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Friday June 18th 2021

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This is a message to all high school seniors (and their parents). If you were planning to enroll in college next fall — don’t.

by Diane Klein

1. No school will be “back to normal” in fall 2020.

2020 is a wash…

No one knows whether colleges and universities will offer face-to-face instruction in the fall, or whether they will stay open if they do. No one knows whether dorms and cafeterias will reopen, or whether team sports will practice and play.

It’s that simple. No one knows. Schools that decide to reopen may not be able to stay that way. A few may decide, soon, not even to try. Others may put off the decision for as long as possible — but you can make your decision now.

Even if some face-to-face instruction resumes, no one knows if it will last for the whole semester or all year. If there’s anything worse than resigning yourself to a freshman year spent online, it would be moving across country or across town, into a dorm room or an apartment — only to have to move out weeks or months later, with no guarantee of any refund, with further disruption and dislocation. Or worse yet — going back to school, only to have a family member fall ill, or to get sick yourself, when COVID-19 makes a resurgence, as it almost certainly will until there is a vaccine — which in turn is unlikely before January 2021 at the soonest.

Even if schools offer in-person face-to-face instruction this fall, don’t imagine it will be just like last fall. In fear of enrollment declines and loss of endowment values, schools are cutting expenses now — freezing all faculty hiring, and preparing to raise faculty course loads and class sizes, even as they shrink course offerings. Minimum class sizes will go up, meaning specialized and small courses may disappear. Many classes that “migrated” online as an emergency measure in March 2020 may never come back. Faculty members forced to teach this way may find themselves required to go on doing so — regardless of whether they were ever trained to teach effectively online.

Will schools budget fully for the extra- and co-curricular activities that make campus life the memorable and unique experience that it is for so many? I wouldn’t bet on it. The same goes for the support services so crucial to success for first-generation students and others from historically underrepresented groups.

If you wouldn’t be satisfied with the bare-bones, minimum-contact all-online remote instruction being offered at the institution right now — don’t assume things will be any different, or any better, in fall 2020.

2. This is no time to be making one of the largest financial commitments of your life.

The United States economy has suffered a massive shock, and the consequences are ongoing and unknown. Even before this crisis, college students could not be confident they would be able to get a job after graduation that would enable them to repay a six-figure debt. Student loan debt is a huge political issue, and it is possible that the way we finance higher education in this country may change a great deal under a different presidential administration. But this, too, is unknown.

Most schools will allow you to defer for a year. Consider taking them up on it. And if they won’t let you, well, a school that admitted you once will probably admit you again (or a different one will). Declining numbers of college students also mean that schools that can afford it may offer more favorable financial aid packages in a year’s time. Those who have sat out a year may find themselves in a better position to finance a college education in a year’s time than they are right now, when so many families are facing serious financial uncertainty.

3. Let go of FOMO.

There are other important, worthwhile things to do if you take a semester or even a full year off. Here are just a few of them:

Work on a political campaign. There’s an election in November 2020, have you heard? If you care about what the world will look like when you’re an adult in it, get involved. Don’t like any candidates? Then get engaged in issue activism. Like student loan debt, health care, the environment, women’s rights, voting rights. Find something you care about.

Up your technological literacy. Yes, yes, we know everyone under 20 is a “digital native,” but my academic colleagues have found that many college students are actually not as familiar with digital educational technology platforms as many of us assumed. Even when in-person instruction resumes, it’s a safe bet that many more classes will be delivered online. Those with greater fluency in these platforms will be better prepared for that future. For example, how are your Blackboard skills?

Develop more life skills. This tip is not directed at the many, many American teenagers who already have jobs and significant domestic responsibilities as well. It’s directed at the hothouse flowers who arrive at highly selective institutions having won the science fair or debate tournament but never done a load of laundry or cooked a meal. Now is the time to learn.

Get a job (or volunteer). The coming economic downturn may be very severe, and I am not suggesting that teenagers compete for minimum-wage jobs with workers who are primary earners in their families. (And I know many high school students work already.) There are all sorts of work that can be done. Help homeschool younger siblings or become an online tutor. Free up working adults in your household, who may be out of sick leave or other support and must return to work. Get involved in community groups — online, if necessary; in person, when that becomes possible.

