Our Black News – Critical Thinking for the Advancement of Colored People
Tuesday May 30th 2017

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Slaves in [SPACE]: The Twin Cities Bill Davis Syndrome

Bill Davis is not the first – and certainly not the last. The Davis Syndrome is ever present in the black community.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Minneapolis, Minn. – People ask me why do I write about black people and not about white people. The truth is I’m an equal opportunity blogger-investigate reporter…if you quack like a duck, white or black, we need to talk about you. Secondly, how many white men or women have you seen at the Minnesota State Legislature telling lawmakers about the terrible disparities and how their nonprofit agencies are organized to help the poor white-folk in Minnesota? It seems to me they stay in their [SPACE].

Some in Minnesota’s black community are being misled by a political ideology that protects the [SPACE] of corruption. Just because some of our self-appointed leaders work at nonprofit agencies have houses in the suburbs and drive the latest and greatest cars, it does not make them leaders. What’s happening is the current black leadership structure, being above criticism and marginalizing anyone who questions them publically and privately have moved into a [SPACE] of nonprofit-gain privilege. This means like white privilege, they seem themselves much like white folks and wear of cleaver mask of disguise in a [SPACE] created by them, for them and the people who follow close to their [SPACE].

An example of this is the Minnesota African American Museum. Just ask, go ahead – ask anyone of the former leaders about their [SPACE] at MAAM. Ask them how come after $3 million, Minnesota’s black community does not have a history museum even though one was paid for in full? Ask the former Minneapolis Urban League president about the $150,000.00 grant for highway-heavy training…the ask him where the MUL training facility was located – where is the [SPACE]?

Or how about this one: After over $30 million dollars and a Burger King, Tires Plus, and a Dairy Queen (all sold or closed) and a food processing plant, the black community, especially in north Minneapolis does not own a viable work[SPACE] for its residents? This same group is also responsible for petering away over $190,000.00 in a grant from MNSure to make sure black folks signed up for Obama Care.

Now we have Bill Davis. Davis stole monies from the Minneapolis NAACP; His stole money from Pillsbury-Waite. A community stakeholder who has watched Davis for years told me in a phone conversation, “Everything that Bill Davis touched, he took money from.”

But how did black Minnesotans let Davis operate as a Teflon black man? Well, at least this time you cannot blame it on the Minnesota Republicans. Do you realize that Bill Davis had several girlfriends; use the agencies money for hoeing while I’m 100 percent sure someone’s heat was being cut off.

Every culture group has their [SPACE] of individuals who from time to time go out of focuses and need refocusing. In our culture, Again, with American Blacks the primary retort when some of our spokespersons lose focus is other cultures have done the same thing say, “Why are you signaling out the Blacks people? I am doing so due to the façade being place on their perceived role as leaders. What role model is being provided for those to follow these malign spokespersons?

The black community has many more in [SPACE] like Bill Davis. Step in to any major black agency and ask about a program, grant or why black people don’t have any [SPACE] in the local game and you might get the police called on you. I hate to say it, but some black leadership in Minnesota are not only a threat to themselves, but more deadly than a bullet aimed at the [SPACE] above a black man’s eye. The white mainstream can easily outsource hate, division and marginalization by giving that one sell-out Uncle Tom a little grant to keep the animals looking like they cut a great deal for us (this is in reference to the bogus headlines about Senator’s Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff “Lie Under Oath” Hayden being the “Dynamic Duo” and getting the “package”), which as some of us are finding out are crumbs in are forever crumbling [SPACE] crumb cake.

Don’t forget, you keep voting for these people. Maybe one day, you’ll figure out from the steps of the homeless shelter. It’s time to wake up and shake off the slave dust and take a real look at our community, its assets and resources. Once you learn the State of Minnesota is more comfortable giving $4.2 million to firm lead by white man on behalf of the Negroes (maybe not; it is rumored from sources that he nor his agency were not the communities piggy bank), the more you ask, the closer you will be to defining the subduer and the subdued.

In closing, there are more like Bill Davis in Minnesota’s black community, but hell, we cannot talk about him/her, regardless, they’re hooked into one [SPACE] and one political ideology.

Protection runs deep. Don’t be a slave…LEAD!


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Part I: Northside Achievement Zone: Return on Investment doesn’t add up to success

College ready? Does that mean that all of the “zones” children will go to college? 2035 is far away; bullets and violence are here today.

