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Friday October 30th 2020

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Swim Safely at Home or Away

By H. Lynn Adelsman, Modified from MN Dept. Natural Resources advice

With few or no lifeguards at Minneapolis lakes and beaches this summer,  please be aware of these safe practices:

  • Always watch children around water, without being distracted. Phones can be distracting and contrary to child-monitoring.
  • Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
  • Teach children how to swim. Consider their age, development, and how comfortable they are around water. (See below for swim lesson resources).
  • Empty buckets, containers, and kiddie pools immediately after use. Store them upside down so they don’t collect water.
  • Air-filled and foam toys are NOT safety devices.
  • Children should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket in the water.
  • Be aware that fences are needed around home or apartment pools. A 4 foot tall, pool fence should surround all sides and have self-closing and self-latching gates to avoid children from entering unsafely without supervision.
  • Drowning most often occurs silently; not like in movies where the victim shouts and waves their arms. People often cannot recognize a drowning that makes little noise as a person can’t cry out for help. Ask the person if they are alright.  If they can answer they likely are OK. If not quick action is needed. 
  • Know what to do when rescue is needed including calling 911. Throw a floating object or extend a towel or paddle but release if the victim starts to pull you in and try something else.

Swimming During the COVID-19 Pandemic  not bolded in PDF file

  • Maintain your beach area with a towel, etc, at least 6 feet away from anyone not in your household. Then you can remove your mask. Wear a mask when you go for a walk or to a parking lot.
  • Practice social distancing in the water just as you would on land thus allowing any virus that might emanate from nearby swimmers, surfers, or paddlers to dilute, disperse, and die off.”

Swimming Lessons Now Available

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) offers lessons for all ages and abilities, with scholarships and donated swimwear is available to help make swimming more accessible and equitable.

For Minneapolis youth who qualify, a series of eight lessons with a scholarship is just $5, (versus the typical $50 cost); scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

These lessons are part of the Water and Ice Safety Education (WISE) program launched by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and take place throughout the summer at a variety of MPRB aquatics facilities.  WISE scholarships are also available for women’s-only swimming lessons and lifeguard training classes.

Classes are held throughout the summer at various MPRB lakes and pools and year-’round at the Phillips Aquatics Center 2323 11th Ave. So.

For more information on MPRB swim lessons and scholarships, email aquatics@minneapolisparks.org or call 612-230-6495.

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“the alley” newspaper August 2020 issue

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AIM and Traditional Peacemaking are Still Here

“We are still here.”

“American Indian Vietnam vets were moving to the cities after their military service to find jobs to support their families.  In Minnesota, thousands left the reservations and moved to the cities to go to the schools and find jobs.  At the same time, negative attitudes toward Indians were widespread among the white police force, and nothing seemed to stop them from injuring people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“ Even with Federal Funding coming into Minneapolis for jobs training, there was not enough to keep up with the numbers of Indians who were moving into Minneapolis’ major cities.  The police, first enforcers of the law and, to an extent, of the mores of the majority population, came into contact with Indian people in a very ugly way.”



 Franklin Front Yard Signs thanking American Indian Movement Patrol and Black Lives Matter and Rest in Peace Tributes to George Floyd
[photo: Ben Heath]

“The Birth of American Indian Movement, Minneapolis, MN, July 29, 1968

“From its founding on July 29, 1968, in a cramped loaned space at Twelfth and Plymouth on Minneapolis’ near north side, AIM focusd on children, who represented the future of Indian people.  Clyde Bellecourt, one of the founders, said, ‘People were beaten down and afraid to speak out, so something had to be done.  We had to create an organization to represent the people.’  According to Bellecourt, over a hundred people crammed into the room.  Most lived on the south side of the city, so they had to find rides to get to the momentous meeting.  AIM soon opened its first offices at 1337 East Franklin Avenue [across the avenue from Franklin Library] in the Phillips neighborhood, in the heart of the city’s urban Indian community.”

“AIM has remained active through these years, its numbers growing from thousands to millions as other groups from Canada and the Americas joined in related activities.The growth was so rapid that organization fell away.  There is still a leadership, but it is a core that remains like a small campfire in the distance.”

