NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday May 11th 2021

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May 2021

Arts and culture edition! Plus Covid vaccine location details and contact info (p10), credit score help (p11), new community voices p.5, more info on the Deep Winter Greenhouse and May actions on the Roof Depot, Heart of the Beast update (p11), and … Howard’s review of Godzilla vs. Kong (p10)!

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“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns,” – Octavia Butler

photo by Megan Gramlow, April 20, 2021

SAY THEIR NAMES cemetery at 37th and Park (near George Floyd Square). The sun sets on a call for justice. Visitors at the cemetery honor, mourn, celebrate, and gather momentum for the work of tomorrow. They compose a symphony for those lost:

Guilty on all three counts.
Black Lives Matter
Humanity Matters
You Matter

–Megan Gramlow, Phillips West Neighborhood Organization Safety Committee

Duante Wright and his son, by Nikkolas Smith 2021 (www.nikkolasart.com)

“If she saw your child, Katie, as she saw her child, I don’t think she would’ve reached for a taser, let alone a gun,” attorney Ben Crump said to Wright’s mother and the crowd assembled at the services in North Minneapolis Thursday, April 22.

A great exhale of relief went through the city, through the world, with the three guilty verdicts for Derick Chauvin.
But, the verdicts cannot bring back those who lost their lives at the hands of police, or begin to comfort grieving families.
Even as we feel relief over the verdict in the Chauvin trial, Duante Wright must be added to the picture. Our work is only beginning.

the alley editorial leadership committee

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Show love to our neighborhood sponsors!

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Phillips West Neighborhood News

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What’s Your Score?

By MARY ELLEN KALUZA

https://www.lssmn.org/financialcounseling/blog/credit-credit-report/build-and-improve-your-credit-score

Americans are obsessed with their credit score – checking it daily, paying for apps, even sending screenshots to potential mothers-in-law. The score is a source of pride and boasting. It can also be a source of shame and low self-esteem. It feels like that 3-digit number defines who we are. Have a good score? You’re golden. Have a distressed score? You’re tarnished. 

Your credit score is based on information in your credit reports. Essentially it is your grade on what has been reported. That grade will determine if you can rent or buy a home, get a phone plan, get a job or promotion, have a decent interest rate on your car loan, how much you pay for insurance, and who will marry you. I tell my daughter she doesn’t marry anyone until I see their credit report. Mostly I mean it as a joke, but one partner’s poor credit score can hold the couple back from pursuing goals. It is not a joke that life is hard and expensive with a low credit score. 

The whole idea of buying and selling information about potential borrowers’ creditworthiness goes back to the late 1800’s. The score we all know and love or hate – FICO – came into widespread use quite recently in the early 1990’s when the practice of risk-based lending, charging higher interest if the borrower was deemed a higher risk, took firm hold in the lending world. Theoretically, lending decisions based on the score are made without interference of personal biases. 

The scoring system eliminated some, certainly not all, of the unfairness and prejudice that goes into a decision to extend credit or not. The score does not tell the backstory – was there a job loss? An illness? Death in the family? Divorce? Youthful ignorance? And, it does not address the persistent inequities of colonization and slavery that give great advantages to some and rob others of those same advantages. 

Despite its failings, the credit scoring system is not going away any time soon. (There are rumblings in the media about “shutting down the credit bureaus”, but there’s a lot of money in buying and selling our personal data so that will be a battle.) The good news is, anyone can improve their score. You don’t have to pay a credit repair service either – they don’t do anything you can’t do yourself. And scam outfits abound – beware. Free advice is available at non-profit credit counseling agencies. Get started with this great blog by my colleague, Tasha Symiczek, a Certified Financial Counselor for LSS Financial Counseling:

https://www.lssmn.org/financialcounseling/blog/credit-credit-report/build-and-improve-your-credit-score

And, remember, you are not your score. You are your whole story with all its woes and triumphs. Let a good credit score be one of your triumphs. 

P.S. Any opinions expressed here are strictly mine – not the alley’s or my employer.

Mary Ellen Kaluza is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling which offers free counseling for budgeting, debt reduction, credit review, student loans, housing, and more. Website: www.lssfinancialcounseling.org

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Stop the Violence against Asian Americans

By NINA, an 8th Grader at Jefferson Community School

Art by Nina

An article from 1907 says, “We must exclude the Chinese, Hindu and Koreans, and even the Japanese, if necessary.” Blatant racism is shown in connection to a disease and now we’re seeing history repeat itself. Currently, Asian Americans are still being attacked and blamed for the virus, which is why the government should be working harder to find solutions to stop hate crimes against Asian Americans. Government officials hold the responsibility to stop violence against Asian Americans and it will bring security to the Asian community in addition to reducing the normalization of racism against them.