At the end of 2014, Minnesota Public Radio did a story about Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). The story cites, “An ambitious effort to improve the academic performance of children in north Minneapolis is helping some students in the younger grades make gains, according to a recent assessment of the program. Wilder Research has found that the longer children are enrolled in the Northside Achievement Zone, the greater their improvement. But what happens to parents, families and community members when the research and the data tables tell us unemployment in 55411 and 55405 is up near 40 percent?

Time travel: In 2012, the NAZ annual report cited, “Family enrollment increased 40% over 2011 to 217 families and 584 children. By spring of 2013, enrollment has already grown to 300 families with 830 children.”  In 2014, NAZ told MPR, “The program expects to reach its full capacity of 1,000 families and 2,500 children next year. As of mid-2014, 660 families and 1,640 are children are currently enrolled.”

Again in 2014 – using the formula below, NAZ cites, “The social return on investment in NAZ is $6.12 for every dollar invested, with a net benefit to society of $167,467 per participant. The return on taxpayer investment is $2.74 for every dollar invested. Society gains $200,178 in benefits for the average NAZ participant, but spends only $32,711 to implement NAZ solutions with that participant. These benefits result from: Increased net earnings as a result of increased educational attainment, career counseling, and increased productivity ($147,794) Improved health outcomes ($28,281); Increased tax revenues ($15,943); Other public savings due to lower crime rates, reduced need for special education, and fewer public assistance and child welfare cases ($8,160); The total social gains from NAZ total more than $16.7 million in net.

In taking a closer look at the formula, with the equation spelled out (below), it seems someone has not taken into account the violence in north Minneapolis, nor have they done any diagnostics. If you recall, NAZ granted EMERGE over $300,000.00 between 2013 and 2014. In our opinion, we have not seen an impact on violence within the zone, north Minneapolis or a chance for families in depression to successfully survive in the zone.

[Likelihood of depression]*[Impact of ECE on depression rate (step 1)]*[Health care costs of depression]

                      (1+Discount Rate)([Age of impact] – [Age at participation])

Please review the document below. Make sure you do the math. Part II is in progress: “The Zone’s Killing Fields”

Prospective Return on Investment NAZ (PDF)


Minneapolis Initiatives and Community Love is Fake

Of course positioning for money and sex makes it harder (phrasing); the cultural assimilation of stewardship for black folks in the Twin Cities has fallen into the hand of shame, disbelief and murder.

By Don Allen, Publisher and founder of the Minnesota Institute of Research and Public Policy for the Disparities of Black Minnesotans (MIRPP)

Minneapolis, Minn. – I’m tired of complaining. This year during the legislative session, I took over a plan to eliminate the continued waste of money going to only a few nonprofits tasked to handle black issues in the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, the plan was relevant, but not timely enough for the GOP caucus to take any actions. That’s fine, I know for sure the same people will be signing the same song next year and I will not hesitate to make a difference.

Since 2008, when I started the Independent Business News Network (IBNN), I watched people with the cognitive skills of slug get paid thousands of dollars for other people’s ideas and sweat-equity.

I cannot attack or be upset at EMERGE, or its leader Mr. Mike Wynne for being responsible for $4.2 million dollars and having every vulture in the community at his door step to present a plan for a payday. Mind you, this payday is not for the community – but a continuation of a multiyear, politically-skewed funding stream that accommodates the needs of the few while the needs of the many are left at homeless shelters, welfare lines and the Twin Cities middle-class that live from paycheck-to-paycheck worrying if the drive home will be safe, or if they will become another statistic by a stray bullet from another black man or woman that has lost the luster for life, love and liberty and chosen the streets.

Pablo Freire said, “Who are better than the oppressed to understand the terrible significance of an oppressive society,” (from Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 2000).

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 from the “package” of $35 million awarded to state agencies and a few nonprofits to clear up some generational racism. 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 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.

One thing remains consistent; Mr. Mike Wynne must have a plan. $4.2 million is just a drop in the bucket. I’m not saying you need money to deal with what’s happening, but if you recall, governor Mark Dayton had mentioned $100 million. I guess my question would be…what happened to the $100 million? Of course, the folks in the community planning marches on rainy days, buying t-shirts and doing some of the most heinous self-promotion are fine with the lesser amount; God forbid they don’t get any of it; all hell will break lose and the race card will be played like an ace in a Blackjack game.

