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April 20 - April 26, 2009 • MN Metro Vol. 35 No. 16 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts •

Black Americans and the Jamestown Settlement By Mahmoud El-Kati The setting for a back-story to the United States of America is the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. A tiny group of adventurers who came in the name of the British Crown were primarily in quest of the wealth to be found in “The New World.” The records that have been handed down to us tell us that a few hundred suffering souls from England survived a devastating first year before reinforcements came to strengthen this settlement with fresh bodies and necessities of food stuffs and other material goods. The land to which these representatives of a rising Europe came had been explored and settled over many centuries by a variety of indigenous peoples. Among them were a people who called themselves Powhattans, the name for their nation. This name came from their founding chief Powhattan. The Powhattans belonged to a much larger group who were linguistically akin. These were Alquankin speakers who inhabited long stretches of land along the east coast of what became the United States. The Powhattan people are the people to whom the legendary Pocahontas belonged. The popular historical myth says that Pocahontas was


Ben Jealous: This moment reflects an important window in our history


American Violet film review



Courtesy of Pablo Davis,Virginia Foundation for the Humanities,

Minneapolis Urban League identifies finalists for CEO vacancy Minneapolis Urban League Board Chair Cathy Wassberg announced last week that the Minneapolis Urban League CEO Search Committee has narrowed its candidates down to two, both of which will appear at a community event scheduled for April 25th at the MUL's North Minneapolis headquarters. Former President/CEO Clarence Hightower left the MUL in the fall of last year. Since that time, the Search Committee of the Board has diligently searched for a replacement. Both candidates, Pamela Coaxum and Scott Gray, have been certified by the National Urban League. South Minneapolis native, Pamela Coaxum, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina. Most recently, she served as Local Office Director of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. in St. Louis, MO. Enterprise Community Partners provides financial and program support to public and private organizations that develop affordable housing and deliver workforce and community development programs in a highly technology driven environment. Previously, Pam was Chief Operating Officer of the Metropolitan St. Louis YWCA. Scott Gray is a native of inner city Milwaukee. He has


completed degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and Goddard College. Scott is currently the President/CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, WI. In this capacity he oversees multiple programs in the areas of education, career development, housing, economic development and workforce development. Prior to joining the League, he was Associate Regional Director for Habitat for Humanity International in Chicago, IL. Both candidates will participate in final interviews and a community forum on Saturday, April 25 at the Minneapolis Urban League headquarters at 1:00 PM CST. The community is encouraged to attend and learn more about our finalist. The MUL Board of Directors will be soliciting community input as they make their final selection. Insight News President/Editor-in-Chief Al McFarlane will host the event. An announcement of the new President/CEO is expected before May 1, 2009. For more information about the Minneapolis Urban League, visit or call (612) 302-3100. The Minneapolis Urban League is headquartered at the Glover-Sudduth Center, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411.


DNC radio ad calls for Norm Coleman to concede Senate race to Al Franken WASHINGTON, DC— Last week the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced it will begin running a radio ad in Minneapolis/St. Paul calling on Norm Coleman to concede the Minnesota Senate race to Democrat Al Franken. The ad will run on news talk radio stations in the Twin Cities and comes one day after a three judge panel decisively and overwhelmingly declared Franken the winner of the contested race and said he was entitled to an election certificate. Despite what analysts and many have called a hopeless cause, Coleman is vowing to continue his appeals and legal challenges and cause further delay in seating Franken.

“Enough is enough,” said DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. “Al Franken won the election, the recount and now the legal challenge where his lead actually grew. Minnesota deserves two Senators and the people of America deserve 100 in the U.S. Senate. More importantly, the voters who cast ballots on Election Day deserve to have their verdict stand. Sen. Coleman should not put his political ambition ahead of the will of the people. It’s time for Norm Coleman to concede and for Al Franken to be sworn in as the next U.S. Senator from Minnesota. If Mr. Coleman won’t concede, state officials should issue an election certificate to Al Franken, as the

The Greater Al Franken (L) and Norm Coleman

Minneapolis Crisis Nursery


three judge panel said he is entitled to, so he can be sworn in immediately.”


