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CALL FOR WRITERS Insight is looking for bold, experienced freelance writers. We are looking for sports, education, and political writers who are deadline-oriented. Writers will produce stories for print and online publication, and on occasion, for broadcast. Previous news writing experience a must. Interested persons should send writing samples to patricia@insightnews.com. NO WALK-INS please.

INSIGHT NEWS March 12 - March 18, 2012 • MN Metro Vol. 38 No. 11 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts • www.insightnews.com

THE BIG SHAKE-UP Representative Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-58B)

Northside redistricting creates new opportunities for Black leadership

Senator Linda Higgins (DFL-58)

North Minneapolis is up for grabs

Mark Stenglein, Hennepin County Commissioner

By Al McFarlane, Editor-in-Chief North Minneapolis is up for grabs. The confluence of Census-driven redistricting, the announced resignation of Hennepin County 2nd District Commissioner, Mark Stenglein, and the earlier announcement that State Sen. Linda Higgins would not seek reelection has set in motion what could be a historic domino effect scenario for Black political empowerment unrivaled in Minnesota history.

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Minnesota Senate district 58, soon to be 59 By Lydia Schwartz, Contributing Writer As Minnesota’s population grows, each legislator needs to represent the additional people more accurately. Redistricting is the process of redrawing the boundaries of election districts in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial US Census. The purpose of this update every ten years is to ensure that the people of each district are equally represented.

Terra Cole Councilmember Don Samuels (Ward-5, Minneapolis) Natonia Johnson

Kinship

Care: Grandparents

Raising Grandchildren

Dr. Priscilla Gibson, PhD

Photos: Suluki Fardan

Dorothy Dunning

By Al McFarlane and B.P. Ford, The Editors The propensity of Black people to care for their own relatives is both historical and well documented, a panel of experts said at the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, public policy forum held Feb 22 at Minneapolis Urban League Glover Sudduth Center for Neighborhood and Economic Development in North Minneapolis. Kinship care is a staple, especially in the African American community, said Dr. Priscilla Gibson, PhD., assistant professor at University of Minnesota School of Social Work. “It has been occurring since enslavement when African parents and their descendants were sold and separated from their children. Relatives and others took the children into their households,” Gibson said. The Forum was presented as part of the Conversations with Al McFarlane radio and television program and aired the week of February 28. “During the Great Black Migration, young Black parents moved from the South to the North for better jobs, leaving their children behind, usually with their grandparents. Both the grandparents and the children knew that the parents would return for the children,” Gibson said.

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Naima Richmond

Beautiful Brown Snow Lady

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NAACP blasts Minnesota Majority A “troubling” advertisement by Minnesota Majority, a selfdescribed election watchdog organization, was denounced last week by NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous as pandering to and promoting racist stereotypes. “The Minnesota Majority advertisement plays into racial stereotypes that have no place in public debate. It reveals how weakly this group believes their own claims that they are trying to battle voter fraud. They

NAACP

NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous

know that the myth of voter fraud is nothing but a fraud itself, so they resort to fear and bigotry to make their case. A photo identification law of this nature would not only disenfranchise people of color, but also low-income workers, young voters, elderly and disabled voters. Rather than suppressing the vote, we should focus on making registration simple, accessible and efficient. Minnesota Majority’s campaign is part of a coordinated

attack on the right to vote in Minnesota and states across the country. The group has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has drafted voter suppression legislation introduced in over thirty states. This attack on democracy is unprecedented in scope, cynical in practice, and will be destructively effective if left unchallenged.”

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Dr. John Williams: Entrepreneur Business Leadership Profile By Erin Jerabek, Executive Director West Broadway Business Area coalition Dr. John Williams has been providing dental services to residents of the Twin Cities since 1978. A native of Toledo Ohio, Dr. Williams came to Minnesota on an athletic scholarship to play football for the Gophers and attend the University of Minnesota. Dr. William was

Artspeak

Beyoncé, beauty and the almighty dollar

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part of the 1967 Big Ten Gopher Championship team, the last Big Ten Title the Gophers brought home. After graduating with a B.S. in education, Dr. Williams was recruited to play football for the NFL. While playing for the Baltimore Colts, Williams decided to continue to invest in himself and his future by attending dental school in the off seasons at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. At an early age, Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes shared with young Williams the current disparities and therefore potential opportunities for African Americans to work as leaders in the healthcare

Dr. John Williams industry. African Americans are still are underrepresented dental and medicals schools. Williams took this advice to heart.

Murua

We are women and we have rights

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Suluki Fardan

After playing for 12 years in the NFL, participating in

WILLIAMS TURN TO 10

Business

What did I say?: Soft skills matter

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IRAQ REFLECTION: Anniversary of the Kurdish spring By Bud Courtney from the Peace Blog compiled by Joy Mosley 17 February 2012—a year after the Kurdish spring. A sense of powerlessness is in the city as military and police presence builds in anticipation of possible activities on the first anniversary. There is no clearcut agenda for a demonstration, just calls on Facebook to gather in the square at 11:30. All calls are faceless and a sense of

North From 1 Minnesota has long discussed the possibility and eventuality of increasing the number of Black people and other people of color in city, county and state elective office. But despite the theoretical opportunity, on the street, those who would be candidates, whether spoken or not, measured their gait by the internal cycles of DFL leadership entrenchment, particularly in North Minneapolis, but likewise in South Minneapolis and St. Paul. Meaning, though certain geographic areas were identified and discussed as likely districts, or wards, for electing an African American, or person of color, based on the demographic of the districts, in all cases the seats presently were owned by well heeled DFLers, who, relatively speaking, have sufficiently served Black interests. The taking of a political seat generally meant fighting for space being vacated by

Districts From 1 While some election district border changes are more drastic than others, Minnesota has also been forced to renumber most of the districts. Meaning that after the elections this fall, State Senate District 57 will become 58, 58 will become 59, 59 will become 60, and so on. Probably the biggest factor in redistricting is the overall trend of urban populations growing at a faster rate than suburban areas. State Senator Linda Higgins (DFL58) says that the six state senators representing the City of Minneapolis will now be whittled down to five, “diluting the overall power and strength of the city [in the State Legislature].” To reduce the role that legislative politics might play, Minnesota carries out legislative and congressional redistricting by an independent and bipartisan commission. District judges are required by law to avoid the drawing of boundaries for the purposes of partisan advantage or incumbent protection, a practice called gerrymandering. However, in addition to equalizing the population of districts and complying with federal requirements, judges may attempt to create compact,

NAACP From 1 The advertisement supports an amendment that would require Minnesota voters to produce photo identification. It features a number of characters outside a voting booth, including an African-American in a prison uniform and a Latino character in mariachi garb. The text reads: “Voter Fraud – watch how easy it is to cheat in Minnesota’s elections.” The advertisement can be viewed here: http://action. naacp.org/page/-/VoterIDad. jpg. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

uncertainty looms. At 10 o’clock we joined a large group, many of whom we had walked with through the streets of the old city during the Valentine’s Day witness, at the graveyard above the area where one of the young men killed during the demonstrations is buried. It was a solemn beginning to the day, a reminder that anything can happen when things spin out of control. Ten minutes after leaving the graveyard, two of us from CPT and a friend from the Federation of Civil Societies

stood at a coffee shop a block from the city square and watched as wave after wave of Peshmerga Armed Forces marched through the street into the square, the focal point for sixty-two days of continuous gatherings a year ago. When we arrived, the area was dominated by these troops, creating a barrier at every walkway. Each man carried a wooden or plastic baton. They appeared tense and poised to strike. A thousand citizens walked or stood on the sidewalks watching in anticipation. It felt as though

almost any single unusual movement could set off a chain reaction of violence. And with that, to our right in the street we saw journalist, Rahman Garead, surrounded by Peshmerga. He was yelling and being beaten on his side and legs. We tried to reach him, hoping in some way we could come to his aid but this became impossible as the number of security forces grabbed and took him away. We saw a small number of men quickly taken into custody. It was unclear what,

if anything these men had done though we learned that most were journalists, at least one an American. An hour or so later, the tone of the square changed. The air was out of the balloon. The armed presence remained but was physically relaxed, body language read “at ease.” People went back to browsing the shops and moving about. We left the square to write a press release with a friend from the Federation for Civil Societies, sent it out to ninety-six media outlets and then returned to the

square once more to judge the tenor of the afternoon. Same scene as when we departed earlier. So we returned home, saddened that a friend was beaten and detained and that our feeble attempt to help him was in vain. We learned two hours later that the Peshmerga released all those taken into custody without charging them. We were grateful for that. We are grateful that our day did not end where it began. At the graveyard.

remain in the current B side of the district, or, whether the new redistricted lines would place her residence in the A side. District 58A, renamed to 59A, is the property of State Rep. Joe Mullery, who over the years created lots of enemies, but who always maintained a core support organization that ensured his reelection. The question was, would and could Cole fight Mullery for the A side seat, if she were redistricted into his domain? The late February announcement by state courts of new district boundaries did in fact place Cole in the new 59A. Cole, however, following rules of the court and the DFL party, declared she would continue to run in the new 59B District, and that she would move from her current residence to take up residence in 59B.

In the Black community, Natonia Johnson, who is a district boss and former DFL Chair for District 58, and who is also a former Stenglein staffer, dispatched announcements that she would run for the County Commissioner seat. But just as quickly, and with the overpowering reach of incumbency, Higgins declared she, too, would run for the County Board seat. Shortly thereafter Minneapolis 5th Ward City Councilmember Don Samuels announced he would also run for the County job. Water cooler conversations centered on three questions: Was there already a deal cut between Stenglein and Higgins that is now simply playing out according to script? Would Samuel’s declaration of interest be seen as a lack of interest in his present job representing the predominantly Black 5th Ward? Would it make it virtually impossible for him to seek reelection to 5th Ward, should he not win the County Board job?

an incumbent for whatever reason. In the case of the current sea-change opportunity, two big events have unfolded. First, multi-term incumbent Linda Higgins announced she would not seek re-election this fall. Speculation was that she was looking for a management position in county government or with a metropolitan level governmental agency. Within minutes of her announcement, District 58B State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion announced he would seek the Senate seat being vacated by Higgins. A lawyer and businessman, Champion long envisioned the possibility of a Higgins departure, and with planful encouragement of his inner circle, within hours launched the campaign that will likely lift Champion to the rank of state senator, where he will join South Minneapolis’ Sen. Jeff Hayden, and St. Paul’s Sen. John Harrington. Champions’ bid for the Senate seat creates an opportunity where he presently serves which becomes 59B by dint of redistricting. Terra Cole, a long time Northside

resident, but relative new comer to DFL politics announced she would seek the open seat being vacated by Champion.

