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Sunday December 16th 2018

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Community Meetings: Auditioning for Dollars

Really, what is the African American Leadership Forum doing for/with/to the black community. Let somebody have a party with liquor and dancing…everyone will show up for the party, never for the cause.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

I stopped attending community meetings about two-years ago. The meetings were not productive and most of the time they were used for headcounts in someone’s bottom-line receiving money to address God knows what disparity in the black community.

If you notice, there is a pattern in the Twin Cities black community among it’s leadership and those carrying the torch for some kind of funding to make something go away…supposedly – in the end, nothing is complete, nor is it addressed in a process that would show a successful measurable outcomes…just look at the Minneapolis Urban League’s massive fail on the 13th grade concept; a program doomed to fail from the very beginning.

How does the black community survive these massive fails in education, public safety and economic development sometimes perpetrated by the people that look like us? To start, it will never because some of the usual suspects had a meeting…divisive, exclusionary and an ongoing foundational fail-challenge that has plagued black Minnesotans far too long.

Noted author and race scholar Tim Wise told an audience in St. Paul in 2013, “Just because a group of folk meet about an issue doesn’t mean any action will be taken.”

I lean in agreement with Dr. Wise’ testimony because in the Twin Cities, we have seen, and attended meetings about public safety, economic development, education, diabetes and a host of other black disparities that are out-of-whack with mainstream Minnesota, but yet – there are no visible markers that would denote success. Still today, in a random survey taken by IBNN, the parent organization to Our Black News, over 47 of the 83 black people asked if they had insurance through MNSure said they did not. This is after hundreds of thousands of dollars were directed to black agencies that represented communities, churches and local business to sign up black folk.

In a story from Minnesota Public Radio, the black community criticized MNSure for ignoring the needs of the black community: “Some said MNsure’s initial failure to award grants to organizations that specifically serve African-Americans and Somalis had created mistrust and suspicion. The board has made an extra $750,000 available for more grants.”

OBN attests the $750,000, no matter how it was divided up in the black community didn’t reach as planned – but somebody got one hell of a paycheck (again) for missing the needs of the many.

In the last 24 hours, Minneapolis has seen two murders (if not more), and many shootings in the black community. While the mayor travels, black leadership has been silent about the latest rounds of killings. But hell, there’s always a group who wants to seem important – they will have a meeting.

Part I: The Twin Cities is no closer to becoming a Ferguson, MO then a horse turning into a duck…What really matters?

Sometimes asking why is viewed as attacking, I hope nobody’s that stupid enough to think that way. Pluralistic ignorance has overcome our community; only a central negative can break the groupthink. http://ourblacknews.com/?p=288

Related stories:

The Hoodlum Manifesto of the Achievement Gap

The New Black, Bullets and Racism

White Threat, Black Sweat: A Manifesto of America’s Consciousness 

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

While black people in the Twin Cities continue to beat, rob, shoot and murder their brothers and sisters – known as black-on-black crime, organizers in the Minneapolis #blacklivesmatter social cabal are waiting for that one law enforcement officer; that white law enforcement officer, to shoot down an unarmed black person. Of course this does not apply to any other race of people being shot and killed by the police because in some circles of the “matters” rhetoric, #alllivesmatter seems to be an insult to this movement. If #blacklivesmatter, then why don’t the lives of black people killed by black people matter in the Twin Cities?

I guess my first question: Why does Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds, ‪(#‎blacklivesmatter and president of the Minneapolis NAACP) keep telling people in interviews, panels and community meetings that the Twin Cities is one police shooting away from a Ferguson, MO?

Well, there has been several black-on-black shootings and just on Saturday night (7/25/15), a Minneapolis policeman shot a man in downtown Minneapolis who was rumored to have a gun. So my question is where are the protesters and why are some trying to start a riot in Minnesota? Some community members, political and civil rights activists know you all of these folks want to be on the news, or you might be trying to raise that money $$. But there has to be better ways to pimp the local mainstream media at the risk of losing more black lives…remember you’re no Donald Trump.

Remember, the NAACP, founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. The say from the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continues to fight for social justice for all Americans.

If dedicated workers and effective followers are being marginalized by leadership, locally and nationally in the organization, than members who make up the NAACP really continue to fight for justice, freedom and a piece of the dream? Or is this just a smokescreen to hide the fact the Minneapolis NAACP has been compromised by #blacklivesmatter, a movement stuck in a direction headed downward.

