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Tuesday December 18th 2018

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Black Silence: When will we address the opioid epidemic?

by Ron Edwards – republished with permission of www.TheMinneapolisStory.com

There continues to be a very frightening silence in the Twin Cities’ African American communities regarding the spike of African American deaths from drug overdose and what to do about it.

check out www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

While it affects all races, colors, and creeds, people of color are disproportionately represented. The Minnesota Department of Health’s “Race Rate Disparity in Drug Overdose Death” report showed that African Americans were twice as likely to die of a drug overdose than Whites — the second worst race disparity in the country.

For perspective, 12 years of the Vietnam War resulted in 58,220 death, which averages out to 404 a month. Those 404 who died each month were accompanied by protests and riots on college campuses and in the streets.

In 2017, 72,306 people died from drug overdoses for an average of 6,025 deaths per month. Of those deaths, 49,608 were from opioid overdoses, for an average of 1,891 deaths per month.

In the case of Vietnam, we actively challenged U.S policy. Yet, there are no protests or neighborhood and community campaigns anywhere regarding drug overdose deaths. Will we remain quiet in the face of U.S. policy related to this epidemic of death?

Silence regarding this drug overdose epidemic is everywhere, including from elected officials, political leaders, clergy, media, neighborhood and community groups, etc. The silence during the weeks prior to writing this column has not only been frightening but also emotional as we shed tears for those who died — it has also been spiritually troubling for those of us trying to find meaning and comfort in it all.

It was three years ago that now-outgoing Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek began to call attention to this deadly epidemic’s rise across the Twin Cities’ African American neighborhoods and communities. He took it upon himself to hold meetings in neighborhoods across the county.

Stanek challenged neighborhood leaders to be aggressively consistent in dealing with this drug overdose epidemic. Yet, save a few whispers, silence remained regarding this epidemic, and the death toll continued to rise. He was not re-elected.

All African Americans, regardless of gender and age, have been impacted. For those who may doubt the word “epidemic,” I urge you to speak to your elected leaders and to the Minnesota Health Department.

Many know, yet remain silent, about far too many people of color dying from this epidemic. For example, the drug conditions in the homeless tent camp along the East Franklin and Hiawatha corridor has been a red flag since the early spring of this year. Too many quietly watch as the increase of fatalities from illegal drugs and overdoses surge ahead.

The deadly silence will do more to create fatalities and anxiety and fear than having no plan of action.

Do we act or wait quietly with our intentions regarding this epidemic of drug overdoses, claiming it is due to mental health failings so there is nothing we can do?

The Supreme Court and mental health officials have shown and ruled regarding the importance of public health regarding drug use, drug abuse, and overdose deaths, as well as whether the use is for medicinal purposes such as prescriptions and painkillers or the new categories related to drugs used for pleasure and for religious uses. Will mental health become a cover even for intentional users?

At some point, neighborhoods and communities must step up to the plate and insist that effective plans of response be implemented to curtail drug deaths.

Justice Thurgood Marshall warned in 1989 that as “action against the drug scourge is manifest, the need for vigilance against unconstitutional excess regarding civil rights is great.”  That is also true today. Now, what do we do?

Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards is an author and hosts radio and TV shows.

150,000 Black Churches Condemn Marc Morial and The National Urban League for Accepting Blood Money from Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Stakeholder Council is a Sham – below, open letter to Mark Morial, President – Urban League

By Reverend Anthony Evans, National Black Church Initiative

Dead due to lack of connections. (photo: Our Black News)

Washington DC – The National Black Church Initiative, a coalition of 34,000 churches representing 15.7 million African Americans has issued a letter condemning The National Urban League and the Wells Fargo Stakeholder Advisory Council for their moral silence and collaboration with Wells Fargo who has been fined over a billion dollars for stealing from homeowners and churches.

Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Mr. Marc Morial:

First, Congratulations on your tenure at the National Urban League, we believe it has been a success thus far.

We are excited and want to let you know of an extraordinary effort by the National Black Church Initiative to grow Black homeownership over 51% over the next ten years. We call this initiative, NBCI Black 51% Homeownership Program. We are counting on your support. We have included a copy for your perusal.

We are writing to you concerning The National Urban League’s relationship to Wells Fargo Bank. We are happy that you a part of Wells Fargo’s Stakeholder Advisory Council. It is essential that someone of your statute be present to articulate to Wells Fargo the damage they have done over the years to African American Homeownership and community.

Other members of the council should be noted here, Michael Calhoun, President of The Center for Responsible Lending, Mindy S. Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres, Janet Murguía, CEO and President of UnidosUS, Sister Nora Nash, director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Anne Sheehan, director of Corporate Governance, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, John Taylor, president and CEO of The National Community Reinvestment Coalition. We read with interest the mission of the council, but the mission sounds dubious in nature. Largely because we can find no impact of what this council is doing to protect African American Homeowners.

