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Friday June 18th 2021

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Why Collective Impact Organizations continue to fail minority children in education

At this point in the Twin Cities, the only stakeholder that really matters is the slayer holding the hammer and wooden stake above the hearts of poor and black learners while intellectuals continue to meet, socialize and one-up each other.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Collective Impact should be a commitment of a group of intellectuals from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration. Collective impact should bring people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. Collective impact initiatives have, and are currently, being employed for a wide variety issues, including education, health and healthcare, animal welfare, homelessness, poverty reduction, and youth and community development. In the Twin Cities, collective impact models have been compared to social cabals connected, one-sided to a liberal agenda and a political party of “friends,” who would never be held accountable for any failure of public school children; especially children of color. If local collective impact groups are promoting such great successes in their commitment to the education of minority learners, especially African American boys, then why is the proficiency for black students in third grade less than 70 percent? Numbers from the Minnesota Department of Education for St. Paul Public Schools (black children) shows third-grade proficiency in 2013: 37.2; 2014: 41.1; and in 2015: 36.4 percent…this number represents 2957 students of which 1881 are not proficient (63.3 percent).

Another group of upsetting numbers are from Minnesota’s First People (Native Americans) in the third grade (St. Paul Public Schools): 2013: 30.4; 2014: 38.2; and in 2015: 28.8, which represents 73 students with 52 not proficient (71.2 percent).

Do any of these names look familiar to you? Look very closely.

Do any of these names look familiar to you? Look very closely.

While these organizations might be committed to education, they are not working, staff and management for free; most of these organizations are supported by local philanthropic groups who have staff to  sit on the boards to ensure these “pet projects,” and their friends are financially supported. (See Figure A)

Maybe you are familiar with some of the Twin Cities collective impact organizations and models; Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ); Generation Next, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MnEEP); African American Leadership Forum (AALF) and many more who have yet to change the trend of students of color in Minneapolis and St. Paul’s public school systems…but hell, they’re working on solutions…(sarcasm font).

Some of these CIO miss the point all together. For example, 100 percent of children at age two are ready-to-read, the absorbent-mind this there naturally. So where is the CIO that is contracting with Mom, parents and caregivers to develop a seamless flow to make sure at-risk, poor, minority and white pre-kindergarten learners are developing the skills to be read-to-read?

Why all of a sudden is CIO’s a spectacle to be part of the intellectual social talking points? Emmett D. Carson, CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in a story for the Huffington Post wrote, “The concept of collective impact appears to be at a fever pitch throughout the nonprofit sector. Collective impact is center stage at nonprofit and foundation conferences and there are now webinars, seminars and trainings about how to implement this approach. Unfortunately, a close examination of the concept suggests that even under ideal conditions it appears difficult to achieve and, in some cases, may undermine key values of the nonprofit sector.”

Not to mention the undermined community of color that rarely participates at this level of engagement. In the Twin Cities, the majority of education organizations outside the district are led by either white men or women, or minorities who have been given a pass because they might deal with minorities other than black learners.

Carson says, “Equally troubling is the underlying belief that nonprofits have secret knowledge that magically eludes foundation boards and staff, many of whom were recruited from the very same nonprofits.” (See Figure A)

When looking at the leadership council list of Generation Next, ask yourself: “What challenges has any of these folks really fixed?” It is my assessment, unlike any business, or nonprofit, there are challenges that cannot be addressed because of the people who are “allowed” to come to the table. Not one person has the knowledge about how to solve any education gap; collectively, it is important for CIO to continue their “missions” regardless of outcomes; as seen in both the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts.

I’m like everybody else…a sucker for a shiny brochure and PowerPoint presentation that says how great everything is going to be and how the numbers have increased .00001 percent (yeah, we are on the rise!). In reality, where I am based, the fact remains black boys and black girls, poor whites, Native Americans, Asian and Somali learners have not benefited from collective impact organizations or models in the Twin Cities.

In closing, I received an email from a local collective impact organization that said they would go to rural Minnesota to seek answers for the inner-city folks. Sounds like a fun field trip to me.

Forget about ‘fixing’ black kids: What If we fixed white liberals instead?

Lynnell Mickelsen is a long-time progressive activist who lives in Minneapolis and blogs about education at putkidsfirstmn.org.

