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Thursday October 17th 2019

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Raise Your Voice: The world within us

By PETER MOLENAAR

Peter Molenaar

From the passenger side window of the adjacent vehicle, an elder Native man called out: “Hey! Where are you from?” At the time, I was fetching 30 Alley papers for deposit at the Native American Community Clinic, after having dropped 30 at the Ancient Traders Market. Detecting the sleight of hand humor, I quickly decided not to delineate my four original nations of northern Europe. So, I responded, “I grew up in Cannon Falls, Minn., if that’s what you mean.” Then to clarify, “It’s upstream from Prairie Island on the Cannon River.” In the span of about 15 seconds, the elder Ojibwe pondered the not-so-ancient conflict with the Dakota, then registered delight that a white man would place his origin relative to Native Americans.

Note: The “cannon” of Cannon Falls is an English mumble of the French word for canoe.

Then a Somali woman walked between us. He quipped, “What do you think of all the tents (!) around here?” My instant response: “Ho, friend, I am not a Trump supporter and you know what he wants to do.” He responded, “Yeah, send them back!” I countered to the effect: who will the frenzied white man turn on when he’s done doing that? My new friend thanked me and promised to carry the thought home.

Back to the task….

I was pressed because four days of distribution had been lost to a hospital bed at Abbott Northwestern. The doctors called it a “spontaneous” pneumothorax (bubble on the chest). Spontaneous? More likely, it was in consequence to 35 years of breathing silica dust at Smith Foundry.

Meditations….

First night: IV in left-hand vein, 10 inch tube in right upper chest (to suck out the bubble and reinflate lung), urinal on the floor (Oops!), call button dangling somewhere… an hour passed. Help! The tardy nurse knelt to her knees and was forever forgiven.

It is natural for a man to feel love for all his nurses. Moreover, for a retired industrial worker, it was natural to be respectful and uplifting to the entire cast. True, to my eye, it was unusual to experience such as stratified workforce (with separate unions for the various classifications). Nonetheless, what a splendid privilege to be served by all races and peoples from all over the world.

From each according to their ability, to each according to their work (not a “nation” where 60% of all wealth is inherited)… such is the socialist principle.

Speaking of the alluded to industrial form of unionism (one union under the roof), the United Steelworkers of America recently held their civil rights conference here. Founded in no small measure by the “Reds”, this union’s doors were open from the get-go to anyone willing to work. The Black/Brown/White formation included a pink-haired couple holding hands. We all marched from the Marriott Hotel to City Hall, chanting “Immigrants are welcome here!” and singing new words to some childhood melody: We will change the world forever, and ever, and ever.

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Cartoon September 2019

By Dave Moore

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Water is life: Drink and live

Step Up interns

by Abigail Abby Samuel, Kristian Nordland, Elhan Abdullahi Jama, Asha Ali Hussein, Kristian Herrera Amigon, Angela Yareli Collazo, Ismael Castro, Abdinasir Jama: Cultural Wellness Center Backyard Community Health Hub STEP-UP interns 

The human body is made up of 60% water. The longest a human can go without water is only 3 days! That’s how important water is. 

Not only does it help you survive, but it also offers a lot of benefits for your body. Water helps our physical shape, helps us exercise, and helps our brain function. Water is one of the most important substances on earth. All plants and animals must have water to survive. If there was no water, there would be no life on earth. This is daunting to think about and why we say water is life, so drink up and live.

Apart from drinking it to survive, people have many other uses for water. Water delivers important nutrients to all our cells, especially our muscle cells, postponing muscle fatigue and helping us lose weight and flushing toxins from our body. Water protects your many tissues, especially your spinal cord and joints. If you do not consume enough water, magnesium, and fiber, you may be more likely to experience constipation. Water even helps fight off illness.

As you can see, water is vital to the body’s performance. It is important to replenish this water as the body loses it through breathing, sweating, and digesting. The kidneys, liver, and intestines use water to flush out waste and to dissolve substances like fibers. Saliva is water-based and essential to breaking down food. The body is 75% water when we are born and decreases over time to about 60%.

Not drinking water can be fatal. The first consequence is dehydration, which causes headache, thirst, and dry mouth. As the dehydration grows more severe, fatigue, confusion, dizziness and chest pain can set in. Water is needed to provide oxygen to your body, as well as preventing a change in electrolytes. This can lead to a chemical imbalance in your body, impacting your brain and your heart’s rhythm. Painful stomach ulcers can also be caused by dehydration.

Drinking too much water is possible, as well. 