To listen to the ad, go to: 15_09.mp3

George Curry to lead NNPA HIV/AIDS awareness initiative WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Awardwinning journalist George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service, has been selected as AIDS coordinator for a new NNPACenter for Disease Control partnership that targets the horrendous HIV/AIDS rates among African Americans. The program “Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative,’’ was announced by the Obama Administration at the White House last week. It partners the CDC with 14 civil rights organizations, including the NNPA News Service, a subsidiary of the NNPA Foundation. As NNPA AIDS coordinator, Curry will write a series of 15 HIV/AIDS-related articles that will be distributed exclusively through the NNPA News Service. He will also assist in the organization of an HIV/AIDS awareness event for the NNPA Summer Conference which will be held in Minneapolis, MN June 24-27. The conference falls during National HIV Testing Week.

Because of his work on HIV/AIDS, Curry was the recipient of the Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute’s ‘Drum Major’ award last year at its annual “Heroes In The Struggle” event. Over the years he has attended and covered a string of International AIDS Conferences for NNPA, including in Mexico City, Toronto and Bangkok. Each organization, including the NNPA Foundation, has received a grant of $100,000 from the CDC to administratively support the project, which also includes the distribution of an NNPA op-ed series and press releases related to the initiative. The grants will be made available to the organizations each year for the next five years. “George is among the nation’s most authoritive, passionate and prolific writers on the topic of HIV/AIDS from a Black perspective,” said current NNPA Editor-in-Chief Hazel Trice Edney, who succeeded Curry two years ago. “We selected him because of his

Enjoying the great outdoors



George Curry years of journalistic dedication to the topic. He always insisted that his Washington and national correspondents write frequent articles on HIV/AIDS. In fact, the 25-part ‘All Star’ HIV/AIDS Op-ed Series that we distributed over the wire last year was actually the result of George’s vision. We are excited about continuing that legacy.”

Chillin’ with Al Nolen Jr.


Page 2 • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Insight News




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Insight News • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Page 3

MPR, Met Council reach accord on LRT mitigation After more than three months of discussion, research and testing, Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell and Minnesota Public Radio President Bill Kling announced today that the Met Council and MPR have entered into an agreement to mitigate the impact of light rail transit (LRT) on the MPR Broadcast Center on Cedar Street. “This is a good agreement,” Bell and Kling noted. “It protects the integrity of the MPR Broadcast Center – a tremendous asset to our city, our community and our state – and moves the Central Corridor light rail project forward – a project

that will be an economic and environmental boon for all of us. It wasn’t an easy agreement – both sides had serious, legitimate problems and concerns to be addressed. And it isn’t a perfect agreement – everyone had to ‘give’ on items of great importance to reach this compromise. But it is a reasonable agreement, one that creates a framework for today and for the future.” “This agreement is the product of months of painstaking work by consultants and staff of both the project and MPR,” Bell said. “It will protect the world-class broadcast facilities of MPR while

keeping this vital transit improvement project on schedule and within budget. The Central Corridor LRT line is a vital element in the Council’s vision to expand our transit system, grow ridership and improve mobility for everyone. It also will provide improved access to employment, educational and economic opportunities along the corridor and beyond.” “I’m pleased that we’ve reached an agreement that allows light rail to go forward and that largely protects our unique broadcast facility from the noise and vibration of the trains,” said Kling. “The Met Council took our


being captured off of a Spanish ship by the Dutch. They had Spanish names such as Alonzo and Isabella. Since the 1440s, there had been a lively trading relationship (which also included slavery) between West Africans and the Iberian peoples (Spanish and Portuguese) long before Columbus appeared on the pages of history in 1492. Many Africans lived in the capital cities of Lisbon and Madrid, before “the discovery of The New World.” One can see traces of this ancestry in these places today. It is critical to also note that these original Africans who were, by accident, brought in to this English speaking community, were not hereditary slaves, but indentured servants. The English system of labor exploitation and subjugation to indentureship meant that a person was obligated to work for a term of years depending on the contract. Thus, most of the early settlers of Jamestown were indentured servants, not enslaved, as the Irish were by the British in Europe at that time. The indentureship of the earliest Black people is evidenced by the lives of Venture Smith and Anthony Johnson, two Africans who met their obligations to indentured servitude and both later became prosperous land owners, employing indentured servants of their own, earlier in the 1600s. The legalization of Black people into lifetime enslavement did not occur until the later half of the 1600s. The enslavement of people on the basis of skin color was a gradual and uncertain evolution until 1661, when the legislative body of the colony of Virginia introduced more definitive racial slave codes. Finding a cheap source of slave