By Lynnell Mickelsen | Originally published in MinnPost on 02/23/15

Here’s a modest education proposal for my fellow white people, especially my fellow lefties in Minneapolis: What if we stopped talking about how to fix African-American and Latino kids and worked on fixing white progressives instead?

I know. It sounds crazy. But stay with me, beige people.

We’ve spent years — nay, decades — bemoaning our achievement gap in which white kids in Minneapolis are mostly doing fine while less than 30 percent of black and Latino kids are working at grade level; less than 48 percent graduate on time, etc.

Children of color now make up 67 percent of our enrollment in Minneapolis. (Vocab reminder to the Greatest Generation: This why we can’t call them “minorities” any more.) So you’d think the mass failure of the majority of the city’s school children would be a moral emergency. As in something that demanded bold action.

After all, if white kids were failing at these rates, we’d have already redesigned the schools to work better for them. We’d have changed the teachers, administrators, length of the school day or year or curriculum and anything else. Because if white kids were failing en masse, we’d demand a big fix of the education system.

But when nonwhite kids are failing, we tend to instead discuss how to fix brown children and their allegedly … ahem … chaotic families, which is white code for screwed-up. This is an attractive discussion for us because:

a) We get to feel compassionate and superior at the same time, which is always a rush;

b) Poverty and chaotic families can indeed hurt academic achievement. (Note to Republicans: You’d have more credibility on education reform if you stopped trying to shred every social safety net.)

c) It plays into one of the oldest and most unexamined American beliefs — namely that When Bad Things Happens To People of Color, It’s Mostly Their Own Fault, (IMTOF) which runs from our early origins up to the present. Hence the idea that Africans were mentally inferior and thus fit for slavery. That Michael Brown shouldn’t have been walking in the middle of the street. And that brown kids fail because their chaotic, screwed-up parents don’t value education enough.

A rush into resignation

Unfortunately, when white people blame the achievement gap almost entirely on poverty and dysfunctional families, they don’t tend to rush into bold action. Instead, they rush into resignation. Which is understandable. Most of us don’t believe poverty will end in our lifetime. And we don’t know how to fix our own dysfunctional families, much less anyone else’s.

So with all of these assumptions, it’s easy to quietly conclude (consciously or not) that the academic failure of black and Latino kids is tragically … normal. Brown kids flunk out. They’ve been doing it forever. It seems to naturally happen, sort of like the law of gravity. And until the coming of Scandanavian-style socialism (which I’m all for), we can’t do much about it.

This is a classic white liberal approach to the achievement gap, which conveniently lets our public institutions, our political leaders and our own culpability as voters off the hook.

Let’s ponder this politically for a minute. In Minneapolis, we have a publicly funded school district with a $543 million annual operating budget that delivers starkly different outcomes based on race. As a lifelong DFLer, I’d expect my political tribe to be all over this issue. After all, we’re the ones who proudly march for voting rights and gay marriage and go to all those Martin Luther King Day breakfasts. Yet our DFL leaders continually defend, protect and enable a status quo whose results resemble those of the Jim Crow era.

Why do they do this?

Sure, the teachers unions play a big role. They are the biggest contributor to Democratic candidates and causes. They can act very much like the National Rifle Association when it comes to blocking even the most common-sense reforms. But I think the real problem goes far deeper than this.

Through the lens of history

“America was built on the preferential treatment of white people — 395 years of it,” wrote Atlantic Monthy editor TaNehesi Coates, in his recent award-winning article on reparations. “Vaguely endorsing a cuddly, feel-good diversity does very little to redress this.”

Let that first sentence sink in. Coates is not talking about individual, conscious racism. He’s talking about 400 years of discrimination baked so deeply into our collective DNA and public institutions we don’t even see itwhich is precisely how white privilege works. If Coates is right — and I think any serious reading of history backs him up — this preferential treatment also applies our public schools and their unions.

In Minnesota, our schools were basically created by white middle-class people, for white middle-class people and employ mostly white middle-class people. (Ninety-six percent of our state’s teachers are white, even as children of color now make up 28 percent of the enrollment. In Minneapolis, about 85 percent of our classroom teachers are white, even though 67 percent of their students are not.)