As an admitted freshman, it is not your responsibility to spend a fortune or go into debt to help a cash-strapped financially-mismanaged institution stay afloat. If they won’t be around a year from now without your tuition dollars, you’re better off finding that out without enrolling and accepting the substandard education that will be the best they can do under these circumstances.

You’ve already had some precious parts of your senior year stolen from you by this virus — sports championships, the prom, graduation. And if you’ve spent the past few years of your life looking forward to starting college in the fall of 2020, it’s understandable that you are still hoping it will all work out somehow, and you’ll be able to go. If you do, the school you attend may be like something out of The Leftovers, at best, a faded version of what you saw in those glossy online brochures, at worst, a decimated institution with a demoralized and shell-shocked remnant of faculty, staff, and students. If you defer or postpone, what’s the worst that can happen? Your dream school reopens in the fall, and provides in-person instruction all year without any problems. And you miss it, and become a member of the class of 2025, instead. That doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

Part One – North Minneapolis: Will bad public-policy choices continue to influence poverty, blight, and unemployment in the future?

Emerson Avenue - north Minneapolis (photo: City Pages - Fair Use 2019)

I haven’t written an editorial opinion in awhile; the reason being is the academic world keeps me writing and thinking about new and exciting ways to look at the world through a spatial – or 3D lens. So, with that said, I’m going to attempt a wrap-around of North Minneapolis, it’s people, nonprofits, and defining funding moments to ask, “Will bad public-policy choices continue to influence poverty, blight, and unemployment in the future?”

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

          In the early twentieth century, North Minneapolis was known as a place where marginalized people came together. Restrictive housing covenants prevented both Jewish and Black American citizens from buying homes elsewhere in Minneapolis, so the Northside became an area where residents from different backgrounds cooperated, built friendships, and even intermarried. After World War II, however, trust between the two groups began to erode. As overtly anti-Semitic practices declined, housing options and job opportunities opened up more readily for Jewish citizens than for Black Americans, straining relationships between previously friendly neighbors (Marks, 2015).

          Historian and multi-media platform host Ronald A. Edwards said, “Since I’ve been here (Mr. Edwards is 80-years old), Black-Americans on the north side suffer from insufficient housing and jobs, he said. In the early days, garbage often went uncollected. That is the history of North Minneapolis (Edwards, 2019). Note: Mr. Ronald A. Edwards was the longest seated chairman of the board for the Minneapolis Urban League when they had over 200 employees, two-schools, housing, and many other functioning programs – unlike 2019.

           Civil rights leader W. Harry Davis described the same unrest in his 2002 autobiography. North Minneapolis in the 1960s, he stated, was no longer the quiet, isolated small city of his youth. The anger over racial inequality that bubbled to the surface in places like Los Angeles and Detroit was also present in Minneapolis. Though some scholars refer to the events as riots, others argue that they were a series of criminal activities. Many, however, use terms like “uprising” and “rebellion” that suggest a strategic response to social injustice; the city had two major incidents of civil unrest on the Northside in the 1960s. The first, in 1966, involved looting and arson on Plymouth Avenue. Arthur Naftalin, the city’s first Jewish mayor, acknowledged the lack of opportunities for Blacks in the neighborhood and promised change in response. By the summer of 1967, conditions had not improved, and Black residents’ frustration was stronger than ever (Davis, Sturdevant, 2020).

          This has been going on since the 1960s – why? In North Minneapolis the status quo (bootlicker’s) are encouraged and rewarded for their cheerfulness, which seems void of ethical practices in community outreach and engagement. I mean really, who do you call as a Black American in Minnesota when you need assistance dealing with race and class issues? The bottom line is that I do support the Minneapolis Urban League – but not the political posturing; less than 20-years ago, the Minneapolis Urban League was a force to recon with, but now, with allegedly taking on short-term loans from other nonprofits to assist in operational obligations, there is a systematic challenge that should be addressed.