I don’t see any of these community leaders talking about Compensated Work Therapy programs with local hospitals and universities, nor do I see much interactions with the private sector to make these “many ideas” sustainable for the long term. I always thought it was about getting unemployed people employed; uneducated people an education, and making sure the people in the Twin Cities could enjoy choices, not chaos.

There is something to be said about organizations, politicians and community spokespersons who become ingrained in a process of using humans as a way to gain access for funding and dismissing the notion of helping their cash crop to become stable and acquire some type of standardized normalcy.

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 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 2013. The status quo of poverty in the Twin Cities is to let those in poverty stay lost within their environments, undeveloped, misinformed and of course misguided.

Residents of the Twin Cities, especially those residing in areas with large populations of blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Somali, and the poor have seen a down-tick in proactive engagement and services. In most cases the right process would lift service-dependent clients up from current norms into an abnormal hemisphere of self-sufficiency while stabilizing their foundations into a station of strength, solidarity and forward progress. For that to happen, poverty in the Twin Cities would need to have an expiration date – an elimination of life-disrupting incidents brought on by circumstance, environments and the political infrastructures.

The protagonist blocking the success of the lower one-third and middle-class in the Twin Cities are those who operated in the areas just happen to be the non-profit organizations, and these self-appointed leaders whose life’s-blood depends on the next grant; number of poor, homeless, unhealthy, unemployed, untrained, uneducated and of course poor children. I need to make it very clear; there is a need for these agencies, but not at the current levels. A consolidation of repeat programing could form a cohesive tracking of those in need to the next level of personal success versus the multifaceted referral system, which in most cases has too many interconnected loopholes that leads to missing those who really need the assistance. Perpetual-poverty anxiety, mixed with the promise of a new tomorrow complicates comprehension of the basic needs of humans who suffer. Politics have not been a good bedfellow for those in poverty. In minority-ethnic communities, it is only a few that come to the table or organization, outreach and information.

The usual suspects are encouraged and in some cases make WAM (walking around money) to redirect poverty-stricken residents into hopeless engagement similar to telling them, “If you buy a lottery ticket, you could have the winning ticket.” Over the course of repeated rhetoric, again we have more challenges; bigger issues and the promises – always a promise of hope and change. #northminneapolisdiffered 


Matthew Erickson announces his 2016 bid for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District Seat

SAINT PAUL, Minn.May 31, 2016PRLog — Matthew Erickson said, “It’s time make a difference.The people of CD2 have supported Congressman John Kline for many years. I represent the new generation of conservative politicians who respects what congressman Kline did during his tenure and plan to make sure the people of the district are afforded the same respect and unconditional representation.” Local businessman and political activist Matt Erickson will announce his bid for congress in the 2nd Congressional District of Minnesota at 11AM on Tuesday, May 31 in Saint Paul at the State Office Building.

Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District is a battleground district in 2016. Republican incumbent John Kline, who began serving in Congress in 2002, chose not to run for re-election in 2016, leaving the seat open. Several Republicans have formally declared candidacy for the seat: David Gerson, John Howe, Jason Lewis and Darlene Miller. Pam Myhra (R) ran briefly, but withdrew in February 2016. At this time, Angie Craig is the sole Democratic candidate. Her competitor, Mary Lawrence, also withdrew from the race in early 2016. The primary elections will take place on August 9, 2016. The general election will take place on November 8, 2016.(WiKi)

Matt Erickson, candidate Minnesota's CD2. (photo: Facebook - Fair Use)

Matt Erickson, candidate Minnesota’s CD2. (photo: Facebook – Fair Use)

Now, a new challenger has entered the race: Matt Erickson.

Erickson, who last week flooded social and national media about his announcement to run in Minnesota’s 2CD with his campaign slogan to “BUILD AMERICA FIRST!” is set to deliver what Jason Lewis and Angie Craig cannot deliver to the voters; a direct approach to problem-solving keeping in mind that some of the largest employers are headquartered district: Thomson North American Legal, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Cambria, and Red Wing Shoes.The district also includes Pine Bend Refinery, the largest oil refinery in Minnesota, owned by Koch Industries.

Erickson said, “We cannot have flip-flop ideas (Lewis), nor a liberal agenda (Craig), that adopt laws that will run great businesses out of the district – and I must also remind you that my district is home to Minnesota’s most important rivers that run through the district: the Mississippi River, the Minnesota River, and the St. Croix River. This means a focused and detailed accountability of our waterways will be top-of-mind in my plans.”

Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district is also home to two private liberal arts colleges: St. Olaf and Carleton, both in Northfield and Minnesota’s largest amusement park Valleyfair, in Shakopee.

Erickson’s appeal also resonates with the district’s Blue Dog Democrats who repeatedly voted for the former incumbent returning John Kline to congress. “I would like to follow in Congressman Kline’s footsteps and depend on the voters of CD2 to put me in office in 2016,” said Erickson.

Matt Erickson is a small business owner and will formally announce his candidacy for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District seat at the State Office Building press room at 11AM on Tuesday, May 31. Food and beverages will be provided.

About Minnesota’s Second Congressional District:
Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district covers the south Twin Cities metro area and contains all of Scott, Dakota, Goodhue, and Wabasha counties. It also contains part of northern and eastern Rice County including the city of Northfield, and southern Washington County including the city of Cottage Grove. Burnsville and Eagan are the largest cities in the district.

Three of  Interstate highways I-35 E and I-35 W merge in the district in addition to the north-south thoroughfares of U.S. Routes 169, 61, and 52 and the east-west Route 212. The suburban areas in the northern part of the district blend into the rural farmland in the south. The district’s economy includes agriculture, small businesses, and large corporations.

Media Contact
Dick Gunner Richards

The Confederate Flag is a part of Black History

Truth! (photo: Fair Use. olivierblanchard.net )

Truth! (photo: Fair Use. olivierblanchard.net )

Political correctness is getting us in trouble. There needs to be a very important history lesson on why the Confederate Flag is no more a threat then spilled Kool Aid.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

In 1865, with the main Rebel armies facing long odds against much larger Union armies, the Confederacy, in a desperate measure, reluctantly approves the use of black troops. The idea of enlisting blacks had been debated for some time. Arming slaves was essentially a way of setting them free, since they could not realistically be sent back to plantations after they had fought. White Southerners were concerned that if slaves had access to firearms, the blacks would turn against them and use those firearms to kill whites.

General Patrick Cleburne had suggested enlisting slaves a year before, but few in the Confederate leadership considered the proposal, since slavery was the foundation of Southern society. One politician asked, “What did we go to war for, if not to protect our property?” Another suggested, “If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong.” Lee weighed in on the issue and asked the Confederate government for help. “We must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves.” Lee asked that the slaves be freed as a condition of fighting, but the bill that passed the Confederate Congress on March 13, 1865, did not stipulate freedom for those who served. (History.com, 2013).

1860s, black volunteers for the Union army were initially rejected. President Lincoln wrestled with the idea of employing the help of freed blacks and slaves for the Union. For several years, he abstained from this idea for fear that the border states would secede if black regiments were created in the Union. However, in 1862 the number of Union volunteers plummeted and the untapped resource of black soldiers became more and more appealing to Lincoln and Congress.

At first, volunteerism was slow. Abolitionist leaders, such as Frederick Douglass, urged blacks to pick up the cause and fight for freedom. In May 1863, Congress established the Bureau of Colored Troops in an effort to organize black efforts in the war.

By the end of the Civil War, about 179,000 black soldiers had fought for the Union Army out of a total of 2,778,304. This number comprised approximately six percent of the total Union troops. In addition, about 19,000 blacks served in the Union Navy.

If black American slaves fighting for Confederate leadership were fighting for their personal freedom, then what were the Union slaves fighting for?

Former slaves fought in both the Union and Confederate forces; both saw this as a way out from slavery. Many movie portrayals like Glory (1989), gave an historical inside look at what dynamics took place as these once slaves embarked on a path to fight not only for Union and the Confederate, but also their freedom.

The Confederate flag comes in the play as an accurate representation of a time when one group of people did not treat another group in a cordial manner. Slavery, lynchings the killing of innocent black men, women and children and the Holocaust of generational suffrage that has evolved into such things as the achievement gap, mass incarcerations and police killings of black men; let’s not forget the overwhelming number of black-on-black murders every year in the United States.

The banning of the flag in public places such as government office buildings, schools, business signs, logos and t-shirts comes at a time when some in the United States feel the disappearance of the Confederate flag would mean the disappearance of racism, hate, homophobia bigotry and New Jim Crow (Alexander, 2012).