However, your presence is also troubling due to the fact that we cannot find any public complaints against Wells Fargo by you or either the National Urban League or any member of the Wells Fargo Stakeholder Advisory Council. This is in light of the fact of the many sins of Wells Fargo and their systematic attack on our community. In a press release by NBCI entitled, The National Black Church Initiative Launches Nationwide Boycott Against Wells Fargo: The Black Church Calls Them Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!, (attached) discloses the quite graphic details the abuse of Wells Fargo and the systematic attack of Wells Fargo on the African American community.

The National Black Church Initiative is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino Churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all its members, congregants, Churches, and the public. Our methodology incorporates faith-based, sound health science and technology. NBCI partners with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting-edge, evidence-based solutions to tenacious economic and social issues.

How is it that you and The National Urban League have not said one negative word publicly against Wells Fargo? We can only conclude that you have not done so because of the enormous contribution Wells Fargo has consistently provided to The National Urban League. So, let us get this right as faith leaders, is it all right with you that Wells Fargo exploits the African American community and steal tens of billions of dollars through their savings and home equities? The National Urban League which is one of our premiere civil rights organizations has said absolutely nothing.

We googled the Urban League under the subject matter, The National Urban League criticism of Wells Fargo, and nothing came up. We pointed out earlier in this letter that you serve on The Wells Fargo Stakeholder Advisory Council, and we thought that this would give you great opportunity to advocate on behalf of African Americans who have been financially victimized by Wells Fargo. But even in this capacity, you have done nothing to protect the Black community, only to ensure the fact you and the other members of the Wells Fargo Stakeholder Advisory Council receive your annual contributions from Wells Fargo.

So many of us in the faith-based community believe that you have been paid off and have no credibility. So, let us get this right, you expect the Black Church community to respond whenever you call upon us when there is a crisis in the community and utilize our moral authority and the church treasury to protest for or against any issue that The National Urban League deem critical to our community. However, it is all right that you and the National Urban League accept tens of millions of dollars from Wells Fargo as they systematically destroy Black homeowners, houses of worship, economic development organizations, and you say nothing against them as long as you are receiving your annual donation.

Your lack of action is morally reprehensible and morally criminal in nature. This is why we are calling you out for refusing to defend the very community that you vow to protect. You and the National Urban League must be publicly condemned for your lack of action on behalf of the poor in particular and Black community in general. By only looking out for the interests of the National Urban League, you contribute to the continuous undermining and the lack of capitalization and wealth building of our community.

The donation that you received from Wells Fargo is the same money that Wells Fargo has stolen from Black families and Black Churches. The National Urban League is guilty of helping Wells Fargo rape the Black community. How is it, that the National Urban League with all of that rich history has turned into an organization that supports a continuous criminal enterprise like Wells Fargo.

The National Black Church has decided to take actions against you unless we have the opportunity to sit down and talk with you. We will be calling your office about setting up a meeting to talk about this issue.

Sincerely,

Reverend Anthony Evans
President

The New Black, Bullets and Racism

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist – The Independent Business News Network

There is nothing new about being treated in the old ways.

Racial prejudice: “My Culture Made Me Do It”

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn…(Editorial Opinion) – Every morning before I part from my family, I kiss my sons goodbye as if I will never see them again. I hug my wife and tell her I am the luckiest man in the world to have a woman like her. I know for sure, the world outside of my home looks at me with a historical reputation as savage, angry and bad…simply because of what I represent. The New Black says I need to relax…everything will be fine. Personally, I do not worry about what the white-male patriarchal system will try to do to me…but I am too busy planning what I will do to it.

As I stand in line at the Super America, the man ahead of me uses a credit card to pay for his gas; the clerk smiles, the transaction happens and its over. My turn to pay and I use my credit card…the clerk tells me, “We’ve had a lot of fraud here, and can I see your identification?” I quickly remind the clerk he did not ask the man before me for identification. But without hesitation, I look at this guy and hand him my drivers license. If do not comply and police are called, I put myself in the position of being a target for an old-fashioned police ass-whipping, or maybe end up dead – simply for questioning what authority-institutionalized racism is supposed to have over me in a hyphenated post-post something world.

When I hear super-rich music celebrities like Pharrell and Common talk about the New Black, who according to Common the New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues, it makes his argument on blackness into an ignorant mentality that undermines the black body. Pharrell said in an interview posted on the Daily Beast, “The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality, and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.”

I know the historical and relevant ‘old black’ has one side, its survival. Common and Pharrell’s ignorance distributed on international mainstream media platforms sends the black body back to colored only drinking fountains and bathrooms. White outrage over the resent death of a security guard shot by police doesn’t fix black fear of living in racist America. It just extended conscious concern about the race-terrorism in police shootings.

