INSIGHT NEWS February F b 13 - F February b 19 19, 2012 • MN M Metro t V Vol.l 38 N No. 7 • Th The JJournall F For C Community it N News, B Business i & Th The A Arts t • www.insightnews.com i ight
Artist Charles Caldwell and his painted mural on West Broadway and 4th Street, North Minneapolis
Courtesy of the artist
C. Caldwell Fine Arts Gallery and Studio: The business of art By Erin Jerabek, Executive Director, West Broadway Business and Area Coalition email@example.com
The Grand Opening of C. Caldwell Fine Arts Gallery and Studio was December 16th. The gallery hosts a variety of creations and the work of several artists. At the gallery you will find a dynamic yet intentional collection of mediums and
styles including: acrylic, watercolor, wood carving, pencil drawings, abstracts, realism, and impressionist. The space itself is inspirational; however, the space and the collection combined with the opportunity
to converse with Charles Caldwell himself will inspire you to create, produce, and build something- anything immediately, even if you have never considered yourself an artist.
On Role Models “Hey little dude, your not suppose to be in here” Lincoln Elementary art teacher, Richard Scott called out as he saw a curious 6th grade Charles Caldwell wander into the art classroom. Mr. Scott was busy
carving a 18-foot totem pole and like any good art teacher, 70’s or today, Scott was wardrobed in a dashiki, bell bottom wrangler jeans, crusty boots, and beads. The art room was only for 7th or
CALDWELL TURN TO 11
Black Americans and the U.S. Constitution By Professor Mahmoud El-Kati
Peter Hayden and Stella Whitney-West
Building institutions Turning Point, NorthPoint Health & Wellness advance equity, engagement as key principles for health, healing in our community Leaders of two major legacy institutions Dr Peter Hayden, founder and CEO, Turning Point Inc., and Stella WhitneyWest, CEO of NorthPoint Health and Wellness, discuss the value they and their organizations bring to our community. Also joining this conversation is, Michelle Johnson, advocate for justice for young people, and coordinator of the Guardian Ad Litem Program. Al McFarlane:
Dr. Hayden, tell us about the background of Turning Point. You created an institution of national renown that addressing our people’s alcohol and drug dependence and that shepherds individuals towards sobriety and towards productive community life. What’s the story? Peter Hayden: I had a great opportunity in 1973 to go to treatment to try to better myself. I didn’t
understand it then, and, my understanding, later, was mostly that African Americans didn’t go to treatment. They went to the workhouse or they went to jail. While in treatment, I found that for seven years I didn’t associate with anyone that looked like me. I thought that was strange. How is it that I can be sober but not understand how
INSTITUTIONS TURN TO 15
Author’s note: The people in America of African descent have a unique and contradictory relationship to the Constitution of the United States. Their connection to this document is like no other group, including the Native populations. The original Constitution was a slave holding document up until the Civil War. Following the Civil War, three great amendments were passed by The Republican-led U.S. Congress. These are called The Civil War Amendments. This legislation was passed to: 1) Free Africans from legal enslavement, 2) grant the right to citizenship, and 3) grant the right to vote to Black Men, not black people, which would include Black Women. It was not until the Civil War Amendment that the word “slave” was ever mentioned. (Excerpts from key articles and amendments) “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to the whole Number of Free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Year, and excluding Indians not
taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” ARTICLE I, Section 2, paragraph 3. In this Article, Black people become key factors in the organization of Congress. Taxation and representation are based on the population. This is how the House of Representatives is organized. This is the basis
of power sharing between the states making up the federal government. Black people are counted as part of the population in slave holding states, not a part of the people. Population and people are two very different realities in sophisticated politics.
U.S. TURN TO 10
36th Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference The 36th Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference at Minnesota State University, Mankato, will open on February 22, 2012. The theme for this year’s conference is: “Recognizing and Celebrating Pan Africans in the Global Society.” Minnesota has a substantial number of Sub-Saharan African immigrants in the Twin
Cities and surrounding area. In addition, Minnesota houses the largest Somali population in the US. The social, cultural and economic concerns of these new Americas will be discussed by experts on SubSaharan African migration. The unique mixture of cultural similarities and differences found among and between new African immigrants and
Education Secretary Duncan visits Minneapolis schools
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson
Coco and Breezy
the long standing African community will provide learning opportunities for all in attendance at this year’s event. The featured speakers and events at this year’s conference will include the noted national and international scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University. Dyson will be the featured keynote speaker on
Gone to Ghana Rediscovering natural healing in Ghana
Friday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union (CSU) Ballroom on the MSU campus. Kimmie Weeks, Executive Director, Youth Action International, will speak about youth development and educational needs in Africa on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom.
AFRICAN TURN TO 6
Why men don’t routinely use the “L” word
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HEALTH Commemorating National Black HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day By Valeria Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President Editors note: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was observed on February 7 this year. On this, the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I remember my sister-in-law’s fight with the disease. Tragically, she did not win that fight – she left behind a devastated husband and fiveyear old daughter. But it is in her memory, and the memory of all the friends and loved ones we have lost, that we vow to keep working toward the day when HIV/AIDS is history. This past December, on World AIDS Day, President Obama spoke about the United States’ commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. In a speech at George Washington University, he told the audience, “Make no mistake, we are going to win this fight. But the fight is not over … not by a long shot.” Sadly, this is especially true in the African-American community. Black Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 44 percent of new HIV infections. Among young black gay men alone, infections have increased by nearly 50 percent in just three years, and black women account for the largest share of HIV infections among women. We each must do our part by getting tested regularly, and by educating those in our community about what they can do to help end the epidemic. President Obama is committed to doing his part as well. In 2010, he released the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS plan. Together with Secretary Clinton, he has
Valerie Jarrett helped assemble a coalition of governments, healthcare professionals, and service providers. They have set a goal that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago: an AIDS-free generation, in which virtually all children are born HIV-free, and prevention tools help them stay HIV-free throughout their lives. We will not achieve this goal overnight. But we know that we must keep making progress, each and every day. For our communities and our families, the stakes are simply too high for us to be satisfied with anything less. So today, we do more than commemorate those we have lost. We rededicate ourselves to the work ahead. Because even when it comes to an epidemic as devastating as HIV/AIDS, we have the chance to write our own destiny. As President Obama said in December, “We can end this pandemic. We can beat this disease. We can win this fight.” For more information about National Black HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day and this Administration’s efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the Black community, visit www.aids.gov.
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Ellison to fight efforts to take away right to vote for Minnesotans disenfranchisement. It took a Civil War and three constitutional amendments to guarantee voting rights regardless of ‘race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’ Still, half of our citizenry was left out of our democracy until the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. And even then, it took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the
Representative Keith Ellison Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said efforts by Minnesota’s Republican legislators would take our country backwards after the Minnesota State Senate held a hearing about a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot to require voters to present identification at the ballot box: “Since our founding, America has been on a path towards greater enfranchisement, not
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Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White Culture and Education Editor Irma McClaurin Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Ben Williams Production Andrew Notsch Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Facilities Support / Assistant Producer, Conversations with Al McFarlane Bobby Rankin Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Staff Writer Ivan B. Phifer Contributing Writers Cordie Aziz Maya Beecham Harry Colbert, Jr. Brenda Colston Julie Desmond Fred Easter S. Himie Oshana Himot Timothy Houston Marcia Humphrey Alaina L. Lewis Lydia Schwartz Stacey Taylor Photography Suluki Fardan Tobechi Tobechukwu Contact Us: Insight News, Inc. Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis., MN 55411 Ph.: (612) 588-1313 Fax: (612) 588-2031 Member: Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC), Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. (MBPCI), National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Postmaster: Send address changes to McFarlane Media Interests, Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 to finally prohibit any prerequisite to voting,” Ellison said in a statement to the press. “The current efforts by Republican legislators in my home state of Minnesota would only take our country backwards. Rather than increasing access to the polls, they would disenfranchise tens of thousands of seniors, immigrants and low-income
Minnesotans who cannot easily obtain the required identification. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 21 million Americans do not possess a governmentissued ID. These efforts are nothing more than suppression disguised as reform,” he said. “These efforts are part of a broader effort sweeping state legislatures. This year alone, thirty-four states have
introduced bills requiring photo identification in order to vote. Combined, more than five million eligible voters would find it harder to cast ballots in 2012,” he said. “I have introduced two bills to combat the coordinated effort to restrict voting rights. The Same Day Registration Act would require states to provide same-day voter registration for a federal election. Currently,
Minnesota leads the nation in providing election-day voter registration. The Voter Access Protection Act would prohibit federal election officials from requiring photo identification to cast a vote or register to vote,” he said. “I will continue to fight partisan efforts to take away the right to vote from Minnesotans,” Ellison said.