For years I have admired and respected the work of Dr. Pounds. I have cited works by you in my award winning columns; I believed in you, your mission and the direction you wanted black Minnesotans to be headed in: Understanding justice and liberty for all. But when it is obvious, the only real mission the organizations you collaborate with have a focused mission on the Minneapolis police chief and the Minneapolis city council president; it makes me wonder what agenda these groups are working towards – hey, there have been plenty of black people shot, killed, robbed and maimed by other black people…but still you wait for that one, white, police, officer, and let Negroes die in the street. Praying over things are wonderful, but the same God you pray to is the same God that community member pray to everyday to change their circumstances.

Community activist Ms. Maleta Kimmons of One Family, One Community said, “You wanna be starting something. You know damn well there will never be a riot HERE! Half of the professional BLACK folks in this city are brought and paid for, so they not going to advocate or fight for nothing without a soft spoken word behind closed doors, secret squirrel-a** meetings. So stop playing because they’re not about that life to come at the police. But they’re good at cut throating each other real good.”

I think both versions of Twin Cities #blacklivesmatter and the NAACP’s should learn what cultural institutions have become, complacent and even complicit in this new custom in the things that matter?  Individuals still fear the police state will arrest them for legally protecting themselves while criminal’s advantage themselves in gun-free zones and gun control cities.  Families lose children to the Missing Persons List and Unresolved Homicide List while politicians speak of building a new recreation center to replace them.  Yea, founded in 1909; left behind in 2015.

Both organizations have not attacked the real issues or some important facts: Where there is lack of capital, poverty persists.  Where poverty increases, hopelessness endures.  Leaving only three options: flee, fight or persists.

Both groups know Minneapolis and St. Paul’s educational system is so corrupt that they have convinced parents to give drugs to perfectly healthy children in order to keep them motionless in the classroom.  Common core and “teaching to the test” have replaced individual victory plans for students.  Our state has put a price on failure and it comes to the budget table annually requesting an increase in its spending.  Unfortunately, we believe it more important to feed the “ideals” of education success and starve the “facts” of education performance.  We all suffer the misery of the results. Rather than trying to get the police out of the Minneapolis Public Schools (and failing), it seems like the above issue would be a better to address, and solve.

This is only part one of a four part question, “What really matters?”

UPDATE (7.22 – 13:14) – National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) in Minneapolis; but will they patronize black businesses?

When black folks fail black folks. Welcome to Minnesota NABJ.

When black folks fail black folks. Welcome to Minnesota NABJ.

UPDATE: Tune into The Ron and Don Show tonight on #blogtalkradio as we discuss the historical significance of black businesses being alienated by black organizations. To listen at 8:30 p.m.  CST, click here.

Sometimes being a black professional is all about putting on that white-face mask to out-white the white folks at the expense of your own black people.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (Member NABJ)

Once again, Minneapolis, Minn. will host an event with some of the best black professionals, this time from the world of journalism. The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) will hold it’s annual conference in Minneapolis from Aug. 5-9, including events at the controversial Mall of America. As a member in good standing, I am appalled by the NABJ ignoring black businesses in Minnesota.

It seems like somebody was not listening, or didn’t realize the atmosphere in the Twin Cites, which include racial tensions and the exclusion of black professionals inside of local media outlets, like anchors, reporters, sales and management. It is more likely for a black Minnesotan to get a job emptying trashcans at a local media outlet than getting a job is sales, promotion or management. If the NABJ did its homework, a different agenda might have emerged assisting black professionals in Minnesota. Yeah, I know, being sheep is one of the top qualities of some black organizations bound to loyalty by sponsorship dollars. Yes, there are a few solid people of color that worked hard to maintain inside of Minnesota Nice media, but they too have been limited by the proverbial glass ceiling of being sidekicks to the white-male patriarchal norm of mainstream media.

Author Ralph Ellison wrote, “All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried telling me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory” (Invisible Man).

In the Twin Cities some blacks are told what they are, where to go and who they can be. This is a sad documentary on defining humanity, culture and identity in a city where the indigenous black folks will let a national black organization come to two and not do any business with one black company or small business. The status quo of coonery in the Twin Cities and by some national organizations is to out-white the white man, but he already knows these types of professional blacks will stay lost within their environments, undeveloped, misinformed and of course misguided.

