from 40 to 50 years ago,” said Duncan. Want numbers? The new guidelines have plenty:

“The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), conducted by OCR, has demonstrated that students of certain racial or ethnic groups tend to be disciplined more than their peers. Continue Reading →

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Mayoral forum focused on Mpls communities of color — Candidates acknowledged inequities but lacked solutions

 

 

By Jamal Denman

Online Editor

 

On Thursday, June 6, the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis hosted the One MPLS Mayoral Forum, giving candidate hopefuls the opportunity to address the questions and concerns of members of Minneapolis’ communities of color. Questions were collected from the audience before the start of the forum, and the candidates were randomly selected to answer each question. While it is assumed that the participants in the forum were made aware of the forum’s overriding theme, because of the candidates’ constant inability or unwillingness to directly answer questions posed to them it would not be hard to believe otherwise. The auditorium in the Sabathani Community Center was packed with a diverse crowd of community activists, politically active young people, and concerned citizens eager to hear what the people vying to become the next mayor of Minneapolis had to say. Mayoral candidates Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Betsy Hodges, Tony Lane, Doug Mann, Don Samuels, Gary Schiff, and Jim Thomas faced the 500-plus people in attendance and their questions that centered on addressing issues facing communities of color. Continue Reading →

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Schools seek remedies to racial suspension gap

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Black students nationwide are suspended at least twice more frequently than any other student group and up to three times more often in many Twin Cities metro area urban and suburban school districts. However, school officials say that they are working on reducing Black suspension rates using a variety of strategies. “I cannot speak for all districts, but I can tell you that we have worked extremely hard in Anoka-Hennepin to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all students of color,” stated Anoka-Hennepin spokesperson Mary Olson. The district had a nearly 33 percent Black suspension rate in 2011-12 while only 10 percent of its overall student population is Black. Anoka-Hennepin has been using cultural competency and culturally responsive teaching strategies by the Seattle-based Gary Howard Equity Institute for nearly four years, added Olson. Continue Reading →

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