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EDUCATION Education Secretary Duncan visits Minneapolis schools Building Creative Capital By Bernadeia H. Johnson MPS Superintendent January 20 was an exciting day in Minneapolis, as national leaders visited to focus on the work that we do every day to prepare students for college and career. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited South High School to talk with the senior class and their parents about college affordability and the new simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken and Mayor R.T. Rybak, who have consistently demonstrated their support for Minneapolis schools, also addressed students. Visit the MPS website to view our video of the event What impressed me the most during the visit was the leadership of our students, who raised intelligent, thoughtful and authentic questions during their conversation with Secretary Duncan. Hats off to
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, Arne Duncan and Senator Al Franken
Supintendent Bernadeia Johnson and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with students seated behind them. these seniors—they showed that they were sharp, mature
and prepared. They showed that they had successfully completed
13 years of experience as skilled students. They showed that they were ready for college and the workforce. Successfully completing high school must be at the forefront of students’ minds from the moment they enter school until the day that they toss their caps in the air. Graduating all students is a challenge that teachers and leaders work to achieve each day in urban school districts. In Minneapolis, we still have work to do. Last school year, 78 percent (1,466) of our students graduated and 85 percent of them reported going on to a two- or four-year college. Our academic strategic plan is organized around nine research-based goals, referred to as Steps to Student Success. One of these goals is that students will demonstrate college and career readiness by grade 12. Among other key strategies is that we will improve support for students and families to complete applications for college admission and financial aid. We know that when college is affordable, the chances of completion increase. However, only half of our graduates (just over 700) completed the FAFSA
MSU appoints Fotsch to field experience coordinator Eric Fotsch, Minneapolis, was appointed field experience coordinator in Metropolitan State University’s Urban Teacher Program, College of Professional Studies, by President Sue K. Hammersmith. This appointment was effective Jan. 11. Fotsch coordinates all levels of field experience, including student teaching, for candidates in nine licensure programs in order to meet program and state requirements. He arranges field placements in early childhood through high school settings,
establishes district, school and community partnerships, coordinates compliance of
clinical field policies and coordinates supervision of teacher candidates in the field. He has been a national affiliate nonprofit director for Dealeebob, Minneapolis, since 2010. He is the founder and director of Camp Fotsch, King Leadership Camp, Saint Paul, begun in 1997. He also worked in various teaching capacities at Barack and Michelle Obama Service Learning Elementary School (Webster), Saint Paul. Fotsch holds a B.A. in communication from DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.,
and an M.S. in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He is certified in both secondary and elementary education. Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, provides high-quality, affordable academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. It is the only state university in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
last year. Our goal is to have 68 percent of students completing the FAFSA over the next four years. MPS is starting an exciting new pilot this school year to help meet this goal. The program will let us connect directly with students and their
families who have told us they want to go to college, but do not have a financial plan to do it. The federal government’s work to simplify the FAFSA process will help us in this journey as well. MPS will hold a special
FAFSA TURN TO 6
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Coco and Breezy By Alaina L. Lewis Contributing Writer Minneapolis’ own Coco and Breezy are taking the world by storm by making a spectacle of themselves. Literally. At only 21 years old, they’re rising to the top of the fashion and entertainment industry by meshing their unique style with a love for design, to create captivating eyewear that promises to please any fashionista. If you haven’t yet heard of this infectious duo, than I’m certain you’ve seen their work if you’re at all plugged in to pop culture and its reigning princesses. In a matter of months from their company’s inception, artists like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Osboure, Lady Gaga and Ashanti, have been seen rocking their shades. Apart from the numerous celebrities that wear Coco and Breezy eyewear, they’ve also been published in a multitude of fashion magazines from Vogue Italia to Vibe. Pretty amazing for a venture that only started 2 and a half years ago. The identical twins got
their formal start here in the Minne-apple when they were just 19 years old. Back then, they held jobs at the Mall of America and their sunglasses were merely an extension of their style and artistry; pieces they made for themselves to highlight their creative design eye and at the same time repel any negativity they received for their individuality. “When we started out here in Minnesota, we created our eyewear for ourselves, not even thinking that it could be a company.” Breezy of Coco and Breezy told Insight News. “We created our eyewear as a way to block ourselves from making eye contact with these people that never understood our style. People used to stare at us, they never understood us, and we were just being individuals. On our 19th birthday we went to New York only for a visit and people stopped us and asked, ‘Oh my gosh, where can I purchase your sunglasses’ and so I thought to Coco, ‘wow, this could actually be a product that can sell.’ It’s new to the market, and we thought we should do it.” Their collection of eyewear encompasses a unique blend of hand-crafted shades lined with jewels and other trimmings. Their new Rainy Days collection, inspired by “Umbrella” by Rihanna, is their first commercially manufactured product, and it is quickly flying
off the shelves since it was introduced in their Spring 2012 collection. Along with the help of a few other Minneapolis heads like marketing guru Asa Rice, their company is becoming a fast growing fashion engine that promises to mature into a seven-figure corporation in no time. By encompassing a team of phenomenal superstars who are all good at what they do, has allowed them to focus on their artistry and exceed any limitations put before them. “When we first started out it was just Breezy and I, and it was very overwhelming. Then we got a business manager, who works and owns two other companies so he helped us with our whole business structure. We have three people who work on our team from Minnesota. We have Luis Santiago, he works on our design team, and we have Asa Rice, who is amazing and works for our marketing department. Then we have Europe and she is our assistant.” “One thing I’ve learned from other entrepreneurs is that even if it’s your company and your baby, it takes a full team to be successful.” To hear more of the interview with Coco and Breezy, please visit www.insightnews.com to watch the full video. For more information on Coco and Breezy and their eyewear please visit: www.cocoandbreezy.com
Learning about the Africans That Came to the Americas! Book Review By Kam Williams firstname.lastname@example.org After Lee Chavous became a father a few years ago, he soon found himself worrying about his son’s prospective education. He knew that the formative years are critical, and that the history books tend to marginalize, overlook, or inaccurately recount the contributions of AfricanAmericans. Wanting his little boy to grow up fully aware not only of his ancestors’ centurieslong struggle for equality but of how they also helped shape the country in myriad ways, Lee decided to write his own illustrated texts. Aimed at kids aged 8-11, the first in his very informative series, Learning about the Africans That Came to the Americas, offers an impressive overview of slavery from the black perspective. For black youth, one of the unfortunate aspects of learning is having to unlearn misinformation, like the fact that John Brown was actually a hero who freed slaves, not an insurrectionist hung for stealing plantation owners’ property. That’s why it was refreshing to see that this book describes Brown as an “abolitionist.” That distinction is important, because it rightfully recasts him as a hero to anyone who takes to heart the words of The Declaration of Independence which states that “All men are created equal,” and further stipulates that it is your right and your duty to revolt against any government denying your unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But I digress. As to layout, Learning about the Africans That Came to the Americas was cleverly constructed as a history lesson being narrated by a doting father to his
“When I looked at my small son and wondered what types of information would be important for him to learn that I could pass along to him, I knew that I had to first prepare him to become a positive and proud African-American… So out of great love for my son and a deep concern for his future, I decided to write books that tend to point out some of the more obscure and forgotten about elements of the African-American ancestors’ experiences. -- Excerpted from the book jacket.
young son named Christopher OluFela. The engaging story winds its way from a slave castle on the coast of West Africa through the Middle Passage to the shores of the Americas. It addresses the brutality of slavery before recalling the amazing exploits of legendary freedom fighters like Harriet Tubman, conductor of the Underground Railroad, and Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader
of the Haitian Revolution. And to show just how far we’ve come, the postscript features a tip of the cap to Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States. Congrats to concerned papa Lee Chavous for publishing the first in what is likely to prove to be a priceless series of sensible supplements to the traditional American History textbooks.
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Lion King’s Syndee Winters By Alaina L. Lewis Contributing Writer As Lion King the Musical prepares to make its exit this weekend from the Orpheum Theater after another successful run, the Tony Award winning production leaves in its trail the residue of peace after having touched the hearts of its thousands of attendees. One talented gal who helped to continue its engaging spark is Syndee Winters, who plays the role of Nala in this current productions run. Winters, who wears many hats brought a fierceness and an infectious strength to this seasons feline hero. These are attributes that the star carries over to everything she does in life, which is why without a doubt she’s a superstar in the making. The New York native’s biography is quite impressive. She’s always been in tune with theater arts, and got her start in school exploring her talents through dance— eventually finding her way to vocals and acting. Her train of talent has lead her to perform as a New York Knicks dancer, with artists like Rihanna and Jordin Sparks, and now she is living out what has been a life long dream, playing the role of Nala in Lion King the Musical. When Lion King first began its run in 1997, Winter’s felt a connection with Nala’s heroic journey and positioned herself to go after the role the instance it became available. Although the part didn’t fall into her lap with ease, it didn’t stop Winter
The Lion King National Tour
Syndee Winters as “Nala” and Jelani Remy as “Simba” from The Lion King National Tour
from pushing harder to see her desires come into fruition. “I actually auditioned for the role of Nala about 5 years ago.” Winters told Insight News, “I’ve wanted to be in the show since it started in 1997— then I wanted to be Young Nala but never knew how to go about it because my parents didn’t really know how to send me out for auditions and things like that. As I got older, I made a promise to myself that I was gonna go after it. I remember when my agent called, and I went into the audition. I
Syndee Winters as “Nala” from The Lion King National Tour sang ‘Shadowlands,’ and I was confident that I nailed it.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the part. That was hard. But four
Northsiders are deeply rooted, we will continue to grow Some talk about it, pray about it Write, sing about it I do it all in my own silent way There is a time in history When we should speak Or forever hold our peace
I politely respect and honor the near Northside Thank you for all the support near and far A signature with love
I remember the good times, hard times And just anything bad Somebody want to start
African From 1 Judge LaJune Thomas Lange (retired), President, International Leadership Institute, will provide the keynote address at the noon lunch session on Friday, February 24. This presentation will also feature State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion (58B). Mahmoud El-Kati, Professor Emeritus, Macalester College, who Fagin credits as the inspiration to establish the Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference at Minnesota State University, Mankato, will provide the opening address at the February 23 noon session in the CSU Ballroom. The conference will continue its legacy of panel discussions which will feature Minnesota’s community and civic leaders on Friday, February 24 at 2 p.m. in
FAFSA From 4 event called FAFSA February, at which families can file their taxes and complete the FAFSA. Additional help and information sessions will be held at each of our comprehensive high schools throughout the month. We have partners across the metro that support our work and I would like to recognize one in particular, AchieveMpls. Our partners at AchieveMpls have invested in countless ways to support our school district’s mission to make every child college and career ready. Each of our seven
Two wrongs never made a right It is deadly as dynamite In the name of humanity leave our Children alone
Lue Bratton-Lampley August 23, 2011
the CSU Ostrander Auditorium. This panel will address the educational, economic, social and cultural concerns of African Communities in the state of Minnesota. This year’s panel, chaired by Obie Kipper Jr., will include the State Sen. Jeffery Hayden, Champion, Judge Lange, Natalie Johnson Lee and Al Flowers. The conference will also address major social and legal concerns in the Pan African Community hosting a panel discussion chaired by Lt. Lee Edwards from the Minneapolis Police Department. In addition, Mary Whitney who is noted as a distinguished African American woman in Minnesota will provide a keynote address on domestic violence and abuse. This year’s conference will also bring together national and international delegates representing the diaspora of African peoples. For more information, please visit http://www.mnsu.
comprehensive high schools and one of our alternative schools has an AchieveMpls College and Career Center that ensures that all students have a plan to move from high school to higher education and work. MPS counselors work each day to support students in their life ambitions, providing encouragement and guidance to students. Each of our employees has this same duty to influence and inspire our young people to be successful in their futures. We can’t do it alone and we need you on board as well. Thank you for your continued support of our students and our schools.
edu/cultdiv/, email michael. email@example.com, or call (507) 389-2914.
