Big news from The UpTake

Thank you to all who joined us for our first Community Cafe at Sammy’s Avenue Eatery on Tues. the 16th!

Many of you might not know this but The UpTake has been going through a period of transition since I’ve taken over. News organizations, including our own, have struggled to find sustainability and, even more so, we’ve struggled to understand what our role is in an ever-changing world that distrusts journalism and journalists.

We also believe that it’s time for journalism to reconsider who we are, what we do, and why we do it. We’ve begun to reimagine our own future and to rethink the values we have and the value we bring. It’s an act of organizational imagination that has required a lot of patience from our audience and community and hundreds of hours of engagement, planning, and analysis.

We will be releasing our new strategic plan soon and I’m excited for you to see that and to get your thoughts! But, we want to take a moment to announce something first. We’ve spent the last several months working in partnership with Voices for Racial Justice, a community-led organization that centers racial equity organizing.

A guiding value for Voices. Credit to Cirien Saadeh for the photo.
A guiding value for Voices. Photo by Cirien Saadeh. 

For ten years, Voices (formerly known as the Organizing Apprenticeship Project) released a Racial Equity Report Card. That document, released annually at the end of the legislative session, was an opportunity for community members to gather and analyze the work of the Minnesota State Legislature and hold elected officials accountable to the work of racial equity.

Voices has re-imagined that analysis. Working together, Voices for Racial Justice and The UpTake are co-publishing The Quilt: Policy, Art, and Healing at the end of August.

"The Quilt" honors the ethnic and home communities of UpTake and Voices staff.
“The Quilt” will be released later this summer. Here’s a hint at what the cover will include. Photo by Cirien Saadeh 

This magazine aims to provide a more artistic and community-centered analysis of key policy items from the legislative session as well as policy issues our communities have been fighting for in the last year. Our organizations have worked together to gather community voices and to support them as they share their stories related to the ombudsman, post-conviction relief, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and so many other issues.

It’s part of the work that Voices does in “caring for the soil of racial justice organizing” and what The UpTake is doing in order to re-imagine journalism. We’re asking: what is a journalist, how are we sharing our stories, and how do we collaborate with community as journalists? The magazine is just one example of that re-imagination.

Stay tuned for a launch date for The Quilt soon; I hope you will be joining us for a celebration at that time.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at

Thank you,

Cirien Saadeh

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