labor for these early agricultural capitalists was paramount. The fate of Black people was finally reached on: who shall be a slave for life when it was decreed by law that each offspring of a Black mother shall be a slave for life. Thus, the great adventure of venture-capitalism in America begins with the mass wealth that was created from the super exploitation of Black labor. What followed was unprecedented in human history. We must never forget that labor is the source of all wealth. The wealth which came from the cash crops (tobacco, sugar, rice, and “king cotton”) that was powered by slave labor changed the economic history of the whole world. The wealth which came from Black cultivation and harvesting, and the distribution of cash crops for world markets, made the American South the fifth richest economy in the world prior to the Civil War (1861-1865), and accounted for more than half of the gross national product of all America. What we know as “Global Markets” began with the Atlantic Slave Trade, the largest “business” on the world stage for almost two centuries. The foundation of social wealth of the American Republic was from the sweat and muscle of the unrequited labor of African people. Only beast of burden could be compared to Black labor. Unrequited labor (unpaid) is what President Abraham Lincoln was referring to during his second inauguration speech after the Civil War. In a word, it was Abraham Lincoln who helped to plant the seed for the discussion of reparation (compensation), which is still going on somewhere in America at this very moment.

From 1 involved with Captain John Smith and John Rolf. The settlers called the land of these indigenous people Jamestown after the name of their king, King James. Later, these European settlers from the kingdom Island of England gained a greater toe hold, acquired more of the native peoples land while expanding it into an English colony, and named it in honor of their longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, or “the Virgin Queen.” The name of the colony called Virginia is a corruption of the word virgin. Within the blink of an eye, twenty Negár (Negro) people entered Jamestown in 1619. This can be said to be the beginning of the history of African Americans in what would become the United States of America. Robert Tucker would be born in 1824; he was the first Black native of the land. They came on a Dutch Man O’War, and were exchanged for food from the Jamestown settlers. These were not the first Africans to come to “The New World.” Peoples from the West coast of Africa had come with the earliest voyages of the explorations by the Conquistadors of Spain and Portugal. There were Africans with the major voyages from Columbus to Cortez, Pizarro, Coronado, and many more. With the Spanish, these early Africans helped to build the first non-native American town/city on American soil, which was St. Augustine (Florida) in 1565. It is worth noting, that the 20 Africans (17 men and three women) who entered Jamestown did not come directly from the African continent,

concerns seriously and worked with us to craft a plan that will address the most significant impacts of the LRT line running so close to our studios.” As part of the agreement, MPR will seek other sources of funding for window reglazing to mitigate LRT noise impacts on critical listening spaces within its broadcast center, an effort supported by both the Met Council and the City of St. Paul. The 11-mile, $914 million LRT line will run on University and Washington Avenues from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis, connecting with the

existing Hiawatha line and terminating at a new intermodal station near the new Twins ballpark. That station also will serve the new Northstar commuter rail line, which is scheduled for completion this fall. Under the mitigation plan, the Central Corridor project will: • Install a 700-foot-long floating slab or its performance equivalent for the full length of the MPR building and two nearby historic churches to mitigate vibration and ground-borne noise from the train.

• Move a planned crossover switch from a location near MPR to a new location north of I-94, removing another source of LRTgenerated vibration. • Work with MPR to design, install and pay for modifications to three MPR studios to achieve “acoustical isolation” from LRTgenerated noise. • Maintain LRT vibration levels below specific thresholds within 32 recording and broadcast studios in the MPR Broadcast Center.



Page 4 • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Insight News

COMMENTARY America’s health care system crying out for reform Children’s Defense Fund

By Marian Wright Edelman It’s plain that our nation’s health insurance system is broken: 46 million people in America lack health coverage—nine million of them children—and the number of uninsured is growing during the current recession. Since 2001, the cost of family coverage from an employer has climbed by almost 80 percent, while workers’ earnings have risen only 24 percent. And the number

of businesses offering employees health coverage is declining. At the same time, the private health insurance industry has made huge profits, and several insurance firms have provided their top executives annual compensation packages exceeding $20 million. Our health insurance system enables a few to get rich from insurance profits while millions of uninsured families can’t afford to provide their children regular visits to the doctor or dentist. This is unjust and costly. Our health care system is crying out for reform, and our families and children are crying out for help. Reform must include a public health insurance plan option that competes with private insurers to extend comprehensive benefits through first-rate health care providers at an affordable

price. Without this public plan choice, the health of our children will continue to be held hostage to profit-driven insurance companies. A public health insurance plan option would encourage competition on the basis of cost and quality, not by avoiding the sick and denying care, as is the current practice. The plan will also keep costs down by negotiating bulk discounts from providers and drug companies through pooling on the model of the Veteran’s Administration. A public health insurance plan option could be available nationwide to people who want it and deliver services through private health providers as Medicare does. Those satisfied with their current insurance could keep it. America’s health care system