There is a fear I feel when I am in spaces dominated by powerful white people, and it can’t be captured on video. Black folks and other people of color will understand the fear I feel, but after the past week – after watching Walter Scott run away from a white police officer and then fall as he is shot in the back, and watching others watch it – I am not sure white people will ever understand it, even when they, too bear witness to the violent end of a black life.”

I find the rhetoric about boycotting Indiana over the gay discrimination bill hilarious. If we climb out of our shells, Americans need to boycott the state of Georgia for sending a group of black teachers to prison while not sending a single white teacher to prison for the same offense.

Even more insulting is the number of Minnesota catholic priests who sexually abused young boys in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Of course, none of these Minnesota priests were black…if they were black men, nothing short of calling out the National Guard in preparation for a public castration and hanging would be the order of the day…the New Black has no argument for this situation; the old black is clear on what he sees coming.

The reason why my editorial might be important to some at HU – last week, an HU criminal justice major, a senior, Jasmin, wanted to talk to me. Jessica said, “It’s interesting you write about race and injustices to black Americans. The classes I take for my major, [criminal justice never have conversations about unarmed black men gunned down by law enforcement.”

Should a college criminal justice majors be well-briefed on cultural injustices? Maybe not.

Black people continue to be the targets of extreme institutional and structural injustices and deadly violence from law enforcement. Some universities (including HU) play it safe – holding superficial panels with white professors and safe students of color who will not ask historical questions about the black body in white spaces, moving the focus of university leadership and equity to a state of being persona non grata in this academic setting.

We are living a national nightmare. The names and faces may change, but the bad dream remains the same. An unarmed black man, woman or child—middle-aged, teenage, sometimes (such as in the case of Tamir Rice) as young as 12—is shot down in cold blood by police officers who claim self-defense. These unjust deaths are even more infuriating because they have become normalized in American culture. Racist police shootings of black men are not simply an epidemic but, rather, the status quo that even White House task forces and DOJ investigations are helpless to eradicate.

I need to be very clear; there is no post-racial society. If the national unemployment rate for black people is 10.1 percent, which is almost double the overall national unemployment rate – as it has been for decades, America has a race issue. If a record 12.2 million African Americans are no longer in the labor force according to the 2015 Department of Labor report published on April 1, America has a race challenge. This should come as no surprise. The black body is often the first to bear the burden of cutbacks in and often the last to find positions with a living wage and benefits.

If a police officer can unload his weapon into a black body, and people raise funds to support the officer – be mindful, an American civil war is fast approaching – and it will be televised: “The New Black, Bullets and Racism.”

Should Voters in 59B Vote for the Other Guy? Exclusive: Letter to Voters from Lacy Johnson

Everyone looks for conflict of interests but never looks at common interests. This is our problem, the Black Minnesotans curse and rationale for how easy it is for anyone to gentrify any neighborhood in Black Minnesota.~D. Allen

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist  

Any political inquiry needs a question. A question that might take a thought process that some do not access all of the time because of the blinding fed up-it-ness of the current political atmosphere.

I’m sure we all understand that knowledge іѕ thе understanding оf factual, рrосеdurаl аnd соnсерtuаl аѕресtѕ оf іnfоrmаtіоn thаt a person acquires through education, оbѕеrvаtіоn аnd еxреrіеnсе. It (knowledge), enhances the understanding-level оf mаnkіnd. It unearths thе realties оf time-space phenomena and gіvеѕ dеfіnіtе сluеѕ tо lіfе аnd lіfеlеѕѕ objects оf соѕmіс есоnоmу. I guess my next question would be: “Are we as Minnesota voters accessing knowledge as it pertains to changing our trajectory – or are we stuck behind the mainstream media’s version of self, body, representation and human outcomes?” Black Minnesotans generationally vote (without questions) for any member of the Minnesota DFL; I’m not saying it’s wrong – our right, but rather an attempt to ask Black voters and people that live in areas like north Minneapolis and across Minnesota, “If you’re fed up – then why do you keep voting against your personal progress?” There are three sides to every story; each story has a unique plot-twist that persuades listeners, watchers or readers to believe in it. Unfortunately, a story, fiction or non-fiction can be told from a perspective of deception that only the storyteller may have insights to why it is important for the public sphere to believe this version. Black Minnesotans have been made many promises to end generational disparities, but it seems the Negro problem is getting worse than ever. If there is such a thing as fixing an issue of culture, race, class and equity, then now is the time. How do we get to the point of cordial and diplomatic solutions before we implode.