In addition, current school rules, policies and contracts are decided by … Lord, this is getting repetitious … mostly middle-class white people. Poor parents of color do not sit in our legislature, school boards or union negotiating committees. In Minneapolis, liberal white DFLers occupy almost all those seats

Unsurprisingly, white middle-class children and their families tend to thrive in a system designed around their needs. In Minneapolis, white middle-class kids tend to have the highest-paid teachers and the best access to advanced courses, performing arts and extracurricular activities. They are also far less likely than kids of color to be suspended, expelled or identified as emotionally disturbed or mentally disabled.

I am not arguing that public schools in Minneapolis were deliberatelyconsciously set up for the preferential treatment of middle-class white people. But pragmatically speaking, that’s how the system works on a daily basis.

Harder to justify

This was easier to ignore or justify back in the day when the vast majority of students were white and doing OK. But it’s harder to morally justify when the majority of students are now low-income kids of color and systematically failing. I mean, the whole system starts getting this antebellum vibe.

Anyhow, add it all up and it’s a little weird that we progressives spend so much time talking about fixing brown people as opposed to the public institutions we’ve created for them and still control.

In Minneapolis, we actually, honestly could change our schools to work better for our kids of color. But this would involve asking mostly white middle-class administrators, teachers and employees to change their work lives — i.e. their schedules, assignments, job locations and even pay — around the needs, comfort and convenience of low-income people of color and their children.

And OMG, This. Just. Isn’t. Done. It’s also precisely where most of our DFL legislators, labor allies and a whole lot of white progressives suddenly jump off the social-justice and racial-equity bus. I mean, we’re willing to sing “We Shall Overcome,” denounce racism and march against poverty. But to go against the preferential treatment of white people especially when that means people like us or our friends or allies!?

Beige people, we’ve got some fixing to do.



Why the United States’ Inequality Problem Is About a Lot More Than Money

 By David Cay Johnston, AlterNet | Op-Ed

Inequality is about much more than the growing chasm of income and wealth between those at the very top and everyone else in America. It’s also about education, environmental hazards, health and health care, incarceration, law enforcement, wage theft and policies that interfere with family life over multiple generations.

In its full dimensions, inequality shapes, distorts and destroys lives in ways that get little attention from politicians and major news organizations. How many of us know that every day 47 American babies die, who would live if only our nation had the much better infant mortality rates of Sweden?

“Poverty is not natural,” Nelson Mandela once said. “It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

The man-made disparities between the rich and the poor are a threat to the liberties of the people. Plutarch, the Greco-Roman historian, observed more than 2000 years ago that, “an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

For more than two decades I have been documenting the widening gaps in income and wealth in the US in articles, books and essays. My first few years of reports in theNew York Times drew complaints from some readers who asserted I had no idea what I was doing and skepticism from more than a few editors. But I felt confident because the trends I distilled from the official data were clear and because the fine print in government rules — which few journalists ever read — revealed that Congress was creating a system that takes from the many to give to the already rich few.

While the passage of time has shown that I was right, I must confess I paid scant attention to something else very important: disparities in wealth and income are primarily symptoms of an insidious social disease. This is a national ailment we can cure, but only if we first understand the broad dimensions of the problem. With knowledge comes insight, focus and the power to effect change.

To make up for my own shortcoming I spent a very useful, if unprofitable year putting together a collection of essays on the broad dimensions of inequality and the terrible toll it takes on human lives. From stacks of books, academic papers and blogs I created an anthology for a little nonprofit publisher called The New Press, founded by the late André Schiffrin, one of the most important book publishers ever.

DIVIDED: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality comes out in paperback this week. My hope is that college professors and even high school teachers will use it to introduce young people to the full nature of inequality and what we can do to reduce it.

“American inequality didn’t just happen – it was created,” wrote Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who is among the 44 contributors. Their brief essays are intended to reduce a complex problem to easily digested pieces, all written in plain English.

Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, Barbara Ehrenreich, Paul Krugman, Steelworkers leader Leo Gerard, journalists Gary Rivlin and Neil deMause and scholars who are highly regarded in their fields like epidemiologist Ernest Drucker, education theorists Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford and Mike Rose of UCLA, as well as physicians Olveen Carrasquillo, Mary E. O’Brien and Stephen Bezruchka are among the deeply informed who contributed chapters. Insights also come from the past: Plato, Adam Smith, Studs Terkel, the 19th-century reformer Henry George and the American president who called out “malefactors of great wealth,” Teddy Roosevelt.