Her announcement, however, was a little tentative, because when she first announced, it was unclear whether her address would

Real Game Changer Mark Stenglein’s announcement that he was hired to run Minneapolis Downtown Council elevated the Northside music chairs game to epic proportion.

contiguous districts, and try to keep certain communities within a single district. According to the Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s website, the state legislature has the statutory responsibility for redistricting congressional, legislative, and Metropolitan Council districts. County boards are responsible for redistricting county commissioner districts, city councils for redistricting city wards, and school boards for redistricting board member districts. In addition, cities and townships will establish their precinct boundaries as part of the redistricting process, as will counties that have unorganized territory. The Minnesota State Senate has 67 seats, each with roughly the same population. According to the US Bureau of the Census, in 2000, the Minnesota Senate District 58 had a population 73,265. After the census in 2010, future Minnesota State District 59 has an approximate population

of 79,275. Each Senate district each is broken into northern and southern sections (A and B), creating the 134 Minnesota State House of Representative districts. The Democratic-Farm-Labor Party needs to gain four Senate districts, for a total of 34, and is going to have to work very hard in order to regain those seats. The Republican Party of Minnesota currently has the majority with 37 State Senators. The future House District 59A had a jump in population from 2000 to 2010 by 7,000 residents, for a total population of 39,653. As a result, State Rep. Joe Mullery’s district (DFL-58A) has been extended from its current Lowry Avenue N. border, all the way down to W Broadway Avenue to add both the Harrison and Jordan neighborhoods to his constituency. State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion’s (DFL-58B) constituency has also been extended southeast

of Hennepin Avenue to include most of downtown Minneapolis and Elliot Park, but does not include the Loring Park neighborhood. The western border of District 59 follows Xerxes Avenue

N, rather than Washburn, to include part of the Bryn Mawr neighborhood. Sen. Higgins says that redistricting is much like ‘insider baseball’ in that it matters a lot at the State

NORTH TURN TO 13 Capitol because of the numbers it involves. “Most constituents probably won’t even notice a difference,” Higgins said.


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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 3

Forum From 1 But the need to care for relatives, called “Kinship Care,” has change in recent years, Gibson said. “Now, grandparents and other relatives are caring for children, mostly due to the social problems experienced by the parents such as drug abuse, incarceration, domestic violence and low income,” she said. As a consequence, we now have a child welfare service and system that is called public or kinship foster care. About 17% of children who are not living with their parents are in such an arrangement. About 76% of children who are not living with parents are involved in Informal or private kinship care, the informal care-giving arrangements and agreements among family members. There are more children in kinship care than there are in under the child welfare system. Grandparents assume the role as kinship caregivers more than any other relations. While all races are involved in kinship care, African Americans are disproportionately involved. Statistics Over 6.7 million children under 18 live in household maintained by their grandparents. (American Community Survey, 2005- 2009) Races/ethnicities: 51% = White 19% = Latino 24% = African American (AARP, 2010) Gibson said initially there were conflicting analyses regarding the benefits and tradeoffs of raising children in kinship care. Some studies found that children in kinship care had more behavioral problems and lower school performance levels. While, no caregiving arrangement that separates children from their biological parents is perfect, the latest research is showing that kinship is beneficial to children in care, their caregivers, and the community, Gibson said. Newer research studies show that children who start off in kinship care have fewer behavioral problems than those who initially are placed in foster care with strangers. Benefits of Kinship care: 1. Viewed as counterbalancing the trauma children experienced from the loss of parental care (Shlonsky & Berrick, 2001) 2. Research on kinship care found that placement with relatives is less traumatic than in stranger foster care (Berrick, 1996; Benedict, Zuravin, & Stalling, 1996; Geen, 2000). 3. Kinship care is seen as strength in Black families, family preservation, and a protective protection. 4. Most culturally-appropriate, least restrictive environment for children 5. Indian Child Welfare Act Benefits to children in kinship care 1. Less likely to change placement. This provides stability. • Children who have placement stability also have better behavioral outcomes. • Some researchers view the placement in kinship care as permanency. 2. More likely to remain in their same neighborhood, to be placed with their siblings, and have consistent contact with their biological parents. 3. Had lower estimate risk of behavior problems than those in stranger foster care (Rubin, et al., 2008) 4. Placement with relatives is less traumatic than in stranger foster care (Geen, 2000). 5. Daily nurturing, safety, and a familiar environment enable children to develop close bonds with their caregivers (Shlonsky & Berrick, 2001). Gibson said social policy recognizes relatives as beneficial to the lives of children and support placement with relatives when possible. She cited the following sources supporting this position: • The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (Hegar, 1999), • The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-272), • The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) • Adoption and Safe Family Act of 1997 (Jimenez, 2006) firmly identify kinship care as a valuable resource for children who can no longer remain in the care of their biological parents.

Willie Mae Demming

Reverend Randolph Staten

Scott Gray

Beverly Propes

Janet Salo

“My research with African American grandmothers exploring strategies caregivers used to raise a vulnerable generation,” she said, ”found that these grandmothers used 7 parenting strengths or strategies: 1. Maintaining effective communication • Talking to instead of at grandchildren 2. Taking a strong role in educational process of grandchildren

• For the child1. Age and sex of the child. 2. Wishes of the child according to age. 3. Interaction and relationship of the child with his/her parents, sibling and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest. 4. Child’s adjustment to home, school and community. 5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

• For the parents1. Extent of involvement in caring for and nurturing the child. 2. Evidence of pattern of domestic violence by either parent.

make reasonable efforts to keep siblings together. The legislation authorized grants to states, Tribes, and nonprofits to implement programs designed to help children who are in, or at risk of entering foster care to reconnect with family members. Gibson said myths are challenged in part by acknowledging stories of public celebrities who have been raised in kinship care. “For example, our president, Barack Obama, has shared that his grandparents raised him. Oprah has talked about being raised by her grandmother. I can imagine that there are many others who are contributing to society,’ Gibson said. According to Minnesota Kinship Care Association’s (MKCA) Janet Salo, Kinship Navigator Project Coordinator, kinship care, or relative care, is defined as the caregiving for dependent children by a relative or a close family friend. Salo said the grandparent, aunt, uncle or close family friend who has stepped in — and stepped up — when a child experiences trouble at home, such persons who are just beginning to explore the possibility or have already brought a child into their, MKCA offers: • Information and referral to assist you • Support and discussion groups to connect you • Educational workshops to inform you

relative caregivers? Dorothy Dunning is still looking for help from the Black community in her effort to get custody of her biological granddaughters, Princess Knox, 2, and Dorothy Faith Knox, 1. Right now, the infants are in foster care at the direction of Hennepin County Court. Dunning has contested the efforts of Steven and Liv Grosser to adopt Princess and Dorothy Faith. The Grossers are foster care providers and have custody of the girls. In a story published in Insight News last October (http://www. insightnews.com/news/8074family-preservation-dunningsseek-to-adopt-grandchildren), Dunning, who lives in Gautier, Mississippi, says she is bewildered and frustrated that the Court has ignored her request for legal custody of her own grandchildren, despite recommendations of Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health staff, and of Hennepin County Attorney staff that the children should be adopted by the family member. Dunning and her son Aubrey Knox, of Minneapolis, speaking at the public policy forum at Minneapolis urban League said they still are seeking legal advice and community support for their family. The children’s parents, Aubrey’s brother, Princeton Knox, and Javille Sutton, both struggling with chemical dependency, relinquished parental rights. But according to Aubrey, who said he is married with three children, gainfully employed, and willing and able to support his nieces, the County never reached out to him in a relative search. In March 2011 the Grossers filed to adopt the girls. In April, the grandmother and step-grandfather, Dorothy and

Benefits of Kinship care 1. Viewed as counterbalancing the trauma children experienced from the loss of parental care 2. Research on kinship care found that placement with relatives is less traumatic than in stranger foster care 3. Kinship care is seen as strength in Black families, family preservation, and a protective protection. 4. Most culturally-appropriate, least restrictive environment for children 5. Indian Child Welfare Act • Valued education as necessary for productive life 3. Providing socio-emotional support • Giving one-on-one attention • Knowing likes and dislikes 4. Involvement of extended family • Being provided with respite care for grandmothers • Getting family members to serve as positive role models 5. Involving grandchildren in selective community activities and services • Those promoting health interactions and enhancement in development and provided a level of safety 6. Acknowledging and working with the vulnerabilities of grandchildren • Being aware of and working with unique needs of grandchildren 7. Working with the absence of the biological parent(s) • Physically absent but psychologically present • Whether currently involved with bio-parents or not, grandchildren assigned various levels of importance to them. Kinship care has its challenges: • Caregivers must change their lifestyles and we are now looking at the concept of caregiver burden is new to kinship care. • There are concerns expressed mostly by professionals, especially those in the child welfare system that the “Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Intergenerational transmission of poor parenting behaviors from grandparents to adult children and are concerned that grandparent will pass these on to their grandchildren. This is an attitude or opinion with no research to support it. • There may be legal custody issues. Some grandparents want to have some custody of their grandchildren and others do not. Some want to legally adopt while other may not. Guardian defined: A de facto guardian is defined as a person who has been the primary caregiver and financial supporter of a child who has resided with the person for at least (a) six months if the child is less than three years of age and (b) one year if the child is at least three years of age (Indiana Code, 31-14-13-2, 1999 to 10, KRS Ann., 403.270, 2008 Minn. Stat 257C.01 to .07, 2007). Gibson said there are two types of kinship care arrangements: informal, which is an agreement among family members, and formal, which is facilitated in the child welfare system. Examples of factors considered by the court for the child, caregiver, and biological parent are:

• For the caregivers1. Meeting criteria of the de facto custodian. 2. Wishes of the de facto custodian. 3. Relationship of the child with the de facto custodian. 4. Circumstances under which the child was placed with the de facto custodian.