         We are dealing with a theory – maybe two very important theories: Occam’s Broom, attributable to a man named Sydney Brenner who describe the process in which “inconvenient facts are whisked under the rug by intellectually dishonest champions of one theory or another” (2013); and Hanlon’s Razor,which at its core means tonever attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (Steele-Raymond). It’s a philosophical razor which suggests a way of eliminating unlikely explanations for human behavior, like a mental model.

A mental model is simply a representation of how something works, or doesn’t work.

          So, is it crazy to push a citywide statute against take-out containers and straws? Well of course – but when elected officials are treated as celebrities, those who look at the world with a 3D lens have to say, “they don’t know any better, poor souls.” The mythology of banning flavored and menthol cigarettes (under the pretense that it will stop teenagers from smoking is one of the stupidest ideas ever), plastic bags, straws, takeout containers are all easy and decipherable misdirection’s – things they can “fix” – not like people challenges. If the people in the Black community are not organized and focused, the politicians know it and proceed forward with very arrogant and dismissive public policy for those zip codes.

          Simply put (not theory), in interests of a clear interpretation of a messy reality, the systems that govern North Minneapolis – poverty, unemployment, Black people, and Black sustainability have seen fit to keep this area as a Petri dish of disparities for generations on how poor people interact with advanced system-policies that are not in their best interests, geographical factors, political influences, and the lack of selectivity in picking what leader(s) to follow. North Minneapolis’ systems have been a beacon of death for Black-progress for generations.  

           The reasons why both of these theories are representative of North Minneapolis and a large majority of the situations the people are in is because someone – organizations and policy-makers are not being truthful within the systems and decisions made where in most cases are baseless and unhelpful to build human capital in that area. The media generally cites newcomers and a poor and unemployed minority in North Minneapolis as the cause of the violence. Some local press addressed systemic causes—including alienation and racism– and called on community leaders and policymakers to prevent future violent incidents (Marks).

If there are no community leaders and policymakers, what happens?

  • North Minneapolis Part Two: Searching for the “Missing Middle”


(2013, July 3). Occam’s Broom. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/occams-broom-2013-9

Marks, S. (2015). Civil Unrest on Plymouth Avenue, Minneapolis, 1967.

Davis, W. H., & Sturdevant, L. (2002). The autobiography of W. Harry Davis. Afton, MN: Afton Historical Society Press.

Edwards, R A. (2019). The Minneapolis Story. http://theminneapolisstory.com   

Steele, G.L.; Raymond, E.R. eds. (1990-06-12). “The Jargon File, Version 2.1.1 (Draft)”. jargon-file.org. Retrieved 2017-07-19.

I oppose MN HF 1329; it’s not about more Teachers of Color – the focus should be on the K-12 scholars!

Related stories: Why are schools and teacher preparation programs still using the Danielson Framework?

Below is my correspondence with Kaohly Her, MNState Representative, District 64A – St. Paul Vice Chair of Rules and Legislative Administration Committee

Dear Representative Her,

A Bad bill for future MN teachers. This bill moves great people out of the classroom!

As your constituent, I’m writing today to urge you to oppose HF 1329. This bill would strip school leaders of flexibility to hire the best educators, push many teachers of color and indigenous teachers out of the classroom, and ultimately force Minnesota students to lose out on great teachers. 

Minnesota’s previous teacher licensure system was broken, pushing out experienced, effective educators through bureaucratic, confusing, and arbitrary rules. After years of compromise and hard work, state policymakers overhauled this broken system to ensure that Minnesota students never again lose a great teacher due to needless licensure barriers. The state’s new, straightforward tiered teacher licensure system respects school leaders and experienced teachers as professionals, and considers the many skills, experiences, and pathways that can make a teacher great. 

This new tiered system just went into effect in the fall of 2018, and is already benefitting many teachers, schools, and, most important, students. Yet, HF 1329 would take us back to the broken system it replaced. It would make it harder for schools to hire educators with unique backgrounds, out-of-state teaching experience, and specific content knowledge, and also make it harder for those educators to stay in the classroom, even after years of successful teaching. Perhaps most egregious, this legislation would have a disproportionate impact on teachers of color, who are much more highly represented in Tiers 1 and 2. 