If the NABJ is keeping it real, they would lobby against some outlets for the lack of diversity among their ranks…but of course, this campaign would need some black ownership…

The facts are 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, ownership and a fair playing field focused in 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 is about “white here, white now,” because if your are black, you must bleed to lead.

In closing, it’s okay if the members of the Twin Cities Black Journalist (Minnesota’s branch of the NABJ) do not send me email invites; I understand…with me representing my blackness as a strength, it might interfere with your perceptions and reality of your whiteness.

Robbinsdale Police officers allegedly blame a “Nigger” for the killing of north Minneapolis activist, beat visiting black father into coma; Minneapolis NAACP passes

The Minneapolis branch of the NAACP again becomes ineffective at dealing with primary and secondly tension.

The Minneapolis branch of the NAACP again becomes ineffective at dealing with primary and secondly tension.

North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale was the site of a vicious beating of an African American father who was at the hospital visiting a family member.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

12:15 p.m. – Last night (7.18) at North Memorial Hospital the Powell family was at a hospital because of a family member being shot. Mr. John Powell the family patriarch, who was at the hospital, became the victim of police brutality at the hand of the Robbinsdale Police officers. He went to get his car and when he walked out of the hospital the Robbinsdale Police allegedly told Mr. Powell, “A nigger killed the white woman in north Minneapolis, “ made him get on his knees and commenced to beat Mr. Powell. He was beaten so badly, he was put into a drug-induced coma.

The Robbinsdale Police officers who have decided it was a “nigger” who killed a white north Minneapolis woman citing the beating was in return for her death, according to Mr. Powell and his wife. Both the Minneapolis and Robbinsdale police chiefs should be concerned about this miscarriage of justice.

The Minneapolis NAACP president was contacted and allegedly told a Star Tribune reporter they had no time to examine this. Reverend Jerry McAfee and community activist Spike Moss are planning to request a meeting with the president of the Minneapolis NAACP to get her mind right.

African Americans: American Society and Cultural Diversity

Our Black News Academic Press 2015

When was the last time you saw a black boy scout? #somethingisverywrong

When is the last time you saw a black boy scout? #somethingisverywrong

African Americans have lived here since they were transported by slave ships hundreds of years ago (McKnown-Johnsons & Rhodes, 2010, p. 109). Back in the 1910 – 1920s, many of the African Americans lived in the South but migrated into more industrialized cities, such as Chicago and Detroit, to gain employment in various manufacturing companies and factories, according to the 2000 census. If we look at this census and compare the numbers for African Americans to other races such as Hispanics/Latinos, we will find that African Americans now rank in the second spot for the largest minority group in the United States. Some of the most recent African Americans have come from places such as Haiti, Nigeria and Kenya in Africa (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 116).

In the 1500s, African Americans were thought of as being sinister and wicked due to the color of their skin (Skolnick & Currie, 2011, p. 50). In the late 1600s, African Americans made their first appearance in Virginia and became the primary source of labor supply and were then enslaved. Their life in America began working four to seven years for their owners to pay their way to America. Along with indentured slaves, they were forced to wear iron collars, tortured and often beaten during the years of slavery. They had to use passes to gain permission to leave their plantations and were punished severely if caught without them (Skolnick & Currie, 2011, p. 53). When African Americans had to face punishment for a crime, they were treated more severely than indentured slaves. White and black slaves were joining forces to escape the plantations. They were both receiving harsh punishments when caught but black slaves were always given more severe treatment for their crimes. Sometimes it was an extra form of torture such as added lashes to their whippings or extended time to their sentences (usually a lifetime) added to their time to be served as slaves to their owners. The courts started punishing African American slaves as “examples” for others who may follow in their footsteps (Skolnick & Currie, 2011, p. 55). They were prohibited from owning arms degraded, and treated as property by their plantation owners. Slave families were often separated by sale at the auction block and marriages between them were not legally recognized. Laws were developed to restrict slaves from having rights such as giving them books, including a Bible, and teaching them how to read. They could not sell or buy anything and other rights we enjoy today. If they did not obey these slave codes or laws, they faced severe punishment such as being whipped, mutilated, or even killed. For women, it meant being disgraced through repeated torture and rape (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 129). Slavery became wide-spread across the South and would hold strong until the Civil War (Takaki, 2008, p. 7). By this time, more than 500,000 Africans were brought to America (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 129).