Thinking people know that banning a flag, book, or song has not done anything to change the way people think. This is a liberal attempt to amend history and hide the evolution of Jim Crow in modern day times. If you think about it, the United States still has a system of slavery; black men are killed on a regularly by an armed clan and in some cases, we are treated as less than human. A flag cannot discriminate; hate or kill.

The Black men and women that fought for the Union and the Confederate, including those who lost their lives understood the mighty risk of picking a side. Black people wanted freedom. Fighting for the Confederate Army was a chance at freedom, for some, the last chance. The Confederate Flag represents an ugly time in the United States, but one that must be preserved and researched – but not brushed away because a few politically correct zealots have deemed “a flag” offensive. If the United States (and the liberal zealots) focused child molesters in the church, black-on-black crime, jobs, employment and education, the flag would be recognized as what it really is…a flag…nothing more but a piece of clothe and colors with a history that should be told, displayed and reflected on. Most of the time, “Made in China.”

Black History is far-reaching. If the history of Black people in America were taught correctly in public schools (although I know many great teachers do their best), we would understand the struggle of Cultural Melancholy (Singleton, 2015). With good intentions Black people (former slaves) fought for the Confederate Army paying the ultimate price for freedom under the most intense humiliation and sometimes death.

The Confederate Flag is just as much a part of Black History as the Underground Railroad. Let it be written, let it be told, let it be learned.

Open note to Minneapolis Park Board president Liz Wielinski: Both MPRB and Mpls NAACP guilty of malfeasance

One thing is for sure; the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board is not playing by the rule, but neither are the leaders in the Minneapolis Branch of the NAACP.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Oh well. (photo: Fair Use)

Oh well. (photo: Fair Use)

The Star Tribune article inappropriately titled, “Park Board president yells at Minneapolis NAACP president after meeting interruption,” is a clear indication the Strib is supportive of this side-show being put on by a few in the black community; (please note I did not say “members”). After reviewing the video several times; listening to just the audio as an added enhancement, it is clear to me that what went on at the Park Board meeting is a clear indication that something is wrong with both sides: the subdued and the subduers.

The problem with what went in that meeting can be attributed to lack of research, race-baiting and members and supporters of the professor and the Minneapolis NAACP not being from Minnesota; and secondly not knowing the history. This is the binding construct of most of the Twin Cities leadership…they’re from somewhere else that would not tolerate this behavior and Minnesota Nice lets them get away with it.

On the history of the Park Board and its various operations, we know there are major difficulties inside the Park Board’s human resource department; we know that a qualified black person is sidelined in favor of a qualified (or not) white person. Sometimes a white-female will be hired with less the experience and education. Personally, I know this all too well, I’ve applied for jobs with the Park Board that I am “over qualified” for and got this response:

November 30, 2015

Dear Donald:

Thank you for your interest in the position of Web Content Producer.  Although you meet the minimum requirements for this position in terms of education and/or work experience, you have not been selected to continue on in testing for this position at this time.

We appreciate your interest in job opportunities with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.  For a current list of job opportunities, please visit our website atwww.minneapolisparks.org.


Courtney Sullivan
Human Resources Department
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board


Here’s what’s wrong with this email: I produce content like rabbits produce little rabbits; also: 1. I am veterans with veteran’s preference, the Park Board did not follow the law; I have over 20 years’ experience, which exceeds the “minimum” requirements; and in 2016 I will have a Master of Arts in Education. It’s clear to me the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is looking more closely at race designations that appear in the online application process than following EEOC rules and regulations, in my opinion.

Ms. Wielinski, I cannot stand with the professor or her arguments on white supremacy, but from my vantage point, there is a challenge within the hiring construct of the Park Board. It is racist, bigoted and in 2015-16 does send black “qualified” professionals back to the time of “White Only drinking fountains.”

The grandiose style of the professor and her followers only get headlines in the local rag; I’m seeking a change in the Minneapolis Park and Recreations Boards public policy; one that needs to happen immediately.