All are welcome encouraged to attend!
years later I got a call to go back in and audition again. I had a whole different mindset the second time around. I had just gotten out of college, so things were different for me then. I went in, read, and sang my heart out. That time around my dream actually came true because they offered me the contract. My life has forever changed because of Lion King.” Winters has been with Lion King now since June 2010, and the journey has not only helped her grow as an artist, but it has also positioned her to have the ability to explore many of her other talents and endeavors through the arts. Finding time to create has
never been a problem for her. If anything through the years, it’s helped her to perfect the art of multi-tasking like no other. Currently she is exploring her gifts as a singer and dancer in the indie pop-soul scene. Her latest single “What U Say” is already turning ears, and right before her touch down in Minneapolis, she finished a music video shoot for the stand out single. “My music can be described as pop-r&b-rock. I love every type of music, but I wanted to create a sound where the beats will move you, because I’m also a dancer. I enjoy feeling all the rhythms, the drums, the base, the 808’s— any sound that will make me move. Although I do find myself working a lot because of the show, I still manage to write and produce music during my down time. If you love it, you’ll make time for it.” Winter’s brought the other side of her musical note to some stages in Minneapolis during her stay here for the Lion King run. She performed to a sold out crowd at the Saloon Night Club on Hennepin Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis, on both January 22nd and February 2nd giving Minnesota a second layer to this songstresses amazing artistic portfolio. Having had the chance to listen to some of her music, I can personally say that I look forward to seeing her career as an artist blossom; her voice is smooth like honey— an engaging perfection that rises after each note, and her sound definitely dips on the side of awesome and uniqueness that will eventually position her to coast in the same market alongside talents like Rihanna and Katy Perry. Winters next stop is Richmond, Virginia, but a small part of her will still be here with us in Minnesota as those who were touched by Lion King the Musical and her amazing performance continue to celebrate its impact through our conversations and internal memories. For more information on Syndee Winters and her music please visit: www. SyndeeWinters.com
Insight News • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Page 7
LIFESTYLE Rediscovering natural healing in Ghana Gone to Ghana By Cordie Aziz Columnist Cordie Aziz is a former congressional staffer who moved to Ghana after losing her job last year. Follow her daily adventures at goneiighana.blogspot.com When I first came to Africa, everyone had an opinion on what shots and medications I should take to ensure that I was in good health when I returned. So begrudgingly, I took shots for yellow fever and hepatitis A, as well as started on my daily dose of Malarone to help ward of malaria. So when I returned to live in Africa many were afraid that I would catch malaria and not make it out alive. Well, eight months in I can say that I still am malaria free. Now, this is not the case for everyone I know. I have had several friends from the States suffer from malaria not once, but several times, as well as a variety of other diseases, such as typhoid, that are more indigenous to this land. Fortunate for them, there are a new variety of drugs to fight malaria and these other diseases. Therefore, what the Western world used to consider a major health scare is now minimized to flu-like symptoms. But before malaria medicine existed in Africa, I often wondered how people fought it off. Then the other day, thanks to the help of my maid Jane, I figured out that Ghanaians used bitter leaf to help fight malaria. I was even more amazed when she started to give me a tutorial on the various trees and bushes that I had labeled as weeds. After showing me the bitter leaf, she showed me another pointed-leaf that was used to fight high blood pressure and boosting the immune system. Then she pointed out small green shoots in the yard, which are used for children when they have runny stomach, better
L-R: Bitter leaf, used for malaria; a plant used for diarrhea in children; a plant used for high blood pressure and the immune system; and a plant used to drain fluid from sick children known as diarrhea in the States, and then pointed out a tree with white flowers on it that is used to help drain fluid from sick children. I was amazed at her knowledge. After all, in America, we are addicted to our pharmaceutical drugs. In my opinion, many Americans would shy away from picking their own medicines and/or making plants into a tea. But then again, perhaps we are just so far removed from natural medicines we have forgotten how beneficial they can be. It also got me to thinking that America has sold its soul to pharmaceutical companies. In a world where it is more profitable for someone to be sick rather than healthy, could society ever go back to natural cures; medicines that we can grow, pick and make ourselves? Or have we been convinced that the only way to remedy a health issue is through a $30 doctor visit and a prescription pad. It definitely makes you wonder. In the meanwhile, I can say that I am definitely excited to discover I have a small pharmacy in my back yard. Now the fear of malaria isn’t
nearly as threatening and I have arranged for Jane to pick some of the other leaf to add to my salads occasionally, after all an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure. In fact, I may just turn it into a small community pharmacy. After all one man’s weed is another man’s medicine.
Photos: Cordie Aziz
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U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage Forever Stamp salutes legend One of the nation’s h i g h e s t honors today was presented to pioneering entrepreneur and publisher John H. Johnson who was commemorated on this year’s Black Heritage Forever Stamp by the United States
Postal Service. Johnson, the founder of Johnson Publishing Company of Chicago, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, is the 35th honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series. The Postal Service has recognized the achievements of prominent African Americans through the Black Heritage series since 1978. Past honorees have included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and
Barbara Jordan. “John Johnson’s unyielding commitment to journalistic excellence and his unparalleled reporting on African American culture have distinguished him as one of America’s greatest publishers,” said USPS Chicago Senior Plant Manager Anthony Vaughan. “I’m immensely proud that my father and his life’s passion are being recognized in such a
high honor as the Black Heritage Stamp,” said Linda Johnson Rice, chairman, Johnson Publishing Co. “His legacy lives on in all whom he touched and in the work we continue to do daily.” The stamp goes on sale today at Post Offices nationwide, online at usps.com and by phone at 800782-6724. Customers may view the John H. Johnson Forever Stamp, as well as many of this year’s other
stamps, on Facebook at facebook. com/USPSStamps, through Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2012preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for background on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of
postage, products and services to fund its operations. A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. Follow USPS on Twitter @ USPS_PR and at Facebook.com/ usps.
Dayton names Rybak co-chair of LGA Advisory Group Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced this week that he has named Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak a co-chair of the Tax Reform Advisory Group for Local Government Aid (LGA). This advisory group will review and discuss major policy issues related to Local Government Aid, specifically on how to best pay for local services while holding
local property taxes down. The work of this advisory group will directly support Governor Dayton’s comprehensive tax reform proposal, which will be presented to the 2013 legislature Mayor Rybak said, ““Property taxes in Minnesota have risen dramatically in the past decade in communities large and small across our
state. I’m looking forward to working with this great group of mayors to come up with long-term solutions for a fairer tax system for Minnesota and a sustainable state-local partnership.” “The legislature’s continuing cuts to LGA have increased the financial pressures on local governments throughout Minnesota. I look
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Governor Mark Dayton to this group of distinguished mayors to advise us on whether LGA should be revised, or simply funded,” said Governor Dayton. “The amount of LGA distributed to Minnesota cities is approximately half of what it was a decade ago, which has hurt cities’ ability to provide critical services like police, fire, snow plowing and street maintenance. Legislative decisions to reduce local aid have also resulted in the State’s shifting budgetdeficit problems onto local governments, forcing them to reduce their budgets and increase local property taxes
— the most regressive and unfair of all state and local taxes,” Governor Dayton continued. Mayor Rybak will co-chair the Advisory Group with St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, a former Republican State Senator who has served as mayor since 2005. Governor Dayton named the following other mayors to the Advisory Group: Mayor Bruce Ahlgren, City of Cloquet Mayor Dave Bartholomay, City of Circle Pines Mayor Beth Baumann, City of South St. Paul Mayor ReNae Bowman,
City of Crystal Mayor Ardell Brede, City of Rochester Mayor Chris Coleman, City of Saint Paul Mayor Debbie Goettel, City of Richfield Mayor Don Ness, City of Duluth Mayor Joyce Nyhus, City of Buffalo Lake Mayor Alan Oberloh, City of Worthington Mayor Marlene Prospeck, City of Hoyt Lakes Mayor Mary Rossing, City of Northfield Mayor Dave Smiglewski, City of Granite Falls
Insight News • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Page 9
BUSINESS What’s wrong with everything? Plan Your Career By Julie Desmond firstname.lastname@example.org Recent articles linked to through LinkedIn, the professional networking website: “What’s Wrong with Interviews?” “Why Your Resume Isn’t Working” “Forget About Raises and
Benefits” and “More Companies Ban Sitting During Meetings.” I ask you, What’s wrong with sitting? I like sitting. I have a cushy chair and a solid oak conference table. Sitting lets me look you eye-to-eye and take notes comfortably. How does one take notes comfortably standing up? Tom Shadyac recently produced a documentary entitled I Am. He traveled the world asking a couple key questions: What’s wrong with the world? And how can it be fixed? Spoiler alert: his conclusion was that
what is wrong with the world is us, humans. And responsibility for fixing it lies with, yes, us, humans. There seems to be a consensus out there that business-as-usual and life-as-we-know-it needs to change. What I wonder is, can the premise change? If virtually everything needs improvement, perhaps it’s time to adjust the focus away from, “What’s wrong with it?” to, “What do we need here?” Example number one: If meetings are not working, standing or sitting is not going
to change that. Back up one step, forget about the meeting altogether, and ask, What’s my goal or objective? I have to plan a conference that involves twenty eight people from three states. Forget the knee-jerk “I’ll call a meeting” approach. Instead, challenge yourself to find other ways to communicate as needed, and as much as needed; no more, no less. Example number two: Forget about raises and benefits. Tradition tells us that well paid people are happy employees. Yes, we all work for money.
