States

Recent Posts

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.
Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

Affirmative Action UpDate: DFL Party Continues Effort to Soften “A-Words”

images-8

Some old school Democrats fear that the party is abandoning the affirmative action term as a sop to the right wing in an era of conservative court rulings and assaults on the very concept of “affirmative action.” For some high party officials, however, “affirmative action” is a phrase that has out-lived its usefulness and is too polarizing to be productive. But African-American DFLers want the phrase restored to prominence as a signal of the party’s determination to promote racial and economic equality. If “Affirmative Action” isn’t important to the DFL, they say in a not-so subtle threat, maybe the votes of African-Americans aren’t, either. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

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.
Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , ,

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 →

Filed under: , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , ,

“Justice For Terrance Franklin” Protesters Press Demands As Grand Jury Looms

Terrance Franklin, 22, died n a Minneapolis police shooting in May under murky circumstances. Community activists are pressing authorities for a full accounting as a Hennepin County grand jury gets set to conduct an inquiry. Click on photo to watch protesters demand justice for Franklin at last month's Rondo Days parade.

Tensions around the Minneapolis police shooting of Terrance Franklin, a 22-year-old black man and father, continue to rise as community activists demand a full accounting and the Hennepin County attorney gets set to call a grand jury inquiry into the case. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Capitol Gun Safety Discussion Begins, Ends In Confusion, Disagreement. Is Paymar Out?

Statye Rep. Michael Paymar, (D-St. Paul), chair of the House Public Safety Committee, discusses a gun safety bill that passed out of his committee last spring with Joe Olson (l), head of s gun owners' group. Click to see video of Wednesday's task force discussion on gun safety in the Capitol.

Story for The UpTake by Kathryn Nelson and Nick Coleman

The Minnesota State Patrol does not always verify that gun owners have valid permits to carry handguns before they are added to a list of gun owners allowed to carry weapons inside the Minnesota Capitol and its complex. That surprising admission was made Wednesday at a tense meeting of the advisory committee on Minnesota Capitol Security that exposed a number of areas of confusion in the state’s gun permitting laws and how they are interpreted at the Capitol and its 14-acre complex of associated buildings. Testimony by State Patrol Maj. Bob Meyerson caused a number of startled looks on the six-member task force, which is headed by Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon. Meyerson told the panel that gun owners are required to have a Minnesota Permit to Carry as well as permission from the Commissioner of Public Safety in order to bring their handguns into the State Capitol. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Armed Mercenaries Returning to Wisconsin Woods — Legally, This Time

Heavily armed and camouflaged guard from Bulletproof Securities, Inc., patrols Wisconsin woods in July. The security force was withdrawn because it lacked legal permits. The permits have now been issued by state authorities and the guns are back. Click to see video report.

Mercenary-style guards carrying assault weapons will return to the north woods of WIsconsin after an Arizona-based security firm received proper permits to operate in Wisconsin. Last month, the heavily-armed guards, wearing camouflage and some with face coverings, startled hikers and other forest visitors when they showed up — without permits or the legally required name tags and credentials.
Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,