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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

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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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ELECTION EVE SPECIAL: A Trove Of Coverage From The UpTake

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Still making up your mind about who to choose as your Top Three candidates for Mayor of Minneapolis?  

The UpTake is proud to present a last-minute Grab Bag of election stories going back to May, including one story on the Ward One St Paul City Council race and seven videotaped debates among the Minneapolis mayoral candidates. Our intent is merely to help you as you pull an All-Nighter and bone up on the issues and the candidates in Tuesday’s election. We start with our compendium of video interviews with 18 of the candidates for mayor, presented here in alphabetical order. (All 35 mayoral candidates were invited to talk to us; these 18 agreed, including six of the leading candidates: Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Dan Cohen, Betsy Hodges, Cam Winton and Stephanie Woodruff) . 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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James Everett, North Side Candidate for Mayor. He May Not Win But He Deserves To Be Heard

Story for The UpTake by Kathryn G. Nelson

Bridging the achievement gap between whites and people of color has been a central issue to this year’s mayoral race, particularly in hard-hit North Minneapolis, where citizens are quick to point out that issues of safety, police misconduct, home foreclosure, inadequate housing, unemployment and education reform are significant barriers to their success. Yet, despite all the nice-sounding talk and good intentions of the leading candidates, many residents of the North Side say they are weary of the rhetoric and skeptical of candidates offering the same-old, same-old — solutions from years past. They say they’re frustrated by the failure of the best-known candidates to address the underlying issues in their community and complain that they have been excluded from opportunities to help develop solutions which are later implemented in their own backyard. But as the campaign approaches its finish and next Tuesday’s election, one candidate has begun to gain an audience on the North Side: Community activist and North Side native James Everett, one of the many “minor” candidates in the race. North Side dissatisfaction with the “major” candidates for mayor (they include long-time North Side City Council member Don Samuels, a Jamaican immigrant) was apparent at an Oct. 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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Former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton: To Solve City Problems, Bring Everyone To The Table

Interview for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

Former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton will be honored tonight when a prominent bridge designed in the style of architect Frank Lloyd Wright is named in her honor. The bridge was built during Sayles Belton’s two-term tenure as Minneapolis Mayor and carries Third Avenue South across Interstate 94. It’s the bridge with the strange looking lobster antennae and curved fences (see a photo by clicking here). Sayles Belton, born and raised in St. Paul, was the first woman, and first African-American, to be elected mayor of Minneapolis, and served from 1994 to 2002. Continue Reading →

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Socialist Alternative: Minneapolis Ward 9 Council Candidate Revives City’s Socialist Heritage

People Over Profit: Ty Moore, Socialist candidate for the Minneapolis City Council

In a city where the Democrats have had a monolithic stronghold for four decades, Socialist candidate Ty Moore believes many people feel disenfranchised as the DFL increasingly becomes “beholden to big business interests.” Moore, an Occupy Homes MN organizer and community activist, is one of three candidates from the Socialist Alternative party running for city councils this autumn in big cities (the others are running in Seattle and Boston), and he thinks that the 9th ward of Minneapolis is ready for the change. 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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