Overhydration can lead to water intoxication, which is when the electrolytes in your body like salt become too diluted. Death from this is rare, but still possible. This process starts when your body has more water than your kidneys can remove, and too much water collects in your bloodstream. Retaining water is when your body can’t remove water correctly.

The average adult is recommended to drink 9-13 cups of water (78-100 ounces) a day, but this can vary due to sex, age, weather, activity level, and health. If it’s hot, you have a fever, or are very active, you will need more water. While there is no formula for the perfect amount of water, urine that is a pale-yellow color resembling lemonade is an indicator of a healthy amount of water intake.

We highly recommend drinking tap water instead of bottle, which is cheaper in the long run. When you buy water, it is like paying twice. Aside from the financial impact on your budget for bottle water, we think about the plastic.  The long-term effects of plastic on the environment is why we highly recommend tap water instead of bottled water.

The plastic accumulating in the ocean and waterways in the environment can get to be catastrophic for marine life, like your favorite sea turtle or pelican from Nemo.

It can even be fatal as ingesting plastics can cause choking, intestinal blockage, and starvation.

There are more than 300 million tons of plastic that will be produced yearly, and while plastics can be multifunctional and lasts decades, many plastics manufactured now are single-use that will last in landfills for centuries, and not all plastic containers are recycled. The chemicals in the plastic can alter hormones or have other effects when ingested by humans. Floating plastic waste that has a lifespan of thousands of years can transport invasive species that screw up habitats. Plastic buried deep in landfills can leech harmful chemicals into groundwater. BPA found in these plastics can contribute to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.  The more you reuse your plastic bottle, the more likely your will pass on dangerous bacteria to your system. There are many out there that refill their plastic bottles from fountains or water coolers.

Think about this, in the United States alone, we go through 50 billion plastic water bottles per year. Bottled water isn’t always clean even though it is said bottle water is cleaned at 36 times, most of the time it is just tap water.  Researchers found bottled variety is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is much more likely to be contaminated or become a source of infection. Tap water is a better choice than bottled water because tap water is regulated by government standards.

In our conclusion, we strongly encourage tap water. It is a better choice than bottled water, it is the healthier, and a more economic choice.

ADDITIONAL WATER FACTS & SOURCES

Where does tap water in Minneapolis come from?

Tap water from Minneapolis comes from the Mississippi River. https://www.premierwatermn.com/water-quality/city-water/minneapolis/.

How often does it get tested?

Tap water is tested roughly every year in the twin cities. http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/publicworks/water/water_plant_why.

Is water safer in different parts of Minneapolis?

There is no specific research that other places in Minneapolis are dangerous, but it is proven that tap water in Minneapolis is safer than any other city in Minnesota. http://rethinkyourdrink.minneapolismn.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Minneapolis-tap-water_tips-and-facts-sheet.pdf.

Where does bottled water come from?

About 55 percent of bottled water in the US is spring water and comes from natural hot springs. The other 45 percent comes from a water plant facility which is the same water that comes from your faucet. www.bottledwater.com

How often is bottled water tested?

 Bottled water is tested 36 times more than tap. The FDA is allowed to test water at any time, since bottled water is considered a packaged food. However, there is no scheduled testing. The FDA inspects water facilities annually.

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Letter to the community: Pesticide pollution is perplexing: Arsenic 1938 to 2019

The StarTribune article entitled “Superfund Site Mostly Clean,” Aug. 1, 2019, B1, page 1, is incomplete and leaves questions unanswered.

For example, reporting that there are only nine property owners who refused soil testing does not tell the whole story.Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tracking this, the number of properties refusing testing puts the onus or blame on the property owners as if they are the only problem remaining.

When the EPA tested a total of 472 yards, it refused to test outside a three-quarter mile radius of the original site of contamination at 28th and Hiawatha. This three-quarter mile parameter limits our knowledge of how far out arsenic soil contamination extends. So, we do not have a true measure of how far out and how many properties are still contaminated with arsenic.

In addition, the StarTribune article refers to East Phillips alone, as if the wind only blew the arsenic pesticide in one direction from 1938-1968 when the Reade pesticide plant was in operation. There are other surrounding communities where 18 inches of topsoil was removed in Seward, Longfellow and Corcoran as was done in Phillips. And, as can be seen in the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) photo of the Arsenic Triangle at E. 28th St. and Hiawatha Ave., the contaminated soil was removed but relocated to where? What community received this contaminated soil?