Antiquated Black Twin Cities leadership thwart effort for Gang Truce

“…Children are not bad from the beginning; they only imitate their atmosphere.”  Sexuality song by PRINCE

By Clique Vehemence, Guest Columnist – Our Black News

Damn; we ain't going to get no money for gangs...oh well, let try STD's (photo: Fair Use; Google Search)

Damn; we ain’t going to get no money for gangs…oh well, let try STD’s (photo: Fair Use; Google Search)

North Minneapolis has been a hot-bed of gun violence since January 2016. Allegedly, local youth affiliated with gang activity are said to be responsible for over and estimated 90 shootings so far this year with multiple deaths. Sources tell OBN that local leadership in north Minneapolis have tried to obtain grant money from local philanthropic agencies to meet the challenges on the street, but as in the past, money never equals success with the usual suspects.

Just recently, a group ask Minnesota governor Mark Dayton for $26 million (read it here:$26 Million Proposal-PDF ), which $10 million would be used to combat gang activity in the Twin Cities. This deal fell through and local leadership was faced with the task of getting on the streets to deal with these major issues of conflict resolution, the spread of STD’s and drug dealing by teenagers. Needless to say, only a few, without local, state or federal funding met the challenge to walk the streets and ask that black youth not shot and kill each other.

In a closed door meeting with local gang leaders, it was clear that some did not trust local leadership. Sources tell OBN that one black youth said, “I don’t trust the people who get the money that deal with us. All we see are new cars; better suits and a whole lot of jaw-jacking. If they were serious, they would be out here helping us to get ours rather than getting theirs and taking a trip to Disney Land.”

What this means is the jig is up; today’s youth read the many Facebook posts about leadership, accountability and the many times some of us ask the question: “What happened to the money?”

This story will be covered this upcoming Wednesday on the award-winning BlogTalkRadio program, “The Ron and Don Show,” where co-hosts Don Allen and Ron Edwards will explore the challenges in north Minneapolis while looking at local leadership and their efforts to either get money for public safety concerns or avoid public safety issues all together.

Tune in Wednesday at 8:30 pm (CST), for the program; click here for the show.

City of Columbia Heights and its Black youth trouble-maker problem

“The problem-makers were not Columbia Heights people; outsiders came in and just kind of caused trouble.” said Columbia Heights city councilman Bruce Nawricki. Hey, don’t get pissed at Nawricki, this is probably information from CH police chief Nadeu.

By Don Allen, Publisher and resident of Columbia Heights

Columbia Heights, Minn.  – The city of Columbia Heights, nestled right outside the northeast part of Minneapolis is a suburb that for a while now has been suffering a few growing pains. The city, where police actually have meaningful conversations with residents while getting coffee at Bobby and Steve’s Auto World is growing at a rapid pace – only 12 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and the new sports facility, my personal tenure here has been nothing but pleasant and included a visit by city council person (who in my opinion should be the mayor) Ms. Donna Schmidt. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to live and raise a family, if you can send your children far away as possible for school (education), but some city and school leaders, white, antiquated and extremely boring have run out of ideas for handling minority youth and only point to law enforcement. This will create a problem much larger than the one currently afoot.

Just this year Columbia Heights, Minn. made the news when my friend and Columbia Heights School Board member Grant Nichols was accused of posting in social media about Somali’s in a not-so politically correct way. Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and MDE commissioner Brenda Cassellius (a really nice person), came from St. Paul to hold a press conference condemning Nichols and demanding his resignation for the social media post which has nothing to do with education, government or the day-to-day operations of the Columbia Heights schools.  Unfortunately, Dayton and Cassellius ignored the fact that education in Columbia Heights is hurting; the high school as it pertains to minority-ethnic children are graduating functional illiterates. I guess that none of that matters when it comes to attacking someone on the right…addressing relevant issues like successful measurable outcomes and how to get success in education always takes a back seat to children, education and broken collaboration between families, culture and classrooms where teachers need to have all the tools to deal with the day-to-day challenges.

Since we know the mainstream media is very lazy, it shocked me to come across the story on KSTP televisions website, “Security Concerns May Lead to Changes at Columbia Heights Jamboree Carnival.”

The Jamboree Festival is the highlight of the summer for Columbia Heights. Many residents bring their families, friends and co-workers to this family-friendly event. It’s our mini-state-fair, without the traffic, long lines and overly important people. It’s a carnival for a community that celebrates itself, the people and fun.

The KSTP article quotes Columbia Heights city councilman Bruce Nawricki who said, “The problem-makers were not Columbia Heights people; outsiders came in and just kind of caused trouble. There’s been a few things suggested: cutting out parts of the rides or even putting a fence around, which would not, in my view, be very practical.”