failure places struggling working families under great financial strain, which is worsened during the recession. Some insured families spend more on health care than on housing or food. People who lose their jobs are likely to lose their health coverage, despite the subsidy in President Obama’s economic recovery bill allowing newly unemployed people to buy health coverage through their former employer. The high costs of treating serious illnesses are a major contributor to bankruptcy. One study says medical problems were a reason for nearly half of all home foreclosures. Insurance companies have not provided solutions to these huge problems and often cause them. For many insurers, maximizing profits is paramount and providing

health care. Insurance companies in the small group market spend on average 25 to 27 percent of premium receipts on administrative costs—or profit— compared to the public Medicare program’s administrative costs in the range of three percent. Learn more about CDF’s Health Coverage for All Children Campaign at child.

quality health coverage secondary. With little oversight or regulation, they control who gets coverage, what medical procedures they’ll pay for, and the prices for coverage. Insurance companies routinely deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions or those they think will become ill in the future. A reason that insurers have been able to continue these practices is that a few companies control large portions of the market in some states. An American Medical Association survey reveals that one private insurance company controls more than half the insurance market in 16 states and a third of the market in 38 states. With limited competition, many of these powerful companies can ignore pleas to provide patient-focused

Marian Wright Edelman, whose latest book is The Sea Is So Wide And My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, is president of the Children’s Defense Fund. For more information about the Children’s Defense Fund, go to

This moment reflects an important window in our history NNPA Special Commentary

By Ben Jealous The struggle to end the lock ‘em up and throw away the key policies that resulted in the U.S. jailing more of its citizens than any other industrialized country has just won a significant victory. For more than 35 years, families in New York have been plagued by the notorious Rockefeller Drug Laws. The policy which included long mandatory prison sentences for first time non violent drug offenders resulted in major drug lords often going free while the non violent first offenders were given harsh sentences. The rule was particularly harsh for African Americans and women. In New York by 1990, 61.2 percent of all female prisoners were committed for a drug

offense, compared to 32.2 percent of men. Mothers, who needed drug treatment, were thrown in jail for sentences as long as 20 years, torn from their families leaving children to fend for themselves in the foster care system. African Americans and Latinos constituted 94.2 percent of the total population of drug felons in New York, whites were 5.3 percent. After decades of protest by civil rights and civil liberties groups and impacted communities, the law has ended with its repeal by New York State officials. It’s expected to save New York over a quarter billion dollars a year, but more importantly it will usher in an era of smarter crime polices. The new approach will send most non violent drug offenders to drug courts where they have access to treatment and implement a new law creating a drug “kingpin’’ offense for “organized drug traffickers who profit from and prey on drug users’’ and new crimes for adults who sell drugs to children. It rights the backward impact of the previous law, that

seemed to target the victims with prison and let the “bad guys” go free. Now instead of unemployed teenagers, or girlfriends coerced by their boyfriends into carrying a package of drugs, the major drug dealers will get the prison sentences and the drug addicts will get the treatment. New York Governor David Paterson should be applauded for his unwavering and longtime support for ending these cruel drug laws. Immediately prior to the repeal, he cited the example of a female drug addict who was arrested 60 times over 25 years. After being successfully treated for her addiction, she became a drug counselor. It shows the wisdom of the new policy. There is a perfect storm for change – a confluence of state fiscal crises and the steady drumbeat of voices for prison reform. States like California, with dangerously overcrowded prisons, are adopting smarter sentencing policies similar to New York. Some states are letting prisoners go early in order to save money. We are at a rare

moment when voices advocating an end to mass incarceration; urging alternative sentencing and ending the practice of using prisons to lock up the mentally ill and the addicted are resonating. This moment reflects an important window in our history. It is the time to dream big. The economic and political shifts in our country open the

door to advance policies that we thought would take decades to win. Overturning the draconian drug laws in New York was one of many battles predicted to take at least five more years to win, but the political shifts reflected in the election of President Obama - and the unprecedented fiscal crises brings us a unique opportunity for change.

Like all battles before it, we have to keep moving forward until we achieve the comprehensive change our country needs. Now is the time. Benjamin Todd Jealous is president and CEO of the NAACP.