The Civil War was the beginning of changes for African Americans when they were allowed to fight for freedom from slavery and inequality. At first, Lincoln was against the submission of African Americans into the army to fight. Once he saw that we were close to losing the war, he had no choice but to allow them to enlist and fight for freedom. If it had not been for African Americans, the Civil War would have been lost (Takaki, 2008, p. 15). Despite winning the Civil War, Africans still had a long fight ahead of them and faced many more battles. Their future was filled with lynching’s, race riots, what is known as the “Color Line”. Furthermore, they continued their fight for freedom as they joined forces with other races along the way (Takaki, 2008, p. 7).

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 finally brought an end to slavery for African Americans. By 1868, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution had permanently abolished slavery and further protected the rights of all slaves. This was short lived for in 1896, the Jim Crow Law imposed segregation in all economic, public and social areas that African Americans had fought so hard to gain equality in. Various forms of acts were carried out to control slaves and keep them from challenging these laws. Some of these acts included lynghings and arbitrary arrests (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 129).

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that African Americans would become one with all Americans. That a time would come when there would be equality and freedom. Despite his dream, African Americans would continue to compete with other races in employment and equality. For example, during the early years of Americas expanding industrial economy the Irish felt heavy competition for employment and a place in society as they competed with African American slaves. The Irish were often given jobs that were far too dangerous for slaves and they were thought of as being inferior to African American slaves at the time. Therefore, the Irish would use the fact that their skins were white to gain an advantage over African Americans in the labor market (Takaki, 2008, p. 11).

Soon after Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of his dream, the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress and it led the way to fulfilling that dream. It wasn’t complete as much more needed to be done. There was still inequality towards African Americans and other minorities regarding interracial marriages, education, and employment. The Civil Rights Act was just a stepping stone towards equality and freedom for African Americans (Takaki, 2008, p. 17).

Generations of African Americans have passed and years of historic slavery have gone by and yet, reminders of African folklore, religion, language, and music remain. Unlike whites, African Americans brought with them the extended family network which involves caring for their children and older adults (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 116). Compared to other cultures, African American children are living in grandparent’s homes as they are traditionally chosen to be the caregivers (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 117).

Second to family, religion is next in line of importance to African Americans. The majority are members of Protestant and Baptist churches and more apt to attend than whites. African American churches also serve as community service centers and provide formal and informal social services for their community. There are several other religious groups that African Americans play a role in and two of them are Muslims and American-Muslims (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 117).

African Americans hold strong to many values along with those shared earlier involving family and religion. Some of the other values important to their culture are achievement and work orientation. When referring to low-income African Americans, it was found that the majority preferred work to welfare. Parents also highly valued education for their children and expected them to achieve high goals. In the working-class level, African Americans had more expectations than whites for their children to attend college. Furthermore, the working-poor blacks were more apt than whites to have more than one wage earner in the family (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 117).

Once African Americans were protected from discrimination, it didn’t mean they were protected from prejudice mistreatment. They had to repeatedly deal with their churches being burned down and being mistreated by law enforcement personnel because their skin was a different color, otherwise known as “racial profiling”. Federal studies and lawsuits found evidence of racial discrimination in that blacks get high-rate loans as opposed to whites and that lenders now target blacks for home buying so that they can lock in on the higher-rate loans. When looking at electoral standpoints, blacks who were elected to office mainly served their own communities and districts, and only hold a small share of offices in the United States.

The election of President Obama in 2008 marked a new beginning for African Americans and has yet to unfold how the role of African American leaders will change in the future (McKnown-Johnson & Rhodes, 2010, p. 130).

Works Cited

McKnown-Johnson, M. & Rhodes, R. (2010). Human Behavior and the Larger Social

            Environment: A New Synthesis. (2nd ed.). Boston, MA. Allyn & Bacon.

Skolnick, J.H. & Currie, E. (2011). Crisis in American Institutions. (14th ed.). Boston, MA. Allyn &

Bacon.

Takaki, R. (2008). A Different Mirror. New Hork, NY. Little, Brown, and Company. 

Farewell to an Icon: Minneapolis Public Schools administration strips one of Patrick Henry High School’s historical legacies

Editors note: Under interim superintendent Gore disparities in the MPS have started to climb exponentially; suspensions, hiring the wrong types of teachers and the lack of diversity within the district 1 headquarters, not to mention the classrooms. Now, without respect or notice, Patrick Henry High School’s historical legacies are being erased one-by-one.