Today it’s hard to tell because personally, I cannot stand the fringes of the left, nor right, and many the Black community members in 59B are being hoodwinked by a few dollars to “Get out the Vote” – you know, that’s okay…people have to make ends meet, I understand.

The race for the Minnesota legislature seat 59B is interesting for a few reasons, the first one being the incumbent Raymond Dehn.  Out of all of the local Black elected officials who represent large clusters of black-folk, here comes this mild-mannered white guy that isn’t afraid to shake anyone’s hand; he speaks to everyone; he returns most calls, unless he’s being trolled. Just having a person like Mr. Dehn in office should spell hope, change, and a re-birth for a community that has seen too many people violently unemployed and killed   One thing I do know during Mr. Dehn’s tenure as the state representative for 59B, many of our Black self-appointed leaders sometimes (in my opinion), expected Dehn to always go ‘with the planned direction of the package,” – he didn’t.

This is not attempt to make a case for race just because a Black Republican is running in an area full of poor, unengaged people of color – but more to look at where we have been as a marker to show that a historical vote is imminent, and the political race in 59B could be the one that starts the wheels of change for Black persons in Minnesota.

You know what, as an editorial columnist I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I am definitely going to ask you is if you are willing to accept the responsibility of the sameness each voting cycle. If so, you then accept the status quo and that everyone in 59B must be working, there are no homeless families, and jobs are right down the street?

Below is a copy of candidate Lacy Johnson’s Letter to Voters in 59B.

2018 TC Social Justice Ed Fair at the Science Museum of Minnesota: Rejecting Mediocrity

Don Allen and Lennie Chism bring strong conversations to education. (Flyer by Winston Allen -pro bono).

Are you interested in social justice and education? Come to the Social Justice Education Fair on October 18 at the Science Museum of MN! Registration links can be found on Facebook and on the website tcedfair.org

Special presentation:

Tomorrow at #2pm (at the Science Museum of Minnesota, during the #TCSocialJusticeEdFair-8-5) we ask the question:

“What is the Minnesota Department of Education’s budget? What are the results?” #Trigger

Are you up for this very important conversation with two Black (yes, #BlackDegreesMatter), men that seek action, changes, and rejection of mediocrity as it pertains to the lack of “social justice” inside the closely guarded constructs of education that buffer themselves in a juggernaut of obscure policies meant to ‘take,’ not ‘give’ and it’s our children that will pay the final price?

As you already know, Lennie Chism and Donald Allen‘s filters are turned off for this one (mine’s always off); we hope to supply ideas, visions, and most importantly, actions that move the agenda of education forward for all students, teachers, families and neighborhoods in Minnesota. If our K-12 scholars are not ready to think global, work local, what are we doing? #TwinCitiesSocialJusticeEducationFair

If humanity is our virtue, then why do we continue to invest in wounds?

At first it was workforce; then housing; now mental illness is the #1 challenge Black Minnesotans have? We really need to look at who sets these agendas that historically, organizationally, and politically that fail Black Minnesotans. Mental Illness in the Minnesota’s Black Community will turn in to millions of dollars for everybody but us. When will we have a chance to invest in the strength of Minnesota’s Black culture versus its wounds?

Don Allen, M.A. Ed./MAT, Senior Editorial Columnist for Our Black News | IBNN

by Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

I do not take this topic lightly because I too after serving in the U.S. Army was diagnosed with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). The challenge I have is how is Minnesota’s Black community with disparities off the charts is now the target of a mass mental health movement? It bypasses the systemic causes of mental health, overlooks the bottom-up solutions, and targets us and others in poor communities, and labels us as unfit to be abnormal by having a good education, great career, and wonderful life; that is abnormal compared to the controlled-normal:  unemployed, working in the struggle.

Black Minnesotans have been looked at for a long time as useful to justify funding because we (Black Minnesotans) have very few at the table that will speak the truth about what it is we need. Those who look like us, most comfortable in their positions will not become the central negative, not having a negative influence, but making sure to ask the right questions, make the correct suggestions and re-track those who might see people of color as ‘less’ during decision-making processes. To bring another voice into this conversation, I turn to devoted Black author educator, and speaker, Dr. Umar Johnson, who explains in parallel what’s happening to black people and how the system works:

           “We are systematically denied access to wealth. We cannot build that hospital they built, we cannot open 10 supermarkets, I cannot get ten gas stations in three weeks because you are going to routinely deny me access to wealth. Because if I finance your empowerment, that disrupts my system of extermination and genocide. You cannot kill a people who you are financially empowering. So, we are kept without access to wealth. America has a policy where you do not empower black people for their own benefit.”

           Take a closer look at hierarchy of the Twin Cities Black leadership and social clusters, most are too much into having personal agendas, silo thinking and a lack of trust. Success can abandon us (Black Minnesotans) quickly because the outer-designed-complex that needs separation to operate covertly inside the Black Minnesotan social maze (which is easy because there is no solid leadership).