Letter to the editor:

Intolerance abound In the last few months I have noticed a great deal of intolerance on issues of race by Twin Citians. The Twin Cities is 25-30% of color. Yet so many things about the cities are so politically incorrect. People of European descent are always trying to paint themselves as so liberal, yet they are really are hiding their intolerance and racism. It is easy to talk liberal. It is different to live it. A Black president is challenging many people’s assumptions about their comfort levels with race. It is one thing to talk about liberalism over lattes with other white liberals. It is quite another thing to live out what you claim to believe. President Obama has been getting a bit of

intolerance himself. So many people ask why he has not solved the global economic crisis already. The man has only been in office less than three months. This is a mess that took decades to produce. Yet, George Bush was brilliant. If he was so brilliant why didn’t he figure out the global crisis before he left office. He had at least five months to get it done. Whether liberal or conservatives, it is important to give all people equal consideration. Ken Lawrence Minneapolis, MN

Insight News • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Page 5

BUSINESS Developing a compelling scoreboard will help keep track of goals Plan your career

By Julie Desmond What do you want to accomplish? Are you looking for a job? Hoping for a promotion? Saving to buy a

house? Losing weight? Running a marathon? Your success will be commensurate with your level of accountability to… you guessed it… yourself. You personally control your achievements far more than anyone around you. If you can develop a compelling scoreboard, a tracking system you will use and update daily, then your goals will have a way of reaching themselves. Coaching a basketball playoff game without a scoreboard is a challenge. The crowd who cares about the outcome wants to know who is ahead. Knowing the score

also lets the players know when they can ease up, and when they have to play their A-game. Give yourself an advantage by keeping, and keeping an eye on, the score of your playoff games. First, name your game. Look at everything you want to do in life, and choose one major, important, realistic focus. Let’s say, for example, your game is called, “find a job.” Then, establish a finish line. How will you know you’ve won? Your final whistle might be the day you start your new position. Some plays move a game

forward, and others result in a three-pointer or a grand slam. Both matter. Your lead off plays will be those activities that you set into motion. Applying for jobs is a lead off play. You control the number of applications you send out, knowing that the more you send, the more likely you are to get interviews. Interviews, then, lag behind. The lead action influences the results which drive the score. If you don’t get the ball to the right end of the court, you can’t shoot and score. The more lead action you have, the more lag action will

follow. More applications, more interviews, more likely you’ll win the game. Keep your scoreboard simple. Write down the name of your game, decide how many lead actions you’re going to take, and name them. Pay attention to the competition: those situations that distract you from your goal. Make a habit of charting your lead plays and you should be able to watch the lag measures relatively increase. If you can’t seem to win the game, increase your lead activities. That should improve the score in your

favor. Not every milestone is equivalent to a playoff game. Casual objectives are more like pickup games: buy milk on the way home, mow the lawn Saturday, see that new movie the day it comes out. You don’t need a scoreboard because achieving these goals, or not, has no real consequence. But life’s bigger achievements are much more than a pickup game. Create a rhythm of accountability to yourself and you will have better luck reaching your goals.

Federal Reserve offers tips for avoiding foreclosure scams Reports of mortgage foreclosure scams are on the rise. Foreclosure scam artists are using a variety of means to reach out to potential

victims, including the Internet, phone calls, direct mail, and doorto-door solicitations. For families who are struggling to remain in

their homes, it's vital to know what to watch for and where to turn for help. Fortunately, legitimate housing counselors and other resources are available at no or low cost to assist homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. The Federal Reserve Board has compiled the following list of tips to help protect homeowners from costly foreclosure scams. Work only with a nonprofit, HUD-approved housing counselor. For a list of certified counselors, visit h/hcc/hcs.cfm or call 877-HUD1515 (877-483-1515). If the name of the organization you are working with isn't on the list, then switch to one that is. • Don't pay an arm and a leg. Most housing counselors provide no- or low-cost counseling services. You should not have to

Social Security’s online services best in government By Rhonda Whitenack and Jim Czechowicz