But take a look at the young employees of Face Book. Once that IPO gets off the ground, they are going to have more money than they have ever dreamed of. Will it keep them at Face Book? Are there other reasons people want to work there? No one stays anywhere forever anymore, so back out of the How do we keep them? question, and ask instead, How do we capitalize on this talent while we have him or her? Are you with me? On a global basis, we have a lot of fixing to do. On a more local
level, some of that repair will begin to happen when we blow up the old paradigms. We need to stop manipulating an old model or rethinking an old question. Back up one step and rethink your approach based on your current objectives. Taking that road less travelled can make a difference starting now. Julie Desmond is Talent Manager for Express Employment Professionals. Send your comments and career planning questions to julie. email@example.com.
Super Bowl, super dollars Dissecting Diversity By Cheryl Pearson-McNeil Being that I’m not a football fan, it stands to reason that the Super Bowl isn’t normally high on my priority list. But I felt I had a vested interest in tracking the results of Super Bowl XLVI this year for a few reasons. First of all, I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana (don’t hate) and since the big game was being held in Indianapolis this year I wanted to be sure my state delivered a quality product of which I could be proud. Secondly, I was interested in seeing if this year’s Super Bowl XLVI could deliver more viewers than last’s record setting game (including AfricanAmerican viewers). And lastly, I love creativity and wanted to see how much was apparent in the commercials that usually debut during the game. So of course I did not actually watch the game. But hey, I work for a research company, so I know exactly what happened! Apparently, Indianapolis delivered. There were no major catastrophes or mishaps that will make the state hang its head in
shame. In fact, I dare say I had a couple of East Coast friends who attended the game say how impressed they were with the city. That they were surprised not to see corn stalks growing in the middle of downtown. Yes, we Hoosiers can be sophisticated when we need to be. As for delivering viewers – Super Bowl XLVI did not disappoint. I have observed in previous columns that the popularity of football seems to have replaced baseball as that age-old American pastime – at least when it comes to television viewing. Last year, Super Bowl XLV, ranked as the #1 Most Watched Show for AfricanAmericans (ages 2+), with 12.5 million viewers, from January 2011 – June 2011. This year’s Super Bowl XLVI upheld that new tradition, and attracted even more viewers, an estimated 111.3 million total viewers. Whether you are a diehard fan or a non-football enthusiast such as myself – that’s pretty impressive. (At press time I didn’t know how many of this year’s viewers were Black, but of course I’ll share that information with you as soon as I get it). What’s even more impressive was the $3.5 million advertisers were willing to pay for each thirty second commercial for a chance to reach those millions of viewers. That’s up from $3.1
million from last year’s Super Bowl. I watched every single one of the 54 commercials online back to back. Even minus the football game itself, that took me a while. Nostalgic, confusing, goofy, bad taste, sentimental, action-packed, morbid, sexy, intriguing, fantasy-filled, hilarious – although there were a couple of spots that were unremarkable, there was most assuredly at least one spot that resonated with every viewer (and what’s a Super Bowl game without a cameo appearance by Betty White or a shout out to Aretha Franklin these days?) Of course I have my favorites.
We all do, which is why those spots cost so much. They grab our attention and are discussed around the water cooler – or, er, in the age of Twitter – tweeted about ad nausea for the next few days. The types of ads that dominate the Super Bowl scene historically tend to be the same each year. According to Nielsen, five advertising categories dominated Super Bowl broadcasts from 2007 – 2011: Automotive: $172.2 million spent over that period Beer: $126.9 million Motion Picture: $120.7 million Regular Soft Drink: $81.2
million Tortilla Chips: $42.5 million
ADS TURN TO 12
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FULL CIRCLE Why men don’t routinely use the “L” word Man Talk
By Timothy Houston Another Valentine’s Day is upon us and with so much talk about love in the air, why is it so hard for men to recurrently say the words “I love you”? Women use the “L” word with such ease in the vein of, “don’t you just love these flowers”, or “I love this dress!” Over and over and without fail, women use the word love to reflect how they feel about people, places, things, and experiences. Men, on the other hand, use it limitedly if at all. This phenomenon is why I thought it is important to give my insight on the reasons I believe men don’t routinely use the “L” word. First, men have difficulty distinguishing the grey area
U.S. From 1 Here, Black people are counted as 3/5 of the population, or 3/5 of whole persons, who are white. Black people could not be counted as whole persons at the time because Africans were legally defined as property (chattel) by the powers that be. At this time, Black people made up 20% of the
between “like” and “love.” If there is ever doubt on which to choose, men will cautiously lean toward the word “like.” If pressed to express more emotions, a man may then add adjectives to the word “like” to give it more power such as “I like you a lot” or “I really like you.” When it comes to expressing emotions about places, things, and experiences, for a man, the use of the word “like” is usually sufficient. Secondly, some men are uncomfortable saying it. These men have a limited amount of emotional experience connected to the word love. They know what it is to love their family, but they seldom have to say it for them to know it. For a man to put his emotions into words requires him to have had past emotional experiences that connect him to the feelings that coincides with the current use of the word. This lack of familiarity leaves the man uncomfortably in the grey area again. Thirdly, some men have American population, or one out of five Americans. Nearly one out of every three Southerners was Black. Counting Black people as 3/5 of the population gave the slave holding planter class tremendous advantage over the north in Congress. Because of this power brokers in early U.S. history were southern and slave holders, i.e. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, George Mason, and Andrew Jackson. “The Migration or
negative experiences from using the “L” word in the past. These
men may have previously dated someone who took the use of
Importation of Such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.” ARTICLE I, Section 9, paragraph 1. This section gives the government the power to charge the southern states ten dollars
($10.00) per African brought into the country, the same as any other “commodity.” In addition, slavery importation was due to be outlawed in 1808, twenty years from 1787, at the time of the writing of the Constitution. The importation of slaves never ceased. It took the Civil War to stop slave trafficking. The coffers of the government grew substantially from the money on duties paid for Africans. “No Persons held to Service or Labour in one State, under
the word love to mean marriage. By using the “L” word, this man opened himself up to the expectation that the relationship must move to the next level. This new expectation resulted into pressure that the man now connects to a negative experience associated with the use of the word. Next, a man may not use the “L” word because his previous actions may not line up the present use of the word. His recent bad behavior may hinder him. How can he say that he loves you after the things he has done. As much, as he would like to use it, he does not feel worthy. Because he now knows the word carries responsibility and consequences, he will most likely wait until his current actions line up with the future use of the word. Finally, men do not use the “L” word for fear of over use. For a man, to associate the word love with every day usage makes it common and love is not common. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it
is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8). A man’s use of the word love should be reserved for the special occasions that both deserve and demand its use. So when the woman hears it, she knows that the man in her life has thoughtfully considered its use, and has reserved it especially for her. This gives truth and sincerity to its use, and is the reason why real men do use, or should I say overuse the “L” word.
the Laws thereof escaping into another, shall in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party whom such Service or Labour may be due.” ARTICLE IV, Section 2, paragraph 3. This is really the first fugitive slave law. The U.S. government agreed to protect the “property” (enslaved Black people) of the planter class. With the support
of public law, a Black person who escaped slavery could be captured and returned to the condition of slavery, for which the “Negro catcher” would receive ten dollars ($10.00). At one point in the U.S. history this was a lucrative business. States also paid rewards for capturing and returning the freed men. There were instances when “free Black people” were captured and put into slavery for the first time by bounty hunters.
Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For questions, comments or more information, go to www. tlhouston.com.
Insight News • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Page 11
MCTC students create new affinity group Nobody Asked Me
By Fred Easter There are some young brothers and sisters at MCTC that are doing some terrific things. They have founded a chapter
Caldwell From 1 8th graders but something about the excitement in the room told Charles he was in the right place so he immediately began to convince Mr. Scott of his need to stay. “I need to be here,” Charles remembers pleading. Mr. Scott must have seen something in Charles because instead of turning him away, he gave him a project, a challenge to prove his worthiness or drive to be in art class. Mr. Scott gave Charles a one by four inch solid piece of pine and the appropriate carving tools; he then directed Charles to whittle a “rattling ball in a cage,” a popular yet difficult wood carving practice. Charles spent the rest of the night whittling away and in the morning showed up to Mr. Scott’s classroom with his perfected wood carving. Mr. Scott took one look Charles rattling the ball and said “little dude, you can come into the room anytime.” And that is
of Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB). I believe it’s the first in Minnesota. I hope to come to know a lot more about SAAB, and these remarkable young people, in the months to come. What is already clear to me is that they are working together toward their joint success there. Among their number are ex-felons and single parents. Most are some years removed from their last High school classroom. But they want this opportunity at MCTC to work
for them and they see their unity as a positive addition. There are gifted and talented faculty of color and staff there as well. All in all, despite the challenges, this is a community about which one has to feel optimistic. Last week was SAAB week. I attended two of the events. Two powerful sisters, Lissa Jones and Sarah Walker, of Second Chance, presented at one of the events. I am still reeling from some of the factual data that Sarah shared.
Did you know that in 1980; 14% of African-American brothers who didn’t finish High School found their way to prison? Today 40% of that group is finding their way to the joint. That’s a nearly 200% increase in 31 years. This, and other chilling data, highlights the United Way’s decision to cease funding alternative schools. For example, before Reagan’s War on Drugs began, there were about 200,000 Americans incarcerated across the country. Today, that
number stands at 2.4 million. The 1000% increase is largely a function of that “War”. We have not seen substantial increases in murders, rapes, burglaries and assaults. Nor have we seen substantial increases in the captures and convictions of the major importers and distributors of illicit drugs. The rank and file of the drug trade is crowding the prisons. Recently, I saw an interview of Russell Simmons. He used the phrase “the mathematics
of modern slavery”. It is an apt description of the forces behind what we see happening in our communities. The United Way doubled down on its decision to pull support of recreation by pulling its support of alternative schools. But the brothers and sisters of SAAB are locking arms to create an encouraging counterpoint to this doom and gloom. They deserve all the support they can get.
what Charles did. Prior to this Charles knew he had creative ability and was interested in art but didn’t understand it. This experience triggered confidence and showed young Charles that creating art can get you places. From that day forward Charles recognized himself as an artist and so did his community. Charles began to exhibit his work at age 14.
