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Monday July 26th 2021

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Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center Mural Unveiling

The Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center at 2300 15th Ave S unveiled their new mural on May 14. The mural was designed and created by Holly Henning-Garcia (Miskitoos), Lina Downwind-Jubera (Migzi Ikwe), Charlie Garcia, Thomasina Topbear, and Miskwa Mukwa Desjarlait. Photo by Laura Hulscher

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How We Get to the End (because we’re not there yet)

TIPS FROM A COVID-19 CASE INVESTIGATOR

By LINDSEY FENNER

Now that COVID vaccines are much more easily available in Minnesota, we have reached what is perhaps the hardest part of this enormous vaccination task: reaching the folks who waited or haven’t quite made up their minds or still have questions. And as much information as any government public health official can send out in the world, YOU can make a difference by having conversations with loved ones about getting vaccinated. These conversations might be difficult. And it will likely take more than one conversation. But this is how we get to the end of the pandemic. 

Some tips for having these difficult yet crucial discussions

  • Listen with empathy and without judgement: These vaccines are new. There is so much information and misinformation about them, it can be overwhelming. It is understandable that people have questions or anxiety about getting their shot. Give folks space to talk it out. 
  • Ask open-ended questions: This helps keep the conversation going, and helps you understand what your friend or relative is concerned about. 
  • Share information and resources (but ask permission first): There are many good informational resources about the vaccine. Just try not to SPAM them with information!
  • Help them find their reason why: People who get vaccinated do it for different reasons. You could share why you got vaccinated to help them think about it, or talk about what you both could do together once everyone is vaccinated.
  • Remove barriers: Sometimes people just need a little logistical support, like help finding an appointment or vaccination event, transportation to the vaccination site, help with caregiving if they have side effects, or just someone familiar to accompany them at the appointment.

We need  to acknowledge that there are so many structural reasons that have prevented people from getting vaccinated, like lack of access to healthcare, paid time off, or transportation; undocumented status; the legacy of white supremacy in the healthcare and public health systems. Just as we know that folks of color are more likely to get COVID-19, we also know that white folks are more likely to be vaccinated. Although we see efforts by local public health agencies and the Minnesota Department of Health to do better, there is so much work that still needs to be done. As we get through this pandemic, we need to make sure that the glaring inequities we saw never happen again.

Vaccine Resources:

State of MN: Make an appointment through the Vaccine Connector at one of the state’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program locations:

https://mn.gov/vaccineconnector.

Vaccine Hotline: 833-431-2053, Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. & Sat, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Hennepin County Navigator Line: Call the COVID-19 navigator line with questions or for help registering for a vaccine appointment

We want to ensure that everyone, including people with language or technology barriers, can get their COVID-19 vaccine questions answered and sign up for a vaccine appointment. Call the Hennepin County COVID-19 navigator line at 612-348-8900. Help is available in English, Spanish, Somali, and Hmong.

Español: Queremos asegurarnos de que todos, incluyendo las personas que la barrera es el idioma o la tecnología, puedan obtener respuestas a sus preguntas sobre la vacuna COVID-19 y puedan inscribirse para una cita para recibir la vacuna. Llame al 612-348-8900 para obtener ayuda en inglés, español, somalí y hmong.

Soomaali: Waxaan doonaynaa in aan hubino in qof kasta, marka lagu daro dadka dhibaatadu ka haysato luqada iyo tiknoolojigu, ay heli karaan jawaabaha su’aalohooda talaalada COVID-19 ayna isu diiwaan gelin karaan balanta talaalka. Wac 612-348-8900 si aad u heshid caawimaad luqdaha English, Spanish, Somali, iyo Hmong.

Hmoob: Peb xav kom txhua leej txhia tus nrog rau cov tsis paub lus zoo, los sis, tsis paub txog kev mus siv saum huab cua, uas yuav txais tau tej lus nug thiab tej lus teb txog koob tshuaj tiv thaiv tus kabmob COVID-19 thiab sau npe teem caij txhaj koob tshuaj. Yog xav tau kev pab hais ua lus Askiv, Spanish, Somali, los sis Hmoob, hu rau tus xov tooj 612-348-8900.

Lindsey has been working a pandemic reassignment with local public health for over a year. Like many of us, soon she will be getting back to “normal by going back to working in the library. If she remembers how.