Ergo, the mental health opportunity that labels and tries to explain that Black people are unemployed, uneducated, lazy and poor because they all have been through some type of mental illness and trauma passed down from generation-to-generation and that is why today we have more black-on-black crime, high unemployment rates and live in areas of blight because they cannot lift themselves out of some surreptitious (hidden) construct put there on purpose. Furthermore, there are hidden constructs within the black community, especially in Minnesota that prevents unity, collaborations – it seems that failed attempts are much-admired in the Black community (…we tried, it didn’t work, but we’ll try again next year – here’s a trophy), whereas success might trigger a positive mass change in the upward trajectory of Minnesota’s Black communities.

You cannot have Justice or Peace within a framework of Inequality; they’re Incompatible

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Opinion Writer 

While there is no remedy for fair and balanced news coverage (FOX is light-years from “fair and balanced”), the mainstream media news remains a secluded sector. Mostly controlled by white males who in light of recent news coverage seem to not give a damn about the plight of black Americans or any other minority groups. They have presented no real coverage of anything black or black related unless it bleeds, shoots, kills or fails in school. Of course on the local scene, when was the last time you turned on the fringe channels of 2, 5, 9 and 11 and saw a report on something other than murder, death and kill in the black community?

So far, it is highly unlikely to separate news sensationalism from a possible normal social construct of how delivery of broadcast news is suppose to work. To even begin to talk about the norm, we would have to start our research well before television existed. The shameful part of the process is that black Americans are strained into a culture that is not our own by simply turning on the television set. Yes, I know there are many forms of black television like BET (Black Entertainment Television), but who watches BET – come on, really?

Media ownership is the answer. Bill Cosby is paying for his consideration of purchasing NBC…

Black Americans own little to no corporate media. When laid out more specifically, there are 1500 newspapers, 1100 magazines, 9000 radio station, 1500 TV stations, 2400 publishers owned by only three corporations according to Injustice Facts. Fair.Org reports the five largest networks are Time Warner (1997 sales: $24 billion), Disney ($22 billion), Bertelsmann ($15 billion), Viacom ($13 billion), and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation ($11 billion). Yes, then we have OWN, the fledgling network allegedly owned by television talk queen and billionaire Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey, a huge Obama supporter, has walked in the same footsteps of the president, choosing to ignore the need for information distribution to the core of black America.

Just ask ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News or any of the many cable television news outlets: Black news is not important unless it takes part in a despicable act. Corporate news is a monster with many working parts – too many. While some might think CNN’s news series, “Black in America” might cover the news and plight of black America, believe it when I say, “Black in America” is the picture perfect series about the black dilemma made for white America by design. On the flip side, don’t look for any constructive African American news coverage on FOX either. Most news you can use is “white here, white now.”

Remember Aaron Alexis? Before I move on, I would like to state that for the record, I don’t pardon anything Navy yard murderer Aaron Alexis did in his shooting rampage. I’m concerned about the way the mainstream media has moved the American public away from news and information and into the sensationalism and twisted presentation of this tragedy. I understand politicians and special interest “lefty” groups want to react and take away weapons from law-abiding citizens, but a crime of such magnitude could manifest in anyone for any reason. The predictability of a person with a weapon developing a mass shooter psychosis is like predicting when the family next door will win the lottery jackpot.

The re-criminalization of black America only needs a small national incident to push the ill-assumed stereotypes of blacks (especially black men) to being the most feared and criminalized caste of people in the United States. What troubles me is the hypocrisy and quickness of Americans and the mainstream media to forget the past and in this instance take advantage and use the black American Navy yard shooter Aaron Alexis as a catalyst to incite a vial hatred for guns and black Americans.

Malcolm X was right when he said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

The mainstream media reports the New York cop shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, (pre-crime) as a violent criminal with a long record. They do that to every black suspect, regardless of circumstance. Brinsley was a nut. He posted on Instagram, “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.” His post (Brinsley) and what follows is only a prelude for what is to come. This story will continue to get bigger – used to promote gun control, promoting race-baiting by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and finally will be dressed up like an Emmy waiting for a limousine ride to the Academy Awards. Plain and simple, the less news on this nutcase would be better.

To add insult to injury, and something even more shocking: former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke recognizes the mainstream media’s lack of integrity. On his website, DavidDuke.com, in a reflection of the past Zimmerman/Martin trail. Dukes writes, “The acquittal of George Zimmerman is being used by the Zionist-controlled media in a blatant attempt to whip up African-American hatred against European-Americans— and they have engaged in this utterly false anti-European hate-fest as a means of diverting African-American attention away from the real cause of so many problems in black society.” He continues, “The Zionist-controlled media has deliberately created the impression among many African-Americans that Zimmerman is ‘white’ and that the incident in Florida was just another example of white racism.” Duke nails it.