North was not only important for the community but for the artistic integrity of the work, “the strength of a piece that is produced and developed in a community is only amplified by viewing it in the community from which the vision was born.” Caldwell is encouraged and challenged by the idea of art as a business. A huge motivation for Charles is sharing his gift
is a huge risk. Displaying art alone cannot pay the rent.” Caldwell is working with community partners and cultivating new relationships to bring greater visibility to the gallery, his work, and the North Minneapolis art scene. Caldwell is also working to diversify his business by adding artistic screen printing component and an online gallery of his work.
other child in the community.” The elder would purchase the candy in bulk, have the children sell the candy, and give the youth a percentage of what they sold. He quickly realized he could make more money by eliminating the middle man. Caldwell worked as a plumbing apprentice for a time but was drawn back to art by his talent and his community. “A blessing or a curse that is the thing about talent, to use my artistic talent makes me an entrepreneur. If I do not create this product no one else will. I do it for my community.” His talents have nurtured and supported by the Northside. Evidence of this is the several murals that Caldwell has been commissioned to create throughout Northside, including the newest piece located on 4th Street Saloon on West Broadway Avenue and Our Struggles that was commissioned for the Delisi’s Building in 2009.
As for the Northside, Caldwell believes the community should continue to focus on cultivating arts entrepreneurs, businesses, and unique retail shops. In doing so along with continuing to infuse public art along the W. Broadway corridor will help the corridor and the neighborhood gain positive visibility now and into the future. He suggests using arts as a tool for enhancing and showcasing community vitality, “art is the food that we need to make our life expressive. Art can bring a smile on your face or it can bring a pain on your soul. Art is something that represents us when we are all gone. Archeological finds tell our stories, the stories of the past.” “The CCaldwell Fine Arts Gallery and Studio is a retail space open to the public for viewing and for purchase of affordable prints and original investment pieces for home and office décor and gifts for distinguished taste. This new gallery fulfills Caldwell’s longtime aspirations to create a space in the neighborhood he grew up in to celebrate, empower and inspire others to create and appreciate art.” ccaldwellfinearts.com
On Opening a Business in North Minneapolis Being a lifelong resident of North Minneapolis, Caldwell believes the Northside was the right place to open his gallery. “North Minneapolis is the community I grew up in, where I have developed my artist talent, the community has watched me grow and develop, from a child with artist talent into an businessman with a product.” He opened the gallery for the community so they can have something special and unique and to invite those from other areas to showcase the talent the Northside has cultivated. Caldwell described why opening the gallery in
“art is the food that we need to make our life expressive. ” with the community and those who want to learn about art. However, Caldwell is also a realist, “To many, opening the gallery signifies that I have financially “made it” as an artist. However, anyone who has opened a business, art or other, knows opening the doors
On Becoming an Entrepreneur Like most artists, Caldwell has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He established his first business at 12 years old, “when I was a kid I use to sell candy door to door with an elder and
On The Future Looking ahead, Caldwell would like to establish his gallery as a popular Northside destination and implement a weekend long jazz festival outside his studio. “There is a unique opportunity to have something in this community, in this part of the city, which will bring about a new way that North Minneapolis is viewed.” He is also looking forward to creating opportunities for youth and adult arts education. Caldwell would like to educate other artist about the business of art.
Business Name: C. Caldwell Fine Arts Gallery and Studio Business Owner: Charles Caldwell Location: 125 West Broadway Avenue, Suite 120, Minneapolis MN Hours: Wednesday through Sunday at 1-7pm Phone: 612-386-5114 Website: ccaldwellfinearts.com
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So what makes Super Bowl Sunday so super? Artspeak
By Irma McClaurin, PhD Culture and Education Editor I spent the day at a sports bar for almost five hours trying to discern what attracted so many to the event known as “Super Bowl Sunday?” In some ways this article is a tribute to a late colleague, Dr. Walter Dozier, who was both a professional journalist and anthropologist, specializing in—you guessed it, the anthropology of sports. When you’re told that each company that had an ad played during Sunday’s Super Bowl game paid $3.5M for a 30 second spot, and that 1.25 billion portions of chicken wings were eaten during this game weekend, or that some people were willing to pay $4,000 for a ticket to the game, you gotta wonder, what’s the allure. We anthropologists tend to build upon Aristotle’s thesis that “Man is by nature a social animal;” we assume the human species (men and women) to be social and study how humans operate individually and in groups. The need to belong, to be part of a social group seems to be structured into our DNA. While I did not conduct a scientific study, I did use one of
the primary methods of cultural anthropology—participant observation. When I arrived at one of the local sports bars in the North Hills area of Raleigh around 4pm, all was quiet. For a moment I was caught off guard and disappointed, but my friendly bar mate told me to wait, and sure enough around 5pm the place instantly filled up. I noted groups coming in: men and women, all men, all women and those of us holding ringside seats at the bar. When I asked, “why the Super Bowl?” one fan, a New York transplant, said he came to cheer for his home team. It made him feel part of something, and relieved his sense of homesickness. He also liked the air of competition and rivalry—a big thrill in football. And, finally, he would have “bragging rights” if his home team won. For some of the women sitting at the bar, they said they liked the commercials—a few of those shown were more creative than anything you regularly saw on television, and at $3.5M a shot, they should be (I pity the ad agencies whose ads bombed). Other women were there to admire the quarterback—sort of like vicariously experiencing things through a romance novel. But I couldn’t help but notice that what happened around the bar and throughout the room was that people eventually began conversing with someone they didn’t know. It would start out casually with a question—
who are you cheering for? And regardless of whether they were on the same side, or even not, that query would spark conversations. At a time when most of us are glued to cellphones and Ipads, conversation has become a lost art. And somehow, folks seemed
time show. Most of us who remembered Madonna in her heyday recognized that Lady Gaga is deeply influenced by the Queen of pop. While internet reviews of the extravaganza the next day critiqued Madonna for lip syncing—come on, she’s in an open-air stadium of 75,000
“Football is where we can beat someone fiercely and without regret—after all, it’s only a game. “ more interested in talking to a real person than hanging out on their phones during this event. That is not to say they weren’t connected. Mark, the Bio-Tech guy was multi-tasking and having a phone/text conversation with his brother who had a bet on the score during the first quarter, while guiding me through the game. His brother didn’t win, but it was interesting watching Mark’s dilemma. He needed to have the Pirates score a touchdown after the Giants had accumulated 9 points. So there he was, a NYG fan to the core, rooting for the other side—just enough so his brother could win the pot, but with hopes that the Pirates would not outdistance his beloved NYG team in the end. Spectacle watching is also part of the allure—the half-
people; for being stiff in her dancing—she looked pretty good at 53+ to me; and for not pushing the envelope and being more risqué—she has children now, they watch—I found myself “Voguing” and singing along with her, as did another grey-haired woman seated down the bar from me. In his 2009 blog on “Why Men Watch Football,” Bob Andelman suggests that football appeals to the “little boy” in men who imagine themselves running, throwing and catching passes against all odds. It is also a game where mostly men bond—though there were some women cheering ferociously in the bar, and it was not for the cute quarterback. From my brief observations, I would suggest that football is an opportunity for people to
relate to each other at the most basic level of camaraderie and competition. Within the group camaraderie, we know when we scream at least half of the 75,000 in attendance will join us, not to mention a portion of the 111 million people that Nielsen says watched from home. On the competition side, we join in a collective desire to see the other side tackled, blocked, and we revere the occasional gifted steals. Football is where we can beat someone fiercely and without regret—after all, it’s only a game. And there are core American values at play in football, with the Super Bowl being the pinnacle of these values on display. We recognize the hierarchy of coaches, quarterbacks and others in the game, and the glimmer of hope that the underdog can emerge victor despite all odds (the Horatio Algiers myth of success in the face of adversity). Since all the players are supposedly equally talented, somehow the football field begins to look like the level playing field that we wished existed in the real world. And the Super Bowl is the best example of a true meritocracy. Everyone is equally talented, and the best players/teams win because they are just slightly better. And finally, we admire the radical individualistic player who makes brash decisions that can put the team at risk, but also send them over the top. So few of us are willing to risk the wrath of the group to prove our
exceptionalism. We see it all the time in football, and in the Super Bowl we pray that certain players will be on point so we can bear witness to their bravery, even at the risk of head and body injuries—which can be severe and damaging (but that’s another story). I’m not sure if I’ve got it right about what’s super about the Super Bowl, but I now know it’s a great opportunity to have a real conversation, meet interesting people, and be part of a group. After all, sociality is what it means to be human. For more information: http://anthropologyworks. com/index.php/2011/02/03/ football-and-basketball-asamerican-rituals/ http://www.amazon.com/ Meaning-Sports-MichaelMandelbaum/dp/1586483307/re f=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8& qid=1296253052&sr=1-1 h t t p : / / w w w . threeleggeddragon.com/ writings/simply/simple.social. html © 2012 McClaurin Solutions Tags: football, “Super Bowl”, “human behavior”, sports, “group behavior”, “American values” Dr. Irma McClaurin is the Culture and Education Editor for Insight News. She is an anthropologist and writer living in Raleigh, NC and a former university president. (www.irmamcclaurin.com) (@ mcclaurintweets)
Creative Commons / Nicole Cordeiro
Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium
Guided tour of house that Jerry built well worth the price of admission By John Singleton If anyone had told me that I’d pay $30.00 for admission to a sports stadium where no event was taking place, I would have thought they were smoking something illegal, or at least drinking something 80 proof. But that’s exactly what I did during a recent trip to Dallas, and I was stone cold sober. I’m not prepared to say it was the best $30.00 I’ve ever spent, but the VIP guided tour of the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, was well worth the price of admission, even if you don’t root for the Cowboys. I was still miles away on a crystal clear Saturday afternoon when I spotted the oval,
Ads From 9 Advertisers make such substantial investments because data, analysis and the bottom line – brand awareness, which
glistening dome of the stadium rising some 300 feet above the flat terrain. Since there were no events scheduled, getting into the parking lot and making my way to the Will Call window was simple. I shuddered to imagine what it must be like on a game day with nearly 85,000 diehard fans arriving at roughly the same time. Not surprisingly, the tour starts and ends in the pro shop, where there is a mind-numbing array of pricey Cowboys branded merchandise – from jewelry to every item of clothing known to mankind. Up a long flight of steps, I entered a waiting area near the concession stand, which was open for a variety of snacks. A word of warning, you can’t take anything to eat or drink during the tour so be careful of your timing.