Kinship Care Search • The attitudes of some childcare case workers have been cited as a barrier to kinship placements (Peters, 2005; Beeman & Boisen, 1999; Letiecq, Bailey, & Porterfield, 2008). • Negative attitudes included beliefs about dysfunctional family traditions and the likelihood of collusion between family members and abusers. Workers reported a lingering belief in intergenerational transmission of poor parenting behavior, which is contained in the statement blaming parents “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” • Adoption and Safe Family Act (ASFA) of 1997 acknowledged the unique situation of kinship placement in child welfare (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000) by allowing the placement of children with a “fit and willing” relative as a “planned permanent living arrangement” (Jantz, Geen, Bess, Andrews, & Russell, 2002). • Fostering Connection to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (2008) addressed barriers to relative placement during the identification process by requiring due diligence on the part of CPS workers to identify and notify all relatives within 30 days of removal of child from parental custody as well as requiring states to

MKCA helps people address questions such as: • What legal options are possible? • What financial benefits are available? • What supports are available to children for their emotional and social needs? • How do I connect with other

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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 4

EDUCATION New data from U.S. Department of Education highlights educational inequities around teacher experience, discipline and high school rigor Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lowerpaid and less experienced teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In an event at Howard University attended by civil rights and education reform groups, federal education officials today released new data from a national survey of more than 72,000 schools serving 85% of the nation’s students.

The self-reported data, Part II of the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), covers a range of issues including college and career readiness, discipline, school finance, and student retention. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the CRDC findings are a wake-up call to educators at every level and issued a broad challenge to work together to address educational inequities. “The power of the data is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the impact it can have when married with the

courage and the will to change. The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that,” Duncan said. Among the key findings are: African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the

students expelled. Students learning English (ELL) were 6% of the CRDC high school enrollment, but made up 12% of students retained. Only 29% of high-minority high schools offered Calculus, compared to 55% of schools with the lowest black and Hispanic enrollment. Teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in teaching in low-minority schools in the same district. Assistant Secretary for Civil

Rights Russlynn Ali said that for the first time, this survey includes detailed discipline data, including in-school suspensions, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests. “These new data categories are a powerful tool to aid schools and districts in crafting policy, and can unleash the power of research to advance reform in schools,” Ali said. Part II of the CRDC also provides a clear, comparative picture of college and career readiness, school finance, teacher absenteeism, student

harassment and bullying, student restraint and seclusion, and grade-level student retention. The data from both phases of the 2009-10 CRDC are available on OCR’s website for the CRDC, http://ocrdata.ed.gov. The website, which has been improved for better usability, also contains CRDC data from 2000-2006. For further information about OCR, please visit, www.ed.gov/ ocr. For further information on the 2009-10 CRDC, visit http:// www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ ocr/whatsnew.html.

Richard Green celebrates African American Family Night By Ivan B. Phifer Staff Writer Richard R. Green Central Park School, 3416 4th Avenue S., celebrated Black History Month with a presentation of poetry, music, food and arts. The Sankofa African American Family Celebration took place 5-7:30pm Tuesday Feb 28. Former FOX 9 news anchor Robyne Robinson hosted the event which included keynote speaker Dr. Josie Johnson and musical performances by the Mile High Club and Gary D. Hines & The Sounds of Blackness. “This is a blessing to be invited to such an event,” said Reverend Mary Spratt, founder of Greater Mount Nebo Community Missionary Baptist Church. Sankofa is a Akan term meaning “to go back and get it’. The symbol for Sankofa depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turn backwards. The egg in its mouth represents “gems” or knowledge of the past which wisdom is based. It also

signifies the generation to come that benefits from the wisdom, which is often associated with a proverb. The Green Central Park Choir performed Life Every Voice and Sing and Freedom Calls to Me. Lift Every Voice and Sing was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. Lift Every Voice and Sing was publicly performed first as a poem as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by 500 school children at the segregated Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville, Florida. Its principal, James Weldon Johnson, wrote the words to introduce its honored guest Booker T. Washington. The poem was later set to music by Johnson’s brother John in 1905. Singing this song quickly became a way for African Americans to demonstrate their patriotism and hope for the future. In calling for earth and heaven to “ring with the harmonies of

Dr. Josie Johnson

Suluki Fardan

Liberty,” they could speak out subtly against racism and Jim Crow laws—and especially the huge number of lynchings accompanying the rise of the Ku Klux Klan at the turn of the century. Spratt gave a quick history on Phyllis Wheatley to drive home history and education. “Phyllis Wheatley was a famous female poet, born in West Africa, sold into slavery at age seven and learned to read at age 12,” Spratt said. “She began to read Greek and Latin as well as the bible. She began to write poetry and was supported by her parents. Even though she was adopted, they supported her in the education process,” Spratt said. Dr Josie Johnson said education and history are at the forefront of importance to the next generation. “In my judgment, we have a responsibility to look back in order to move forward,” she said. “Society does not always understand where we have been, and why it is always possible for us to look back and move forward. We have a history and

trail that follows us. If you do not know where you are going, any direction will do,” she said. Johnson also said the current voter ID amendment shows why knowing one’s history is important. “When I hear of an effort to keep us from voting, it reminds me of 1964, when I went to Jackson Mississippi to help our people move in the direction of getting the right to vote,” she said. “The right to vote was passed in 1965. Before that, our people were denied the right to vote. We are looking back at what that meant then, trying to move forward as to where it is taking us today. Don’t lose your sense of history. It is important to remember from whence we came,” Johnson said. “It’s not just about Black history month. It’s a month to recognize all people who have struggled,” Emcee Robyne Robinson said. “There are people that have sacraficed. No education. No school. They worked. Go back. Get the history. Pay it forward because we don’t go further unless we know our history,” she said.


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Richmond: Beautiful Brown Snow Lady By Alaina L. Lewis Contributing Writer Establishing a touch of “soul� throughout American tradition/ culture is as important a venture, as the introduction of the Black Barbie doll was, or the integration of African American’s in the modern day sitcom. Prior to these moments, our stories were hidden amongst ourselves; extending a spotlight or creating a multicultural option for our progeny to engulf, not only fosters personal identity wealth, but it expresses the beauty in having our song too. Adhering to this agenda of illustrating our own throughout popular culture is poet, artist and newly established author, Naima Richmond whose new book, “Beautiful Brown Snowlady� is giving our traditional “Frosty� a new and Afrocentric swag. At almost 80 years old, Elder Richmond is quite clear about her newest adventure as an author. “People keep asking me, ‘Are you going to be the next Maya Angelo?’ And to that I say, ‘No’, I’m going to be the first Naima Richmond!� she cheerfully tells Insight News. Richmond, whose spent years in the spotlight as a famed poet and artist, woke up one day and began to ponder how she could turn her poem, “The Beautiful Brown Snowlady,� into a children’s book. The story is about a young girl who builds a snowlady, but it doesn’t look like her, and with the help of her family and a coat of paint, she is able to paint the snowlady in her image; brown and beautiful. Richmond felt the message behind the words was not only powerful, but timely; something that needed to be available to remind children that “Black is still beautiful. “I had a purpose when I wrote it. Even the little girl in the book has a purpose. She wanted to paint the snowlady

brown so that it could look like her. That’s something you don’t see, or something children might not think of.� Richmond shares, “I like to think that this is the first brown lady on the planet, but I know after people read this, it will definitely not be the last.� Throughout the book, Richmond not only captures Afrocentric culture through the use of African names, traditions and backdrops, but

action behind her dream, and did what most people fear— she put her gears in motion and didn’t hit the brakes, even when she felt a little fear in the rearview mirror. “I like writing children’s stories, and I don’t think there’s enough out there. When people pick the book up, I really hope that they can connect with it in some way, either through something I said, or one of the pictures I’ve drawn.�

she also highlights one of our modern day heroes; President Barack Obama makes a cameo in a portrait on the living room wall of the fictional family she illustrates in her book. “In my mind, I like to think that my book is the first book to ever illustrate our President,� Richmond smiles, “I would really like to give him one too. I’m working on figuring out how I can meet him and present him with Beautiful Brown Snowlady.� Richmond’s desire to meet the President of the United States isn’t a far-fetched one, especially when you understand the faith-walk she’s been on in order to become an author. Richmond wrote, illustrated, self-published, and distributes the book all by herself. After years of attempting other mediums to get it done, she grew tired of waiting for someone else to put

Richmond states, “I think this can become a teaching tool for the children’s voice; family working together to accomplish this little girls goal to make the brown snowlady. It shows the support she had and how everyone wanted to see this become a reality for her. That’s something children need to know they have. I also hope they’ll consider even making a brown snowlady for themselves next winter.� Richmond’s beautiful spirit and her tenacity are melded into the pages of Beautiful Brown Snowlady. The story is rich and powerful and definitely one for everyone. She’s currently in talks to have the book adapted into a stage play as well as a short film, but always in the back of her mind she’s still hoping to catch President Obama’s attention. “Do you have any idea’s on how I can get this book

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Author Naima Richmond to the President?� Richmond asks sincerely. I’m not sure how far my own journalistic work goes, but like Richmond who never waivers on her faith, to that I say: “I like to

think that President Obama will read this article and then maybe Richmond will get her invitation to bring her spirit, her promise and The Beautiful Brown Snowlady to the White

Suluki Fardan

House. To get a copy of the book “The Beautiful Brown Snowlady,� contact Naima Richmond at: 612-522-0776.