The series of race-baiting press conferences presented by the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson is evidence of Duke’s claim. It is not black America’s finest hours at the six and ten.

While it is difficult to watch the made-for-television news and “formatted” cosmetic-hype meant to promote these networks, one could argue this kind of television reporting has nothing to do with news but everything to do with promoting a “brand” (CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and MSNBC), which would make the reporting of a tragic situation by the mainstream media absolutely disingenuous and downright patronizing.

In a world of technology in news and information coverage, could there enough room to have a somewhat fair and meaningful representation of a successful black America? Black Americans must participate at the same levels in the same mainstream media complex as whites. Until this happens, the average person with the reasonable amount of common sense will never have the opportunity to judge a black man by his character versus the violent misrepresentation from the mainstream media.

Author James Baldwin wrote, “This subjugation is the key to their identity and the triumph and justification of their history, and it is also on this continued subjugation that their material well-being depends…This is why, ultimately, all attempts at dialogue between the subdued and subduer, between those placed within history and those dispersed outside, break down…the subdued and the subduer do not speak the same language.”

What a difference race makes.

Did a Minnesota construction firm build sub-standard Housing in Haiti?

Tune into the Ron and Don Show by clicking this link at 8:30pm: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theronanddonshow/2018/03/29/did-a-minnesota-construction-firm-build-sub-standard-housing-in-haiti 

Call in to speak with the host (347) 426-3904

Related Stories

  1. How Disaster Relief Became a Disaster of its Own – Jake Johnston in Boston Review”(2014)
  2. Haiti: Second USAID Contractor Suspended Following Caracol Housing Debacle” (2015)
  3. How the US Plan to Build Houses for Displaced Haitians Became an Epic Boondoggle” (2015)

By The Ron and Don Show

Tonight on the Ron and Don Show on #BlogTalkRadio the team of Don Allen (IBNN) and Ronald A. Edwards (The Minneapolis Story) welcome Mr. Jake Johnston from the Center for Economics and Policy Research to talk about a situation (ongoing) in Haiti that first came to light in 2015.

Mr. Johnston’s piece, “How the US Plan to Build Houses for Displaced Haitians Became an Epic Boondoggle, cited the following:

After the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, the US government responded with an ambitious plan to build 15,000 new houses in the country. But the ensuing program to put roofs over the heads of displaced Haitians has included a boondoggle of epic proportions at one $35 million housing development, where shoddy construction practices and faulty sewage systems are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation. On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment.

Join us tonight at 8:30pm (CST) to hear the details, which some are calling “fake news,” while others are really concerned about the Haitian people and their continued demise.

About Jake Johnston

Jake Johnston graduated from Boston University in 2008 with a B.A. in Economics. At CEPR his research has focused predominantly on economic policy in Latin America, the International Monetary Fund and U.S. foreign policy. He is the lead author for CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog and has authored papers on Haiti concerning the ongoing cholera epidemic, aid accountability and transparency and the U.S. foreign aid system. His articles have been published in outlets such as The Intercept, NACLA, Boston Review, VICE News, Al Jazeera America, and Truthout.

 

Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds must lead the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

We have many challenges in Minneapolis’ Black community…the appointment of Levy-Pounds as head of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights would be a step in the right direction. 

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds can do the job that needs to be done. (photo: Facebook – Fair Use)

Minneapolis, Minn…Dr. Levy-Pounds and I haven’t seen eye-to-eye since the unravelling of the Black History Museum and let’s not forget the Minneapolis NAACP elections a few years back where she won the election and became the president of the Mpls NAACP. Well that was then, this is now, and I don’t really care about the museum or the NAACP (local and nationally, they leave a lot to be desired). One thing I can say is that Dr. Levy-Pounds was one of the very few people who knew I spoke what was on my mind and was unapologetic in recognizing that “a voice,” some-voice, needed to be heard on behalf of black people in the state of Minnesota and that usually, black voices are pretty much ignored in favor of a few black, lackluster community idiots.

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights; the most non-functioning department in the city of Minneapolis and its leader Ms. Velma Korbel are up against a brick wall; shredding claims, a screwed up call-in line, and many “cash-settled” lawsuits from 2006-2016 that took money and resources from the citizens of Minneapolis and paid out claims of wrongful terminations, sexual harassment and a variety of stupid pet tricks. The challenge, the DFL party, protects consistent malfeasance in favor of a tight-knit club of DFL social “greats” that happen to be black people and party loyalist, so when something goes wrong, what makes you think that anyone in this social cabal will pay?