(Yes, I learned that the hard way.) The group of about 20 visitors, many sporting their favorite player’s jersey, is escorted to a section of comfortable padded seats for an overview of what we are going to see during the tour. The tour guide’s script is sprinkled with lots of jokes and jibes --“Are there any fans of teams other than the Cowboys? Security will escort you to the nearest exit immediately!” Think comfort, not fashion, when it comes to footwear because over the course of nearly two hours you will be escorted to virtually every level of the stadium. From the Dr Pepper Star Bar on the upper concourse, you will be treated to magnificent interior views of the field and that unbelievable $40 million, high-definition, four-sided video
board. You’ll also enjoy equally spectacular exterior views of such nearby landmarks as Texas Stadium, home of the Texas Rangers, and Six Flags Over Texas, a gigantic amusement park. Many areas of the stadium will remind you more of being in a five-star hotel than a sports facility. Nightclub-like lounge areas have richly appointed interiors that are elegant and timeless, while still subtlety capturing the football themes and imagery that make the whole place possible. Be sure to check out the imported black granite that seemingly glows with “Cowboy blue” highlights when viewed from just the right angle. The stadium also doubles as art museum, with millions of dollars of artworks on display.
Keep up with your tour -- “We lost a couple of folks last week, and we still can’t find them!” – because it might well take a while to find your way out of this complex and colossal edifice. Highlights of the tour include a visit to Cowboys owners Jerry Jones’ very own private box (on the 50-yard line of course), as well as a look inside the locker rooms of both the Cowboys players and the Cowboys Cheerleaders. Tour takers are encouraged to take pictures, but no video. The tour concludes on the playing field, where the guide explains how to get back to the pro shop and exit the stadium. Standing on the field beneath that 600-ton behemoth of a video board is yet another of the many excellent places to take pictures. You can also satisfy your fantasy
of sprinting down the sideline and making a long over-the-shoulder catch from Quarterback Tony Romo. Everyone who follows professional football at all knows that Jerry Jones is famous for his hands-on management style and his world-class ego. It is inconceivable that Jones would have built a football stadium that is not equally world class. After a tour of Cowboys Stadium, I happily join the chorus of those who have already proclaimed, “Mission accomplished, Mr. Jones!” Editor’s Note: Tickets for guided and non-guided tours of Cowboys Stadium can be purchased online at: http:// stadium.dallascowboys. com/tours/tourInfo_ VIPGuidedTours.cfm
translates into spending dollars – prove that the Super Bowl is a sure thing. The investment returns are measurable. Ads that aired during 2011’s Super Bowl XLV were, on average, 58% more memorable than commercials which ran during regular programming in the
first quarter of 2011. That all important brand awareness for commercials airing during the Super Bowl time slot was nearly 275% higher than awareness for the same spots which ran during regular programming. Did your affinity toward any of your favorite brands increase
because of their commercials? Or, were you enticed by the elaborate advertising to try the other guy? That’s what it’s all about. While we are certainly entertained, we are also presented with a myriad of choices. How and where we choose to spend our hard-earned
consumer dollars is up to us. As always – even for the non-sports fans among us – that’s power, people. And oh, by the way – I saw streaming video of the halftime show after the live broadcast. Madonna, girl, if that’s what 53 looks like, I want to be like you
when I grow up! Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com
Insight News • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Page 13
Have you seen Red Tails yet? By William Reed Have you gone to see Red Tails yet? When the biopic about the heroic Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilots opened, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs set the tone for African Americans by tweeting: “It’s important that we all go support Red Tails the movie and go see it this weekend!!!” The movie Red Tails has become a Black cause célèbre. The most expensive film ever made with a predominately African-American cast has renewed debates about whether “Black films” can succeed at movie box offices. Blacks’ esteem and posture in the marketplace seems at stake based on Red Tails’ financial successes, or lack thereof. Red Tails, was financed by legendary Star Wars director and producer George Lucas, with a little help from his friends Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. To promote the movie, Lucas makes the case that “the deck is stacked against” movies based on the Black experience. Lucas has been putting forth that Hollywood’s lore is that Black history is a downer and no one wants to see it on the big screen. Much admiration should go to Lucas for the chutzpah he’s shown in promoting Red Tails. Principal among Lucas’ ploys was telling how difficult it was getting the film financed and made. Lucas says he began developing Red Tails around 1988. But, because of the prejudices of Hollywood, it took him 23 years before he went on his own and spent $58 million to produce and $35 million to distribute the film. The crocodile-tear line Lucas, who has an estimated net-worth
20th Century Fox
of $3.2 billion, is using is that he spent $100 million to bring the film to the world and the world should beat a path to the theaters to see the film and help him recoup his investment. With Red Tails and his “civil rights” storyline, Lucas gave Black Americans the kind of “respect” we seek; and we intend to pay him back for the gesture. The billion dollar question is: how can Blacks replicate the same kind of nationwide enthusiasm for films that Blacks produce? Lucas’ claim that Hollywood executives refused to fund films with an all-Black
cast has compelled millions of Black Facebook users and tweeters to focus chatter and attention toward supporting the movie. Lucas’ marketing genius made Red Tails a “must see” for Black Americans. Special screenings of Red Tails were hosted by prominent Blacks across the country. Receptions and screenings were held in Washington by President Obama, by Snoop Dogg in Los Angeles, and in a host of cities by Tuskegee Airmen chapters. Wells Fargo Bank gave Lucas “red carpet treatment” as Red Tails’ “official financial
institution sponsor.” Red Tails has redeeming features and draws on the exploits of the 332nd Fighter Group. It stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. (previously in The Tuskegee Airmen, an HBO movie made for television) and Terrence Howard. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black aviators in the U.S. military. They were trained as a segregated unit at Tuskegee Institute and became one of World War II’s most respected fighter squadrons. Despite continuing racism throughout their lives, many became affluent businessmen
and community leaders. Lucas’ investment has a shot of paying off. Red Tails opened in 2,500 theaters, and raked in $19.1 million its opening weekend. Theaters in AfricanAmerican markets did especially well in top grossing theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Males made up 51 percent of audiences, while 66 percent were over the age of 25. As the film continues to have box office success among AfricanAmerican audiences, it will not mean that Hollywood studios will suddenly see the light and increase their investments in
Black movements and films; if anything, it will do more for Lucas and his iconic stature than it will for Black cinema. Supporting Black films, art and culture in general, should be a tenet of the African-American community. But, it surely would be a better use of our time and talents to give up looking to Hollywood for our affirmation, images and definition. William Reed is president of the Business Exchange Network and available for speaking/seminar projects via the BaileyGroup.org
Black history month events “What’s Up With the Brothers -From Marginalization to Empowerment” - Feb. 17 Noon to 1pm • Dr. Whitney Stewart-Harris, Executive Director, Diversity and Multiculturalism Minnesota State Colleges and Universities • Master of Ceremonies: C o u n c i l m e m b e r Melvin Carter III @ City Hall/Courthouse - 15 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN (Lower Level - Room 40 A & B) Black History Showcase - Feb 17 Featuring spoken word, dance, and r&b from Boom Box Music Group & Mama Brenda from Chicago, IL, PYC Steppers, Jayla Anderson, The Discovery Crew, Nakia Marie, Brandon Trevon, Chantel Winn, PYC Taiko Drummers, Wise Charter School African Drum and Dance. Feb. 17, 6:30, Adult $10, Student $5. @ Capri Theater 2027 W. Broadway N. Mpls. Where Stars Are Born and Legends Are Made! - Feb 17 This year the students at Roseville Area High School have dedicated themselves to telling the story of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem. The students intend to give the audience an opportunity to glance into the heart of America’s black community through the eyes of this world famous cultural institution. The Black History Month Performance will take place on Fri. Feb. 17 at 7pm in the Roseville Area High School Auditorium. It is free and open to the public. 1240 County Rd B2 W. Roseville, MN The Evolution of African American Music - Feb 19 Combining lecture and vocal performance, Bruce A. Henry illustrates the connection between contemporary music
trends and four centuries of African American music. Sun., Feb. 19, 1:30pm, The Center for Changing Lives, 2400 Park Avenue S, Mpls. Free will offering received. Refreshments will follow the concert.
Abundant Catering. The cost of lunch is $10 and is served on a first-come, first-serve from 11:30 to 12:00 (February 24th only). @ City Hall/Courthouse - 15 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN (Lower Level - Room 40 A & B
“More than a Month” - Feb. 21 7pm. Filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman sets off on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. His tongue-in-cheek journey explores the complexity and contradictions of relegating an entire group’s history to one month in a so-called post-racial America. A discussion will follow the film. Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave.