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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 6

AESTHETICS Breaking Dawn breaks records By Alaina L. Lewis Contributing Writer Saturday February 11, 2012 marked the first of the two part final installment of the Twilight Saga to be melded into digital heaven; super fans partook in Breaking Dawn’s midnight DVD release, a moment I’m sure they’ve been waiting for since the film hit theaters last summer. According to Summit Entertainment, who’ve recently been acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment, the film sold a record 3.2 million disks (DVD,

Blue Ray) in two days, which gave them the box office record for the year. For those not up on what many are calling this era’s greatest love story (look out, Romeo and Juliet) The Twilight Saga is a billion dollar franchise surrounding the story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen— she’s human and he’s a vampire and they’ve fallen in love despite their quite alarming differences. This forbidden love story is further challenged when Bella’s friend Jacob Black, a werewolf who

is also Edward’s adversary, also expresses his interest in Bella’s heart. This not only makes for an interesting tale, but one that is also told with a sensitivity and grace. It’ll capture the heart of every romantic who enjoys the ups and downs of a triangular love story. If anything is to be said about the series, which can be found both in book and on film, one cannot deny how drawing this story has been for audiences and how electrifying these characters are once you turn the first page or watch the

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first film. One of the elements that makes the Twilight Saga both unique and admirable, is that apart from ignoring all dating norms in order to create new ones in the fictional world of Forks, Washington, it also encompasses a multicultural cast of characters— a large portion of which are played by Native American’s who make up the stories “Wolf Pack”; a definite rarity but indeed a welcomed presence to a major Hollywood production. Twilight’s Wolf Pack, which includes the infamous Jacob Black, played by breakout star Taylor Lautner, also breathes some of Hollywood’s newest up and coming Native American actors, one of which— Chaske Spencer. Spencer plays the role of Sam Uley, the leader of the Wolf Pack. Spencer touched down in Minneapolis, last week, to do press for Breaking Dawn’s DVD release. Spencer, who is 36, and plays a character that spends the majority of the movie shirtless, had no trouble holding his own amongst a cast dominated by twenty-something’s. “They had to keep up with me,” Spencer laughs, “I’m so serious. When I went into Twilight for the New Moon movie, I weighed about 170 lbs. By the end of Breaking Dawn I was between 200 and 205 lbs. I was constantly working out and adding more and more mass. I had seen guy’s documentaries about prison, and stuff like

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L-R: Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon, Chaske Spencer that, they’re not necessarily cut, they’re just big so they can take care of themselves, and that’s what I wanted. I ate a lot of carbs, a lot of food and was power lifting so I could put on a lot of mass. To continue that was hard because if I stopped, I either got really skinny, or it turned into flab. I had to keep consistent on it, and it was tough to keep that going. I think it takes a certain person to keep that discipline.” Although Spencer has enjoyed the Twilight ride for the last 3 or 4 years, he is also ready to explore other film opportunities out there, and truly conquer the independent film market as opposed to commercial scale productions. What he feels Twilight has done for his film career as well as his other Wolf Pack cast mates, is to open doors to a

multitude of opportunities for minority actors because of how this film has portrayed Native American characters in a more positive and less stereotypical light. “When I was reading Twilight, what I liked about it, is that it’s not your stereotypical Native role. It doesn’t have that issue where we had to play a character that had been designed by Hollywood to play Native American as they saw it.” Spencer expresses. “I really like this. It exposes us to a whole new generation of kids who just don’t see us as that. It’s really cool. We’re also able to work that way and it’s opened a lot of other doors for some of the other movies I’m doing that are not just for Native American’s. I turn

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Beyoncé, beauty and the all mighty dollar Artspeak

By Irma McClaurin, PhD Culture and Education Editor Just for the record, we are not in, nor has there ever been, a post-racial moment in America. And so, we must dive deep into historical memory of this country to understand why all the fuss about L’Oréal’s latest advertisement for cosmetics featuring Beyoncé. Racial Passing Centuries ago, before Black was defined as beautiful, those individuals whose features (nose, hair, lips) and color suggested European ancestry hid the origins of their one Black parent and “passed.” These offspring were generally the result of a liaison between a white man and Black woman, and on occasion, between a Black man and a white woman. The latter unions were often the motivation for lynchings in an effort to protect “white womanhood.” And, most often, the former unions occurred under duress, power imbalances and were all too frequent a consequence of a white male slave owner taking control of what he deemed his property— the bodies of Black women. This is a moment in American history in which Black enslaved bodies were considered commodities to be bartered, sold and destroyed, if the owner so desired. During this period, Black women were forced to have sexual relations with anyone whom the Master considered a good breeder, and the resulting children were considered the Master’s property to be bought and sold. So what does this have to do with Beyoncé and L’Oréal and the marketing of beauty products? While the French, who ruled Louisiana until its purchase in 1803, promoted a form of slavery based on assimilation— teaching their slaves French

Still from “Find your True Match with Beyoncé” by L’Oreal culture, language and educating the offspring of their unions with Black women—, we should not forget that origins of the relations were rooted in a power imbalance in which men had control over women’s bodies and used them as vessels for their desires. In today’s parlance, a woman’s refusal of such sexual advances and/or her inability to consent would be prosecuted as RAPE. Back in the day, it was an acceptable standard. What the French did differently from the Britishderived Protestant Americans is that they created a caste culture based upon phenotype and the degree of French cultural assimilation. In short, the closer you were in color to whiteness and the greater your fluency in French language and culture, the higher your social status. The insane degree to which this color caste system operated can be found in the terminology that developed: Mulatto (50% white/50% Black) Quadroon (75% White/25% Black), and Octoroon (87.5% White/12.5% Black). In other parts of the United States, what prevailed was

what my former anthropology colleague the late Marvin Harris termed “hypodescent.” Known as the “one-drop rule,” Marvin argued that under hypodescent, the offspring of a mixed union would be relegated to the subordinate (hypo) status (descent). He used the two terms (hypodescent and one-drop rule) interchangeably. In folk parlance, anyone with a single drop of Black blood (visible on invisible) was classified as Black. This idea of hypodescent has guided U.S. social relations for over three hundred years, and it informed the Jim Crow laws (in place between 1876 and 1965) that prohibited miscegenation (or race mixing) throughout most of the United States up until Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Nonetheless, as late as 1970, the state of Louisiana still had on its books a law which defined anyone with “one-thirty-second ‘Negro blood’” as Black. In New Orleans, the birthplace of Beyoncé’s mother, because of a large “Gens de Couleur Libres” (free people of color ) class, comprised of former slaves who had been freed, slaves who purchased their freedom, the off spring of white men and Black women who were given their freedom at birth or later in life, a new social segment known as “Creoles emerged,” and

continues to this day. Nowhere else in he United States, except Louisiana did such a racial category exist. That social group later was enlarged through the immigration of free Blacks from what is now known as Haiti after its Revolution that began in 1791. What should be noted is that you could have two people with the exact same phenotype and skin color in New Orleans. One could claim to be “Creole,” if they were free and the other would be designated as “Black,” if they were enslaved.

Black celebrities whose faces and bodies often are used to sell the products. I have nothing against Halle Berry or Beyoncé, but they do not look like every day Black women who buy cosmetics. I would love to buy a bronzer sold under the Halle image, but I just can’t get a color to match my skin—I have the same problem with band aids that are supposed to be “flesh colored.” They are, but it’s just not my flesh color—so I am forced to resort to the Snoopy ones.

To Be or Not To Be Hybrid Claiming hybridity and mixture has become very popular in America. It doesn’t help that we have adopted the nomenclature of “people of color,” which includes international people of every social class—some of whom have experienced oppression and some who are from the wealthiest social ranks of their society. So why the negative reaction of Black women to how L’Oréal has chosen to market Beyoncé as representing “every woman” –“African American, Indian, French”? One explanation could be that as powerful consumers of beauty products, the majority of Black women who spend almost $7.5 BILLION in this product area, would like to see themselves represented. Yet most of these consumers would bear little resemblance to the

Black Women’s Dollar Power Dodai Stewart talks about why Black women may not be flocking to buy products branded by the chosen celebrities like Beyoncé in her 2009 Jezebel blog, “Black Women Love Make up, But Does the Beauty Industry Love them Back?” She offered the following as a reason for the lack of mass appeal: “Could it be because many of the black celebrities who pitch cosmetics—Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Rihanna—represent only a light-skinned sliver of what the general population of African-American women look like?” Beyoncé has been hailed as a “Black” entertainer, and has embraced this image for most of her career. Now L’Oréal, whom some accuse of having photoshopped Beyoncé’s skin to make her lighter (an accusation they deny), is marketing this “Black”

Twilight

entitled, “Winter in the Blood” where he plays a character named Virgil First Raise. Although the Twilight Saga has changed his life and created more instances of screaming fans, he still manages to take time for himself through it all. “Between jobs and other movies I film, I go on long breaks. I take off and don’t really pick up the phone that much. I lie pretty low.” Spencer shares, “I like to camp, I like to go road tripping—I don’t

really get too much involved in the show business side, it’s a whole other beast all it’s own. I disconnect for a while so that when I come back into it, I’m rejuvenated and ready to go.”

From 6 down a lot of film offers that are just stereotyped because I can’t go backwards, since I’ve came forward.” Spencer is currently gearing up for a multitude of film projects coming out in the next couple of years, one of which is a starring role in a film

entertainer as ‘hybrid” or “multiracial” but not 100% “Black.” This may seem like betrayal and an insult to the Black women and community who have made Beyoncé famous by buying her music. The approach of hybridity also stands in stark contrast to L’Oréal’s Jennifer Lopez ad, in which she is promoted as 100% Puerto Rican, embracing her identity. Most African Americans have the right to the same claim of hybridity because of the mixtures that occurred (involuntary mostly but some voluntarily) between Black women mostly with European men under slavery, and with Native Americans (often to escape enslavement). Most of us don’t have the means to trace our ancestry, and beginning in the 1960s through the advent of cultural nationalism, we transformed the one-drop/ hypodescent concept that was used as a negative into a positive social ideology and political identity that embraced Blackness (“Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”). Anthropologists and other scientists have presented enormous evidence that concepts of race are not rooted in biology, but are socially constructed categories, but they do have impact on our everyday lives. Politically, choosing categories such as hybrid, multi-racial, mixed, etc, may seem like much ado about nothing, but it can have economic, social and even political consequences. What’s a Beyoncé to do? © 2012 McClaurin Solutions Irma McClaurin, PhD is the Culture and Education Editor for Insight News of Minneapolis. She is an anthropologist and writer living in Raleigh, NC and a former university president. (www.irmamcclaurin.com) (@ mcclaurintweets) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ tvshowbiz/article-1042675/ Beauty-brand-LOreal-accusedwhitewashing-Beyonce.html http://www.creolehistory. com/ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ pages/frontline/shows/jefferson/ mixed/onedrop.html http://thestudyofracialism. org/viewtopic.php?t=473 http://jezebel.com/5261089/ black-women-love-makeup-butdoes-the-beauty-industry-lovethem-back http://www.under standingrace.org/home.html