Early on during testing the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reported that ground water was contaminated, as there are aquifers below our community. The results of monitoring these aquifers are not given by the MDA. There is a potential for groundwater cross-contamination where local existing wells can contaminate from one aquifer to another. While wells are not utilized today for potable drinking water use, there are still wells in south Minneapolis that are used, for example, in cooling towers.  Reporting on ground water results and testing soils further out would ensure that the EPA, MDH and the MDA have sufficiently tested for arsenic water and soil contamination in south Minneapolis.

Inadequate reporting by the StarTribune and the lack of data transparency without sufficient explanation leads to the false conclusion that arsenic could not potentially have been spread and contaminating the soil and water in our community.

H. LYNN ADELSMAN

EDITORIAL NOTE: The arsenic contamination spread in a large radius centered at the Reade Arsenic Distribution facility at 28th and Hiawatha – commonly called the Arsenic Triangle, due to its shape – is currently the site of Smiley’s Clinic. This issue was consistently covered in The Alley Newspaper from January of 2005 through April of 2010 largely through the voluntary contributions of investigative reporting by H. Lynn Adelsman. She wrote 14 articles that exemplify the tremendous work by her and the seriousness of this problem. Additional articles were also printed during that span of years in eight other articles and public notices. This extensive covering of the arsenic pollution was a factor in bringing awareness to residents and businesses in this area of Phillips Community and neighborhoods east of Phillips in being designated as a federal Superfund site. Articles available at alleynews.org/archives/arsenic and at the Franklin Community Library and Hennepin County Central Library. The first article was entitled: “Pesticide pollution is perplexing,” The Alley Newspaper, Jan. 2005, page 1 

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Frank reflection: Renters being exploited

By FRANK ERICKSON

Let’s be clear on one thing: the Minneapolis City Council is pro-landlord. The unjust draining of renter’s bank accounts is the foundation of all these sleek new high-rise apartment buildings being built downtown and the city council has no problem with it.

The city has no problem “throwing renters under the bus,” to get the job done.  Investors and developers see the very well coordinated job local landlords have done in banding together and driving rents up and they want in on the action.

The Liberals downtown will give you a sympathetic ear when you talk to them about your rising rents, but they are fully embracing a corrupt “supply and demand” model.  They know it is corrupt, but it is getting the job done.  Everyone gets richer except renters.  Renters are quickly falling on harder and harder times.

“Supply and demand” is an immoral approach when the purchaser has no choice.  If a group of individuals had control of all the drinking water and used “supply and demand” selling it, $100 for a glass of water could become the “market rate” for a glass of water.

Building more and more “affordable housing” is not the answer.  Elected officials need to address the real problem here which is exploitation – the exploitation of all renters.  Renters are not expendable capitalist “roadkill.”  Renters are human beings and not capitalist fodder.  Renter’s lives are worth more than just being cash machines for landlords – this is a form of slavery.

I am not opposed to rental cost increases. I am opposed to rapid and repetitive rent increases. Rapidly rising rents are a form of violence and they undermine the health and stability of an entire community.

Local landlords are doing the exact same thing that insulin manufactures are doing; that is, taking something that people need to survive, banding together, and holding people hostage with higher and higher costs.  So, why are only the drug companies in trouble?

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August 2019 edition of The Alley

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SOUNDS OF SOUL

Phillips musician recalls Black music scene of his youth

Alfred Johnson

By Tesha M. Christensen

Sitting on the front porch one summer day, painting in the sweltering heat, Alfred Johnson reminisced about his early days in music and the burgeoning Twin Cities Black music scene of the 1970s and 80s.

He’s even found his way into a book capturing the scenes from that time, “Sights, Sounds, Soul: The Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis” (published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2017), although he’s misidentified in the book on page 33 as Raymond Parker. 

Paging though the book brings Johnson, now age 66, back to those days when the city’s 50,000 African Americans, who were denied access to downtown club stages and radio airwaves, were playing at clubs like Cozy Bar and Lounge up north on Plymouth Ave. and Riverview Supper Club in south Minneapolis (now Broadway Pizza). About Chamblis, “We used to call him ‘Picture Man,’” recalled Al.

Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
Phillips man Al Johnson (back row, left) has found his way into “Sights, Sounds, Soul: The Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis” (at right) that was published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2017, although he’s misidentified in the book on page 33 as Raymond Parker.

BLACK MUSIC AT CHURCH AND THE CLUB

A 1972 South High School graduate, Al has lived both on the Southside and Northside of Minneapolis since moving here with his family as a kid in the early 1960s. His kinfolk hail from Springfield, Ill. At the time, in North, “there weren’t hardly any Blacks who lived there. You could count them on your finger,”
Al said. “Most Blacks lived in Central neighborhood or Phillips.”

