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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!

 

Critiquing Curriculum: Why Unattended Messages connect to dehumanizing bias, power, privilege, tokenizing specific social identities – and the omission of specific Identities

After carefully reviewing some curriculum for an 11th grade class, it became obvious the historical context was one-sided and favored the authors point of view; white, male and totally bias in its delivery of important historical circumstances from slavery to the civil rights era. The disproportionate grasp of realities should concern educators, administrators and more importantly parents and learners in K-12; especially learners of color. There is one point to consider…most curriculum’s were not written with learners of color in mind. #killthembeforetheygrow

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

What public schools usually teach about Christopher Columbus is whitewashed, sanitized and reconstructed for the good of the popular construct in society...and its not people or learners of color.

What public schools usually teach about Christopher Columbus is whitewashed, sanitized and reconstructed for the good of the popular construct in society…and its not people of learners of color.

The learning environment built around students should be formed by a non-biased integral education that respects every possible point of view. A real educative process must ensure that every single student becomes aware of all the aspects and facts that happened throughout history, without any kind of manipulation. It is very well known how “history belongs to the victors” and how those “victors” always end up being the ones who write that history in their own favor, but is that really beneficial for our students? How can our students from high school obtain an objective view of the world if the knowledge we are providing them is affected by subjective tendencies? Are we really edifying citizens with a true grasp of the human history and critical thinking?

Most of our history textbooks omit very important parts and events that refer to some of the most important causes defended by society, because they want to favor a “neutral” education. The issue here is that, if they really wanted to create and pursue a balanced point of view, they should actually address every single fact and movement in history to allow an integral point of view. Most teachers also follow these guidelines without even realizing how their views might be biased towards certain political agendas or social prejudices. These are the conditions that produce an unbalanced learning process that establishes an incomplete culture of everything that has happened and still happens all around us. Are the students being formed with an accurate holistic understanding of the world, as well as the genuine struggles of the people or are is their education being administered by the establishment of prejudices and conservative views?

The absence of materials and contents about critical aspects of history, such as black history for instance, lead to a disproportionate grasp of reality and the circumstances surrounding the development of humanity. Every person should be allowed to see and understand every perspective from history during their formative years in order to broaden their minds and establish essential values such as tolerance and respect. It should be society’s mission to make sure the youth has the appropriate models, because it is the best moment to make them aware of all the implications this has in our world and in their existence. We always talk about how Columbus “discovered” the American continent and we talk about him as if he was savior in a shiny armor, but we usually leave out the part where the Spanish conquerors performed a mass genocide and forced religious indoctrination in the native and millennial indigenous tribes of Central and South America. Is this the real “neutral” version of history we want our high schools students to learn and accept as a truth for the sake of simplicity and traditional thinking?

If we want to create better human beings that know how to truthfully live as a community and respect each other, we must acknowledge all the facts that the true history of humanity has, no matter how crude, uncomfortable or inconvenient they might be. In any case, that should precisely the most important reason we must do it: So our young generation truly becomes completely aware and understands the magnitude of our mistakes and our struggles within our human condition, so we make sure they don’t make those same errors and recognize the value of the efforts that our civilization has had up until the present moment. The key to build a brighter and better future lies in the proper acknowledgement of every single step humanity has taken, to know exactly where our next step should be.

#MichaelBrown is probably sitting in your classroom

By Lisa Mims, Guest Columnist – Our Black News

So will #trayvonmartin, #renishamcbride, and so many other unarmed  African Americans who have been murdered.

Most of our students have probably been exposed to what has taken place in Ferguson. The shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black male by a police officer. Some may be experiencing a number of emotions, anger, fear, anxiety, etc…

What do we as educators do? How do we react? Should we pretend it’s not happening, and stick to the curriculum? Should we open it up for discussion, making sure not to taint the discussion with our own bias? I imagine middle school and high school students would be more acutely aware of what is going on then elementary students. What do, or should, we say to them?

I read a FB post that was reposted on Twitter, a woman rants against African-Americans.

Facebook post (Fair use)

Facebook post (Fair use)

Notice the word “they.” That word “they” makes it easy to treat fellow human beings indecently. When African-Americans are seen  as “they“, and  a series of characteristics are attributed to them, they are no longer human. “They” are a series of stereotypes, strung together, easily shot down.

“They” are not hard-working people who have contributed much to society. “They” do not get up every morning, just like everyone else, and go to work. “They” are not doctors, lawyers, scientists, politicians, bus drivers, and teachers!

What can we do with, and for, the #MichaelBrown in our classroom?

We need to make sure that they understand that their life is worth just as much as anyone else’s. We need to listen to them, not only to their words, but their actions as well. We need to let them tell us how they are feeling, what they are feeling. We need to understand that maybe, just maybe, analyzing text is just not that pressing a need as it might seem. We need our students to understand that they are not, nor do they have to be, “they.” And as educators, if we agree with Catherine’s sentiments, even in the privacy of our homes, we should not be in a classroom with #MichaelBrown.