Book Discussion - Feb. 25 2pm. Continue the discussion of Walter Mosley’s work with a conversation about his recent nonfiction title: “Twelve Steps toward Political Revelation.” Arlington Hills Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street
Highland Park Book Club - Feb. 22 6:45pm. Join the Highland Park Book Club for a discussion of Walter Mosley’s book, “Known to Evil.” Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway “Walking in the Footsteps of Gordon Parks: Preserving His Legacy” February 24, 11:30am1pm (Program 12 to 1pm, Lunch from 11:30am to 12pm) • Robin Hickman “Walking in the Footsteps of Gordon Parks: Preserving His Legacy” • Niece of Gordon Parks, Robin Hickman is the CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions, a television and film production, youth mentorship and media consulting company, with a mission to make meaningful media and produce powerful social impact experiences. • Opening Remarks by Mayor Chris Coleman. • Proclamations by Mayor Chris Coleman, Council President Kathy Lantry, and Ramsey County Commission Chair Rafael Ortega. • Master of Ceremonies: Deputy Mayor Paul Williams. • Lunch will be catered by
Bareedina/Beauty Feb 25 & 26 Celebrating the strength of Oromo women of Ethiopia through art. This photography exhibition and cultural presentation showcases Oromo women from the Horn of Africa. It is a testament to the ways these women cultivate beauty despite great challenges in their lives. Open house: 1-4pm/Program 2-3pm Feb. 25&26 @ Augsburg College Foss Center - 625 22nd Ave S Mpls. Donation is encouraged to help develop a film documentary on the outstanding resiliency of these women. Lou and Sarah Bellamy – Feb. 26 2pm Join Lou Bellamy, artistic director of Penumbra Theater, and Sarah Bellamy, Education Director, for a page-to-stage discussion of the upcoming production “The Amen Corner,” by James Baldwin. Also, actors from the company will present brief excerpts. Central Library. 90 W. Fourth St. ‘Who am I…Who is We? A Portrait of TAWU’ - Thru. Feb. 28 This exhibit by the Obsidian Arts group The Artist Within Us (TAWU) reflects the inner visions and perspectives via
KFAI celebrates Black History Month February 21st On Tuesday, February 21st, KFAI will have the singular honor of being the only community radio station in Minnesota to celebrate Black History Month with a day of dedicated programming! KFAI will celebrate this year’s historical event with musical programming,
documentaries, and treasured stories honoring African American greats. We will feature “KFAI’s Moment in Black History,” where a compilation of significant contributions made by African Americans since 1890 will be included within hourly news updates, courtesy of students
from Cristo Ray Jesuit High School and the Minnesota African American Registry. Please join us for this special celebration by tuning to KFAI on Tuesday, February, 21st. To find out more about KFAI’s Black History Month plans, visit kfai.org/BHM.
self-portraits of artists of color. The display includes paintings, illustrations, photography, textiles, sculpture and jewelry.
Obsidian Arts invites the public to join in an opening reception on Friday, Feb. 10, 6–8pm at the Hennepin Gallery. Free and
open to the public Mon.-Fri., 7:30am–6pm, at the Hennepin County Government Center, A Level, 300 S. 6th St., Mpls.
Page 14 • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Insight News
Northside neighborhood beat By Ivan B. Phifer Staff Writer SCNA is holding a board meeting 6:30-8pm Tuesday February 14 at Creekview Park 5001 Humboldt Ave. N. For more information: Amy Luesebrink 763-561-1616 scna@stribmail. com Black History Showcase Plymouth Youth Center (PYC) Tech High School Discover Crew presents a Black History showcase
7pm Friday February 17, The Capri Theater, 2027 W Broadway, Minneapolis, MN. . Concert The Capri Big Band will perform a Black History Month concert 3pm Sunday, February 19, The Capri Theater, 2027 W Broadway, Minneapolis, MN. Celebrating Black Existence The Environment Justice Advocate of Minnesota is inviting the community to a public gathering and dinner. Come and share a meal, listen to music, meet
our staff and board members, hear more about how our work has evolved, and give us your feedback and ideas. EJAM Past, Present and Future Community Gathering and Dinner takes place 5pm Saturday, February 18 Kwanzaa Church 3700 Bryant Ave. N. To RSVP call 612-876-3754. Cleveland The Cleveland Neighborhood Association will hold a board meeting 7-9pm Monday February 20 at 3333 Penn Ave. N.
Victory The Victory Neighborhood Association will hold a neighborhood meeting 7-9pm Tuesday February 22, St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church 4301 Thomas Ave. N. For more information: Debbie Nelson 612-529-9558 info@ victoryneighborhood.org African American Family Night Richard Green Central will host African American Family Night 4:30-7:30pm Tuesday February 28th 3416 4th Ave. S. For more
information: Brenda R. Carrasco 612-668-3736 Braulio.Carrasco@ mpls.k12.mn.us Light Rail Transit (LRT) Comments are being taken until Feb 17th for the proposed “scoping” process for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) route thru or around North Minneapolis. This stage will establish the “scope” of the EIS. Comments can be submitted on the special form at: http://bottransit.org/ library/2011-2012_deis_scoping_ documents.htm, or visit http:// bottransit.org for additional
information regarding the scoping process. Interfaith Breakfast The Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition will hold an interfaith breakfast to connect with the community. NCRC interfaith breakfast for financial justice with Congressman Keith Ellison. Hosted by Bishop Richard Howell with co-hosts Rev. Jerry McAfee, Rabbi Sim Glaser, Rev. Dwight Seawood and Rev. Paul Slack 9-10:30am at Shiloh Temple 1201 W Broadway Ave.
Reflections: Heroes are neighbors who lend a hand The Todd Western Charity Foundation presented a check to a family devastated by the May 22, 2011 tornado last December. Dora Hill and her family were severely impacted by the tornado while living in their Penn Avenue home. Hill received a check for 1,000.00 to help with continuing to rebuild her life. The check was presented at the Pillsbury United Communities’ Executive Offices with other North Community Response Team (NCRT) representatives present. Dora Hill shared her experiences since the tornado. Hill described the effects on her children and her entire family’s livelihood. “Everything has been coming together,” voiced Hill. These funds helped Hill, get current on her rent at her new home. The contribution reflects the propensity of our people stepping up to help our people in times of crisis and need. It also reflects the legacy of compassion and giving that is a core tenant of Black family life. Todd Western Sr., a Waterloo, Iowa native, was the first Black supervisor at John Deere in 1966.
Photo courtesy of NCRT
L to R: Adam Western, Dr. Barbara Western, Chanda Smith Baker*, Dora Hill, Todd Western III, and Rev. Richard Coleman*. Not pictured Bill English* *NCRT Committee Member.
Having had 200 acres of farm land for over 145 years in his family, he was one of a few Blacks in the Midwest that owned farm land. Todd Western III noted the charity foundation was developed because they wanted to honor their father’s legacy. “With all that he accomplished, he also gave back to the community and taught his three sons to do the same. We saw this as a great opportunity to give back to someone in need,” said Western. Reverend Richard Coleman, NCRT committee member added, “We are very thankful for every gift and effort made to help families recover from damages caused by the tornado. The fact that a single family saw and seized the opportunity to act - on their own - to help their neighbors is a story of enormous significance. We are grateful for the Todd Western family and their demonstration of civic engagement.” The NCRT and Todd Western Charity Foundation are committed to helping North Minneapolis and its residents restore.
The history of North Minneapolis - Event includes screening of TPT/U of M documentary ‘Cornerstones’ and community reception The history of Minneapolis’s north side is the topic of Critical Conversations, a new series of public discussions with scholars, historians, artists and community leaders on urban issues and ideas debuting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at
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the University of Minnesota Urban Research and OutreachEngagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis. The kick-off conversation will focus on the people in front of—and behind—the camera in the recent university-produced documentary, “Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis.” The documentary, which premiered in November on Twin Cities Public Television, traces the history of Minneapolis’s north side communities through place-based stories interwoven with themes of immigration, race relations and social change. Cornerstone’s director and Emmy Awardwinning filmmaker Daniel Pierce Bergin will moderate a panel of experts, historians and community leaders: Roxanne Givens,
businesswoman, philanthropist and founder of the Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center; Linda Schloff, historian, lecturer and former executive director of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest; Katherine Solomonson, associate professor in the university’s School of Architecture and an architectural historian featured in “Cornerstones;” John Wright, professor in the university’s Department of African American and African Studies. Discussion topics will include the stories behind the documentary, social dynamics and changes on Minneapolis’s north side landscape over the past century and the importance of neighborhood connections and community common
ground. The discussion and question and answer session will be introduced by university Senior Vice President Robert Jones. A public reception will precede the event at 5 p.m., followed by screening of “Cornerstones” at 6 p.m. “Critical Conversations builds upon the Urban Research and OutreachEngagement Center’s role as a vibrant campus-community gathering place for urbanfocused research, dialogue and cultural events,” says UROC Executive Director Heidi Barajas. “A conversation about the place-based history of North Minneapolis lays the perfect foundation for future discussions about one of Minnesota’s most vital urban neighborhoods and the people who shape its future.” The event is free and open
to the public. UROC’s mission is to link the university in public partnership with urban communities to advance
learning, improve quality of life and discover solutions to complex urban challenges. For more information, visit uroc.umn.edu.