Part of the problem with inequality is that our culture and our intellectual constructs obscure simple, verifiable facts. And those who benefit from inequality pay others to confuse us.

Biased to the Rich

Moshe Adler, who teaches economics at Columbia University, provided a chapter called “How Economics Is Biased Toward the Rich.”

Even people who have never taken an economics course can learn from Adler how neo-classical economics favors the haves over the have-not-enoughs.

What Adler shows certainly is not what I was taught between 1967 and 1975 when I studied economics and public policy at seven colleges including our most influential center for manufacturing economic policy, the University of Chicago. At best, suggestions of bias in economic theory got lip service.

The ways in which race impedes access to health care in America and the price of our “medical apartheid” are explained by Dr. Carrasquillo and by Jaime Torres, who founded Latinos for National Health Insurance, which advocates for a single-payer health care system.

Education is equally infected with discrimination, as Stanford University professor sean f. reardon (who does not use capital letters in his name) explains in a chapter called “No Rich Child Left Behind.”

In the last few decades, reardon shows, “differences in educational success between high-and lower-income students have grown substantially,” a disparity that those who are willfully blind to inequality try to explain away with clever arguments and by abusing the data.

Unable to find what I wanted about two issues, I wrote the chapters.

One asks why married men are not in the forefront of demanding equal pay for women, since most of them have working wives. Nonprofit tax filings show that gender discrimination in pay in the same position is not only verifiable, but gets progressively worse as organizations grow in size.

The other chapter puts in simple language the painful cost of our inefficient non-system of sick care versus a modern health care system.

America could have eliminated the federal income tax in 2010 if we had spent the same and much smaller share of our economy on health care as France and Germany. Those countries provide very different systems, but both provide universal care and are among the best in the world.

The next time you look at your paycheck, think about what could be if we had a universal, single-payer health care system providing top-quality care with little or no out-of-pocket expense. You could have kept all the income taxes you paid in 2012. Today we could end the income tax for all except the top 2 percent just from reducing health care costs.

Let’s Face the Music

The awful truth is this: Americans have chosen our extreme inequality and all of its awful consequences in the politicians we elected in the last 35 years. We can make better choices, not that it will be easy, but then nothing that really matters ever is.

Presidents John Adams and James Madison (the primary author of our Constitution) warned us that what would doom our experiment in democracy was not a foreign invader, but economic inequality and its consequences.

Adams, living in an agrarian age, feared that “monopolies of land” would destroy the nation. He foresaw a business aristocracy born of inequality and legions of workers with no assets who just lived on their wages. The business aristocrats, he predicted, would manipulate voters, creating “a system of subordination to all… [by] the capricious will of one or a very few.”

Adams also warned that “the rich and the proud” would wield such economic and political power that it “will destroy all the equality and liberty, with the consent and acclamations of the people themselves.”

Madison thought extreme inequality evil, saying government should prevent “an immoderate, and especially unmerited, accumulation of riches.” He favored “the silent operation of laws which, without violating the rights of property, reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity, and raise extreme indigents towards a state of comfort.”

Even Alexander Hamilton, who championed business while serving as the first Treasury secretary, said in 1782 that widespread ownership of assets was crucial because “whenever a discretionary power is lodged in any set of men over the property of their neighbors, they will abuse it.”

We live in the second American Republic under a Constitution adopted to ensure the power to tax and regulate commerce. It is based on six noble principles listed in the preamble including the duty of government to “promote the general Welfare.” (That capital W is in the original.)

We can choose better. Indeed, we can solve any problem we have if we choose to and do the work. We got rid of slavery (at a cost of at least 638,000 lives). Women got the right to vote after eight decades of struggle. More than a century ago we got child labor laws despite the clergymen who fought against them. We won, but are now losing, worker protection laws, a woman’s right to control her body and reliable pensions.

Understanding is the first step toward change, toward moving closer to our ideals of liberty, equality and happiness. I created Divided so we could understand where we are and how we got here. That knowledge can then empower us to make a better America.