#Michaelbrown may be sitting in your classroom, what are you going to do?

This post originally appeared on Diary of a Public School Teacher, and was republished with permission.

_______________

Diary of a Public School Teacher is a blog where Lisa Mims shares her  thoughts about any aspect of the teaching profession. She is a DEN (Discovery Education Network) STAR Educator! She loves writing and has contributed posts to Free Technology for Teachers, Edudemic, TeachHub, GoAnimate, Edutopia, etc.

Making Racism Work: There will always be House Ni**as

Racial prejudice: “My Culture Made Me Do It”

By Don Allen, Our Black News

Before I begin, I would like to make three very important points in simple clarity. The first one being, I have no intention of moving back to Africa for some sense of moral or structural utopia where blacks work together side-by-side for the good of blacks…that’s bullshit anyway; I am a black American, born in Minnesota, if I cannot make it here there are 49 other states to consider home. And thirdly, no matter how much black and whites talk openly and seriously about racism, there will always be a few House Ni**ers that send today’s black social construct back to the days of white only drinking fountains. Governor Dayton’s meeting with self-appointed, elite DFL leaders will not bring forth any new fruit to Black Minnesotans – just the same old nothing.

Act like a Negro...Think like a slave. (Photo: black-culture.com - Fair Use)

Act like a Negro…Think like a slave. (Photo: black-culture.com – Fair Use)

The Black Minnesotans must activate their survival mode software to navigate in a nation that is judge, jury and executioner in not only magic blue uniform, but those who sit behind symbols of hate and discontent, waiting for an opportunity exercise the invisible and deadly privilege of white hope. We (blacks) do not have time to hold our breath and wait for an ideology we have never seen. Malcolm X, dead. Martin Luther King, Jr. – dead. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton – compromised. Charles Barkley, out of his rabbit-ass mind. Bill Cosby, done. There is not one black man or woman that black America can walk beside who represents our patriotism, honor, and pride…not even the former black president.

Face it – the 1960s and 1970s are long gone…the people that spoke for black America have been rendered useless by a Jewish-owned powerful mainstream media platform that can strike in the middle of a poor black neighborhood and every black person tuned to watch or listening believes every word. Respected black scholar Michael Eric Dyson has picked the side of the Democratic plantation for Hillary Clinton and used his many platforms to damn Dr. Cornel West for his consistent agitation against Barack Obama, (Land of the brave; home of the Free…not hardly).

Obama, the former president of the United States checked out on Americans of color using boutique catch phrases and acting black (but not as black as Rachel Dolezal), by appearing on Black Entertainment Network (BET) in a effort to play up his (and our) blackness; I am sorry Mr. Obama, you are not doing enough, and no president could, not even a black one. So while we are stuck in America’s racist purgatory with black people who see fit to assault the fabric of black progress with silence, it lets me know my work is not finished…it has only just begun; the House Ni**er sits poised on the thrones of their white masters to stop progress; create civil unrest and to help the mainstream media point back to the “animals” in poor communities who have suffered for more than a century continuing to receive humanities checks marked NSF.

This story is for the black mothers, fathers, children and other concerned individuals so we can start to try and make sense of what is going on in America today. Racism is a learned behavior, being a House Nigger is a choice.

Twin Cities youth violence engagement missing children who use guns to kill

Tune into the Ron and Don Show on #BlogTalkRadio Wednesday, June 17 at 8:30 p.m. – the phone lines will be open to discuss the recent rash of homicides and what the community can do solve this dangerous epidemic. To listen, click here.

The following video (North Minneapolis) was sent to Our Black News via Facebook. This proves some youth are off the grid:

[evp_embed_video url=”http://ourblacknews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/video-1433857917.mp4.mp4″]

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

There were three recorded shootings on Tuesday, June 16 in the Twin Cites. One person confirmed dead and the condition of the others unknown. As it stands now children are out of school and the level of common street violence has risen to a level that has drawn the attention of the mainstream media and concerned business owners in the area affected.

Youth never engaged are off the grid; that's how crime scenes are made.

Youth never engaged are off the grid; that’s how crime scenes are made.

Social media has been buzzing with cell phone videos of youth fighting in the streets, swearing and outrageous behaviors that are common in low-income areas where no summertime employment is available and the local adults working who need to pay bills to survive fill the McDonald’s job market pushing out what was commonly known as an entry level job. It’s definitely not the 1970s anymore in the Twin Cities.

Since 2008, many community leaders, social service agencies and philanthropic foundations have focused resources towards the ever-growing challenge of youth violence in the Twin Cities. For the most part, boutique engagements, meaning working within safe parameters so that real issues and youth with weapons, ready to kill at the slightest disrespect or relationship challenges are never addresses nor is there been an intentional concern about these throw-away youth.