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Cemeteries: The Modern Day Urban Park

TALES FROM PIONEERS AND SOLDIERS MEMORIAL CEMETERY

187th IN A SERIES
By OLGA ACUNA
Photo by Megan Voorhees

What began as a class project addressing environmental injustice in the East Phillips neighborhood steadily flourished into an Arbor Day celebration at the notable Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery on the intersection of Cedar Ave and Lake St. On Saturday May 1st, over 60 volunteers from the surrounding community gathered at the cemetery to aid in the planting of over 50 trees throughout the 27 acres of green space. 

On one of the warmest days of the Spring season, this resilient intergenerational group of volunteers worked through the heat together to nurture the Earth by planting trees with help from arborists from the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation. Volunteers later gathered around for an ethereal blessing of the tree performance which included two deer puppets, bells, and poetry all done by the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts. The event rounded off with the enjoyment of a collective meal in the shade with food from Pham’s Rice Bowl. Volunteers mingled with one another, took photos with Elmer the Elm Tree, and watched out for an appearance from Fern and Lily, the local cemetery deer.

One participant commented on the event saying, “It was powerful to be in this neighborhood that was so impacted by the uprising after George Floyd’s murder and to do something meaningful. When I visit these trees in the future, it will help me remember the awfulness of police brutality in our state but also help me connect to the hope there is in the community.” Another, an 11-year-old, stated, “I’m scared of climate change and I know planting trees helps. Thank you!” 

Photo by Megan Voorhees

Open Spaces and Healing Initiative arose from the grand challenge course offered at the University of Minnesota, Innovation for the Public Good: Design for a Disrupted World. In this project-based course, students worked in interdisciplinary teams to develop entrepreneurial responses to current complex social and environmental problems. Classmates Olga Acuna, Sage Brinton, and Bemnet Kika, along with two other students, felt the need to address the pressing issue of environmental racism occurring in the East Phillips Neighborhood of South Minneapolis. 

For over 80 years, the community of East Phillips has been exposed to a disproportionate amount of toxic waste from a myriad of pollution sources, including: arsenical pesticide facilities, land recycling sites, garbage incinerators, oil facilities, major traffic, and more. Studies done by the Minnesota Department of Health conclude the community now deals with the highest rates of asthma and lead poisoning hospitalizations in the State of Minnesota due to air pollution from nearby facilities. The Open Spaces and Healing initiative aims to activate green spaces in urban neighborhoods by implementing trees and benches. Trees have the power to filter atmospheric pollutants while also being able to cool the space down. The benches increase the amount of time a user spends in the space and increases accessibility. Numerous studies have proven the health benefits of spending time outdoors. Studies done by the the World Health Organization Europe explain that urban green spaces promote mental and physical health, and reduce morbidity and mortality in urban residents by providing psychological relaxation and stress alleviation, support physical activity, increase social capital within the community, and reduce exposure to air and noise pollution, and excessive heat. Our hope is to invite people into the space so that they can continue to find it as a place of tranquility within the busy streets of Minneapolis. 

Spending time in a cemetery can seem macabre and taboo. However, as cities increase in density the number of urban green spaces decreases. Activating open spaces becomes vital for the well being of the community. In fact, during the 19th century, hanging out and snacking in cemeteries became a common pastime. Many municipalities at the time lacked proper recreational spaces, leaving people to utilize what outdoor space they had. Picnicking in the cemetery grew in popularity as epidemics were raging across the country. Yellow fever and cholera cases heightened amongst women and children resulting in early death. Families were able to connect with the deceased and those still living by conversing with others about the death of their loved ones. The tradition of picnicking in graveyards is still done by those in Guatemala, parts of Greece, and Asia. 

Photo by Megan Voorhees

Looking into the future, we hope that our idea of revitalizing green spaces and focusing on cemeteries as a way to combat environmental racism and promote community healing can be seen as a framework that can be replicated across the country. We would not have been able to see our idea come to fruition without the support of Friends of the Cemetery, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, Youth Service America, the Hershey Foundation, and Acara – Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. 

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The Other Pandemic, Violence Against Women

By Marco Dávila C.

HER NAME IS YADHIRA ROMERO MARTĺNEZ

Let’s imagine how great would be the indignation in the mainstream media if the murdered young woman, instead of being a Mexican with US Citizenship, had been the daughter of the governor, the president, or some millionaire or celebrity?

She never returned home. Yadhira Romero Martínez lived in Morelos, Mexico with her parents. Recently she traveled to Minnesota, her place of birth. She was 19 years old. She was found dead in a house in Powderhorn Neighborhood (E Lake Street and 18th Avenue South).
It is a systemic problem. Of course, a murderer is a murderer and should pay for their crime. But it is also imperative to turn and see the circumstances and causes, and ask ourselves how we can prevent these horrible murders, instead of holding to the conservative idea that simply putting people in prison solves all problems.
Femicide is a pandemic that ends women’s lives. “In 2011 alone, according to The Guardian, it happened to 1,600 women and girls from Alaska to New York, of all races, ages, and income levels. They were murdered in their beds and in their cars, at work and at yoga classes, with parents, husbands, ex-boyfriends, cousins, children, neighbors, and strangers.”