Well it hasn’t happened yet.

On February 3, 2016, I appeared before the Minneapolis City Council in support of letting Korbel continue on in her role as director of the Mpls. Civil Rights Department and this is what I said:

“In The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights needs a disciplined, data-driven

Velma Korbel’s lackluster performance and results are disappointing. (photo: MinnPost – Fair Use)

approach for eliminating its defects. The internal and external organizational design lacks integrity and has moved far away from simple perfection. I’m not here today to say Ms. Korbel does not need to be re-appointed – but I am here to say a different approach to the process of civil rights needs to be downloaded. Using a time-management system pinned with a list of objectives should be designed, publicized and expanded upon. For the city’s sake, the TMS must be put in place to demand the highest performance from this agency. As some of you already know, data tables about unemployment in regards to the population of Minneapolis show in some cases an excess of 40 percent for certain zip codes. I maintain the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and its neglect to contract compliance are partly to blame for this unacceptable and surreptitious promotion of structural violence. For me, the solution or fundamental objective would be to remove the maleficence-of-process from the daily operations of the department and replace it with user friendly, results driven community and city engagement. This would build a framework for implementing and enforcing good-faith efforts in contract compliance, self-initiated civil rights investigations and for sure addressing the list of solutions from the 2010 City of Minneapolis Disparity Report. There are no self-updates or bug fixes; Ms. Korbel must be re-appointed because she now needs to be a problem-solver that fixes Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.”

###

I’m sorry, I was wrong…Korbel is not the person to run the Mpls. Department of Civil Rights, nor has she successfully demonstrated that she has the acumen to reset the department or even handle the out-of-whack contract compliance department, nor does she know how to hold prime contractors accountable for not hiring qualified community members beyond a good-faith effort.

With this written, it’s time for Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey to make an unpopular, but effective decision and make Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds the new director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights…immediately!

Like I said in the beginning, we (Levy-Pounds) do not see eye-to-eye on many issues, but one things for sure, this is the best move that will not only shake up the MDCR, but make them an effective operation.

 

Review of the Hennepin County Ten-Year Plan to end Homelessness for Single Adults #FAIL

Veterans, Families, Adults still homeless at the hands of pencil pushers without a clue. (photo: Homeless shelter gets city support, despite complaints…#MinnPost)

This writer is reviewing the information provided to this writer in response to a Freedom of Information request for all data from The Heading Home Hennepin Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness initiated in 2006 and ended in 2016. The reason for that request was due to, after millions of dollars being spent, homelessness was not ended; in fact, homelessness increased.

By Margaret Hastings, Guest Columnist
Heading Home Hennepin (HHH) advocates acknowledged this failure without taking responsibility for it. HHH advocates are now calling upon the city and county to open more homeless shelters due to the rise in street homelessness.

The information sent to this writer in response to the FOI request had minimal information, did not contain any coherent assessment of data, there was minimal data at all in the documents received.

Annual reports for each year were not produced by Heading Home Hennepin. Annual reports were produced for 2010, 2011, a 2012 Five Year Report and 2105 report.

The 2015 annual report does not provide specifics, it is more of an overview of programming, and general comments. In short, no real depth. The director notes in the report that 2015 to 2016 is the final year of HHH. There are some numbers thrown out related to single adults housed (the area I am looking at) it does not address that these numbers fall far, far short of ending homelessness. That, in fact, not even a significant dent has been made in homelessness.

The 2015 report throws out numbers that ignore the larger numbers of those who remain homeless. The focus is more about extolling progress than critical analysis of how short of the goal the HHH plan fell.

The 2012 Five Year Report: The title of this report implies that the first five years of the HHH plan will be addressed. Instead, this document is poorly organized, hops from one year to another with no clear analysis of what has been put in place per year, what had worked, what has not.

In the introductory Letter from the Director the statement is made that from 2007 to 2011 “350 people living on the street were moved into housing.” There are no supporting documents explaining the sources for these numbers. It does not address the number of single persons still homeless, which remained at a large number. No analysis of the barriers that limit effective service to the majority of single adults who remain homeless.  If 350 was an accurate number of housed, is that number the most that can be served with the available resources? What further resources, staff, approaches were needed to go beyond that number to reach the goal or close to the goal of ending homelessness?

From the 2012 report: “Our latest street count revealed a 40 percent reduction in the number of people sleeping outside since 2010.”

My question: What is the reduction since 2006, the start of the HHH plan? And what does this number actually mean? Since 2006 to 2016 the baseline number of homeless (those in shelters and outside) has persisted between 1,000 and 1250 (with spikes in numbers for two years) based on the HUD COC counts for the years 2006 to 2016. The HHH ten-year plan to end homelessness was dealing with these baseline numbers at its start yet that baseline persisted. WHY? HUGE amounts of money poured into HHH and the numbers they tout represent a small portion of those housed.