Instead of re-erecting licensure barriers for educators, we need to focus on better supporting and retaining them. Please oppose HF 1329 and instead work to improve on-the-job supports and equitable professional development opportunities for teachers so that they can grow professionally and have the greatest possible impact on Minnesota students.

State representatives response:

Dear Donald,

Thank you for contacting me about legislation related to K-12 teacher licensing. I appreciated your taking the time to be in touch about this issue.

As you know, after considerable debate, the 2017 Legislature created a new tiered teacher licensure system. The tiered system provided four options (tiers) for licensure for individuals hoping to become a teacher in Minnesota and did away with the special permissions and non-licensed community experts; going forward, all teachers will have to have licenses. The changes were prompted in part by concerns that schools and administrators were relying too heavily on non-licensed personnel as a way to employ less expensive staff. 

The teacher licensing issue is generating discussion and debate again this session. On March 4, the House Education Policy Committee (on which I serve) discussed the bill you referenced, HF 1329. Provisions from this bill were subsequently folded into the Education Policy Omnibus Bill, HF 1711, which was unveiled in the committee on March 11. 

With regard to Tier 1 licenses, the omnibus bill in its current form would allow one renewal, along with subsequent renewals if the employing school district can show good cause. The bill would also allow a teacher with a Tier 1. license to be included in the teachers’ bargaining unit. In addition, it allows only two renewals of a Tier 2 license; removes the pathway to a Tier 2. license for individuals with a content-area master’s degree; and removes the coursework requirement for candidates for a Tier 2 license. The bill also contains various changes related to Tier 3 and Tier 4 licenses.

Proponents view the proposed changes as important to ensuring that teachers receive sufficient preparation prior to receiving a teaching license that can be renewed indefinitely. On the other hand, opponents testified with concerns similar to those you expressed, arguing that it would exacerbate current teacher shortages and leave Minnesota with a less diverse teaching force. 

As the session moves forward, I will continue to discuss issues around teacher licensure with colleagues and constituents, and I will certainly keep your comments in mind as I do so. Again, thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. Please keep in touch; I welcome your feedback and input.

Kaohly Her

Kaohly HerState Representative, District 64A – St. PaulVice Chair, Rules and Legislative Administration CommitteeAddress: 100 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55155

Email: rep.kaohly.her@house.mn

Phone: (651) 296-8799Social Media: FB | Twitter @kaohlyvangher
Website: www.house.mn/64a


IBNN in collaboration with Our Black News provides this very important article with the permission of Dr. Andrew Johnson. Originally published on March 13, 2019 via Linkedin. The most important question: “Why are schools and teacher preparation programs still using the Danielson Framework?

By Dr, Andrew Johnson – Posted with permission

Andrew Johnson (photo: Linkedin Fair Use)

The Danielson Framework (1996) has been around for over 20 years. It is still being used in various forms in many schools and teacher preparation programs. Charlotte Danielson attempted to deconstruct what she perceived as professional teaching practice by breaking it down into four domains: (a) planning and preparation, (b) classroom environment, (c) instruction, and (d) professional responsibilities. These four domains were broken into 22 components and then into 76 tiny elements. Danielson also included a rubric for each of the 76 tiny elements that described four levels of teacher performance: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient, and distinguished levels. 

In designing this framework, Danielson selected the elements that she decided were important for being and becoming a professional educator. She purported to offer educators a platform to create conversations about the elements of good teaching. In reviewing the 76 tiny elements, there are indeed many that can contribute to important educational conversations. (There are also some that are highly subjective with supporting research that is, at best, peripheral.) However, conversation implies a two-way flow of ideas. When rubrics are created and levels of performance are described, there is little, if any, room for conversation.  What is created instead is an evaluation tool, variations of which are being used today in teacher preparation programs and public schools to create a certain type of teacher with a set of values and teaching philosophy that somebody other than the teacher being evaluated has determined to be appropriate.