[Excerpts from “WE ARE STILL HERE” text By LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK, photographs By DICK BANCROFT,  Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013 pages xxvii, 3 and 4]

“The Ventura Village neighborhood wants to thank the Native Community for organizing and protecting our area during the unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25th. Quoting the June 12th Minneapolis StarTribune: ‘Michael Goze, CEO of the American Indian Community Development Corporation, and Frank Paro, president of the American Indian Movement (AIM), sent out a call for volunteers as violence erupted into the streets.  Bob Rice, owner of Pow Wow Grounds Coffee Shop, opened his property as the staging area for AIM street patrols and offered other logistical support.’  Their efforts prevented any more violence or vandalism in the following days.” [Photos by Gerald Auginash on page 7] 

“Traditional Peacemaking”

 “The effectiveness of our AIM Patrol in protecting Indians on the streets of Minneapolis was now recognized throughout Indian Country. Having reintroduced traditional methods of peacemaking, we knew how to protect our Indian community from external threats and resolve internal differences.” …”The Thunder Before the Storm”  By CLYDE BELLECOURT, Minnesota Historical Society Press, page 84, 2016.



 the alley newspaper front page August 1976 of the Jones Block Building in which the American Indian Movement had its first office at 1337 East Franklin directly across avenue from the Franklin Community Library 1314 East Franklin Ave.

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HOW DO YOU TREAT THE STRANGER AT YOUR DOOR

By Barb Tilsen

How do you treat the stranger at your door

The one who comes in need of comfort

with no place to sleep

Little food

Just the few possessions they can carry in one move

This question is before us all around the world

People displaced, on the move

from the dangerous and intolerable

The refugee, the homeless

the one seeking harbor and safety

at the border, on your doorstep

fleeing the storms of the world

How do we treat the stranger at our door

Like the Lady in the harbor raising the torch

poetry in her arms welcoming all to this shore

Or with barbed wire, the wall, the guns, the fear

It all comes home to rest in our front yard now

Just across the street in our beloved park

Yes we need compassion and love

But the harsh reality of hunger, unmet needs

of no place else to go

demands concrete solutions

As neighbors we act to meet the need

Bring food and supplies

We call and organize in all the ways we know to

pressure the city, the park, the county, the state

To answer 

Not with elusive shifting drifting responsibility 

or bureaucratic dysfunction and entanglements

Not to keep people languishing in tents

But to find the solution that is safe for all

Respectful, effective and long lasting

This is not the first nor the last time

we will need to answer

How do we treat the stranger at our door

©  Barbara S. Tilsen

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Corona Crisis Exposing Minnesota Racism Against Asian- Americans

Something I Said 

By DWIGHT HOBBES 

For a place touted as a bounty of multiculturalism, Minnesota can be downright reactionary and racist. It is doubtful, for instance, that had the corona virus originated in, say, Sweden or Switzerland, blue eyed blondes would be targeted for harassment. Yet, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) has had to denounce increasing racist attacks and xenophobic profiling of Asian-Americans, backlash for the pandemic against people who, for all they know, had never even been to China much less caused this crisis. 

Consider. A St. Paul-based nonprofit held an online discussion on discrimination against Asian Americans during this pandemic, but scrapped it due to the overwhelming presence of derogatory remarks posted. Hardly in keeping with locale known for being socially progressive and ethnically inclusive. Xaria Vang, 23, bought a Taser gun after a stranger confronted her in a St. Paul butcher shop. Vang isn’t even of Chinese extraction: she’s Hmong. 

Clearly, this state, the Twin Cities in particular, which breaks an arm patting itself on the for supposedly standing for equality is just as backwardly Neanderthal in its attitudes and behavior as places like: New York City where a woman was punched and called “diseased”; Plymouth, Indiana where a pair of Hmong men were refused hotel accommodations; a Texas town where an Asian family were knifed (father and son slashed across the face) while trying to grocery shop. And reports right here in Minnesota are on the increase. 

The lead Donald Trump has provided to follow makes bad matters worse. After a White House official, speaking to CBS journalist Weijia Jiang called COVID-19 the ‘Kung-Flu’ the president not only didn’t denounce the blatantly racist comment but denied any responsibility for Asian-Americans being targeted. He has no responsibility for this ethnic group being singled out? But tacitly condoned a mob, rabid ‘”Unite the Right” racists at the infamous Chancellorsville, VA rally. Hand in hand with Trump blithely glossing over bigotry, federal agencies including the Department of Justice have done exactly jack to safeguard at-risk citizens. 

It’s to the point where the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, at Gov. Tim Walz’s urging, has set up a hotline report attacks and/or harassment. 651-539- 1133. Also there’s a toll free number at the governor’s office. 1-833-454-0148. Weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

None of this would be the least bit necessary where this region as nobly humane as it claims to be. 