From the 2012 report “Homelessness for dozens of chronic livability offenders in downtown Minneapolis was ended and chronic re-offenses were reduced by 78 percent. My response: I find this very difficult to believe. No supporting documentation was provided to support these claims. And now in 2017, elected officials, police and downtown businesses are voicing concern about livability offenses.

The 2011 report: The 2011 report states numbers: “From October 2007 through July 2010, St. Stephen’s Street Outreach has housed over 200 people directly from the street, mostly without subsidies.”

The 2012 report states that from 2007 to 2011, more than 350 people living on the streets were moved to housing, thanks to St. Stephen’s Street Outreach”. What accounted for the decrease by 50 in the year 2010 to 2011?

The 2015 report does not mention numbers for the years 2012 or 2013 but states that St. Stephens Street Outreach “…housed 100 people in 2014” Why were 2012 and 2013 left out? And despite touting the above numbers, adult street homelessness has increased as of 2017, a fact not refuted by HHH advocates.

Why? What was missed? Over 3 years the claim is 200 people were housed; that is 66 people per year. How many street outreach workers were there? How many people total did they work with?
Was there a need for more street outreach workers? What was recognized as barriers to providing further services to larger numbers?

From the 2011 report RE: The Currie Avenue Housing Partnership: (CAP) has ten Housing Case Managers to connect people with disabilities Staying at Currie Avenue shelters with housing and supports. The program officially began in May 2010 and has successfully housed 150 people.

Individuals have obtained permanent housing or are in the final stages of obtaining Housing.

(****OF NOTE IS THAT THE 2012 FIVE YEAR REPORT QUOTES THE SAME NUMBER FROM A PROGRAM THAT BEGAN IN 2010.)

From the 2012 report “More than 150 people with disabilities who slept in overcrowded, downtown shelters now having housing, thanks to a partnership created between the Downtown Business Council and the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness. Eighty-seven percent of these individuals have stayed in their housing for at least one year.

WHAT HAPPENED FROM 2011 TO 2012? THE 2012 REPORT SIMPLY COPIED AND PASTED IN NUMBERS FOR 2010, NO UPDATE FOR 2011 FOR THE CURRIE AVENUEPARTNERSHIP.

THE 2015 REPORT WHICH IS A VERY SHORT GENERAL OVERVIEW DOES NOT EVEN MENTION THE CURRIE AVENUE HOUSING PARTNERSHIP’S WORK AND GIVES NO DATA FOR 2011 THROUGH 2016 ON THAT PROGRAM HAS DONE.

From the 2010 Annual Report: See my comments below this taken from the report:
Single Adult Shelter Network: The Shelter   Efficiency group identified a need to coordinate services among shelters for shelter guests who use multiple shelter sites.  The team developed a shared release form that shelter guests can sign in order to have their case coordinated among all the shelters serving single adults.  This collaborative is titled the Single Adult Shelter Network (SASN).  The group meets bi-weekly and discusses approximately 15-20 cases each meeting.  The group develops a shared plan to help a shelter guest move into appropriate housing or work on eliminating a barrier to housing such as a criminal charge or record, insufficient income, or lack of money to pay a damage deposit.  During its first year, the number of SASN clients housed was 12, while there are 7 with housing pending, 14 percent still homeless, and 9 percent with client status unknown.  SASN has increased efficiency and reduced redundancy of efforts amongst shelter providers.  Youth agencies created their own network, Young Adult Shelter Network (YASN), to accomplish similar coordinated case management.”

My comment below:
Regarding the bold type…12 housed out of, how many total? 14 per cent still homeless OUT OF HOW MANY TOTAL? I mean really? 14 per cent of what?” And if they only housed 12, with only 14 per cent still homeless that means if you do the math, they housed 86 per cent of whom? The limited caseloads they managed? If they housed 12 and 7 pending that is 19 people. So, if 19 is 86 per cent of most people served. I one year they only worked with about 22 people total. Even more embarrassing, or they should be embarrassed is that out of the hundreds of people in their shelters, they were only able to house 12?

How many and what percentage of the homeless persons declined to sign the release form? How often did staff not offer the release form? What were the causes for those who declined the form, for declining to sign it?”

Final thoughts: The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness did not have a plan. In reading the annual reports, that is strikingly clear. There is no evidence of a plan that established goals, put in place a system to assess, analyze and critique progress made and alter what was not working.

Despite the glowing snippets of how many were housed and programs in place, the fact remains
that not only did homelessness stay the same, it increased over the ten years. Given the millions of dollars spent on this failure, the tax payers and homeless persons deserve an accounting as to why it failed and consider removing those responsible for this failure.

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