By Ms. Susan Curnow Breedlove, Life-Long volunteer-MPS and Guest Contributor – Independent Business News Networks on Our Black News (Fair Use)

MPS Interim Superintendent Michael Goar is about to make the community ROAR! (photo: Fair Use)

MPS Interim Superintendent Michael Goar is about to make the community ROAR! (photo: Fair Use)

Minneapolis, Minn. – The past is currently being literally stripped from the walls of Patrick Henry High School. Despite my 19-years of voluntarily collaborating with others, of thoughtfully planning the theme, design and content of this display case, I was not considered privy as to why it is being discarded. I hear through the grapevine that this has been an administrative decision. (Note: the Principal is exiting the MPS District this coming Friday. A second administrator retired.)

The significance of this removal is symbolic of a recent pattern of casting aside individuals and historic items of PHHS.

Ellen Stewart Hebert and I envisioned this display case and accompanying bulletin board at the school entry as THE PLACE to: (1) welcome visitors, (2) connect school and community, (3) honor exemplary student work, (4) educate, and (5) provide a means of unifying the “PHHS family.” The PHHS Booster Club recently put fund raising spirit clothing in the glass enclosed bulletin board. It is now discarded.

To connect school and community, a “Common Threads” display exhibited items from community and PHHS family members: an African American Underground Railroad quilt, a Hmong story cloth, a European crocheted table cloth with a hidden message, and more. Annual display of student art work is a Spring favorite. The PHHS Black Student Union and I educated the public with the February 2015 exhibit, exhibiting over 80 items invented by African Americans. The May 2015 exhibit was a collaboration of 18 PHHS staff and students honoring individuals from 12 Asian cultures; bios, framed photos of honorees and contributors educated the viewers.

The climate of the building shifts with population changes and community happenings. For example, when there was an influx of immigrants from Africa a decade ago, I felt and heard discord within the student body. I researched contributions of African cultures and created a display of 75 items and practices used in the U.S. today that are rooted in Africa and tied it together with a vast poster map of that continent. When several Henry Patriots were feeling down and out by winter and loss in the community, I researched and created “Lights of the World” showing how world cultures illuminate darkness.

The planned demise of the welcome display case at Door #1 did not involve PHHS alumni, the PHHS Foundation, students, families, the Northside community, and 98% of the staff. There was no order by district officials or the fire department.

In addition to the loss of ambiance, of history (1929), of function, of spirit, what is the cost to tax payers for the removal of such a huge cabinet? And where and how will it go to another site? Perhaps with your voices, this icon can be put back in its place.

Time is of the essence.

Minneapolis law enforcement might be baking a cake for community activist Alfred Flowers

Sometimes I like Al Flowers; sometimes not so much. Regardless of my personal state-of-mind, Flowers, the public figure, became a victim of something that many black men and women in Minneapolis call police misconduct. Of course Flowers cannot get any assistance from the Minneapolis NAACP, because not all #blacklivesmatter, and social justice is some time “just-us-for-a-few” to get on television. 

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Wonder who that could be?

Wonder who that could be?

Minneapolis, Minn. – There are several different accounts, depending who you ask to what happened on the night of July 25, 2014 when Minneapolis police arrested CSI front man and talk show host Alfred Flowers.“According to the complaint, officers Christopher Reiter and Jon Schliesing told Flowers several times when asked during the incident that they did not have a warrant” (Star Tribune).

Then why did Minneapolis police enter the home of Flowers and allegedly beat him before, during and after he was handcuffed according to Flowers? Flowers told OBN he sustained severe injuries to his head, eyes, ribs and back; and was kicked so many times in the groin at one point he said, “Man, I didn’t think I would make it out alive.”

Yes, Flowers took and old fashion Minneapolis police ass whipping, but still, the city attorney’s office said, “Flowers’ damages [severe injuries to his head, eyes, ribs and back] were caused by his own actions,” according to the fairytale posted on the Star Tribune website. In August 2014, a political move by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, as she appointed lawyer Donald Lewis [who gave the maximum amount to her 2013 election], to lead what she described as an independent investigation into a police arrest-involving activist Al Flowers (“Mayor appoints lawyer to probe Al Flowers arrest” August 8, 2014 Star Tribune).