The community in South Minneapolis has taken it personally. For the big media companies, it may not be a very important story, but for neighbors in South Minneapolis, this case is as important as it is outrageous. As soon as the news broke, the community came together and mobilized itself. The fact that hundreds of people have come to the vigils and marches demonstrates that indeed, people do want to do something to stop these things from happening. “¡Ni una más!” (not one more) is a demand that resounds during the protests.

This cannot become normal for us. We cannot allow Yadhira Romero Martínez to become just another statistic. Let’s take the terrible case of Yadhira as a call to get angry together. Let’s follow the example of those who protest in the streets. And let’s keep saying her name.
It’s an epidemic that shows no mercy to women and girls, occurring in the United States and across the world.

And it seems that the murder of women is a subject so often minimized that many people don’t even know the word “femicide” which refers to the murders of women, the vast majority of which are committed by men solely because they are women.

Justice for Yadhira Romero Martínez!

Chronology of Events

  • Yadhira Romero Martínez left work at a Walmart in Bloomington at 4 P.M. on Thursday the 22nd of April.
  • Friday, April 23rd, Yadhira did not make it to work. Her body was found the same day.
  • Hours later, José Daniel Cuenca Zúñiga was arrested in Ohio for being the principal suspect in the murder.
  • First court date for José Daniel Cuenca Zúñiga was May 10th.
  • Family members have started two GoFundMe accounts to gather funds to transport her remains to Morelos, Mexico:
    https://gofund.me/d403a869
    https://gofund.me/ae23b119

Translated by Duncan Riley.Article originally published on lamatracanews.com

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Why Should You Care About City Elections?

Part 2 in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis

If you drive a car, walk, bicycle, live in a house or apartment, breathe the air, have a pet, discard trash, flush the toilet, or eat or drink in a restaurant, then, as a resident of Minneapolis, you have a vested interest in who runs our city. If your concern is safety, policing, and civil rights, your interests are even more relevant this year.

City council members – one elected from each of Minneapolis’ 13 wards – make the laws and policies that govern the city. They approve budgets, levy taxes and elect a council president who sets the council’s agenda and presides over meetings. Council members serve on committees that focus on specific issues like housing & zoning, public health & safety, public works and budgeting. The city council writes the rules that govern nearly every aspect of the city that impacts our daily lives. Read more about City Council Powers and Duties here:  https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/city-council/about-city-council/powers-and-duties/

Reminder: every city council seat and the mayor will be on the ballot on November 2!

The mayor is the only city official elected at-large; that is, by the entire city voting population. Think of the mayor as the city’s chief executive, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city and cheerleader-in-chief. The mayor is the most recognizable city official and acts as the city’s figurehead and spokesperson. That enables the mayor to set the city’s agenda and wield the bully pulpit. Where city council members typically represent their individual communities, mayors have a broader city-wide perspective.

In Minneapolis’ “weak mayor” system, the mayor appoints commissioners and directors of the various city departments and oversees their work. The city council’s Executive Committee, however, also plays a role in appointments and oversight. While this forces collaboration and democratizes decisions, it can lead to role confusion and unclear expectations by staff. Accountability is also shared, which may confound voters as to where the buck stops. 

What is NOT controlled by city government: schools and parks. Both have separate boards that set policy and budgets. 

Future installments in this series will explain the roles of the Board of Estimate & Taxation and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (elected offices). You’ll see both of these entities show up on the ballot in November, too.

Your VOTE is your VOICE and the most direct way to hold city officials accountable for their actions. Mark your calendar for November 2, register to vote in advance and make a plan to get to the polls. Visit www.lwvmpls.org for more information.

C:\Users\cjacobson\Google Drive\LWVMplsCollective\Administration\Logo 2021\LWVMinneapolis_rgb (1).jpg

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East Phillips News

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Cartoon

By DAVE MOORE
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Vaccination Facts, Datos Sobre La Vacuna, Xaqiiqooyinka Tallaalka

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People and Pets Together

By DWIGHT HOBBES

MPRnews.org

Probably most people’s well being is intrinsically, inextricably tied to caring for a pet. The furry, four-footed friend you take care of who actually takes care of you. And who you need to feed. Tougher and tougher as financial times have grown, more than a few folk struggle to put food on the table, let alone fill a feed bowl.

