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Real Indians Protest Racist Name Used By Fake Ones: Fighting “The R Word”

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan/Video by Todd Billings&Bill Sorem

Celebrities, sports stars, politicians and civil rights leaders joined hundreds of American Indian protesters and their allies Thursday night as they stormed the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis to protest against the Washington D.C. football team whose team name they say is racist and offensive. Among the all-star cast of supporters of the protest, which was organized by the American Indian Movement (AIM), were former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills (a Lakota Sioux from Pine Ridge, S.D.), St. Paul Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Ex-Minnesota Viking Joey Browner and Minneapolis’s newly elected mayor Betsy Hodges. They stood with AIM leader Clyde Bellecourt and an estimated 700 Native Americans who marched to the Dome to demand a stop to “the R-word”. The protest was a response to Washington team owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change the team’s name, as well as the Minnesota Sports Authority’s denial of a request by the American Indian Movement and the American Civil Liberties Union to block the team’s name from appearing in the stadium. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis Election: Betsy Hodges Almost Claims Victory; RCV Count Goes Slow

Hodges-3

It was a dark and stormy election day that began with frost on car windshields and ended with snow and slush that got more media attention than the voting, at least on the 10 p.m. TV newscasts. But the day also brought smiles to the faces of the proponents of Ranked Choice Voting, who liked what they saw as the new voting system got its first serious tests in the Twin Cities, and to supporters of Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges, who led in first-preference voting by a wide margin and seemed to be the odds-on favorite to formally claim victory Wednesday Continue Reading →

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St Paul’s Ward One: Racial Diversity And RCV In The Mix In Hotly Fought Election

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

A diverse mix of seven candidates, many of whom have backgrounds in community organizing, faced off in a forum Tuesday night at the Wilder Center, sparring for a chance to fill the Ward One City Council seat vacated by Melvin Carter III when he resigned to take a post in the Minnesota Department of Education last July. Among the candidates in the forum hosted by The League of Women Voters were former City Council member and St. Paul’s first female police officer Debbie Montgomery (she was knocked off the council by Carter in 2007), and Carter’s former council aide, Noel Nix. Other candidates included former St. Paul School Board Chair Kazoua Kong-Thao, Johnny Howard, founder of the Thomas-Dale Block Clubs, Dai Thao, an IT Manager, poet and contributor to Hmong Times, and Mark Voerding, past president of the District 7 Planning Council and aide to former council member Bill Wilson, plus Paul Holmgren, who has been endorsed by the St. Continue Reading →

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New Citizens Step Up To The Voting Booth: Somalis Hold Key in Minneapolis’ Sixth Ward

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

Redistricting and changing demographics have put Minneapolis City Council incumbent Robert Lilligren on the defensive as he vies to keep his seat without the DFL endorsement in Ward 6. Lilligren’s main challenger is Abdi Warsame, a Somali candidate who wrested the DFL’s endorsement away from Lilligren, a three-term incumbent, and appears to have strong support in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, which has the highest population of immigrants in the city. Lilligren, an Ojibwe Indian, is the City Council’s openly gay vice president. He and Warsame have butted heads a couple of times, with Lilligren challenging Warsame’s capture of the DFL endorsement by complaining of intimidation tactics and homophobia during the DFL convention in June and Warsame volleying back by denouncing Lilligren for “Jim Crow tactics,” accusing the incumbent of encouraging other Somalis to file as candidates in the hopes of diluting Warsame’s Somali backing. “I’m not sure that these other East Africans know what they are doing,” Warsame says. Continue Reading →

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Dead Men Walking: Vampires March Against JPMorgan Chase

Occupy Homes MN led a march to the Minneapolis U.S. Attorney’s office and the offices of JPMorgan Chase to demand a settlement that keeps people in their homes instead of just providing “blood money” by way of paltry settlement checks to people who wrongly lost their homes. Continue Reading →

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Ranks And Choices: A Dozen “Minor” Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates Speak Their Piece

There are 35 candidates running for Mayor of Minneapolis in the Nov. 5 election, from one who calls himself a pirate to one whose campaign videos have made himself an Internet celebrity (he says so, at any rate). The UpTake invited seven of the leading candidates to participate in our mayoral forum on Oct. 22. The other 28 candidates all were invited to sit down with us for brief video interviews. Continue Reading →

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Why Asian-American Artists And Activists Are Protesting The Ordway’s Production Of Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon: Protesters in New York City in 1991. Despite more than two decades of cultural-awareness actions, the show -- and the protest -- goes on. Photo by Corky Lee.

St. Paul’s Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is one of four theaters co-producing a revival of “Miss Saigon” — which begins an eight-performance run tonight in downtown St. Paul — despite outcries from Twin Cities activists who say the performance is racist, colonial, romanticizes sex trafficking and re-enforces harmful Asian stereotypes.
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Ordway Production of “Miss Saigon” Ignites Renewed Protests Over Racist Stereotypes

Artist Ricardo Levins Morales lampooned Miss Saigon with a Gone-With-The-Wind-themed poster. Click on poster to see Miss Saigon protest Tumblr blog.

Over the past few months, community leaders have disparaged the Ordway’s pending presentations of Miss Saigon — a play that details the strife of a Vietnamese “bar girl” who falls in love with an American G.I, eventually bearing his child and committing suicide so the child can be raised in the United States. The community leaders have taken their cause to social media and the press to deter patrons from purchasing theater tickets, which range from $26 to $103. Continue Reading →

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Gov. Dayton on Vikings Stadium: Shocked, Shocked to Find Seat Licenses in Here!