He loves the Southside for its different cultures – Blacks, whites, Hispanics – and has lived here now for 30 years.

But most of his musical career was on the Northside. 

He took up drums at age 10. “My mother was an evangelist and we traveled all over the country,” Al recalled. His father played base guitar (and performed with the likes of Duke Ellington and Wes Montgomery), and the six kids each had their own instrument. “We played at Bishop Watley’s Church in Chicago. They would treat us like stars. We were on the road with them, and in and out of school.”

Everybody started off gospel in those days, recalled Al, many of them helped along the way by Reverend Leroy Battles, who was well known by local Black musicians. Al appeared on his half hour Church of the Air show televised from the KTSP studio off University Ave.

Black music wasn’t being played on the radio, so few people in Minnesota had heard of the Supremes or Marvin Gaye, Al pointed out. “We had to make our own music up,” he said. 

So he joined groups around town in the 1970s and 80s. The various members all felt like ‘the sky’s the limit,’ recalled Al. “That’s what it was. Some people used to follow us around, like Prince. We inspired a lot of people.”

Al remembered that Prince was known for being hard to get along with. “He didn’t want anybody smoking or doing drugs,” recalled Al. “He’d kick you out of the group.”

Prince didn’t want to play other people’s songs, but wanted to focus on his own music.

Al honed his craft at the Minnesota Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota.

THEY SOUNDED GOOD

“I had a long life of night clubbing and playing different clubs,” he said, including working in the house band at The Joint where they played five nights a week. Band members had other jobs, and did gigs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m, playing three sets and 30 songs a night. They also used to do supper clubs out on Lake Minnetonka.

He was on the road with The Mystics when Rockie Robbins was the lead singer.  He played drums for Charlie Clark and the Paramounts (Charlie was a teacher at North High). 

“I played base guitar, too, but my main instrument is drums,” said Al. 

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
ABOVE – A song from this record hit the Top 100 in the world in 1988, catapulting these local musicans to the same list as Elton John and Michael Johnson. Left to right on the cover are Josie Davis, Debbie Williams (keyboards) and Al Johnson (drums). Johnson also helped produce this and four other albums with Davis.

He remembers playing with Creedence Clearwater Revival at some little rodeo down south. “They sounded good. So did we,” observed Al. “We were the only Black group up there.”

Those in the audience asked, “Who are they?” right up until they started playing. Then it didn’t matter.

Al recalls  playing in the middle of farmfields, and jamming in Texas on dirt floors with dust heavy in the air.

TOP 100 HIT

The most popular record he recorded was “Obeying the Call” with Josie Davis and Praise in 1988. 

Their song “Try Smiling” hit in the Top 100 in the world and earned him royalties for 20 years until it became part of the public domain. He’s shown on the front cover of the album with Josie (lead singer) and Debbie Williams (keyboard), and was one of the producers. It was one of five albums he put out with Davis.

Over the years, Al has fit his music around work at a number of places and a stint in the service. He’s been a Hennepin County drug counselor, at the Southside Family Nurturing Center, bus driver, and a neighborhood handyman. 

But, of course, he’s still doing music. It’s in his blood.

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Drummer and base player Alfred Johnson (left) of Phillips stands with his wife Elizabeth and some of his grandchildren, including Olivia Browner (age 3), Albrina Johnson (age 1.5) and Sabrina Browner (six month). Johnson has played gigs all over from local clubs to dirt floors in Texas.

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3 GENERATIONS RUN PRINTING BUSINESS

Carlson Printing at Franklin and Chicago rolls with the times, focusing on personalized customer service

By Tesha M. Christensen

photo submitted
Stan Carlson started Carlson Printing in 1974 with his two sons, and his granddaughter is now working there.

The southeast corner of Franklin and Chicago has been home to a third generation family business since the 1970s.

“Although it has it’s unique challenges, it works well for us,” remarked Christy Crawford, granddaughter of the man who started Carlson Printing Company. “It’s convenient being close to downtown and the freeways, and also exciting to be surrounded by diversity and so many great non-profits working to improve people’s lives.”

Carlson Printing Company strives to be a good friend and neighbor.

“We are proud to be a third generation family business,” remarked Christy. “We feel lucky to have wonderful longtime employees, as well as fantastic customers.”

FROM THE GROUND UP

Christy’s grandfather, Stan, started the business with her dad Chris and uncle Todd in 1974. They ran the business together for several years before Chris bought it, and then her mom Susie got involved.  

