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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

In Brief June 2019

First East-African Chair of the MPHA 

Sharmarke Issa is the first immigrant and first East African to serve as Chair of the MPHA Board of Commissioners in the city”™s history. He is also the first Somali immigrant in the country to lead a public housing agency”™s governing board. 

Mayor Jacob Frey said, “Sharmarke”™s life experience and background in urban planning are especially important to MPHA”™s mission. At a time when the federal government continues to shortchange housing funding, he will be a skilled steward of our public housing infrastructure who understands and centers the needs of residents.”Â 

“I believe that everyone has a fundamental human right to housing, which ensures access to a safe, secure, habitable, and affordable home,” said Issa. “I”™m truly humbled by the Mayor”™s appointment and look forward to working with my colleagues on the MPHA board  to guarantee that all of our residents can exercise this right to live in security, peace, and dignity.”

Issa grew up in Minneapolis Public Housing after coming to the United States as a refugee at age 11. Approximately one-third of Minneapolis Public Housing residents are members of the East-African community.  Issa received both his bachelor”™s degree and a master”™s in urban planning from Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Puppet Lab 2020 

MayDay may be over, but the puppet magic doesn”™t have to be: apply to be a 2020 Puppet Lab artist. Puppet Lab is the emerging artist incubator program. Facilitated by Alison Heimstead, this program is entering its 9th year of radical, genre-expanding, boundary-pushing work. Deadline of submission June 15, 2019, 5 p.m. Puppet Lab creates space for emerging puppet and mask theater artists to advance their artistic development ”“ to test and create new works within a supportive and challenging workshop environment.

App helps residents with low vision 

Minneapolis is now using an app that helps people who are blind or have low vision get around Nicollet Mall, City Hall, Target Center and the Minneapolis Convention Center.The Aira app connects users with agents who are trained professional guides. They access the user”™s smartphone camera (or Aira glasses) for a live video feed combined with GPS and maps so they can describe these public spaces and help users maneuver through them. Read more at

Nordic food

From cultural culinary traditions to the contemporary “New Nordic” food movement, celebrate and explore northern foodways with American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave.) through workshops. “Our instructors know a thing or two about Nordic food, and we”™re excited for them to share their insights in a variety of workshops,” said organizers. 

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