Institutions From 1 to be with my people. I moved away from my community. I didn’t associate with people from my community. I thought that was really strange. As my sobriety increased I saw something. I said there has to be a different way. Why is it that I can’t be sober in the community that I come from? Henry Sullivan and I got together and asked, “What would it take to start a program in the community?” First thing I did was reach out to the elders: Harry Davis, Richard Green, Earl Craig, all pillars of the community. They said we will work with you and we created a grassroots operation. We started planning Turning Point in 1975 and we opened our doors in 1976. I happened to be working for Hennepin County as a management analyst in Mental Health and Chemical Health. We opened the doors with $30,000 from McKnight Foundation, General Mills Foundation, Honeywell Foundation, and the Minneapolis Foundation. That paid for our building. Sadly, most people in the community did not want Turning Point in the community. AM: Because? PH: Because they didn’t understand. AM: Stigma? PH: Exactly. They didn’t understand what we were trying to do. So we opened Turning Point with one client. It was so funny because David Goodlow, who was my Program Director at that time had a family. I didn’t have a family at that time. David worked the day shift and I worked the night. I will never forget: One night I was sleeping. It was hot. All of a sudden, something told me while I was sleeping “Open your eyes!” It was our first client. He had a concurrent disorder, mental health and chemical health issues. I thought I just levitated and ran into the office and locked the door. That’s where we have come from. Turning Point has evolved from being a halfway house to a primary treatment program to a real culture-specific service center. AM: Let me ask you to explore and explain more about your personal story since you opened with that. It is a great story. It is inspiring. And I want to praise you and thank
Insight News • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Page 15 you for the power that you give our community by telling your story. But, so, Peter, you were a veteran returning from the Vietnam War? PH: Yes. AM: And you were a professional. PH: Yes. AM: And so you were the last person that would be in need of mental health services or in chemical dependency. PH: Correct. AM: So how did it happen? I raise the question so you can help all of us understand that any of us is a moment away, a drink away, a pill away, a day away from self annihilation. So how did it happen? PH: Well part of it was that I was in the Vietnam era. They didn’t call it war back then, but when they are shooting bullets at you, it’s a war. Coming out of the service, there were no opportunities for me. There were opportunities for other people but for me there really were no opportunities. After sobriety, I found out about all the opportunities I had as a veteran. But I had to get sober. So there are many people who are living life and who don’t understand when the opportunities are there for them. I tell the story about my son Jeff Hayden who was elected to the Minnesota Senate from South Minneapolis. Till Jeff was six, I thought it was the right thing to do being a father taking his son to the infamous bar called Peacock Alley on Saturdays. I showed up proud, showing everybody ‘this is my son’. I didn’t understand that there was a bigger issue for me and that was understanding who I was and my self-worth. My self-worth was fairly low. Even though I had done things: I came here, graduated from De La Salle Military Academy, had a couple of years of college and all those kinds of things. But the support system wasn’t in place. That is what we need and that’s what we try to do at Turning Point. Now lastly about me and Jeff. I sobered up after he was 6 years old, then I became the man that this boy needed and deserved in his life. Al, we have too many things that come into our lives creating issues for mothers and fathers. How do you become a good dad or a good mom? How have we allowed the outside world to penetrate our culture and who we are as African Americans? Our problems are not only on the dysfunction side of the
equation, but on the solution side as well. I was surprised the other day to discover a white run program in chemical and mental health services, a forprofit white program, that now claims it is culture-specific and that its doors are open for the community. But they just sent a note out. They didn’t meet with the community. They didn’t say what their program was. But Turning Point, and trusted resources like ours have problems getting client referrals from the County and other referring sources? AM: Like the courts. PH: The lack of referrals and support from the county is always an issue. Now my question is, why should getting our people referred to service institutions in our community even be an issue. Is it because we do such a good job? AM: Records show that your program works. You turn around lives. PH: For the last 30 years we have been the best in Hennepin County. AM: And one of the best in the country, I understand. PH: Oh no question, no question. Our model has been duplicated all around the country. And it came from what I went through as a human being, and what I needed to do for myself. But it would not have happened if it hadn’t been for our community that was supportive. AM: And what community means is institutions. Let me shift then to Stella Whitney-West, CEO of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, another legacy institution in our community. NorthPoint offers a full range of medical and behavioral health and community service resources. Tell me the NorthPoint story. What is the mission? Stella Whitney-West Thank you Al, for this opportunity. The NorthPoint story starts with Pilot City. There are many in the community that know us as Pilot City. We changed the name to NorthPoint in 2003 but we have been around since 1967, when we were created as a grassroots partnership between the community, the federal government, the city and Hennepin County. Shortly after the riots and turmoil in the 60s we were part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. NorthPoint Health and
Wellness is really a communitybased initiative, it has always demonstrated the promise and illuminated the principle of community ownership. The framework and legacy continue today. And so what I am most proud of is that currently, as a federally qualified health center delivering a full range of services, we are a communitygoverned organization. People think that we are Hennepin County. Hennepin County is a partner. But the governance is the community. Federal law mandates that at least 51% of our board of directors has to be patients. Our patients at NorthPoint mostly come from North Minneapolis. Over 80% are people of color. So even though I am a Hennepin County employee, I report to that community board. They have the authority to hire. They evaluate. They can even terminate the CEO. So that is significant. As an organization we have full clinical services, including medical, dental, behavior health. We have an on-site pharmacy. We also have transportation services for our clients. We have a social services agency as well. They all work together, seamlessly, in serving our patients and our community. As a community clinic with the second largest federally-qualified health center in the State of Minnesota, we serve over 23,000 individuals. When you look at health centers you look at how many visits you have annually. We have over 80,000 visits. Just looking at the sheer numbers says that we touch just about everyone in North Minneapolis. To piggyback on what Peter has said, it is extremely important to be acknowledged as a community institution. We are an asset to the community. It is extremely important that we recognize that and that we make sure that the services and resources get leveraged to make sure that this community gets its fair share. Understanding and attaining equity is the only way we are going to have a healthy community. When we talk about health, we must talk about it comprehensively. We have to talk about the social determinants of health. You can’t just look at what happens in our clinic, we have to also be concerned about chemical dependency. We are concerned about housing. We are concerned about food and nutrition.
We have a food shelf that is just as important for the residents as it is for them to come in to see a doctor or a dentist. If they don’t have enough food to feed their family, that triggers all kinds of issues like their children being able to perform academically in school, issues like parents subjected to debilitating stress and that stress leading to abusing chemicals and domestic violence. All of this is important. And we really value input that the community has had in the growth of NorthPoint. North Minneapolis sees NorthPoint as its healthcare home. In fact, we are considered a State-Certified Healthcare Home and we are the first community health clinic in the State of Minnesota to be a healthcare home. That is important to us. AM: You both create and serve community-based institutions that support families. Michelle Johnson also deals with families that are broken and too often as a consequence of the things you described, the stresses on families that you have described Stella Whitney-West. Some families and children fall between the cracks. But there are resources to help stabilize and restore the lives of children. That’s what the Guardian Ad Litem Program is, right, Michelle? Michelle Johnson: When we started in 1978 we were the second program of this nature in the country. The philosophy was that judges didn’t want to just listen to attorneys and lawyers litigating child protection issues. They wanted an independent community voice in the process. In Minnesota the number of families who are in child protection are predominantly poor and of color. But the advocates are not. So I was hired 4½ years ago to change the complexion of the program and to really get the word out to the community and especially communities of color about our children that they need our people in the court process. We need the community voice as part of the equation when looking at issues in child protection. Without our voice, the outcomes for children aren’t as successful. I have personal experience with that. I was in foster care in 1969 to 1971 before this program existed. I truly believe that if there had been a community voice at the table a different decision would
have been made about my placement. So I have both a personal passion for this work and professional interest as well. Our volunteers, we have 230 of them right now, are carrying over half of Hennepin County’s caseload of guardian cases. Right now we are serving over 2000 children. AM: And so you need more African American and other people of color? Michelle Johnson: African Americans, Spanish speaking, Hmong, Somali, Oromo, those are our largest groups. We do have paid staff who deal with our Indian child welfare cases right now but all of the other communities need every day volunteers. AM: So what are the barriers to engagement? Why is there sometimes reluctance for our families to step up? Are we too busy? Are we afraid? Do we feel we aren’t smart enough, competent enough? Do we feel that our voices don’t matter? Do we hesitate because we think that we will be perceived as a threat to government institutions? MJ: Part of the problem is misconception. There is misunderstanding about what the child advocate role is. We are independent. We are not the county. We are not “the system” per se. A lot of our community’s involvement with child protection or the police results in negative things in our lives. When families hear “child protection” they automatically think the system is stealing children, our children, and often placing them in foster care outside of our community. There is lot of anger about that. I say if you are concerned, then this is a positive thing. Other than being on a jury, this is the only way regular citizens can have a say in the court process in the State of Minnesota, so use it. SWW: I like to frame it differently. I think that as African Americans, we do step up. We do volunteer. But we do it differently through our churches. I can’t think of anyone who is not involved in a church. And everybody I know who is involved in a church, nine times out of ten, is giving back through the church. There are the informal networks you create through and for your children when you make sure you know your
INSTITUTIONS TURN TO 16
SUPER BOWL TURN TO 15
Insight News • February 13 - February 19, 2012 • Page 16
Courtesy of Phil Hernandez
NorthPoint staff in front of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center
Insitutions From 15 children’s friends. You interact with them when they come over to the house or when you give another child a ride home. In doing so, you are taking care of that child. Those were the kind of things that I saw growing up in the community and that I also depended on when I was raising my children. There were families that I knew I could call that would pick my child up from school if I couldn’t do that. So I think that we are stepping up but I think we need to reframe it. Then let us determine how do we take that and formalize it.
Wow do we make sure that we are involved in those institutions, particularly in the schools and at the County. There has been a tradition where we did not feel comfortable… we didn’t feel that we were welcome there. That must change. We must actually reframe how we are involved so that we do feel welcome, engaged because we see ourselves as owners of the enterprise of governance. That’s what I mean by promoting and attaining equity. Engagement does not always work the same as it does for non-communities of color as it does for communities of color AM: Dr Hayden? PH: I work in the community because I came from the community. I work in the community because
the community loved me and gave to me what I am today. I agree with Stella, to a certain extent, that churches are our salvation and where things start for us. When I was growing up, because I didn’t know who my father was, and because my mother was 15 when she had me, I went to three summer camps. The churches sent me to three camps. I went to Ramsey camp. I went to Camp Hope in Swope Park. And then I went to another camp. A person who wasn’t my uncle, but we called him Uncle Garvin said, “I am going to Minnesota, Boy. You could just go with me and catch some fish.” I think we have lost that. We have lost it. That is not a blame kind of loss; it is just that we have forgotten.
Then what concerns me is sometimes people talk about where you live as an African American. An African American will say “well you live in the suburbs,” Well we heard that same criticism two generations ago when Paseo Boulevard, which is now in the center of our neighborhood in Kansas City, was a suburb for us because we couldn’t purchase a house within a block of Paseo. It’s like a generation ago here in Minneapolis: Camden neighborhood, and even Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods were neighborhoods that were almost “suburban” as far as where our people could live is concerned. But the movement of our people is the movement of progress and expansion. So the fact that you have an
opportunity to live in a better home didn’t change the fact that we all went to school together and that we all understood things. I think what has happened is that we have given some of our responsibility to a system that doesn’t understand what we are trying to do and where we are trying to go. We have gotten relaxed by giving that away. I am saying and what responds to the real core of your question is that we need to take that system and make it “us” again and move forward. That’s the only thing that can save us. That is the attainment of equity. AM: Dr. Peter Hayden, Stella Whitney-West and Michelle Johnson, thank you all for being here. One of the guests in yesterday’s taping,
Dr John Taborn, said that we simply don’t take enough time praising and celebrating ourselves. He said it is not a question of celebrating being the number one home run king in America, or the top this or the “first” that, but there are many ordinary things our children, our families, our neighbors do daily that deserve note. They deserve praise. He said we fail to consistently praise each other for the things that we do that are ordinary and that are great in their ordinariness. So I am saying to you, use this newspaper, use Insight News, use this program to project that positive energy, that vision of strength, that notion of unlimited possibility to and for our people. Thank you so much for what you do.