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Ventura Village neighborhood News

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RETURNING

CHAPTER 2

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

Luz fell asleep on the 21 bus—again—and went several stops past 17th.  She didn’t realize it until she was just passing the Zapata statue.  She yanked on the cord so hard it almost broke, and yelled, “Stop! Stop! Damn it, I said Stop!”, which is not a good thing to yell on the 21 during rush hour.  Actually, it’s not a good thing to yell anything on the 21 during rush hour, or most any other hour, period.  People do it of course, but it almost always increases the tightness in the passenger’s bodies, bodies that are tight enough to begin with.

The bus stopped just shy of the Dollar Store on 10th.  Luz stomped down the three steps in her winter boots and stepped right into a slushy pile, made up of equal parts ice, snow and dirt. She yelled up to heaven, “You Stop too!”, but heaven was busy with wars and rumors of war and earthquakes and the like.   Luz was tired, she was frustrated, she was mad.  Mad at God, mad at herself, mad at this world that was so hard to live in.

Luz had been planning to surprise Angel and the kids with some of the fabulous chicken from the little kitchen in the gas station on 17th.  Especially Angelito, who she swore could live off of chicken, rice, Hot Cheetos and Takis and nothing else.  They hadn’t been able to eat out lately, with money so tight.  But Luz had gotten a letter the day before from an uncle she never knew, who had showed up at their wedding almost seven years ago.  Tio Miguel, who had retired from teaching at Luna Community College in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and who now taught poetry workshops in English, Spanish and Nahuatlin barrios and pueblos all around the Southwest.  The letter had included a poem he had written for Luz, and two twenties.

She could still remember the last line of the poem: until the day la Luna unveils her dark.  She knew that literally Tio Miguel was referring to the dark side of the moon, which humans can never see from earth.  But she wanted to read the poem again with Angel, and explore with him what else it might mean.

But now she had to walk seven extra blocks with wet feet and a pissed off mood.  Fortunately, her literature class at Augsburg had been reading works by wonderful women poets.  She was writing her paper on Gwendolyn Brooks, and kept coming back to that line of hers:“It must be lonely to be God.”

Luz knew lonely.  How lonely she had felt holding in secret all that she had suffered as a girl and a teenager.  She had Angel now, She had Angelito and Lupe to love and hold.  But she still felt a deep loneliness.  She had started going to church—to a church with a lady pastor, no less!  She felt some comfort there, some release from the past.  But she knew there was something that still needed to be uncovered.  But she wasn’t sure how to do it, of even if she really wanted to.

As she approached Spirit on Lake, she remembered how she had traveled these streets with Angel years ago.  How they found helpers in the most unlikely places.  She was wondering if there were helpers who were out there now, and how she might find them, when the door of the Quatrefoil bookstore opened and a soft but strange light flowed out.  There was a man who smiled at her and said, “C’mon in—we have something special in store today!”

And though she was tired, and still hoped to get the chicken and spend some time with Angel and the kids before Angel went out to work a long shift, something pulled her into the bookstore.  Something strange, but not at all scary.

To be continued…
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The World Opens Up.

Phillips Neighborhood Clinic

By HARRY LEEDS

By now you have probably heard about the global pandemic.  If you haven’t stepped outside your house in three months, then I’ll tell you—oh, you know already. 

In recent weeks, many states, including Minnesota, have been opening up businesses.  Does this mean that it is safe to go back and interact with the public?

            Well, it depends on what you mean by “safe.”  On the one hand, our doctors are more experienced with coronavirus and we have more medical equipment to fight it.  On the other, even though numbers of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Minnesota have been declining, there are still many cases out in the community. With businesses reopening and people gathering for protests, getting infected is still possible and we still don’t have a vaccine or very effective medicine. Many experts think we will soon see another increase in hospitalized cases.

People with cardiovascular disease and diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing severe corona complications, so those people should weigh the risks of going into large groups heavily when thinking about how to spend their days.

            If you are indeed ready to stretch your legs, I would recommend going for a walk over going to a bar.  Sun and fresh air are good for the mind and body, especially when they haven’t seen each other in a while. Minneapolis has a gorgeous park system, and the summer in Minnesota is fabulous, if not short lived. 

            Exposure to carriers of the virus in public parks is a risk, but it is easier than, say, the grocery store to keep a distance from others.  While outside you are unlikely to come into contact with many infected surfaces. As scary as this all is, your spiritual side needs feeding to, and you have to live your life.

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