This report by Mr. Lewis, as not been made public, nor is the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights ready to rally behind Flowers in his claim of physical and mental abuse at the hands of the police…this is always been the status quo when public figures deal with Minneapolis’ most dysfunctional city department.

Flowers and his attorney, Minnesota state senator Bobby Joe Champion have filed a suit in federal court seeking an undetermined outcome, but I’m sure this time it might be more than a $1.

Still there are some questions that need to be asked:

  1. Was there involvement with a confidential informant that might have alerted Minneapolis police to some alleged unlawful activity in the home of Flowers?
  1. Without a search warrant, why did police force entry, search, detain and beat Flowers? (ok, allegedly)
  1. What does the Lewis report have in that makes the city of Minneapolis, the mayor and the city attorney’s office so confident to sit on the investigation for almost a year?
  1. What would Jackie Cherryhomes done if she was elected mayor, and will she be the next mayor of Minneapolis when the current mayor realizes what the word “placeholder” means?
  1. Flowers might not be a college graduate, but I assure you he did not beat the crap out of himself; who gave the okay?

The Minneapolis police, the mayor’s office and a missing report might shed some light on what is really happening and what police might have found inside the home of Flowers that demanded the police to break the law.

PCOC Seeks Public Input on Body Cameras– Second of Three Listening Sessions This Saturday!

by Community Alert – Our Black News

In a continuing effort to seek public input on the use of police body cameras in Minneapolis prior to the rollout of the

Police body camera.

Police body camera.

program in 2016, the Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission will hold a second community listening session on Saturday, July 11. The Commission held its first of three listening sessions on Saturday June 27th where community members were able to view body camera footage, consider issues of body camera policy, and provide direct feedback to the Commission.

The second listening session is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 11th at Sabathani Community Center, Banquet Room, 310 East 38th Street. 

As with the first session, all Minneapolis residents are encouraged to attend. The key topics covered will be the activation of body cameras, deactivation of cameras, restrictions on camera use, notification of recording, and viewing recordings.

Read more here from the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights blog.

For those unable to attend either of the two remaining listening sessions, any community comments on the Minneapolis Police Department’s implementation of body cameras can be submitted to the Police Conduct Oversight Commission via email at pcoc@minneapolismn.gov.

New Study Shows States Have Wasted Over $1M Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Reported by Victor O of Financial Juneteenth 

There are people who believe that a good number of welfare recipients are junkies, with these individuals asking for states to step up efforts to isolate such recipients so as to cut down on benefit payments. However, the states that are already spending money to identify and exclude drug users from their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are not seeing spectacular results from this spending.

Drugs, no food stamps...kinda like slavery.

Drugs, no food stamps…kinda like slavery.

States such as Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to drug test welfare recipients.  The amount collectively spent so far by these states hovers well over $1 million. However, less than one percent of recipients in tested positive for illegal substances in virtually all of the states, according to data collected by ThinkProgress.org. The figures show that positive tests among the welfare applicants were lower than the national drug use rate.

The main belief among the proponents of bills to drug test welfare recipients is that such would help states in significantly cutting spending on food stamps and unemployment benefits. This argument has definitely not been justified based on the aforementioned data.

One of the said states, Missouri, passed a bill in 2011 to commence drug testing of applicants and started screening in 2013. Of the 38,480 welfare applicants in the state last year, 446 were tested on suspicion of drug use, but only 48 tested positive. That outcome is hardly impressive, given the $336,297 budgeted for testing in the year.

Similarly, Utah passed its drug testing bill in 2012 and implementation commenced in August of that year. From inception up until July 2014, welfare applicants numbering 9,552 were screened and 838 of these were tested for substance abuse. Only 29 tested positive for drug use in a program that cost the state almost $65,000.

In Kansas, where a drug screening law was enacted in 2013 and enforcement began in 2014, 65 of 2,783 welfare applicants in the first six months of implementation were sent for drug testing. Just 11 of these 65 tested positive, while 12 failed to show up for their tests. A Kansas Department of Children and Families spokesman disclosed to ThinkProgress that around $40,000 was spent on the program over the six-month period.

Oklahoma, which commenced testing in 2012, screened 3,342 applicants from November of that year through last November. Of this total, 2,992 were tested for drug use and 297 returned positive results. The state was said to have spent $185,219 on the program for 2013-2014.