A Subjective Display of Objectivity

Although the framework might be perceived by some to be an objective examination and application of empirical research, Danielson’s description of professional practice is highly subjective and parochial in terms of the elements that were selected for consideration as well as the limited depth and breadth of research that was examined. It represents a fairly narrow, reductionist theoretical perspective. If a more expansive set of data were examined from a wider variety of fields related to human learning, and if a more inclusive lens were used to interpret this data, a much different set of domains and components would certainly be included. If this perspective was used, it is highly doubtful that the state of being and becoming an effective educator would be reduced to 76 tiny elements. It is doubtful as well that each of these 76 tiny elements would be put on a four-point scale and used to evaluate teachers.


Danielson claims that her framework is research-based (Danielson, 2007); however, this is a bit misleading. While research can be found to support many (but not all) of Danielson’s 76 tiny elements, putting these 76 tiny elements together in a single framework does not mean the framework itself is supported by research. It just means that it is a list of 76 tiny elements, some of which are supported by research. There is no comparative research suggesting that the Danielson framework is more effective for enhancing the professional practice of pre-service and practicing teachers than other frameworks, checklists, rubrics, models, sets of dispositions, standards, assessment devices, professional development strategies, or reflective practices. 

Unstated Purpose

As well, there should be no doubt that the current unstated purpose of the Danielson Framework is to enable the educational industrial complex to generate greater profits (Brightman & Gutmore, 2002). If instead the purpose of the framework was to actually improve education, a set of domains and components would be also be included for principals and administrators, schoolboard members, legislators, professors at teacher preparation institutions, scholars, and anybody else making decisions or recommendations about schools and classrooms. Such domains, uniformly applied, would invite all to begin to explore a wider range of research and ideas related to education and human learning. This type of application would have the potential to evolve our current educational system and be of benefit to those other than a few financial stakeholders. However, this is not the case. Since the framework was introduced in 1996, additional domains have not been included.

A Solution in Search of a Problem

• The framework has been accepted as being the answer to a problem that was never defined. Effective problem solving of any kind is dependent on first defining the problem. What was the problem for which the Danielson Framework was thought to be the solution? 

• Effective problem solving also involves generating a number of ideas before selecting a solution.  If there was a problem, was the Danielson framework the only solution that was considered for this undefined problem? Was it the best solution to this mysterious problem?  

• Use of the Danielson framework is another example of a solution in search of a problem. The only problem it really solves it this: How can the educational industrial complex continue to generate profit?


Brightman, H.J., & Gutmore, G. (2002) The Educational-Industrial Complex. The Educational Forum, 66 (4), 302-308, DOI: 10.1080/00131720208984848

Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Danielson, C. (2007). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

The Last Day of Black History Month: Is the “Dream” still deferred?

I had an idea about how the dream looked, I saw it in many forms of media (print, television, and radio + culture) from the 1960s up to now – but if you take a closer look, the dream might not ever arrive…and this time, it’s not your fault.

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

Editorial Opinion: To tell you the truth, I don’t know which version of the dream I like best – it could be too many.

How do you destroy a monster without becoming one? (Photo: Fair-Use)

Money, cars, trips, people at your beckoned call, political favoritism, a house, car, job, peace, quiet, an acre of land? God knows what and how this dream is defined – but one thing for sure, problems are a big part of any dream. There are so many dreams talked about, I wondered what I would want from “my dream” because I think every person is unique, an exquisite one-of-a-kind mold of an individual meant to do great works.  But there’s a caveat, if we as a nation of Black men and woman do not create an agency of successful-individualism, then how can we perform as a collective to move our agendas of the dream forward?

I would like to make this perfectly clear; in no way shape or form am I disrespecting the late and honored Dr./Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s memory, legacy or existence, because I’m not qualified to do that. I am asking you to think past the 1960s into today – look for the dream wished for and promised, but never developed – like a bad Polaroid, repeatedly.

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

What I know is the historical and relevant ‘Ole Black’ has one side, its survival.

Common and Pharrell’s lack of clairvoyance distributed internationally from the White mainstream media platforms sends the Black body back to “Colored Only” drinking fountains and bathrooms. White political outrage over Black disparities does not fix Black fear of living in New-racist, post-truth America – it just extended conscious concern about the race-terrorism in the dismissal of the dream; from the burger joint to the board room.