Social Security Public Affairs office in Minneapolis It’s always nice to be considered the best in the business — and even better when the judges are members of the public we serve. Social Security is proud that the American public has put our online services at the top of the list again. In the most recent survey of eGovernment services by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Social Security’s online services earned the highest overall score of 79 percent satisfaction. (The average score for the Federal government was 75.) In particular, our Retirement Estimator scored 89, the top score in the federal government. The Retirement Estimator provides immediate retirement benefit estimates based on your own earnings record to help you plan for your retirement. The online Retirement Estimator is a convenient financial planning tool, since it eliminates the need to manually key in years of earnings information. The estimator also will let you create “what if” scenarios. For example, change your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. Check it out at Also earning high marks from the public were our online Retirement Application and Medicare Extra Help Application, with each scoring 87. In a separate survey, Nextgov, a website devoted to technology and the federal government, listed as one of the top five federal websites in its review of best online practices. It is important to note that the usefulness of our website is enhanced because much of the online information is available in Spanish, as well as 14 other languages. Many documents are also accessible to people who use screen readers, screen magnifiers and voice recognition software. To learn more, see the recent press release about Social Security and the American Customer Satisfaction Index at pr/onlineservices-accolades-pr.htm. Try out the best online services in government for yourself at Social Security’s website,

pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for assistance. • Be wary of "guarantees." No one can ensure you good results. • Know what you are signing. Don't let a counselor pressure you into signing paperwork you haven't had a chance to read thoroughly or don't understand. • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. • If you feel you are a victim of foreclosure fraud, trust your instincts and ask for help. Report suspicious schemes to your state and local consumer protection agencies, which you can find on the Consumer Action Website at Additional information about avoiding foreclosure scams may be found on the Federal Reserve Board's website at eclosurescamtips/default.htm.


Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Elliot Stewart-Franzen Web Design & Content Associate Ben Williams Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Contributing Writers Brenda Colston Julie Desmond Marcia Humphrey Mehgaan Jones Alaina L. Lewis Rashida McKenzie Ryan T. Scott Photography Suluki Fardan Tobechi Tobechukwu Contact Us: Insight News, Inc. Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Mpls., MN 55411 Ph.: (612) 588-1313 Fax: (612) 588-2031 Member: Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC) Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. (MBPCI) National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Postmaster: Send address changes to McFarlane Media Interests, Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411.

Page 6 • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Insight News


American Violet examines famous Texas case Film Review

By Kam Williams, Columnist On November 2, 2000, drug enforcement agents executed a sweep of the Black community in the tiny town of Hearne, TX, arresting 27 African American residents, including a grieving father who was taken into custody during the funeral of his young daughter. The bench warrants had been issued by the county on the word of an informant who claimed to have purchased crack from each of the accused, despite the fact that the ex-con was the sole eyewitness, had a history of mental illness, and was himself facing criminal charges at the time. Nonetheless, The District Attorney aggressively pursued convictions in all of the cases, generally succeeding since most of the defendants couldn’t afford to make bail, let alone hire a lawyer. What generally transpired was that after languishing in jail for several months while awaiting trial, many succumbed to the pressure of their courtappointed public defender to plead guilty to a lesser charge in return for leniency, rather than

face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. In actuality, these unfortunate folks from the projects had all simply been victimized by a state-sanctioned scheme to incarcerate innocent African Americans. Ultimately, the ACLU would clear their names with the help of one of the defendants, an intrepid woman willing to risk further incurring the wrath of the local authorities by testifying against them in a lawsuit proving a color-coded pattern of malicious prosecution. The intimate details of her lengthy ordeal, set against the backdrop of that landmark case, is the subject of American Violet, a gripping dramatization of the events surrounding the sad tragedy which ruined many families in Hearne. Directed by Tim Disney (Blessed Art Thou), great-nephew of the legendary Walt Disney, the movie stars newcomer Nicole Beharie as Dee Roberts, a 24 year-old single-mother with four daughters whose life comes apart at the seams when she finds herself suddenly ensnared in a dragnet designed to rid the town of Black people entirely. We see that before being framed for a crime she didn’t commit, Dee had been getting along if not exactly flourishing, caring for her girls while trying to save enough money from waitressing to study cosmetology someday. But afterwards, she’s soon without the financial resources or the emotional support needed to handle the situation. In matter-of-fact fashion, this brilliant bio-pic effectively illustrates the likely fallout visited upon a law-abiding but unsophisticated person like Dee up against an impersonal legal justice system unconcerned with the truth. For when she is falsely accused of distributing narcotics and held on $70,000 bail, the ripple effect of the ensuing nightmare means that she stands to lose her dignity, her job, her savings and custody of her children in fast order. Besides the powerful performance of Beharie, a Juilliard grad, American Violet features a smorgasbord of equally-engaging efforts on the part of a talented supporting cast topped by such veteran thespians as Alfre Woodard, Charles S. Dutton, Will Patton, Tim Blake Nelson, Xzibit and Michael O’Keefe. A movie which earns high marks simply for being the first feature film

with the guts to tackle the subject of racial profiling in such an honest fashion, especially given the similar allegations leveled at the neighboring town of Tenaha just last month. Fair warning: Do yourself and family a favor and steer clear of that racist oasis if you happen to be Black and passing through Texas. Excellent (4 stars) Rated PG-13 for profanity, ethnic slurs, violence, drug references and mature themes. Running time: 102 minutes Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films To see a trailer for American Violet, visit: v=Qv8Jq09qU1Q To see a news report about Tenaha, Texas, see: v=-I80hda3IRI