The story is not much different for the remaining three states. This revelation hardly justifies clamor in some other states for drug testing to be done on welfare applicants.

Source 1Source 2

New older Father’s produce wise children: A message for new Dad’s 50 and over

Just for a reference, 50 is the new 39. Secondly don’t sweat the small stuff (you got this).

By Don Allen, Publisher (Father) – Our Black News

Daddy quality time at the barbershop with #2. (photo: D. Allen)

Daddy quality time at the barbershop with #2. (photo: D. Allen)

My wife birthed our first child when I was 48. I never thought I would have children and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would meet the most sophisticated, smart and beautiful love of my life, who said “I do” to a man like me; a good man, but a man determined to get society to answer questions by any means necessary.

Today with two boys, it’s common for me to worry about the future and what it will be like when they graduate from high school, go to college, get married and have a family of their own. I sometimes think about my mortality and if a father over 50 has an opportunity to stay around on earth and watch their children become adults. I find myself reading the obituaries each day and looking for men my age that have passed and thanking God for giving me one more day and praying for many more. This is what father’s over 50 do. For now, I live each and everyday for the well being of my family…this for sure will keep new father’s over 50 with young children feeling young.

As an older parent with young children, we have an advantage that others might not have. We have lived our lives, traveled the world, and seen things that others will probably never see in a lifetime. Our worst day is not some folk’s best, meaning that some people will not reach the level of excellence we command after a sleepless night, a high fever, or a pitched battle in the middle of an overnight addiction to Netflix; we get up, we work – things get done.

Our children will have the benefit from our experience about many subjects and the all so valuable advise that we, as younger men sometimes rejected because we were know-it-alls at a very young age, a quality embedded in every thread of our leadership matrix. Most of us, Baby Boomers (1946-1964) grew into technology understanding the uniqueness of a fast moving world and how that will affect what we teach our children during their formative years. Yes, its true, we remember not being able to call someone until we got home, or having to put a dime in a payphone, in a phone both to make a call. Our memories of the world are smarter; we remember gas at seventy-five cents per gallon, penny candy being a penny and times when you laughed so hard you forgot where you were.

Our children will know music; the sounds of George Benson, the Jackson 5, Earth, Wind and Fire, Steely Dan, AWB, The Temptations, Parliament Funkadelic, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, The Police, AC/DC, David Bowie and Al Jarreau (just to name a few, there are so many). They will know the inner-workings of Funk, Rock, Disco, Punk, Soul, R & B, Blues and Jazz (I left out Rap and Hip-Hop on purpose). They will be accurate in knowing this music did not come from computer-programed voice enhanced software, or a pre-programmable beat machine. Our boys and girls will value the music theory of George Duke and Stanley Clark; they will know the significance of crescendos, treble clefs and what sounds sharp or flat. Our children will appreciate the works of Beethoven to Sly and the Family Stone. We, father’s 50 and up will give a new generation of children back the meaning of music, sound, lyrics and meaning. #rapiscrap

We also know there is no replacement for hard work, sweat and doing it the right way the first time; a quality we will pass on to the little ones. Our children will be leaders, not followers. We hope they will question everything including us. We will embed the important traits of problem solving in real time, critical thinking and how to communicate effectively in small groups that will help to make a point, or complete a task on behalf of a group. Asking the right questions has never been hard for us, nor have we ever stopped questioning authority in the midst of conflict in good times and bad.

Because in our home both parents are college graduates. We demand that critical thinking start at eight months old. It is more than likely our children’s favorite toy will be a book, (or an ever popular T-Rex), and they will know how to operate an iPad, laptop computer and in some cases, our children have already mastered the iPhone 6…we know Apple products are better.

New father’s over 50 must understand the world we live in today will try to push us faster…but we know better…we are in control, outside forces have no bearing on our quality time, decisions and outcomes. We have been there and done that – our word is final and the decisions we make are based on experience and sound logic – nothing can compete against it.

I believe that people could be inherently put on earth to complete a mission. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to figure out the details of one’s assignment here on earth, but as long as time moves forward, there is change. Father’s 50 plus don’t have time for hope. Hope is for politicians who are born to believe in corruption and war

The best advice I could give, in my opinion, is live your life, love your children; treat your spouse like an angle from heaven and don’t stop what you been doing…it’s been good for you so far!

 

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