The Twilight Saga’s Breaking Dawn is currently available on DVD. To learn more about Chaske Spencer, please visit his website at: www.therealchaske.com


Page 8 • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Insight News

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LIFESTYLE We are women and we have rights Murua (Swahili for ‘Respect’) By Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P. March is National Women’s History Month, consequently for rest of this month, I will focus on issues that are important to my sisters (and the brothers who love them). I would be remiss if I did not begin this conversation by stating the obvious. During the last few weeks, a national “back-door” debate has been taking place about abortion and whether women continue to be the property of men. Yep, while very few people have out-andout said the “A-word,” the focus on abortion is a primary issue. You see, in order for a woman to have an abortion, a sexual encounter must have taken place that resulted in the fertilization of an egg. Because this fertilization process requires a man, men have historically believed that they have a right to the fruits of their implantation. In fact, in many cultures and

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religions, a man can “plant” multiple seeds, producing multiple babies and this process is considered a sign of virility, power, and status. The more women and babies that are produced, the more “manly” a man would be perceived as

being. Women, and indeed the children that they birth, were considered property. Consequently, it is not surprising that when it came to generating wealth, African slaves were also seen as “property.” Black male and female slaves were bred to fertilize seeds that would yield strong “stock.” The slave owners’ intention was to breed offspring who were genetically designed for different tasks of labor-- just like horses. This white male racial frame of reference was used to demonstrate white male superiority, white male humanity, and white male power in our society. Psychologically, it would have been impossible to enslave “people” who were “created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Therefore, relegating the less powerful and subordinate groups of slaves to a “less than human” status resulted in less cognitive dissonance, less anxiety and less shame among slave owners. As a result, slaveholders like George Washington, and even Thomas Jefferson found it easier to face themselves in the mirror as long as they could marginalize those they oppressed. Within this historical context, while white women and their children were secondclass citizens, Black women, and children were not citizens at all. Clearly, African-American women have had a unique role in American history that stretches into the present. African American women, even in the new millennium, are haunted by a three hundred year legacy of slavery and the myths and images generated by this

“For people who are oppressors, the creation of distorted imaging serves the purpose of maintaining one’s psychological integrity. It helps them feel all right about being awful.” peculiarly American institution. Slavery and its aftermath created labels for Black women such as “Matriarch,” “Castrator,” “Superwoman.” Carolyn West (1995) notes that other historical images of Black women include “Mammy”, “Sapphire”, and “Jezebel”. Thus, while they have been over-sexualized, degraded and marginalized, African American women have simultaneously been placed at the juxtaposition of being nurturers and “mammies” to entire generations. The recent movie, The Help, depicts the “happy-go-lucky” distortion in image that was conjured up by white men and women who had Black women working as domestic servants. Again, the image of the nurturing and attached, abused yet caring, Black women in service supports the notion that marginalizing women and people of color makes it easier to abuse them. For people who are oppressors, the creation of distorted imaging serves the purpose of maintaining one’s psychological integrity. It helps them feel all right about being awful. In addition, this distorted imaging process continues to

affect our current dialogue about women’s health. Many of us think that the current debate has been about women and mammograms, women and birth control, or basic women’s health. It is true that women’s health would be sorely impacted by legislative restrictions on access to mammograms, birth control, and even abortions. Yet, that is NOT the deeper issue. The deeper issue is one that is even more fundamental. The deeper issue is whether our country is one that honors the cultural value, power, and equality of women. The issue extends to whether our community, and in fact our country, is motivated to meet the needs of women rendering our needs as equally important as those of men. The truth is that over the last year, the conservative members of both the Democratic and Republican parties have pushed an agenda that challenges women as legitimate human beings with our own power, agency, minds, and voices. Denying our voices means denying our existence. Thus, when the young Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, was denied an opportunity to

testify because she was deemed by Chairman Issa as being “unqualified” to talk about religion and the multiple medical uses of contraceptives, the “shut up and stay in your place meta-message” reverberated throughout the nation. In fact, the image of the “wall of men” at Chairman Issa’s hearing regarding religion and contraception provided strong evidence that there are those in our society who would love to push us back in time. Yes, that would like to push us back to a time when no Black man was President of the United States, when Black folks were not so “uppity” and when women were not in charge of their own bodies. There are those who would love to see us go back to a time when the “American way of life” reflected that the places for women were not in pulpits, not in government, and definitely not “in charge.” For those individuals, relegating women back to the “good old’ day” would mean that we, as women, would continue to go to back alleys with coat hangers, or choose to be barefoot, pregnant, unemployed, uneducated and in the kitchen! Furthermore, individuals like Rush Limbaugh are not bashful about their beliefs in the marginalization of women. Since her testimony, Ms. Fluke was called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Rush. As if those insults were not enough, he went on to say that if she was going to “have so much sex” that she or others could not afford their birth control pills without government support for contraceptives, at least he should be allowed to watch videos of their sexual activities! Rush Limbaugh actually said “we” should be allowed to watch; however, I don’t know to whom he was referring because most of us are not voyeurs and would not be interested. Besides, if anybody could be accused of having “so much sex” that they could not get their prescriptions filled it would be him. After all, he was the one escorted off a plane because he had a bag full of illegally obtained bottles of Viagra! It is comforting, however, to realize that over twelve of his program sponsors pulled their advertisements because of his egregious actions. We all need to understand that there are multi-faceted psychological and political explanations regarding the rationale for challenging women’s rights to their own bodies. First, it is critically important to understand the concept called the “Hierarchy

WOMEN TURN TO 9


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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 9

COMMENTARY

Schools must benefit children Nobody Asked Me

By Fred Easter Nobody asked me, but, there are statements I don’t hear in the discussions about “seniority” and “tenure” for K-12 teachers. Here are a few of the things I haven’t heard anyone say: “The longer teachers teach, the better they get; right up to their retirement day”. “Every veteran teacher is more effective at reaching kids than one with fewer years of experience”. “There is no good reason a less experienced teacher should be kept over a more experienced

Women From 8 of Needs.” The concept was introduced in 1943 by a Jewish psychologist named Abraham Maslow, who as a child experienced oppression in the form of Anti-Semitism. Therefore, his theory addressed the basic needs that ALL people have in order to maintain their humanity. He surmised that people first need the basics of life and as core needs are met, people move up the ladder (hierarchy) to address meeting their more sophisticated needs. Thus, we all have Physiological needs (breathing, food, water, touch). Physiological needs are then followed by a need for Safety/Security (security of body, employment, resources), Love/Belongingness (friendship,

one”. Before I go any further; let me say that I grew up in a union home. I remember the party my folks gave when the (RWDSU) Retail Workers, Department Store Union won a 40 hour week. It was a blast. It meant my Dad got a day off during the week for working Saturdays; or got overtime for working that sixth day, like on Easter or Christmas week. I applied for and received provisional union membership when I began pushing a broom around that ladies shoe store at age 15. I am staunchly prounion. I am also unabashedly, unapologetically, fiercely prochild. We already live in a society where the banks are run for the benefit of the bankers and the Congress serves the super rich. If we cannot run our schools for the benefit of our children, we are truly lost.

If you move to a new town or community and your child gets sick or hurt, do you ask your neighbor for the number of the “oldest” or the “best” doctor? If they get a toothache, do you look for the dentist that’s been practicing the longest? No, you

look for the dentist that works with kids the best. Shouldn’t we feel as strongly about our children’s education as we do about their cavities? Some years ago, for a short period, I ran for a seat on the

family, intimacy), Esteem (selfesteem, confidence, respect for self and others), and finally, Self-Actualization (lack of prejudice, morality, spirituality, creativity). When considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is clear that political strategists want to redirect our energies from meeting one element of our Safety needs to another. Consequently, women are stuck because our physical survival depends on having access to adequate healthcare. Additionally, the current strategy of challenging a woman’s primary right to wellness and control over her body creates a political diversion from the economy, jobs/employment, and the right to work. It also creates a subliminal way to reinforce white superiority, male privilege, and class.

Thus, when the debate moves from one type of security (economics) to another type (security of one’s body), it is essentially serving the purpose of redirection. For example, a recent bill in Virginia mandated that a woman receive an ultrasound (whether transvaginally or abdominally) that produces an image of the fetus prior to having an abortion. The rationale is “informed consent”, not medical necessity. Additionally, the law mandated that a woman must wait 24 hours (like someone buying a gun) between the ultrasound and the abortion, which can produce undue stress and financial hardship for many women. Furthermore, a printout of the image must be placed in her medical record, and the woman would be charged for the “service.” Such a practice treats women as if they are

going to Southwest?” Without a pause, the answer shot back: “seniority”. The young woman said “Because there are few, if any, behavioral issues here; teachers with seniority bid on openings here and then “retire”

well before they leave our classrooms”. I was stunned that the teacher burnout and fatigue were so readily apparent to these young students. Back in the Sixties and Seventies, I traveled the country in the service of Carleton College Admissions. Neighborhoods were changing then. School populations were in flux. I was looking for black and brown students. All across the north, many students of color were attending schools that had previously been all-white. In far too many High Schools in places like Gary IN, Oakland CA, Cleveland & Cincinnati OH college counselors told me: “There are no students here who could make it at a Carleton.” I’d scour the school for a black teacher. When I found one, I’d find students who could and did graduate from Carleton. The most effective teachers can relate to the students in

front of them. They believe in those students’s potential. They care about the students. They are not intimidated by the students. They can challenge the students to be the best they can be. They are not pining for the students they had at the beginning of their careers. The faculty at The City, Inc. met those requirements. Paul Wellstone and a host of others met those requirements at Carleton too. These are neither age nor experience related characteristics. These are the necessary requirements for preparing the next generation of healthy, well-informed, life long learners this country, this planet so desperately needs. Identifying and supporting teachers who meet these requirements is the only important thing. Let’s focus on our children’s future.

impulsive and unintelligent when it comes to making decisions about things like contraceptives, sexual activity, or abortions. Finally, such conditions are designed to be demeaning, create emotionally traumatic experiences, and produce financial burdens on women who cannot afford “extra” medically unnecessary procedures. For women who have histories of sexual abuse, or those whose bodies have historically been exploited by men and systems (like slavery and trafficking) such procedures are just one more piece of evidence that we women are not valued. My message in this article is that women should make sure that we take charge of our lives. We should protect ourselves physically, sexually, emotionally, economically and most importantly, spiritually.