Poverty Is Not Inevitable: What We Can Do Now to Turn Things Around

By Dean Paton, YES! Magazine | Op-Ed

Inequality at Breaking Point: United Workers Calls for Fair Development and Reconciliation in Baltimore

By Staff, United Workers | Press Release

Poor in Pennsylvania? You’re Fracked

By Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News | Report

Legendary Star Trek Actress to Fly in NASA Mission at 82 Years Old

Boy's from all walks of life dreamed about Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). Fair use

Boy’s from all walks of life dreamed about Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). Fair use

Although she won’t be heading into the “Final Frontier,” Nichelle Nichols will be going on a NASA Observatory Mission this September. Nichols first starred as Lt. Uhura, Head of Communications for the USS Enterprise in Star Trek, almost 50 years ago.

 The 82-year old recently revealed the news on Reddit. “I was on a similar flight, the first air-born observatory, back in 1977,” Nichols explained on Reddit. “It’s an amazing experience. You get a totally different perspective than from earth.”

Nichols will be a passenger on the September 15 flight of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). SOFIA is an aircraft equipped with a powerful telescope used to study the planet’s atmosphere and investigate comets. The surprising thing about all this is that she has only just recovered from a minor stroke in June.

Read more here on www.MaturallyMoi.com

Donald J. Trump with style and grace crushes the GOP presidential candidates in the first televised debate

Trump's White House...I bet you won't run a plane into that! (Photo: the new White House expansion.

Trump’s White House…I bet you won’t run a plane into that! (Photo: the new White House expansion.

Spoiler Alert: I just thought you should know. Don’t let pluralistic ignorance get in the way of supporting a winner.

By Donald Allen, Black Man, and Conservative – who does not drink the Republican establishment or Democrat Kool Aid

It was a massacre on national television. Matter of fact is was not fair in the least to the other unprepared candidates.

Mr. Donald J. Trump, billion-dollar businessman, entertainment mogul, star, father, husband and friend to NBA great Dennis “the Worm” Rodman trampled the Republican establishment LIVE on national television in the first GOP debate by putting waste to Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Rubio, Rand Paul, Christie, and Kasich.

Trump seemed to build an on-air coalition with the only black man running, Ben Carson; Ted Cruz and Trump sent signs and signals back and forth during the debate as if to tell American voters on the left and the right: The best is yet to come.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Donald Trump is what Americans from all political parties and background have been waiting for…a man of high status, a businessman and someone that will say what needs to be said without biting his tongue. Already the dripping wet, bleeding left wing liberal media is trying to convince America television views that Trump’s candidacy is a farce, not worthy of any coverage. But we must ask, why did the mainstream media give Mr. Trump over a billion dollars in free advertising, marketing and public relations in an attempt to smear him on the six and ten? It didn’t work; Mr. Trump is way smarter than most major market media executives and sits at the top – by himself, like “someone at a Kennedy reunion” (Family Guy).

Americans should listen closely to the rhetoric by the mainstream media on Mr. Trump and finally figure out the media has never been a friend to poor, middle-class or wealthy; in most cases, the tube and the radio are just places to sell cars or talk about insurance…we all love Flo anyway.

The Republican Party of America, with their five black men and white-male patriarchal construct who never learned, nor wanted to learn about tearing the tent open will now see why someone like Mr. Trump; a man with the putz to do for America what she’s needed and wanted since the notorious Bill Clinton will have the support of whites, blacks, Hispanic, Asians, Somali’s, the poor, middle-class and those who want to work and be in the real America Dream.

The best part of this entertainment is watching the pretty blondes on Fox and other stations try to deconstruct something they never will touch or have in their lifetime…integrity.

Go Trump 2016!

Why all preschool children must be ready-to-read by Kindergarten

To succeed you must read. (photo: Henry's Freedom Box - Black History Month books for kids)

To succeed you must read. (photo: Henry’s Freedom Box – Black History Month books for kids)

Okay, I will play the central negative (devil’s advocate) and say if the Minneapolis /St. Paul Public Schools are spending over $20,000 per student in a classroom of 25, should parents and caregivers have their preschooler’s ready-to-read? If our young learners are not ready, should we (society) be looking at solving the constraints that stop our babies from being successful in their first public school engagement? It sounds easy, but the distractions in the Twin Cites are monumental.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Reading is one of the most important skills a person learns during its life, because it gives us the possibility to learn and interact with the world in a much more profound and personal way. Reading is an outstanding way to develop creativityand critical thinking abilities, while opening the eyes of the person to different types of ideas and cultures. Technology may change and the way get information may vary somehow, but reading has always been there and one way or another, it will still be there throughout the future. Since reading is such a primary way to understand the world, it is essential that our kids learn how to read and comprehend the texts as soon as they can in order to develop a higher cognitive development and a well-established love for reading.