It probably would have been better off for Nawricki to spell the “problem-makers.” True, the trouble comes from young black males and young white dudes who somehow identify as black; I saw this in 2015 where I immediately asked three black youth to pull up their pants because my four-year-old son tapped me on the side and said, “Daddy, that boy’s pants are falling off.” The boy’s hesitantly complied and I asked where they were from? Two of them live in Columbia Heights (originally from Chicago) where they attended high school; the third was a transplant from Chicago who would start school in CH that September, citing his mom was still looking for a place to live. Some of the vulgarity coming out of the mouths of both black and white youth was unacceptable. If you say “f**k it!” to everything, you’re bound to be trapped inside the playground of your mind; if someone outside of the classrooms schooled these children in etiquette, it might possibly change the culture in Columbia Heights.

There is a wide disconnect between the growing number black folks, mostly immigrants and people who have migrated from other states and the solid white infrastructure that runs Columbia Heights. Until city leaders look at other options sans law enforcement, we can certainly expect one or two fights, an argument and quite possibly a shooting related to an argument at the carnival. If you haven’t noticed, Columbia Heights is a stone-throw away from north Minneapolis where the residents have seen over 100 shots fired and multiple murders. If Columbia Heights wants to stop the possible and predicted trouble, it should act now.

Open letter to the Mayor’s Husband: Gary Cunningham – Don’t worry, it will be okay…

Video by IBNN NEWS (Press Conference)

By Don Allen – Publisher, Our Black News


Why don't you join me on this swim.

Why don’t you join me on this swim. (photo: Fair Use 2016)

The first time we met was at NorthPoint during the African American Men’s Project. I regularly came to meetings for the communications committee. Regardless or not if we ever had a conversation, you would always say hello, or “What’s happening,” and give me that “black man nod.” It was appreciated.

I read in the Star Tribune where you defended organizations led by black men to author the correct message as in your co-written editorial, “Story about stadium construction, diversity goals were off the mark -Summit OIC and its leader were unfairly targeted for their workforce hiring efforts.”

What troubles me today is what happened last Tuesday at the press conference held inside of the State Office Building in Saint Paul and why you have not stepped up to address top-of-mind disparities that stem (in my opinion) from leadership tied at the hip to one political ideology. I watched you frown as I asked my question about “the plan.” Is it that bad for people, including me to ask very important questions about the future for our sons and daughters? Is not okay to question those leaders, some as you know are self-appointed who lack vision and a solid work ethic? Or is it all part of a plan to misdirect the community (again) to make sure the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many? As it stands now, there are too many derivatives and variables to hash-out.

If you recall, in the parking ramp of the state office building, as you spoke to the Minneapolis Urban League’s president Mr. Steve Belton, I walked by and said, “Hello Mr. Cunningham,” giving you the full respect I would expect in return; but you put your head down, frowned and did not bother to respond. This is a serious issue that has popped up on several occasions with other black men and women like the time when Protesters Interrupt Mayor Hodges At MLK Day Event, or during the Fourth Precinct protest when folks effectively shut down words by the mayor. The news story has a photo of you in the center with the same look on your face you gave me last Tuesday (here). Is this a trend, or just a fluke?

Being the city of Minneapolis’ first-man, there would seem a point that you would get to a cordial and diplomatic conclusion with people you did not agree with. I personally or publically have no issues with you; but it seems you are not taken back to put on a face of ill-repute when talking to black men and women who do not agree with you.

Your position at the Minneapolis Economic Development Association, again in my opinion denotes you have cordial and diplomatic community engagement. If you’ve done this to me, how many more people have experienced the shutdown of engagement from you. This creates and issue for you; the community and any political ventures you support.

I guess what I’m saying is for you to get over it. You need change agent allies, not people who despise you. There is a book I would recommend that has helped me get over people who I did not think were worth two-cents. It’s called, “SWITCH,” by Chip and Dan Heath. One of the best sentences in this book, (and after re-reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point), wondering why my community and public policy is not a priority to overcome generational disparities made me think to change my personal approaches per SWITCH; meaning if the right path can turn a jerk into a saint, then the right path can turn a change enemy into an ally (Heath, 2010, p. 225). (from: The Social Epidemic of Change in the Status Quo of Black Minnesota: How to Incorporate the philosophy for change as described in SWITCH to create Policy-Situational Overview. By Don Allen).

That’s all for now.

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