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Insight News • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Page 7

Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery offers hope to families in need By Mehgaan Jones Tucked away in a quiet corner in Golden Valley, MN is a safe haven and beacon of hope for many. The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery is the only residential nursery in Minnesota and one of only 20 in the country. The nursery has assisted families for 26 years in Hennepin County. It has built a great reputation, which has allowed for the nursery to build trusting relationships. “Reputations can be lost in a day, but they are earned over years,” explained Joel Bergstom, who is the Development and Communications Director of GMNC. The nursery has developed strong roots within the community it serves. GMNC also has a longstanding relationship with United Way. The Nursery has several programs which include a 24-hour crisis hotline, crisis counseling, 72hour residential care, medical care to children, referrals, home visits and parenting classes. Although childcare is an important aspect of GMNC, the nursery can only provide shelter for so many children at a time. The initial phone call to the hotline allows for the family advocates to provide crisis intervention and connect parents with the resources that they need. “The family advocates take the time to let families know that their issues are important even if we cannot provide their children with shelter,” said Molly Kenney, GMNC Family Services Director. The families who use the nursery’s services are usually isolated, low income and in need of assistance. These families are experiencing a tremendous amount of stress in this time of economic hardships. Kenney explained that as a result of the economy the issues are greater than before and the resources are less. Many families who are in need of assistance are extremely brave. “A lot of the families who reach out to us are eligible for services that are out there. They either don’t know how to get them or are uncertain,” said Mary Pat Lee, Executive Director of the nursery. They understand their need for help, and they have a tremendous amount of strength for reaching out. “The parents who pick up that phone and ask for help are very strong. We want to make sure that

GREATER MINNEAPOLIS CRISIS NURSERY Serves all of Hennepin County, offering a 24-hour crisis hotline, crisis counseling, up to 72-hour overnight residential care, community referrals, parent education, parent support group, and a home visiting program. For more information or if you need services: (763) 591-0100. Services are accessed voluntarily by families through the Crisis Hotline. PILLSBURY CRISIS NURSERY – A program of Pillsbury United Communities Serves all of Hennepin County, offering a 24-hour crisis hotline, crisis counseling, emergency day care, and limited 72-hour overnight home based care. For more information or if you need services: (612) 302-3500. Services are accessed voluntarily by families through the Crisis Hotline.

Executive Director Mary Pat Lee, and Development and Communications Director Joel Bergstom their children are well taken care of because they trust us,” said Bergstrom.

The mission of the nursery is to end child abuse and neglect. The staff and volunteers at GMNC display an amazing amount of dedication to reaching this mission. They believe in the families they work with and pride themselves on making a difference. April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Lee explained the importance as a community to take this opportunity in April to assure the safety of children and to understand that extra steps need to

The mission of the nursery is to end child abuse and neglect. be taken to help end child abuse and neglect. For further information, contact the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery at (763) 591-0400 or

Photos: Suluki Fardan

Page 8 • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Insight News

LIFESTYLE Enjoying the great outdoors Style on a dime

By Marcia Humphrey I used to laugh at the crazy Minnesota folks who would break out in shorts and t-shirts on the first sunny day that brought forty or fifty degree temperatures. I’d also watch in disbelief those folks who, despite temperatures barely above twenty degrees, shed their coat just because the sun was shining.

After living here for two winters, I have to admit that now I finally “Get it.” The Minnesota winters can be so long and brutal that any sign of warmth is like an invitation to take it off; that is, strip off the layers and layers of outerwear. I used to wonder if these strippers were cold. What I have concluded is that yes, they are cold, but it’s worth it to be free from the bondage of the layerseven if it’s just for a day or so. My other confession is that I have now taken to stripping too; I can be found running into the gym at 6 a.m. with only my workout clothes and my hoodie. I’m feeling really good about this string of warm days that we have been having, and I am feeling good about wearing my lightweight coats again. This means that it’s time for

our winter hibernation to be over and for spring activities to get into full force. If you are among those who have packed on a few pounds to keep you warm this winter (translationyou ate too much and watched too much television), now is the time to strip off those extra pounds with fun, easy, and low-cost options. Exercise Resistance Bands Starting at about $10 each, these goanywhere bands are a perfect way to shape up whether you are indoors or out, at home or out-of-town. Bands are hot right now and you can find them being sold for big bucks on infomercials and being used by many personal trainers. You can get similar results at home if you follow some simple principles. For ideas to get started check out an article in