“I had no plans of getting into the printing business,” recalled Susie. “I was a stay-at-home mom, and when my kids headed off to school I starting helping at the business, packing boxes, stuffing envelopes and delivering.  I learned the industry from the ground up.”  

Now she’s the company president. “I never would have never dreamed today I would be running the business,” said Susie. “Learning so many different jobs has helped me have a better perspective and understanding.”

courtesy of Carlson family
Two generations of Carlsons are currently working together at Carlson Printing, at the corner of Chicago and Franklin. Left to right: Christy Crawford with her parents, Chris and Susie Carlson. Christy says she stays at the company because she enjoys working with her family.

FIRST JOB: STUFFING ENVELOPES

Christy’s first job was stuffing envelopes when she was about seven.  “I remember Take Your Daughter to Work Day and tagging along with my dad to visit his customers,” she added.

After college, she began working at Carlson in the sales department. “My grandfather would still come into the office everyday at that time. He passed away in 2012 so I really savor those last few years I got to spend working with him,” said Christy.

Over the years, she has worked other places, but what always drawn her back is the connection to her family. 

“I enjoy seeing my family everyday and the whole business really feels like a team effort,” explained Christy. “We work really hard, but also have a lot of fun and laughs.”

She added, “We are always trying to help each other learn and never compete. We move at a fast pace and there really never is a dull day.”

Today Christy is officially in business development, but  like others in small businesses she wears many hats.

A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Carlson Printing does a little bit of everything for clients that range from small to large. They also pride themselves on knowledgeable customer service staff who work with clients from start to finish.

“We do digital and offset printing, as well as full service mailings,” noted Christy. “Our clients vary from Fortune 500 companies to local non profits from the neighborhood. We throughly enjoy working with everyone.”

The offset commercial process is fully digital and the work-flow is based on working with files in PDF format, a change from their early days prior to the arrival of laser printers and desktop publishing. Carlson can do announcements, banners, booklets, brochures, business cards, envelopes, folders, forms of any type, invitations, labels (roll fed sheet), letterheads, logo design, manuals, newsletters, notepads, postcards, reports, sell sheets, spiral and perfect bound books, and stationary.  

Carlson Printing offers a full range of variable data printing services, including: mail merge documents, mail merge labels, form letters and more. Mailing services include processing mailing lists, inkjet addressing, postal presorting, and drop off at the Post Office with the postage option that best fits the business needs.

“Since I have been here we have really grown our digital business,” observed Christy. “Personalized mailings have became a sweet spot for us.”

TODAY’S CHALLENGES

“The biggest challenge we face is the misconception that online printing is cheaper and faster. That is not the case,” said Chris, who is vice president at Carlson. “We offer very competitive pricing at lightening speed, as well as top notch quality. You will get much more of a personalized experience choosing us.”

Christy concurred that their biggest challenge is competition from online printers. “We are lucky to have a lot of loyal customers we have worked with for years,” she stated. “We try and give our customers the best experience possible to keep them coming back.”

More at www.carlsonprinting.com.

“We are optimistic about the future!” said Crawford. “Although the industry is changing there will always be a need for printing. We look forward to evolving and being here when our customers need us.”

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OPEN STREETS Lake + Minnehaha Photos by Tesha M. Christensen

 

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Commemorating 400 years of Black oppression, resistance and resilience

Ebony Adedayo

By Ebony Adedayo, ReCAST Minneapolis Program Manager

Aug. 20, 2019 marks the 400th Year Commemoration of Africans being brought to Jamestown, Va. and enslaved by the British. To honor this event, the city of Minneapolis’ Division of Race and Equity is bringing together city staff and community partners to collectively remember who Africans were prior to the history of enslavement, recover the truth about our oppression and resistance, and reimagine a future that is not predicated on the harm of Black bodies or other people of color.  

To commemorate this, it is important to first understand that the enslavement of Africans predates 1619, as the Portuguese, Spanish, and the Dutch had driven the slave trade since the late 1400s. The oldest slave castle in the world – Elmina off of the coast of Ghana – was built in 1482 by the Portuguese and started being used for slavery shortly after 1492.  Enslaved Africans were sent to Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas for over 300 years. 

Coming to a better understanding of what slavery was and how it operated is important in commemorating this year. This year is also about coming to a deeper understanding of who we are so that we can move forward. 