The first reason the government should find solutions to stop all this violence is that it will bring peace of mind and security to Asian Americans across the country. With all the violence, Asian American university students are dreading going out. For example, in The Diamondback, Dominic Escobal states “It feels like I have to look over my shoulder sometimes.” Similarly Judy Lee from the San Francisco Chronicle says she was out grocery shopping when she was met with two racist remarks. While nothing got physical, she was worried for her older parents and other Asian elders, saying ““I worry for them, I don’t want them to get attacked ever or be in the same situation.” The last example comes from PBS NewsHour; in March of 2020, a Burmese American family was attacked in a Sam’s Club with the attacker spouting racist ideas about Chinese Americans. These are only some examples of what Asian Americans face every day. Congress should write new legislation that protects Asian Americans against hate crimes so they can feel somewhat secure.

Secondly, the government should be searching for solutions to end violent crimes against the Asian American community because it will reduce the normalization of racism against Asian Americans. There is undoubtedly a long history of government officials using the Asian community as a scapegoat while perpetuating racist ideas. In the early 1900s, U.S. officials made Japanese immigrants endure extra medical exams because the government believed they carried the bubonic plague. Furthermore, Asians often fall into two stereotypes, the model minority myth and the perpetual foreigner myth. The model minority myth suggests Asians are more successful overall and do better in our society. The model minority myth is harmful because it causes people to justify racism against Asians because “they have it good”. Likewise, the perpetual foreigner paints Asians as two timing citizens and that they’ll never be American enough. In the end, both myths are used to delegitimize racism against Asians while disregarding the history of anti-Asian sentiment. It’s up to influential people like authority figures to spread awareness and condemn the normalized racism against Asian Americans.

Lastly, I’m asking all government officials and authority figures to put a stop to the violence against Asian Americans and punish those who’ve committed such hateful acts because it’s their responsibility to keep all citizens safe. When you’re someone who is super influential, your choice of words matter. The way our former president phrased COVID-19, calling it “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” just puts false blame on Asians and spreads xenophobia. Despite our former president saying these horrible things, two representatives from California are talking about and acknowledging all the aggression against Asian Americans. Representative Ro Khanna says it’s important to acknowledge the situation and talk about it while the other representative, Mark Takano, is hopeful Biden and his administration will make it known that diversity is important and we should come together. This is what we all should expect from influential figures in our society and if they don’t meet that standard, we need to hold them accountable.

While the pandemic continues, our current president Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have both condemned the violence against Asian Americans. Being a good example for the public is one step to fixing the problem. Ultimately, there are many reasons for the federal government and authority figures to put in more effort to find solutions to end hate crimes against Asian Americans, as well as finding people who committed those acts and giving them a fair punishment.

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EPIC News

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Heart of the Beast Updates, Talleres de Defensores Artísticos

RE-START

The Re-start is committed to co-creation with new Executive Co-Directors (currently hiring!), as well as our incredible board, staff and MayDay Council. WE’ve re-enlisted the support of the MayDay Council for year two and our next move will be to welcome additional community members to conspire on holding the theatre as a community asset. Visit www.hobt.org for the full Community Report, hiring calls, and other announcements. Check out instagram to share HOBT news and the lates fundraising campaign!

Artful Advocates Workshop Series:

In the Heart of the Beast is excited to announce Artful Advocates Workshops: a 3 month series of free online workshops for elementary-aged children!

HOBT teaching artists will guide your children through an art-making workshop on Saturday mornings. Each one-hour workshop will include the following activities:

  • a hands-on art-making activity that can be completed at home
  • a follow-up outdoor activity
  • a call to action to translate your art into environmental action!

Participants who register in advance will receive FREE art kits with materials for each workshop. Art kits will be delivered the first week of each month. For more information visit: https://hobt.org/artful-advocates-workshop-series/

En el Corazón de la Bestia Teatro de Máscaras y Marionetas (In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre) está ofreciendo un programa EN LÍNEA con duración de 3 meses llamado Talleres de Defensores Artísticos (Artful Advocates Workshop Series) para niños de educación primaria.

Los talleres con duración de una hora incluye actividades como:

• Actividades de manualidad para la creación de arte que pueden ser completadas en casa

• Actividades de seguimiento al aire libre

• ¡Un llamado a la acción para traducir tu arte en acción ambiental! 

Los participantes que se registren con anticipación recibirán kits de arte GRATUITOS con materiales para cada taller. Los kits de arte se entregarán la primera semana de cada mes.

Para más información visite: https://hobt.org/artful-advocates-espanol/

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Midtown Phillips Neighborhood News

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Our New Home!

CULTURAL WELLNESS CENTER

By ROBERTA BARNES & SUSAN GUST
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Cartoon

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