Reality check: There is a fear in spaces dominated by powerful White people, and it can’t be captured on video. Black folks and other people of color will understand the fear, but over this month of February, Black History Month, Black people continue to be the targets of extreme institutional and structural injustices and deadly social-violence, outsourced, pandered, and delivered to us via superficial community conversations with “safe Blacks” that will not ask historical questions about the Black body in White spaces moving the focus of leadership and equity to a state of being persona non grata in this version of the Dream.

Okay – it might sound like I’m angered, but I’m not. At this point knowing that if we don’t put petty stuff aside, our life’s will become mechanical – a daily drive by of pre-set markers that we have to hit in order to survive. A Dream would mean you have markers that you control, change and update. Yes, I have a Dream, but I see people on television acting it out – we can life imitate art inside the construct of a Dream, my Dream, your Dream?

THOR Construction: The Gods of Nothing #BlackLIESMatter

I apologize if someone thinks this critique is wrong. Black Minnesotans don’t have time to for theory when practice is the necessary pathway to prosperity.

“Anything times zero, is zero.” -Math

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist – Independent Business News Network (Editorial Opinion)

Really, you going to do “what” with the money?

You petty bourgeoise Black Minnesotans walking around ignoring what’s really happening in favor of your social statuses have done it again. While THOR Construction have the two most likeable Black leader’s in Minnesota, something went very wrong. Local black-owned media, and the mainstream perpetuated a lie to promote the new THOR Construction headquarters in north Minneapolis causing ripple effects that will lead to the closing of the Wirth Co-op, the new Black Museum, and other small organizations in north Minneapolis that we allege are mismanaged by people that don’t have the acumen to bust-a-grape. The Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest paper mentioned that Minneapolis Economic Development Association’s director, Gary Cunningham, (the husband of former Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges) was working to negotiate between Target, Hennepin County, and other interested parties; if this is truth can someone remind me what Cunningham has done for the Black community in recent years, let alone what will soon be a $100 million-dollar sink-hole in north Minneapolis?  Respectfully, I wish him well – but he’s never call me, Lennie Chism, Ron Edwards, or Larry Tucker – this is the issue: Corrective actions (resets to fixes), do not reside in one persons head.

On March 28, 2018 myself and my BlogTalkRadio co-host Mr. Ronald A. Edwards interviewed a man by the name of Jake Johnston from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC. The CEPR promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. The CEPR is, and has been committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better informed; the key word: Informed.

The reason we interviewed Mr. Johnston was that we became aware that the CEPR had done a story in 2015 about Minneapolis’ THOR Construction and some of the sub-standard housing they (THOR Construction) built in Haiti, and the local mainstream media in the Twin Cities was too busy celebrating the new “THOR Construction headquarters” to stop and take a look at some factual information that might (did) change the trajectory and outcomes of this massive new sight in the middle of one of the poorest neighborhood in Minneapolis (second to the Phillips neighborhood).

The story reads: “On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment. In April 2012, Thor received $18.4 million to build 750 houses at a site on Haiti’s northern coast called Caracol-EKAM, part of the international community’s high-profile reconstruction project at the Caracol Industrial Park. At a star-studded inauguration of the park in October 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured the new buildings and spoke of “affordable homes with clean running water, flush toilets, and reliable electricity… built to resist hurricanes and earthquakes (Johnston, 2015).

Say that everything printed and broadcasted prior to last week (January 14-18) about THOR Construction were true; new economic diversity (opportunities) in north Minneapolis to include new small businesses (not nonprofits), employment opportunities like Compensated Work Therapy programs with major corporations where residents worked 20-hours a week (paid by those companies), and after 6-months of a solid work history, residents were given the option of taking a full-time job, or going out on the job market with their new skills. But the lie didn’t format in the drive correctly, now we have a situation that has many asking “What went wrong?”