Killing by gun in the Twin Cites is an all too common theme. One of the many questions that arises during conversations is how do youth get weapons in an area that is economically unqualified to produce such weapons? Year-to-date, no one can answer the question on how youth get weapons, but everyone agrees, there is no gun manufacturing plant owned by blacks, and guns come into the community the same way drugs do…imported by someone who is non-black.

A longtime north Minneapolis resident that we will call, “Tony,” for his safety, told Our Black News, “It’s easy to get a gun. Sometimes people on drugs have stolen weapons like knifes, rifles and handguns and just want to sell them. I’ve heard of white dudes from the suburbs who sometimes trade weapons for drugs. There are many ways these guns get in the hands of the youth. Nobody talks to them either.”

What “Tony” says is the truth. There is a level of community members in the Twin Cities that are off the grid. Nonprofit agencies with the missions of addressing youth violence never make contact with these children, sometimes that are drop outs from school and wander the streets with their peers looking for trouble. At this point, I do not have a solution, but I wish the city, schools and state would stop funding the usual suspects in the Twin Cites that have no relationship with community members off the radar. Until we (the black community) re-connects with these youth; and the school address the cultural needs; and the city realizes the need for summer employment, more people (including innocent folks), will be killed by children who use guns.

Open letter to Minnesota governor Mark Dayton: What will you do about the Minnesota Department of Administration not using its authority to correct disparities in contracting for over 16 years?

Editor’s note: For more than 20 years, the Council on Black Minnesotans sat idle conforming to status quo. Two years ago a change happened. Under the leadership of COBM chairman Patwin Lawrence and executive director Edward McDonald, the COBM started to address issues of compliance in the state of Minnesota. In retaliation for the COBM’s in-depth analysis of alleged misdeeds by state agencies (MnDOT, Met Council, MN Department of Administration and MN Department of Human Rights), legislation was written and supported by black elected officials including senators Bobby Joe Champion, Jeff Hayden, state representative Rena Moran with a white legislator, Carolyn Laine co-authoring a bill to put the ethnic councils out of business and make current employees re-apply for their jobs. Governor Dayton knows this is not fair and under the color of law must immediately make corrective actions.

(Video of press conference by the Independent Business News Networks – Our Black News 2015)

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Gov. Mark Dayton is creating a hostile environment for the black middle-class in Minnesota.

Gov. Mark Dayton is creating a hostile environment for the black middle-class in Minnesota.

The Minnesota chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in coordination with the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) held a press conference on Friday, June 12 in front of the State Office Building in St. Paul to demanding senator Tom Bakk, senate majority leader Kurt Daudt, speaker of the house and governor Mark Dayton agree to finance an audit during the special session to ensure equal opportunity compliance in state government operations. The request is in response to a recent report by the Council on Black Minnesotans that uncovered decades-long lack of enforcement of the state’s contracting, affirmative action and human rights acts.

The Council on Black Minnesotans analysis found there has been no net increase in the base funding of the Minnesota Human Rights Department in nearly two decades; not one state department has a conforming affirmative action plan; and for 16 years, the Minnesota Department of Administration has not used its authority to instantaneously correct disparities in contracting when detected.

In light of these findings, the NAACP calls for the Office of the Governor, the Senate and House of Representatives to agree at the special session to approve and finance an independent audit covering the last five years of the administrative application of Minnesota Statute 16C (Procurement Act), 43A (Affirmative Action Act) and 363A (Human Rights Act).

The NAACP believes these findings in the Council on Black Minnesotans analysis, which was completely ignored by the legislature and led to legislative retaliation toward the council, underlies the findings in a 2013, Wall Street Journal 24/7 Report; which identifies Minnesota as the second worst place in America for Black people. The report indicates a typical black household in Minnesota earned less than half the median income of white households in 2013, well below 62.3 percent nationwide. Low incomes among the black population are likely due in part to a high unemployment rate. While 15 percent of black workers in the state were unemployed in 2013, fewer than 5 percent of the total workforce did not have a job, a gap nearly twice as large as the national gap.

In addition, the NAACP requests the Governor, Senate and House Representatives create a working group comprised of the state ethnic councils that desires to participate to provide audit oversight and to determine if there is a need for corrective action and bring forth recommendations.

Patwin Lawrence, Board Chair of the Council on Black Minnesotans stated, “Our goal with the publishing of our report was to meet out statutory duty and help our state establish a commitment to cultural agility in the state’s governmental operations. We did not expect the state to retaliate against us by taking the responsibility for such reports away. If our report is not going to be accepted, then conduct an audit not another disparity study. The audit is needed to quantify how Minnesota moves forward with eradicating and prevent disparities in the operation of state government and the marketplace. This audit lays the foundation for the necessary plan to do so.”

As said earlier, it is up to you governor Mark Dayton to make corrective actions immediately…what will you do?

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