2022: The Year in Review

Top l-r: 1) Mel Reeves; 2) Amir Locke protest- Photo by H. Jiahong Pan; 3) MSR mural – Photo by Paige Elliott 4); Tracey Williams-Dillard and Charles Hallman -Photo by Paige Elliott; 5) Kwesi Adofo-Mensah – MN Vikings; 6) Prince mural – Photo by Steve Floyd; 7) Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – MGN; 8) an abortion rights protest – MGN 9) Hennepin County Sheriff-elect Dawanna Witt – Photo by Travis Lee; (10-12) Senators-elect Zaynab Mohamed, Erin Maye Quade; and Clare Oumou Verbeten – submitted photos; 13) Mayor Carter with SPPD Chief Axel Henry – Photo by H. Jiahong Pan; 14) Mayor Frey with Chief Brian O’Hara – Photo by H. Jiahong Pan; 15) WNBA star Brittney Griner – MGN; 16) Winter Storm Elliott – MGN

2022 started on a tragic note for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) with the untimely passing of beloved community editor and activist Mel Reeves on January 6. His pen, passion, and trusty bullhorn are sorely missed.

With the help of the community, the MSR soldiered on and reached great heights this year as Publisher/CEO Tracey Williams-Dillard was recognized as one of AARP’s “50 Over 50” for the MSR’s health coverage during the pandemic, as well as Sister Spokesman, a monthly networking event series for women that made a successful return this year after a hiatus due to the pandemic.

Likewise, longtime sportswriter Charles Hallman was awarded many times over, including a Hall of Fame induction by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, for his continued coverage of women’s and local sports and his steadfast commitment to coaching youth sports.

Also, the MSR was selected, along with 14 other Black and Latino news outlets across the nation, to take part in the Google News Initiative, which helped advance advertising strategies and grow digital revenue. Another high point was the completion of the MSR mural on the 38th Street side of the building which was reimagined by the gifted hands of the collective Creatives After Curfew.

Relatively speaking, the year seemed a bit calmer in the Twin Cities as communities continued to reemerge from the fog of Covid and adapt to a landscape forever changed in its wake.

The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder continued with the federal and state sentences of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with his killing. Fatal police shootings continued, however, and no such charges were filed in the February police shooting of Amir Locke during a no-knock raid, nor in the fatal shooting of Tekle Sundberg during a stand-off with police in July, to name a few.

The continued fallout from Floyd’s murder could also be seen in the changing landscape of police structure and leadership as both St. Paul and Minneapolis ushered in new police chiefs. Minneapolis also welcomed its first public safety commissioner.

In sports, the MN Vikings hired its first Black general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and Minneapolis served as host to the Women’s NCAA Final Four tournament.

 In June, Minneapolis honored its favorite son Prince Rogers Nelson with a block party to celebrate the completion of a mural dedicated to the late artist in downtown Minneapolis. Also, on June 7, what would have been the legend’s 64th birthday, First Avenue North (between 7th and 8th Streets) was formally rechristened “Prince Rogers Nelson Way.”

 There were many pivotal moments nationally, as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice. Elsewhere, the January 6th Committee hearings seemed to surprise pundits by capturing the public’s attention while unmasking the players—especially the former president’s involvement—in the Capitol insurrection.

Minnesota became a haven for abortion seekers following the conservative Supreme Court’s stunning overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Subsequently, voters seem to recoil at the idea of the reversal of long-held rights and freedoms, and the predicted Republican “red wave” during the midterm elections resulted in little more than a trickle.

Nationally, Democrats kept the Senate and lost far fewer House seats than expected. And Minnesota joined Maryland, Massachusetts, and Michigan in voting for full Democratic control of the Legislature—the first time in the state since 2014. 

Black elected officials and candidates triumphed in the state as Erin Maye Quade, Zaynab Mohamed, and Clare Oumou Verbeten became the first Black women ever elected to the Minnesota Senate. ​Also, Hennepin County elected its first Black sheriff with Dawanna Witt defeating contender Joseph Banks.

 In December, WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed in a prisoner swap after spending 294 days in Russian custody for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil. 

The year ended on a dramatic note as Winter Storm Elliott brought blistering cold weather across the nation that altered holiday plans and made for an unforgettable Christmas weekend.

Though this year was challenging, we thank all the contributors, readers, advertisers, and friends of the MSR for helping us press on. We look forward to continuing to do the important work of telling stories in our communities through an unflinching Black lens and an eye toward equity and equality.

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