Nobody has the right to hurt us, marginalize us or put us down. In addition, we should quit referring to ourselves in negative ways and not allow anybody the right to place us in positions less than Queens. I hope that my sisters (and the brothers who love them) will stand up for justice and fight the environmental pressure to sell us out on the auction block. Whether pro-life or prochoice, lesbian or straight, I hope that women of all faiths, denominations, ethnicities, races, and creeds will recognize that when one of us is mistreated, we all are mistreated. Finally, I hope that we will not be complacent and remain silent while our voices, our bodies, our needs, our beliefs and our spirits are made vulnerable to predatory, disrespectful, and heartless people or systems. We are women, and we have rights.

BraVada GarrettAkinsanya, Ph.D., L.P. is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice and serves as President of Brakins Strategic Initiatives Consulting and Psychological Services. Brakins Strategic Initiatives (BSI) Consulting & Psychological Services has the mission of “providing excellent, culturally competent consulting and mental health services to meet the needs of children, adults, families and organizations.” Dr. GarrettAkinsanya warns that this column should in no way be construed as constituting a therapeutic relationship through counseling or advice. To forward a comment about this article or to make an appointment, please contact Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya by email @ bravadaakinsanya@hotmail. com or by telephone at 763522-0100.

School Board. During that period, I toured some schools with a very nice parent liaison. I remember chatting with four senior girls in the International Baccalaureate Program at Southwest H.S. I asked them “what is the worst thing about

“If we cannot run our schools for the benefit of our children, we are truly lost.”


Page 10 • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Insight News

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FULL CIRCLE

Where is your heart located? Man Talk

By Timothy Houston For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). “Location is everything!” This term has often been repeated in business conversations. Something as simple as the side of the street a business is located on can determine its traffic pattern, and this subtle difference could be the distinguishing factor between the success and failure of that business. In

Williams From 1 two NFL Super Bowls, and graduating from dental school Dr. Williams decided to return to Minnesota and invest in North Minneapolis. The demographics in North are somewhat similar to the community in Toledo where Dr. Williams grew up. Williams continues to run a successful dentistry in North Minneapolis. Dr. William’s focus is family and forensic dentistry. He has created a good base of longtime clients

matters of the heart, location also plays a very important role. Because you cannot see what is in a person’s heart, you must look to what come out of it to determine its treasures and values. Everyday men and women show us what they treasure and value by where they place their hands, heart, and money. If a man values biceps over precepts, he will place more value in the way he looks over the value he places in honoring what he says. If he values money over mission, he will treasure the accumulation of wealth over serving his family and community. For situated within a man’s treasures, values, and passions, you will find his heart. This is true for women as well. Locate the passion, and locate the heart.

A person’s heart is at the center of their being. It is where their values come from. How important is

honesty to them? How are their relationships with others? Do the things in their life have their proper place and prospective? Someone who is successful in business, but is a failure in his personal life, is not centered. A good person’s

from around the Metropolitan Area. Dr. Williams is a highly skilled and one of two Boarded forensic dentists in Minnesota and a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team. He was called to be part of the team of Chief Medical Examiners to help identify victims of the September 11th tragedy. In 2005, Dr. Williams saw an opportunity and created Headwinds Solutions, a medical and dental supply distributer. According to Williams, they are “approaching the market

differently with a focus on building relationships and partnerships.” Nat Jackson, Chief Operating Officer of Headwind Solutions, is a retired executive from a Minnesota Fortune 500. Williams describes Jackson, as “extremely dedicated” and just what they needed to grow Headwinds Solutions. In his spare time Dr. Williams enjoys flying airplanes, watching movies, and hitting the gym. He is married with three successful adult sons. Williams also does community service work with local, regional, and national

others over serving self. Spend some time determining where your values come from. Ask yourself the question, “What am I passionate about?” This will help you to locate your heart, and locating your heart will help you to determine your destiny. If your passions are rooted in honoring your words, valuing your family, and building your community, your heart is located upon that solid rock that cannot be moved.

virtues stored in their heart. Men and women treasure those things that are in their heart. What is in their heart is impacted by its location and destination. The understanding of this concept is further complicated because location

is a byproduct of destiny and destiny is a function of the heart. They are all connected together, and they produce our values and principles. Those who build their choices on solid values and principles are wisely choosing a destiny that will stand the test of time. These choices will also determine the location of their hearts. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25). A solid foundation for the heart is built on precepts; this foundation is rooted in serving

organizations including (but not limited to): Metropolitan Aviation Commission, American Society of Forensic Odontology, Children’s Dental Service, Hennepin County Infant Mortality, Northside Achievement Zone, University of Minnesota mentorship programs and the Prison Ministry Team. “It is all about giving not getting,” Williams explains. Williams plans to continue to invest in North Minneapolis, beyond health initiatives he is also interested in neighborhood revitalization and building community wealth. Jackson

describes Williams as, “a person with passion for building the Northside through economic development opportunities… Dr. Williams is dedicated to this community and beyond; he is dedicated to all people… everything he does is about creating jobs within the community. He is building a legacy.” Jackson believes William’s compassion for serving is related to his football career, “it comes from back in the stadium, when he played for the people. He is still playing for the people.” When asked, what Williams learned on the field that he

transfers to the business world; “tenacity, and just because things look one way remember nothing is as bad or as good as it appear beyond that, smile with the world or frown by yourself.”

values come from within. They do not measure themselves by the yardstick of material possessions, but rather by the

“Spend some time determining where your values come from.”

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.

Dr. Williams Dentistry Dr. John Williams, DDS, ABFO 1011 W. Broadway Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55411 612-521-7611 And Headwinds Solutions- Medical Supply Company 1011 West Broadway Ave N. Suite 202, Minneapolis, MN 55411 612-767-2145


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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 11

Pursuing justice for children and the poor Child Watch

By Marian Wright Edelman I begin each year with a women’s spiritual retreat at CDF-Haley Farm’s leadership development center in prayer, silence, and song seeking God’s guidance for the year ahead. Our very thoughtful retreat leader, Shannon DaleyHarris, never fails to inspire and challenge us with her Bible study and stories—and this year was no exception. She reminded us of God’s non-negotiable demand through the prophets of Israel to pursue justice for the poor and to defend the orphan and widow at a time when the word poor barely enters our political leaders’ mouths and public discourse. She also reminded us that pursue is a word demanding effort and eagerness and not just respecting or following justice. Shannon then shared the story of Victor Perez, in the news in October 2010, to illustrate what pursuing justice means. Victor is a construction worker by trade but was unemployed for three years. He picked grapes to try to make ends meet for his family. On a fall day he was at his home in Fresno, California, talking with his cousin about a recent Amber Alert. The Amber Alert was named for Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old child who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996, and corresponds to the color of highway warning signs

that are activated in Amber Alerts. This Amber Alert was for an eight-year-old girl who had been abducted in their area. As they were standing there talking, he spotted a vehicle that looked like the one in the Amber Alert. So Victor leapt into his truck and took off in pursuit although he was nervous that the man driving the vehicle might have a weapon. Each time Victor pulled up to try to cut off the vehicle, the man protested “I don’t have no time,” and sped up to try to get away. Victor later said, “The second time I reached him, the way he acted—yes, I was, for a split second I was nervous until I saw the little girl and all fear was out the window after that, I didn’t have no fear. I wasn’t thinking of me no more. I was just thinking we need to get that little girl to safety.” He added, “I wasn’t going to give up… I couldn’t give up.” So Victor kept pursuing him. The abductor was pushing the little girl down as he drove, trying to hide her. Victor said, “He kept getting away. He kept going round my truck. The last time I completely said, ‘Either he crashes into me or he stops.’” Finally, on his fourth attempt, Victor forced the vehicle to stop and the abductor shoved the child out. She was saved because Victor hadn’t hesitated in his pursuit. Victor was, Shannon said, aptly named. Afterward, he humbly said, “I just felt like I was doing my part… I just felt like everybody should step up in their own communities and when something like this happens, come together and try to do your part to help out. And, you know,” Victor concluded, “I just thank God I

was put in the right situation to do what I did. Thank the man above for that.” When a child is in mortal danger, we put out an Amber Alert to tell the whole community that we are in pursuit of the child and whoever is endangering her. It is a time of utmost urgency and

everyone has to get involved, to be on the lookout, and do whatever is needed to help rescue the child in danger. My spiritual retreat sisters and I believe this is an Amber— indeed Red—Alert time for millions of our nation’s poor children and that everyone in our families, communities,

congregations, private and public sector life needs to be on the lookout for the child, to ensure the child’s health, safety and education, and to see that justice is done. We need to speak and stand up and protect voiceless, voteless children from being the first victims of budget assaults while the

rich and powerful continue to receive huge and unfair government welfare subsidies and tax cuts they neither deserve, earned, nor need. We need to demand that all of us contribute our fair share as

CHILDREN TURN TO 13

JUSTICE TURN TO 13


Page 12 • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Insight News

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HEALTH Marine Reserves rebuild ocean ecosystems By EarthTalk® E - The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: I heard the term “underwater wilderness” recently. What does it refer to? -- Melissa Cook, via e-mail “Underwater wilderness” is a term sometimes used to describe so-called Marine Reserves, a type of Marine Protected Area (MPA) where offshore drilling and mining are not allowed and fishing is either heavily restricted or banned altogether. Marine Reserves, which occur in both tropical and temperate waters, typically have large amounts of biodiversity and are important to protect because they play a key role in rebuilding depleted fish populations and revitalizing wider ocean ecosystems. “Research shows that

protected ocean areas harbor more fish, bigger fish, healthier habitat and more diverse life than unprotected areas,” reports the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “And these safe havens have a spillover effect, as abundant marine life begins to populate waters beyond the borders of the reserve.” NRDC adds that Marine Reserves will become even more important as the ocean is stressed by both climate change and ocean acidification, an ongoing lowering of the ph of the seas caused by absorption of carbon dioxide emissions. While the actual area covered by Marine Reserves is small, their contribution to marine biodiversity is important. The U.S.’s 223 Marine Reserves make up just 3.1 percent of its waters and only eight percent of the world’s MPAs. Some 95 percent of U.S. Marine Reserves are located in the 140,000 square mile Papahānaumokuākea