Reading by Kindergarten offers advantages in almost every possible way you can think: It gives kids an ability that will develop their information processing skills and will open their eyes to appreciate things they couldn’t before. If kids learn how to read since they are really young, they have a much better chance to become regular readers and a much better disposition to enjoy this activity, which sometimes may seem like a pesky chore for many kids and teenagers in their formative years. Reading is also a part of learning a language and it is a very well-known fact how the sooner the child has contact with the language the better he/she will learn it, especially when considering a foreign language, so reading from an early age will provide them with a good advantage to become more proficient in any language learning process. As you can see, Kindergarten kids who know how to read will have many positive advantages and will make the best of their formal education.

Some people claim that learning how to read at such an early age isn’t actually the best option for children because they might still not be ready to perform such advance tasks and it might in fact interrupt their normal development. They point out how children, and particularly very young children, learn better through play-based experiences in language-rich environments that develop their ideas about symbols, oral language and the printed word, so reading represents a very unattractive idea to them and in way, it would be like forcing them to do something they might not like or they are not ready for at the moment, which is not positive in any way. In any case, there isn’t a conclusive argument to this, since there hasn’t been a formal study or research about it, but the idea here is not to disregard these remarks from many specialists and actually integrate them in a constructive way that will benefit the learning process of our children.

Teaching how to read at an early age can be done in many ways that don’t have to go in detriment of the children’s development process and our goal should be to prepare our professionals to perform these tasks effectively. Getting ready for kindergarten is a process that begins long before kindergarten starts. By initiating early and learning new skills along the way, children will have a stronger start to the exciting year of learning that lies ahead. Parents and educators that work with very young kids should focus in learning more about what activities excite and frustrate your child, because this will give them the right perspective and ideas to implement activities that are better suited for each child. This represents the key element that will provide us with the right tools to undertake the challenge of teaching kids how to read by kindergarten, because it means we are going to adapt the educational process to the needs and the particularities of each child, and this adaptation is a natural one, so it doesn’t disrupt their cognitive development at all, because it works around them.

Of course many children are not developmentally ready to read by kindergarten and you will find many disparities, since every child is a different world, but if we focus the right educational experiences geared around their mental development level by also being in tune with their learning needs and cultures, we could be able to achieve it successfully and this is a game changer element because it would mean we could find a way to make sure almost every child learns how to read at such an early stage. Just imagine the learning progression children could have through their lives if they dominate this essential skill before kindergarten: we are talking about the possibility to create better students with superior comprehension capabilities, as well as improved data and idea processing, which will give them an edge in almost every aspect in their life and improve our society as a whole.

More targeting of black residents by Minneapolis City Council

The Minneapolis City Council is attacking baseball hats, doo-rags, Bowler hats and anything covering your head. Murder, crime, education and jobs sit on the back burner. In our opinion, this is just the start of cleaning up downtown Minneapolis in preparation for the Super Bowl and other events related to the 2016 opening of the U.S. Bank Stadium (formally, The People’s Stadium).

Posted by Don Allen (Source: Email via Chuck Turchick)

Minneapolis, Minn – To add injury to insult, the City Council has repealed the lurking ordinance and the spitting ordinance; Council Member Andrew Johnson is going for the hat trick. He wants to repeal the ordinance prohibiting the wearing of hats or any headgear in theaters, auditoriums and places of amusement. A public hearing is going to be set for August 12.

Repealing obsolete ordinances and statutes is old hat for politicians on the rise, so don’t be surprised if Mr. Johnson is about to throw his hat into the ring for some higher office.

But hold onto your hats, folks. Maybe I’m talking through my hat, but it seems to me the current ordinance really isn’t all that clear as to whether it prohibits all hats or just hats that interfere with another person’s view.

And if City Council hearings — in particular, hearings on stadiums — could be characterized as “places of amusement,” I’ll eat my hat if anyone wearing Vikings headgear at such a hearing is ever told to take his or her horns off, or face a charge under the current ordinance. Some people I know were mad as a hatter at that blatant — in fact, televised — flouting of the ordinance.

All in all, though, with hat in hand, I say, “Hat’s off to Council Member Andrew Johnson.”


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.

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