Vickie Evans-Nash

Recent Articles

AGH initiative promises to finally close MN Achievement Gap

 

Satire is sometimes the best way for a writer to make a point, especially on topics that are simply so foolish as to invite a little constructive ridicule. Such is the case for the following commentary by MSR’s editor-in-chief. It originates from a conversation we had one day in the editorial department about the bewildering variety of people and programs popping up left and right promising to fix the infamous Achievement Gap between Black and White students. There were literally hundreds of initiatives with nearly as many different approaches to the problem. It seemed absurdly complicated. Continue Reading →

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Communities of color receive 750K to promote MNsure

Website frustrations may have ‘scared off’ some Black enrollees
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Open enrollment for MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace, closes March 31. Stairstep Foundation President Alfred Babington-Johnson said, “It’s important for MNsure to be able to reach into communities with a sense of uniqueness of those communities, and not some kind of generic, cookie-cutter application [process]. “The case we made was [that] we have a different story to tell and we need to tell that story,” said Babington-Johnson. “The end result is that African Americans need health care.”

Minnesota State Senator Jeff Hayden told the MSR that $750,000 was allocated by MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange, for navigators training: Stairstep ($100,000), Minneapolis Urban League ($100,000) and Pillsbury United Communities ($80,000-$100,000) were among several local organizations that were awarded funds. Babington-Johnson believes that “the most organic instrument in our community is the African American church — a natural access to our people. Continue Reading →

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Building the ‘Buy Black’ movement in Minnesota

Local entrepreneurs discuss challenges, offer solutions
 
News Analysis

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The idea for the recent MSR multi-part Black business series first came last year during a conversation with Twin Cities Black Film Festival Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She decried the seemingly low support from Blacks for such annual events as hers. MSR Editor-in-Chief Vickie Evans Nash later agreed with Morrow’s assertion and assigned me to investigate and report on how true or not true it is. Over the course of several months, after causal and on-record conversations with several local Black business owners, we produced the series beginning in late September. Rather than ask about how financially successful these business persons are, the MSR instead inquired why they chose to start their own businesses, any unforeseen obstacles they may have faced and overcome, new challenges they currently face, and what advice and tips they might offer to anyone who might be thinking of becoming a business owner. Continue Reading →

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Karamu House conversations launched to develop new Black narrative

 

 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Editor-in-Chief

 

The second monthly Karamu House meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 11 at Camphor Memorial Methodist Church, 585 Fuller Ave, St Paul, from 6-8 pm. The event came together as a result of Professor Mahmoud El-Kati feeling that the community needs to have its own conversation around the events in history stemming from the first group of Blacks that landed on the shores of the North American continent as slaves and continuing through today. “Karamu is a Swahili word,” explained El-Kati, “and it means center of community life, place of festive enjoyment — both. It’s serious…and expressive. Churches symbolize Karamu houses. Continue Reading →

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Die-hard Michael Jackson fans not likely to be impressed by ‘The Ultimate Thriller’

Judging by the response of most of the crowd — “We love you, Michael!,” dancing in the seats, “This is the best show I’ve ever seen.” — Mystic Lake’s “The Ultimate Thriller” on June 7 and 8, was a success. On the night of June 7, the team of musicians and dancers performed for an almost packed house. Any true fan of Michael Jackson would know that his career was not initiated by the Moon Walk. His unique voice, apparent even during adolescence, was what brought him early fame and kept him there for decades. So when this Latin-accented look-a-like tried to impersonate a soulful ballad, his voice, though passable, could in no way be confused with the King of Pop. Continue Reading →

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Northside Achievement Zone hiring mostly Northsiders

 
Nontraditional approach seeks workers already ‘connected to the Zone’
 

 

 

By Vickie Evans-Nash 

Editor-in-Chief

 

Lucretia Gill is a connector. She talks to families with children in North Minneapolis to determine their family’s goals, and then she connects them to the organizations that can address the challenges hindering them from reaching their goals. Last year, Gill was a personal care attendant (PCA). She now works for an organization that has added 42 new positions over the past year — 32 of them filled by Northsiders — to the North Minneapolis job market. Gill had previously been one among the hundreds of families in North Minneapolis that the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) is charged with reaching. Continue Reading →

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Jerry Freeman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder talks about his new novel

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

It’s said that those who can, do, and that those who can’t, teach. In the publishing racket, more than one grousing writer would attest that those who can’t do, edit. Not the case with Jerry Freeman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR). Freeman has been editing at MSR — which, closing on 80 years, is Minnesota’s longest-lived African American publication (and, for that matter, the state’s oldest minority-owned business) — for the past decade. At the weekly community newspaper, he has developed a nettlesome reputation by assigning staff ace writer Charles Hallman stories delving into no small amount of controversy, among them a story on Black clergy members’ views on gay marriage and the series “Chasing The Tornado Money” (parts one, two, three) on just how much relief funding actually found its way to North Minneapolis victims of the deadly, vastly damaging tornado in 2011. Continue Reading →

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Do you know how to respond to a mental-health crisis?

Mental Health First Aid provides the needed skills
By Vickie Evans-Nash

MSR Editor-in-Chief

First aid and CPR classes have been taught across the nation for years now, giving people with no medical training lifesaving skills in the event of a medical crisis. People suffering from mental health problems can pose a life-threatening crisis as well. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota offers lay people a class called Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) that will give them the skills needed to respond in cases of a mental-health crisis. “In a similar way to how regular first aid teaches people BAC (breathing, airway and circulation), in mental health first aid there’s an acronym ALGEE. It stands for assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen non-judgmentally, get appropriate information and support, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage appropriate self-help,” explains Anna McLafferty, the course instructor. Continue Reading →

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Obama presidency gives African Americans hope for ‘a more perfect union’

 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Editor-in-Chief

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over 800,000 people were in attendance on the National Mall for the 2013 presidential inauguration. Though the crowd may not have equaled the size of the 2009 gathering, this second presidential inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama demonstrated Americans’ enthusiasm for his presidency. What was a significant event for many Americans was even more so for those of African descent. “It’s good to see an African American in the White House, especially somebody I voted for,” said Damola Ogundipe, former Minnesota Gophers football player, while touring the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument in the nation’s capital the day before the inauguration. Ogundipe, born in Nigeria and raised in the Twin Cities, moved to Los Angeles just over a year ago after finishing college. Continue Reading →

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Election judges keep polling places operating smoothly

 
Be sure your vote counts by coming to the polls prepared
By Vickie Evans-Nash

Editor-In-Chief

Serving as an election judge and helping voters navigate through the voting process is an invaluable contribution to our democratic process. Stephani Booker, who has been an election judge for over a decade, explains what it takes to become an election judge and how to show up prepared next week at the polls. She became a judge by first responding to information in her City of Minneapolis water utility bill. Among several pieces of junk mail was an insert with a number to call for more information. According to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, in order to be an election judge:

• You must be eligible to vote in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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