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Some 95 percent of U.S. Marine Reserves, a type of Marine Protected Area (MPA), are located in the 140,000 square mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii. Marine National Monument in Hawaii—established in 2006 by President George W. Bush— with the rest spread out across many smaller ocean, estuarine and Great Lakes waters. “Although rare, no take areas, also called marine reserves, are sometimes used to protect spawning or nursery grounds, or to protect ecologically important deepwater habitats,” reports

the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which administers the U.S. National Marine Protected Areas program. “Some are used as research and monitoring zones to serve as a baseline that allows comparisons by managers and scientists of undisturbed control areas to those impacted by human activities.” Currently 54 Marine

Reserves are federally managed as part of national park, national wildlife refuge or national marine sanctuary systems. Another 141 are managed by state agencies, 19 are managed at the territorial level, and nine are managed by public/private partnerships. NOAA reports that efforts to incorporate Marine Reserves into existing coastal and ocean management plans are occurring in many states,

including in the Florida Keys, where the Tortugas Ecological Reserve prohibits the taking of marine life and prohibits vessel discharges, and in California’s Channel Islands and along parts of the Oregon coast, where Marine Reserve designations have been effective in bringing back fish stocks. Marine Reserve designation may be a U.S. term, but Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. all have their own form of Marine Reserves, and countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe are working to establish similarly protections. Meanwhile, the international environmental group Greenpeace wants to establish marine reserves in international waters not subject to any one country’s rules and regulations. CONTACTS: NRDC, www.nrdc.org; NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center, www.mpa.gov; Greenpeace, www.greenpeace. org. EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@ emagazine.com. Subscribe: w w w. e m a g a z i n e . c o m / subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

Disposal boxes for unwanted medications Hennepin County residents have begun dropping off unwanted and expired medications by using three new medicine disposal boxes. During a community kick-off event held recently, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek demonstrated how to use a disposal box at Sheriff’s Patrol in Brooklyn Park.

“This is a great time for a spring cleaning and I encourage all residents to remove expired or unwanted medicines from their homes,” said Sheriff Stanek, “This is a safety precaution that every parent and grandparent should take in order to help reduce the risk of medicine abuse among teens and young adults.” According to the Centers

for Disease Control, medication abuse is an epidemic in the U.S. One in five teens reports abusing prescription medications. Teens who wouldn’t use illicit drugs might abuse prescriptions. Among young children, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of accidental poisonings from medications found in the home.

Properly disposing of unused medicines helps to protect the environment. Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking water supplies. Medicines that are placed into disposal boxes are collected

MEDICINE TURN TO 13


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Forum From 3 Lawrence Dunning filed their petition to adopt the children. The Grossers obtained their foster care license in August 2008, court records show. They have six children, four biological children and two adopted children. A friend of a teenage daughter also resides with them. Reverend Randolph Staten, for state legislator representing North Minneapolis, said it is unconscionable that the court has denied the Dunning family’s effort to obtain legal custody of the grandchildren. Staten was the author of Minnesota’s historic Family Preservation Act which mandated that blood relatives be considered when foster care for children is required. Staten said over the years the culture and family friendly legislation has been gutted by court and legislative challenges that resulted in language calling

Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 13 for decisions to be based on “best interests of the child” and that such language allows courts and decision makers to argue that being with blood relatives might not necessarily be in the “best interests” of the child. Willie Mae Demming, a grandmother who experienced the same custody issues as Dunning, said in her case, the family was able to keep custody of grandchildren because the children have American Indian heritage, as well a Black heritage. “The Indian heritage laws allowed us to retain custody of our grandchildren while we sorted out other adoption and foster care issues,” Demming said. But the experience identified the immensity of the problem and the ease with which courts and administrators disregard family and culture in their eagerness to meet adoption and foster care requests of white persons seeking to adopt or seeking to provide foster care, she said. Elizabeth Moore, former president of Minnesota Association of Black Social Workers said

Scott Gray, Al McFarlane and Priscilla Gibson despite research and evidence provided by Black professionals, the courts sometimes act as though Black research on Black families and Black culture, need not be considered in rendering decision affecting Black children and Black families.

North From 2 And finally, could Natonia Johnson be the one who would make history in Hennepin County by becoming the first African American and first African American woman to win a seat on Hennepin County Board of Commissioners? Interestingly, Johnson is saying she will run straight to the DFL Primary that will precede the special election being set to fill the County Commission board. DFL endorsements take place on March 31 at Patrick Henry High School at the Senate District Convention. Presumably, Higgins and

Children From 11

Courtesy of Hennepin County Public Affairs

Medicine disposal box at Sheriff’s Patrol in Brooklyn Park

Medicine From 12 by the Sheriff’s Office and then incinerated. Incineration is the most environmentally-friendly method of disposal. The three locations and hours for the new medicine drop-off boxes are: • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Patrol Headquarters 9401 83rd Ave. N. in Brooklyn Park Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Water Patrol 4141 Shoreline Drive in Spring Park Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. • Hennepin County Public Safety Facility 401 Fourth Ave. S. in downtown Minneapolis Hours: 24 hours a day, seven

days a week You are required to go through a metal detector at this location. Materials accepted Medicine from households will be accepted, including: • Prescription medicines, including controlled substances • Over-the-counter medicines • Vitamins and supplements • Pet medicines Not accepted • No needles, sharps or syringes • No liquids • No medicines from businesses Guidelines • No ID required. • Bring medicines in their original container or packaging. • If medicines are no longer in their original packaging, place loose pills in a clear plastic bag. • The boxes are self-serve For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/medicine or call Hennepin County Environmental Services at 612348-3777.

federal and state budgets are debated. In this Amber Alert time, child advocates, parents, and citizens must lift up and plaster the child’s face, name, and story on telephone poles, TV, the internet, and in the newspaper in letters to the editor. In this dangerous time for our children suffering child hunger, homelessness, and poverty, it is so hard for most Americans to see the faces of all 16.4 million poor children or the four million eligible but uninsured children in need of health care, or all the

Suluki Fardan

Former Representative Staten emphasized the reemergent tendency to marginalize Black culture and Black interests and called on the Black community and people of good will to organize, mobilize and agitate to support Black values and Black

interests, which he called decent human values. “The decision to deny custody of her grandchildren to Mrs. Dunning is simply a racist decision,” Staten said. “But this is a case we must fight. This is a case we must win.”

Samuels will vie for the party’s endorsement and seek to enter the Primary as the endorsed candidate. Besides incumbent Joe Mullery, candidates seeking party endorsement for State House 59A include: David Boyd, Marcus Harcus, Jon Olson, and David Younk. The State House 59B candidate roster includes: Ian Alexander, Terra Cole, Raymond Dehn, Willie Dominguez, Ken Lawrence, and Nancy Pomplun. Champion faces a challenge from Troy Parker for the Senate District 59 endorsement. New district boundaries and senate district identification numbers were released on Feb. 21, 2012. The state senate district covering

North Minneapolis and parts of downtown will be now known as MN State Senate District 59. The most noticeable change was with the state house districts. The A-side picked up the following precincts from the B-side (ward/precinct): 3-8, 3-9, parts of 5-1, 5-2, parts of 5-8, 5-10. The B-side picked up the following precints: parts of 7-9, 7-10, parts of 7-1.

children who need a spot in Head Start or child care or after school or summer programs. And it is hard to grasp the human plight of the countless faces of children who went to bed last night hungry or crying themselves to sleep in homeless shelters. But those of us who care about children have to do everything we can to help people meet just one or two and act with urgency and determination like Victor. July 22-25, the Children’s Defense Fund is hosting its first national conference since 2003. We seek to gather more than 3,000 leading advocates for children and the poor, including 1,000 young adult leaders in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s way past time for those of us who call ourselves child

advocates to pursue justice for children and the poor with urgency and to speak and stand up now and do whatever is required to close the enormous gaps between policy and practice—now—between what we know works and what we do for our most vulnerable. Albert Camus, speaking at a Dominican Monastery in 1948 said: “Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children.” He described our responsibility as human beings “if not to reduce evil, at least not to add to it” and “to refuse to consent

New 59A Minneapolis W-3 Minneapolis W-3 Minneapolis W-3 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4

P-7 P-8 P-9 P-1 P-2 P-3 P-4 P-5 P-6

Beverly Propes, a nurse and health care and health policy advocate said Black families have to pay more attention to policies and practices governing adoption and foster care. She said many families, particularly grandparent in families, are providing quality, compassionate care for their children’s children, and these grandparents need to be supported and encouraged. She identified some resources available to grandparents but said there needs to be more. Scott Gray, President and CEO of Minneapolis Urban League, co-hosted the broadcast taping of the public policy forum and thanked advocates and community members for their leadership on the issue of grandparents raising grandchildren. Gray said the Urban League mission includes providing ‘wrap-around’ services to families supporting families’ capacity to navigate successful outcomes in education, health, employment, and wealth creation.

Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-4 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5

P-7 P-8 P-9 P-10 P-1 part P-2 P-8 part P-10

New 59B Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-5 Minneapolis W-7 Minneapolis W-7 Minneapolis W-7 Minneapolis W-7 Minneapolis W-7 Minneapolis W-7

P-1 part P-3 P-4 P-5 P-6 P-7 P-8 part P-9 P-1 part P-6 P-7 P-9 part P-10 P-11

to conditions which torture innocents.” “I continue,” he said, “to struggle against this universe in which children suffer and die.” So must all of us. Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www. childrensdefense.org.


Page 14 • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Insight News

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COMMUNITY Ascension Patriots win championship

North Minneapolis neighborhood beat 59 B Delegate & Resident Listening Sessions Terra Cole, a candidate running for State Representative in the 59B area, will host delegate and residential sessions. The next one takes place 5:307:30pm Monday March 19 at Agape Construction 250 Freemont Av. N. on the corner of Freemont and Glenwood. Proceeding will be a session held 5:30-7:30pm Wednesday March 21st The Churchill Community Room, 111 Marquette Av. S.

at Lucy Craft Laney 3333 Penn Av. N. For more information: Debbie Nelson 612-588-1155 or can@ clevelandneighborhood.org

Cleveland

The Victory Neighborhood Association will hold an environmental meeting 7pm Wednesday April 3rd at the VNA office 2200

The Cleveland Neighborhood Association will hold a board meeting 7-9pm Monday March 19th

Jordan

The Jordan Area Community Council will host a Public Safety and Block Club committee meeting 6:30-7:30 Wednesday March 28 at 2900 Freemont Av. N. suite 108 and 109. For more information: 612-889-4539 or info@jordanmpls.org

Victory

44th Av. N. For more information contact the VNA office 612-529-9558.

