Urban Agenda

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Media justice activists develop racial equity pledge

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Nearly 50 persons attended “A Gathering for Media Justice” held last weekend at Hamline University for community members and local non-mainstream media representatives. Sponsored by Community Action Against Racism (CAAR), Main Street Project and KFAI-FM, the December 8 half-day “conversation-based” event discussed media justice issues with an emphasis on local mainstream media coverage of communities of color. “People came [to the Saturday event] because they have a real hunger to see things different,” said Main Street Project Community Organizer Danielle Mikali. “I think oftentimes we feel frustrated and we don’t know where to turn. “As a media justice organizer, but also as an African American woman and mother, too often I don’t necessary know where to look in terms of the really great independent media outlets that are sharing stories,” Mikali said of the various local media that were represented at last Saturday’s event: the Cities’ two Black newspapers, the Twin Cities Daily Planet “and even cable — there were some cable access show hosts that were here,” noted Mikali. Continue Reading →

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‘Hurt people hurt people’ — healing Black men’s pain

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Samuel Simmons. Say that name at a gathering of psychologists, social workers or both and you will catch someone’s ear. This is because Simmons, a veteran professional with a strong track record for successful counseling, is well known for his singular approach to mental and emotional health. He forgoes the field’s usual penchant for catchphrases and polysyllabic jargon to speak in plain language about how to solve complicated problems with simple common sense. “If the client can’t understand what you’re saying,” Simmons notes, “you can’t really do him or her much good.”

At a hulking, fairly fit 6’4”, Simmons puts you in mind of, say, Forrest Whitaker, an affable bear of a man who sports a ready smile, extends a hearty handshake, and offers a friendly word. Continue Reading →

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Segregation again: Black educators are being purged

 

 

Richard Green was the first Black superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools who later became chancellor of the New York City Schools. He was an educator’s educator. He earned respect and affection of all involved with education, educators, students and parents. He was honored when Central High School was renamed Richard Green Central Park School, now a K-8 school. Green was a native son, born and raised here. Continue Reading →

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From tragedy comes a demand for change

 

 

 

The murder of Trayvon Martin is a horrible reality that the people of the village are almost desensitized to, as murder isn’t an anomaly for too many of us. At the same time, like the deaths of Malcolm and Martin, Trayvon’s death has become a symbol of unity even as it has showcased the centuries-old flaws in the U.S. “justice” system. People — vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate brown — have banded together over this tragedy at the University of Minnesota and across the United States. Chaka Khan called some of her friends to sing a tribute to Trayvon Martin, each singer donning a hoodie. Babies wearing signs asking, “Am I suspicious?” flood Facebook pages across the world, and more profile pictures than I can count are of people wearing hoodies in solidarity. Continue Reading →

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Wake up! We’re still invisible!

 

 

“There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.” – Fannie Lou Hamer

 

Last night’s “Urban Agenda” radio show was one of those that unfolds as it is in motion, a potpourri about what is going on in the village and across the world, and the people who called in made it sing. It was clear to me that the few, Fannie Lou’s handful, who have committed themselves to the struggle for human rights need the people of the village to stand up so they can keep fighting. The pain in the voices of a few callers was evident — weary from struggling not only with systems rooted in the prisons of race, but weary from tussling with our own community about trying to do right. I asked in an earlier column about what you might say if Malcolm or Martin were to turn to you and say, “Your turn.” I am saying to you, it’s your turn. Continue Reading →

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Our history is the shield of our resistance

 

A month or so ago, a wonderful woman reached out to me on Facebook to invite me to a screening of the new documentary Slavery by Another Name. It so happened that I saw the chance to preview it tonight as I was thinking about what to offer in this column. It documents powerfully, painfully, magnificently the history of the Negro/African American, and it tells the truth about this country’s planned, systematic economic segregation of Black people. This week, to my dismay and surprise, I heard a show on our radio station talking about how our young people don’t want to know our history. What are the consequences, real-life consequences, for that lie? Continue Reading →

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What you can do to preserve Black history — and why you should

 

 

”When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. Continue Reading →

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Women ADVANCE to take the lead

 

 
A primarily Black Urban Women’s Movement is officially launched
 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Contributing Writer

 

On Saturday, January 21, approximately 200 people — overwhelmingly women, predominantly African American, with a sprinkling of men such as U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison — met for the Urban Women’s Movement kickoff. Leadership in the Twin Cities, even within communities of color, has been predominantly male. The Urban Women’s Movement seeks to change that dynamic. The movement came about after a discussion between the president of the movement, Lissa Jones, host of KMOJ’s “Urban Agenda,” and Trayshana Thomas, co-chair of the event and formerly of Rep. Keith Ellison’s office, about the fact that there are no local or state-level politicians who are addressing issues of urban communities. The mission of the Urban Women’s Movement is to begin engaging women in the political process well before entering a voting booth, “so that we are shaping the ballot rather than responding to it,” Jones said. Continue Reading →

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Your turn to speak up has arrived Critical thinking in the village

 

 

“With the people, for the people, by the people, I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, ’cause that’s what really happens.” 

— Fannie Lou Hamer

 

As we celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my mind reflected on this thought: What if, while he was still living, he turned to one of us and said, “Okay, your turn”? What if Fannie Lou Hamer, after countless beatings and eviction from her sharecropper home, got tired and turned to us and said, “Your turn”? What if Malcolm X, newly enlightened after his trip to Mecca, would have decided to work on other things, and he turned to you and said, “Your turn”? This year, beautiful people of the village, it’s our turn. If we want things to be different, to improve, then we must recognize that the solutions we’ve been offered, the prescriptions written by politicians and self-proclaimed leaders, haven’t worked. Continue Reading →

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A ‘New COINTELPRO’ will not deter our resistance

 
2012 will be The Year of the Village
 

FBI records show that 85 percent of COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed ”subversive, including communist and socialist organizations; organizations and individuals associated with the civil rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Congress of Racial Equality and other civil rights organizations; black nationalist groups; the American Indian Movement; a broad range of organizations labeled ‘New Left,’ including Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen; almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, as well as individual student demonstrators with no group affiliation; the National Lawyers Guild; organizations and individuals associated with the women’s rights movement; nationalist groups such as those seeking independence for Puerto Rico, United Ireland, and Cuban exile movements including Orlando Bosch’s Cuban Power and the Cuban Nationalist Movement; and additional notable Americans, such as Albert Einstein (who was a member of several civil rights groups).”

The remaining 15 percent of COINTELPRO resources were expended to marginalize and subvert ”white hate groups,” including the Ku Klux Klan and the National States’ Rights Party. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued directives governing COINTELPRO, ordering FBI agents to ”expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these movements and their leaders. (quotes from Wikipedia)

Breathe — this is deep. Last week I was threatened by two Black men with “public character assassination.” Truth. Coincidentally, last week the village shouted its dissent and let the politicians know about our dissatisfaction — and here comes COINTELPRO. Continue Reading →

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