The Temple to the Gods of Football. Click photo to see video of Gov. Mark Dayton Approving the Seat Licenses He Opposes

Story for The UpTake By Andy Birkey/Video by Bill Sorem

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority met Thursday evening to finalize agreements with the Minnesota Vikings for a new stadium scheduled to open in 2016. Instead of a celebration, however, the meeting devolved into an angry shouting match at times, as residents criticized the lack of public input in the process. To add to the strained atmosphere, Gov. Mark Dayton held a press conference before the meeting at which he begrudgingly accepted that private seat license fees — a revenue-raising gimmick he has said he strongly opposes — are part of the deal. It was all part of an increasingly pressurized effort to keep the $1-billion stadium deal rolling despite a number of problems that have cropped up in recent months — from the fraud conviction of the Vikings’ owners in a New Jersey court to Dayton’s claims that he didn’t know that the legislation he signed last year allowed the Vikings to collect millions in seat licenses. Unless ground is broken for the new stadium this fall — no date yet has been set — the timetable for the project may be thrown off schedule. Continue Reading →

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Milwaukee School Supporters Rally to Fight Funding Cuts, Privitization

MIlwaukee School Supporters Rally. Click photo to watch video.

As the national debate over the direction of education rages, Milwaukee appears to be ground zero for the school choice movement, cuts in public education and expansion of charter schools that many public education advocates believe are detrimental to students and schools in the city. Continue Reading →

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Inventing “Minneapolis Police 2.0:” Chief Wants More Diverse, More Community-friendly Cops

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau

It’s been a rough first year for Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, who took over as chief in January. With numerous protests spurred by the death of Terrance Franklin, who was shot by police in May, to recent incidents involving racial slurs by Minneapolis Police Officers in Green Bay and Apple Valley — including homophobic remarks about Harteau, a lesbian — the 48-year-old chief has her hands full.
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School Reformers’ Choir: Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates All Sing From Same Hymnal

Minneapolis Schools: Slippery Roads Ahead

Editor’s Note: Earlier this week, The UpTake live-streamed a Minneapolis Mayoral debate on education. The candidates seemed remarkably similar in their stances, considering the intensity of the debate surrounding public schools. So we asked Rob Levine, a critic of the school reform movement, to give us his take on this important issue. Guest commentary for The UpTake from Rob Levine

“That sounded like a sermon -– wow!” So enthused Nekima Levy-Pounds, moderator of Monday’s Minneapolis Mayoral Education Forum at the Mill City Museum at the conclusion of candidate Don Samuels’ rousing remarks. Continue Reading →

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Stroller-Jammin’ Moms Beat Gun Lobby in Shootout at St. Paul Starbucks

Some of the Moms Deman Action supporters who demonstrated outside the Grand Avenue Starbucks in St. Paul on Saturday, Sept. 7 to demand that Starbucks stop letting gun owners from wearing and openly displaying weapons inside Starbucks coffee shops. The Moms beat the Guns.

Starbucks finally woke up and smelled the coffee!

The giant coffee chain announced late Tuesday that it will no longer allow the open carrying of guns in its properties, banning the display of guns — even legally licenses weapons — both inside its restaurants and in outdoor seating areas. Stroller-jammin’ moms in St Paul helped win the fight. Continue Reading →

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Family Values II: Baby Grady: The Happy Face of Minnesota’s Same-Sex Marriage Law

No Wonder He's Smiling: Grady Edward Nelson Calhoun -- Born August 5, in Minneapolis, to two moms who were married four days earlier, under Minnesota's new marriage equality law. Click on the photo to see the whole story.

Story by Nick Coleman, Executive Editor

Yesterday, The UpTake brought you the story of a baby boy named Emil , born Aug. 22nd to a lesbian couple, and asked whether Emil might be the first child born to a married same-sex couple after Minnesota’s new marriage equality law took effect Aug. 1. Well, it turns out that Emil and his moms were close, but no cigar. We still love Emil and his moms, but Emil arrived a couple of weeks late. Continue Reading →

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Family Values: Is A Baby Boy Named Emil A Minnesota First?

Family Values: Anj Ronay (left) and Steph Johnson pose for a family portrait with their infant son, Emil, who was born Aug. 22. Big brother Arlo looks on. Click on picture to see the full story. Photo by Sheil Regan

Editor’s note: Is a baby from Minneapolis named Emil — who has a big brother named Arlo — the first Minnesota child born to a same-sex couple whose marriage is recognized by the state? Well, he just might be — unless we hear of a baby born before Aug. 22 to another married same-sex couple. It’s not an important distinction — all children of same-sex families are precious, of course, like all children. Still, it’s fun to think how Minnesota families are evolving. Continue Reading →

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VIDEO: East Side St Paul Neighbors Confront City Officials on Safety

St Paul: "Most Liveable City" or Mean Streets?

Hundreds of residents of St. Paul’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood confronted city officials last Thursday — including Mayor Chris Coleman and top police commanders — about concerns over gang activity, a recent street killing and the brutal beating of a pedestrian, along with a general sense of insecurity in the area. Click here to read The Pioneer Press story on the meeting

The video of the meeting at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church is used courtesy of the St Paul Neighborhood Network. Continue Reading →

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