Heritage Park

Financial Management Workshops Heritage Park will host a series of Financial Education workshops in the month of April. Topics include money management for the April 5 workshop, consumer fraud protection April 12 and post retirement planning April 19. All workshops are from 10-11:30am at Heritage Park Senior Service Center 1015 4th Av. N. Sign up is required and space is limited. For more information: Kitty Harris 612-334-2230.

Calendar • Classifieds

Phone: 612.588.1313

Events

Seven - Thru Mar 25 “SEVEN” is an inspirational documentary play about the remarkable lives and work of seven courageous and diverse women. The play is a collaboration by seven award winning playwrights who traveled to interview these seven women that have overcome enormous obstacles to bring about major changes in their individual home

Insurance Agent Looking for people with a strong entrepreneurial mindset to own their own insurance agency. The average agent earns over $120,000 a year, with some earning over $500,000. If you desire financial independence, call 651-204-3131 to set up an appointment.

Fax: 612.588.2031

Services workshop - Mar. 6&8 and Mar. 20&22 Tue./Thu. 9am–3:30pm., Employment Action Center Office, Lenox Community Center, 6715 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN. Sponsor: Women In Transition. Fee: Sliding fee scale. The workshop will help you chart your career path, navigate obstacles and land the job. For more information call 612-752-8444.

Send Community Calendar information to us by: email, a n d re w @ i n s i g h t n e w s . c o m , by fax: 612-588-2031, by phone: (612) 588-1313 or by mail: 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411, Attn: Andrew Notsch. Free or low cost events preferred.

Rising student artists bring hometown flavor to Central Library – Thru Mar 28 MPS invites students, families and community members to the premiere arts event showcasing masterpieces created by local up-and-coming artists with a passion for drawing, ceramics, painting and fiber arts – who happen to be MPS students! Exhibit on display March 5-28. Central Library - Cargill Gallery - 300 Nicollet Mall.

Brandin Johnson

The 5th-6th Grade Ascension Catholic School Boys Basketball Team capped off a 12-1 season in the Monsignor Coates Youth Organization by winning the league’s championship game 48-41 against Golden Valley’s Good Shepherd Black. The Ascension Patriots were able to overcome an extreme height disadvantage and a 10-point first quarter deficit by playing solid team defense and sharing the ball on offense. Pictured top (l-r) Coach Harold ‘Fats’ Johnson, Cameron Vaughn, Anthony Culhane, Kiareon Bellfield (captain), Matthew Yang, Jadin Johnson, Malik White Coach Kris Culhane. Bottom (l-r) Isaiah Jester, DeLaJunte Moore, Demonce Harris (captain), Coach Rodney Johnson

NCRT Training Event countries. For more info and performance dates, visit: chainreactiontp.com Corporate Personhood: The Rise of Corporate Power - Mar. 8 Robin Monahan will speak about the Move to Amend as

National Archives

well as the efforts of others who believe that corporations are not people and must not be permitted to buy elections and run our government. Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701-36th Ave. N., New Hope. Two-day Job Transition

Publication Reading with Todd Boss - Mar 14 Todd Boss reads from his new poetry collection, Pitch, published by W.W. Norton in Feb.. Wed. Mar. 14, 7pm. The Loft Literary Center at Open Book - 1011 Washington Ave. S., Mpls. Free and open to the public. NCRT Training Event Mar 15-17

Email: andrew@insightnews.com

3-day training workshop. The NCRT is a collaborative of over 30 community agencies and individuals committed to pooling our resources, to provide information, assistance and support to those impacted by the storm. Working with local officials and service providers, we are working diligently to identify and support those in need. @ New Salem Missionary Baptist Church 2507 Bryant Ave. N., Mpls -March 15-17, 10am–6pm. Minnesota Book Awards Readers’ Choice Event - Mar 16 Meet many of the finalists for the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards as they give short presentations about their books. Then join us after the program to chat with the authors and enjoy complimentary wine and refreshments. Finalist books

will be available for purchase and autographing. Sat. Mar. 16, 7pm. - The Loft Literary Center at Open Book - 1011 Washington Ave. S., Mpls. Free and open to the public. 4th Annual Women’s Appreciation Banquet - Mar 17 “I Survived Domestic Violence” - Our keynote for the evening is Yvette Cade a nationally recognized advocate against domestic violence and the survivor of a horrific act of domestic violence will speak from personal experience. The program starts at 7pm. Tickets are currently on sale for $30.00 per person and $375.00 for a table of 10. To obtain more event information or to inquire about partnership opportunities, please contact J.MOST at 612-237-5118 or via email at jmostmusic_ lyrics@yahoo.com. Mar. 17 - Mall of America - Hilton Hotel.


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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 15

BUSINESS

What did I say? Soft skills matter Plan Your Career By Julie Desmond julie@insightnews.com

Your coworker stomps out of the room. You look at the group and ask, “What did I say?” It is not what you said that bothered someone… it is how you said it. Hard skills are the measurable skills people engage in to perform their everyday tasks; soft skills are the attitudes and approach people take to

PhotoXpress

communicating and accomplishing things. Hard skills like counting, measuring, typing are trainable. Soft skills are more engrained and take real effort to teach. Do your soft skills need work? Answer true or false to the following statements to find out: • I am often misunderstood. • No one around here does anything right. • I need to apologize frequently. • I am always in the dog house. If you answered True to one or more of these statements, you probably could benefit from a brush up course in soft skills. Etiquette, self-esteem, flexibility and handling criticism are soft skills hot spots where a little attention can make a big difference. Etiquette, manners, is learned beginning in childhood. Please and thank you are good starting points; cleaning up after yourself or pushing chairs in and hitting the lights as you leave a conference room, show your respect. If you need to teach a

coworker some manners, lead from the front by setting a strong and consistent example. Self-esteem? What are we, a bunch of little girls? Motivational speaker and sales person extraordinaire, Zig Ziglar, says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Try this exercise: before a meeting, while people are getting settled and getting their technology to work, ask someone how he or she is doing today. Or ask specifically about a project they’re involved in. They might be suspicious at first, but will quickly understand you are simply interested. Or, on a Monday, ask someone how their weekend was. You might think you don’t really care how their weekend was. But you might hear something interesting and your coworker will feel slightly more connected with you than he or she did before. Start caring when the stakes are low, so you will have a relationship in place when challenges arise. By the way, try not to be creepy; friendly will do. Flexibility speaks for itself. Choose your battles. You don’t always have to win. Flexibility in how you approach people

helps, too. Not everyone is like you (or me), thankfully. Does criticism feel like a barrage of bullets coming at you that you didn’t ask for and don’t deserve? Why is everybody always picking on you? Here’s news: they are not. It just feels that way. The best way to deal with criticism is to deal with the comment itself, not the person it came from. Don’t shoot the messenger, you know? Allow yourself time to think before responding. How would you feel if you were in the other person’s shoes? Would the analysis seem fair? Is there a misunderstanding that you need to iron out? If someone bothered to share a criticism with you, why? What needs to change? Soft skills matter because the world is wide and people come from many different directions. When we work closely together, how we behave at work sometimes matters far more than how we perform. Julie Desmond is Talent Manager at Express Employment Professionals and Lake Region Staffing. Send your career planning questions to julie@lakeregionstaffing.com.

Leading $90 billion green economy Book Review By Kam Williams kam@insightnews.com “In building NobleStrategy, [Bill Parrish] not only built a force in the construction management industry, he built one of the few black-owned companies that have become a leader in the $90 billion green economy—one of the sectors that President Obama has encouraged companies, large and small, to enter in order to out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world… The lessons you can learn in this book come at an apt time. As the black jobless rate stands at 16%, legions of AfricanAmericans will have to embrace entrepreneurship as a means of finding employment and wealthbuilding opportunities… I encourage you to open the pages of this book… if you want to gain insight into the lives of entrepreneurs and what it truly takes to succeed.”

Author Bill Parish -- Excerpted from the Foreword Introduction (pgs. ix-x)

Despite the recent economic recession, William Parrish managed to turn his start-

up company, NobleStrategy, into a multimillion-dollar construction management firm. He did so, in part, by securing government contracts to take advantage of the rapidlygrowing green industry. When it comes to environment-oriented corporations, it seems all we ever read about in the press are the colossal, taxpayersubsidized failures such as Solyndra and Ener1. But this burgeoning field has its share of success stories, too. And as long as eco-friendly President Obama’s in office, any ambitious entrepreneur ought to consider approaching the feds for a share of the

money earmarked for energyefficiency programs. If you want to follow in Parrish’s footsteps you might want to follow the lesson plan he outlines in Making Bold Moves: Creating Multimillion Dollar Success in 500 Days or Less, a combination how-to handbook and personal memoir designed with the self-starter in mind. He advises the reader to “research, cross-train and become certified in emerging technologies,” out of a conviction that the Sustainability Revolution will have as great an impact on reshaping the way we live and conduct business as the Industrial Revolution had on society back in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Distilling his innovative ideas down into one-sentence affirmations and slogans, the author closes each chapter with succinct summaries of what

you’ve just learned, whether exhorting you to “Think big from the start!” or to “Be prepared to take risks and make bold moves!” I certainly consider his general info and insights to be of value, provided you have the requisite education and sophistication to put you in a position to take advantage of these extraordinary opportunities. A practical primer pointing the highly-motivated in the right direction to the road to riches via self-employment. Making Bold Moves: Creating Multimillion Dollar Success in 500 Days or Less by Williams S. Parrish, Jr. Foreword by Derek T. Dingle MBM Publishing Paperback, $19.99 162 pages ISBN: 978-0-9839068-0-3


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Insight News • March 12 - March 18, 2012 • Page 16


Insight News ::: 3.12.12