THOR Construction was presented to us in the Twin Citiee as this “beacon of hope” for a community riddled in gun violence, death, homelessness and low graduation rates, and double-digit unemployment. But now, some community stakeholders are telling community members that THOR Construction was “never Black-owned,” and allegedly functioned as a pass-through for minority hires. Does this explain the lack of community members working on U.S. Bank Stadium, the Light Rail Lines, and the many city projects where you’d find yourself hard-pressed to see a Black man or woman working on these sites?

Let me explain a few things:

1. I understand some people…I understand people make mistakes, I make mistakes – but the biggest difference I think is that I learn from the mistakes I make and try to adjust, key word: “try.”

2. To tell you the truth, Thor, the Marvel Comics character is my favorite in the Marvel Universe. This should let you know that this editorial opinion is not about that Thor, but a Thor that is not just, honest, nor fearless.

3. The mainstream newspapers (white people) are not “attacking” anyone. They’re just doing what Black Minnesotans should have done after some of us figured out that the THOR Construction pipedream in Minneapolis was just another bunch of the usual suspects patting each other on the back and metaphorically shoving big wads of money in their safety deposit boxes – no one meant to help the community.

Then we have the challenges with the local bank: “Sunrise Bank (Minneapolis, MN.), alleges Thor is generally not paying its debts as they become due, including payroll obligations to its employees and its debts to [Sunrise].” In requesting a general receiver, the bank alleges Thor does not have sufficient liquidity to continue to operate, and multiple creditors might attempt a “free-for-all” liquidation of the company (Star Tribune, 2018).

How is it you don’t payback a $3 million-dollar loan for more than 9-years? Us regular folk could never do that.

The challenge in north Minneapolis as well as other areas of the Twin Cities is that the folks that need to be at the table, are minimized, disregarded and demonized by those currently seeking a payday. The dehumanization of black people in the Twin Cities take power…this power is motivated, pushed, distributed and outsourced to a few currently at the table. We already know there is not one Black MN organization, leader, or group the white mainstream respects. The power has been gone for a long time and further separates a structure that has been fractured at its core by corruption and malfeasance.  

Help wanted…it’s gone before it started.

Don Allen and Mr. Ronald A. Edwards are the host of BlogTalkRadio’s “The Ron and Don Show, Saturday’s at 9:30AM

Is the New MN Black Power, Non-Power?

By Don Allen – Senior Editorial Columnist – www.ourblacknews.com

Don’t start no stuff, won’t be no stuff. (photo: Fair Use)

It’s not every Friday night I get to take slow walk in the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis. This night was rare. After having dinner with the family I was phoned for a meeting that I was told would change the thinking and dynamics of black people…it sounded interesting, let me explain. I stopped attending community meetings back in 2009; it was a choice between contributing great ideas with the acumen to pull them off, or watching people (black) with the intelligence of bean-sprout walk my ideas to their handlers and through some amazing magic trick, self-appointed leadership that never graduated from high school or knew what the word syllabus meant were mysteriously funded to do work in the community they had no business doing. It didn’t matter, from crime to some tornados, the wrong black group always got the money; kept their personal lifestyles and the community was warned that anyone who challenged them was either on medication for number of mental illnesses, or this person is trying to disrupt the Black community and he or she are “toxic.” There I sat – my associates too…crazy, marginalized outcasts who for whatever reason did not fit inside the construct of the circular conversations, secret glad-handing and political head-nods limited to black community insiders.

I walked closer to the establishment where the meeting is being held, I looked around at the people walking on the street, smiling, holding hands and having those Friday night conversations about the work week. As I strolled by one outdoor sidewalk patio bar, a woman, around 40 with blonde hair and medium-build, or the typical Minnesota-type with strong but feminine features shouted, “It’s Friday! Two more days and we start all over again.” Her friends looked at her, laughed, held their glasses up in the air and toasted, “…to Monday!” I smiled as I made eye-contact with two of the people gathered as a non-verbal communique, as if to say, we all know you can relate. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Silence: When will we address the opioid epidemic?

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

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

check out www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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

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

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

By Reverend Anthony Evans, National Black Church Initiative

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

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

Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Mr. Marc Morial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reverend Anthony Evans

The New Black, Bullets and Racism

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

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

Racial prejudice: “My Culture Made Me Do It”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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