    Enter, People and Pets Together (PPT) (www.peopleandpetstogether.org) to meet that vital need. As the corona crisis continues to rage, it’s increasingly about more than having a cute critter on hand. That critter, for a lot of us, means company. For those who’ve had Fido or Kitty awhile, it is the loving companionship of a family member. Ultimately, we’re talking about the overall good. As Dr. Marie Louderback of the 3 Pound Cats clinic, fondly referred to at PPT as Dr. Marie, notes, “To be able to care for [one’s] pet allows me to indirectly care for the family as well.” She adds, “The human-animal bond is…helpful with many human conditions.”

    That particularly includes people who live alone, especially during a pandemic that the medical profession expects to last until December. Characteristic of isolation is succumbing to depression and just plain loneliness. “A pet can remind you that you’re not alone,” says life coach Desiree Wiercyski at WebMD. “Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated.”

    This past year PPT, one of the only two pet food shelves in all of Minnesota (the other being Pet Resource Center, 1401 N 44th Ave, Minneapolis) gave out 96,097 pounds of dog and cat food on-site. While the available stock shifts, you can generally find brand names like Loyal, Pro Plan and Nutro (dogs) and Friskies, 9-Lives and Purina (cats). A constant is that it will be quality food, enough to last a month. Upwards of 1,000 households were served, including birds, guinea pigs, rabbits and fish. Importantly, their veterinary assistance grant program helped cover emergency bills for low-income homes: just because you’re cash poor shouldn’t mean your pet can’t get healthcare.

    It also shouldn’t mean having to give your companion away because your wallet is thin. “Our mission at PPT is to end pet surrender,” says Kate Meador, Program Director. “Our clients are faced with the question of how to keep their family, including their pets, fed. We’re here to answer one of those questions. I work with People and Pets Together because I believe in our work and know that I could find myself in the same position that clients find themselves in. My pets are very important to me. My dogs have helped me through painful loss, hiked with me to undiscovered places, and kept me company during lonely moments. They bring me great joy and I never want to be without them by my side. And I wish that for every person who enters our door.”

    The initiative began 11 years ago with Kim Carrier who remains on the PPT board of directors and has proved a boon to pet owners ever since.

Pets & People Together, serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, is located at 3745 Bloomington Ave. in South Minneapolis. Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Saturday 9:30am – 2:30pm. Phone: (612) 722-9998

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Cover Crop Seeds

RAISE YOUR VOICE

By PETER MOLENAAR
Peter Molenaar

From time to time, readers of the alley are reminded that Wendell Phillips, our neighborhood’s namesake, was an abolitionist. I will assert here that, were he still alive, he would be opposed to the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people. Now days, this opposition to all forms of oppression circulates via this paper in surrounding communities, including the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) which maintains an office in the Powderhorn Neighborhood.

The LSP is splendidly adept at mingling strains of progressive rural thought with the corresponding urban strains. Our nation’s soil health is an overriding issue for the LSP.

Why bother? Well, an estimated 1/3 of our topsoil has already washed away. The applied math does not bode well. But hey, just add more chemicals… right? Wrong. Actually, the world’s supply of phosphate is nearing exhaustion. (Note: President Biden has initiated a supply chain analysis for all vital commodities.)

Moreover, cover crops are the key to a ‘regenerative agriculture’ which is poised to sequester enough carbon to seriously stem the tide of climate catastrophe. However, any mandate that our farmers comply with this strategy will be deemed by “conservatives” and well armed “patriots” to be a “socialist tyranny”.

So, seemingly light years ahead of most Republicans, Biden has proposed to compensate farmers who convert. However, another reminder: cover crops are grown from seeds (!) which ideally would exist ahead of time (i.e., prior to launching the full scale program, our government must contract for an adequate initial supply)… But oh, gosh golly, would not such thoughtful planning constitute yet another “tyranny”? “Market forces” will handle the matter in due time. Right?

Note: Cargill Inc., one of the world’s largest procurers of agricultural commodities, is a family-owned company with facilities seen along Hiawatha Avenue. The annual dividend distribution to the family is considerably over a billion dollars.

Question: how big should government be? Answer: big enough to serve the people.

Meanwhile, our new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is not happy that $7 trillion in taxes has gone uncollected from the wealthiest Americans. Yes, Biden’s proposal to beef up the IRS appears to be a good one!

Who will pay for the cover crop seeds, so vital to our nation’s future? Farmers? I think not.

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