The need to look back not only applies to people of African ascent but for people of European descent and other peoples of color because this country’s institutions and structures were grounded in anti-Blackness, or the perpetual capitalizing off of people of African descent. 

Why remember? 

At the city, we started the work of the 400 years by remembering who Africans were prior to the period of enslavement. Before the Europeans, there were ancient civilizations with rich systems of commerce, agriculture, governance, and spiritual practices that were designed and maintained by Africans. 

The oldest civilization was Kemet, or ancient Egypt. It is commonly understood that Kemet is not only the oldest African civilization but the oldest civilization in the world, as the oldest human remains have been found in Africa. Kemet had a dynamic system of philosophy and development, and what we know today as Ethiopia, Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria were important concerning trade, education, and the arts. 

In fact, Timbuktu in Mali was such an intellectual powerhouse that Europeans came to study here.  

So Africans had history before Europe. 

It is that history, that know-how, as well as the natural resources that prompted trade between Africa and Europe. Opening the door to non-human trade with Europe, however, gave way to human trade and slavery. Some African chiefs were complicit in slavery; many more resisted and fought against the Europeans at every turn. 

Declaring 2019 the Year of Return, Ghanian president Nana Akufo-Addo has encouraged people of African descent to come to the continent to remember this history. No amount of reading about slavery prepares one for the experience of visiting the Assin Manso Slave River where enslaved Africans took their last bath before being traded, or standing in the Slave Castles were our ancestors were routinely tortured. 

It is an important ritual for people of African descent to understand what happened to us along the way.  

Telling the truth 

The Emancipation Proclamation officially abolished slavery in the United States in 1863. Because of emancipation, some believe that slavery has little relevance in today’s society. However, the oppression of people of African ascent continued through the convict leasing system, Jim Crow, redlining, lynching, mass incarceration, massive unemployment, and officer-involved shootings.  

The state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis is not exempt from this history, as this region kept slaves and has driven these disparities. Whereas Minneapolis and St. Paul top national charts for being one of the best states for White people to live, it is one of the worst places for Black people to live. 

Still, the level of community-based activism has been vigilant, forcing those who otherwise would not to center racial equity and justice in their policy-making and practices.

Reimagining our future 

For the Division of Race and Equity, it is clear that we cannot move forward as a city and as a community by continuing to displace, disinvest, and cause harm to Black people. 

Neither can we move forward by allowing American Indians, Asian Pacific Islanders, LatinXs, or anyone else to be harmed because of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religious practices, their gender, or their class status. 

For too long, racism and other forms of oppression – sexism, homophobia, xenophobia – has been the means that those in power have used to exploit others. 

This strategy of dominance drives fear and hate, and puts us all at risk. We all have a vested interest in figuring out how to live the next 10, 50, 100, and 400 years without subjugating each other.

And we have a collective responsibility to repair the harm that has already occurred by strategic economic investments, educational opportunities, and connections to resources that deepen health and wellness in our communities, particularly for Black people.

  

A final word 

As we remember, recover, and reimagine, the Division of Race and Equity has implemented a multi-pronged strategy that enables us to dig deeper into each of these areas:

• Sacred Conversations is an initiative that gives staff an opportunity to unpack what the 400 Year Commemoration means for them and their work.

• Our summer lecture series and online toolkit gives space for staff and residents to deepen their awareness of the history of oppression, resistance, and resilience. 

• We have also invited community organizations to host events throughout the months of August and September. We wanted to hold these two months as critical moments of engagement, and the Week of Resilience Aug. 19  – 23 as particularly sacred, because of the Jamestown, Va. date of Aug. 20. We are having a community-wide event on Thursday, Aug. 22 that will give city staff and community residents an opportunity to reflect and celebrate on our history together. 

Visit our website at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/coordinator/Equity/recastminneapolis/WCMSP-218799 for more information.

We believe that this work will not only change how we talk about the history of enslavement through increased awareness and education, but it will be a catalyst in changing the narrative about Blackness in America, strengthening our collective ability to push for policy change that makes people’s lives better. 

Still Here: 400 Years of Resistance and Black Joy

Join the city of Minneapolis’ Division of Race and Equity on Aug. 22 to honor the 400 Year Commemoration of Oppression, Resistance and Liberation of African Americans at Sabathani Community Center, 5-8 p.m. 

We will reflect on the legacy of African Americans in this country, including how we have resisted and come through, and celebrate our persistent resilience and joy as we move forward. The event includes a lineup of speakers, performers, and you! It is open to the public, kid-friendly, and free. 

Register at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/e90cbca9e1314cb0bede14bd65d331bb

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