Prevention magazine. -found-it-the-fastest-way-to-sculpt Hula-Hoops Do you remember the fun we used to have with hula hoops? Recapture the fun with your kids, nieces, or

On Saturday April 25, from 1 to 4 p.m., help celebrate the diverse achievements of our local community members at Amantes de la Ciencia at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Try hands-on science activities, and meet science and educational professionals from the finest companies and educational organizations. The event is free with museum admission. The museum is located at 120 West Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul. For more information, visit or call 651-221-9444.

grands-and get fit at the same time. A great deal, at only about $10, you’ll be fit in no time. Walking, Jogging, and Biking These are always activities that are easy to do. Just get some good gym shoes and you are ready. Whether walking or biking, challenge

yourself with hills and burn around 20% more calories! Jumping Rope This is another super simple way to meet your fitness goals! To make it more fun, turn on some music-use a combination of faster and slower songs to mix up your pace. After a few weeks, watch the inches melt away. Do you want sculpted arms, washboard abs, strong quads, or shapely calves? Maybe you want to relieve stress, sleep better, have more energy, or feel more confident. Exercise and a balanced diet can help with all of the above. As always, consult with your physician before beginning a new fitness program. Once you get the go-ahead, visit the nearest library and get some fitness magazines to get ideas on the latest fitness moves to do at home. If you just stick with it, you will be amazed at how well your body, mind, and spirit will respond to you. The time is now, so get outside and get moving…today! Enjoy! Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at a low cost. A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.

Insight News • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Page 9

Let faith in God push you towards your goals By Rashida McKenzie Have you ever felt something “pulling” at you? Something that you’ve always wanted to do or accomplish but no matter what you do, you can’t get it done? For example, there are those of us who like to make New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions are usually things you want to change in your life, but too often the

LRT From 3 • Restrict the use of train horns in a “quiet zone” in the area immediately surrounding MPR and the churches.

change never gets made. If you’re anything like me then you get trapped in this vicious cycle for years on end. You keep writing those same goals on your list, only to discover five years later that you are no closer to completing them. Perhaps that “thing” could be your calling; something the Lord has planned for you, and He does have a plan for you. He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm

you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)”. But you have to seek Him first. The problem is that we try to do it alone and by ourselves and we end up messing up the plan altogether or delaying it. What stands in the way of you achieving your goals could be several things: Maybe you are trying to do too many things at once, I for one am guilty of that. Maybe you are hung up on the

fact that someone in your life, perhaps someone very close to you, told you that your goal was impossible. Or could it be that you’ve already tried and the task ahead proved to be a lot harder than you thought so you backed off? If you are stuck in a rut for whatever reason, the advice is simple although not always easy: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all of his righteousness

and all things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).” By seeking Him first, you’ll be better able to put your goals into perspective and align them with what is in His will for you to do. That way you won’t waste valuable time chasing every scheme or opportunity in hopes that it will take you to the next level. With your focus on God you will come to understand that He has the final authority on matters, not man. More

importantly, with time prayer and hard work, yes work, you will soon realize that with God all things are possible, even those goals you have been putting off for the past few years.

Under the agreement, the Council will monitor the noise and vibration impacts of the line during its construction, testing and first year of operation to ensure the effectiveness of the mitigation plan and address any variances of agreed-upon mitigation criteria. The Council hopes to complete preliminary engineering on the

project in September and obtain federal approval to begin final design, with the goal of starting construction next year and launching passenger service in 2014. The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning organization for the seven-county Twin Cities area. It runs the regional bus and

light rail system, collects and treats wastewater, manages regional water resources, plans regional parks and administers funds that provide housing opportunities for lowand moderate-income individuals and families. The Council is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor. Minnesota Public Radio® is

one of the nation’s premier public radio companies producing programming for radio, Internet and face-to-face audiences. With its three services — News & Information Service, Classical Music Service and The Current — operating a 38-station regional radio network and serving a regional population of 5 million

people, MPR has 100,000 members and more than 840,000 listeners each week, the largest audience of any regional public radio network. American Public Media is the nation’s second-largest public radio production company (after NPR) reaching an audience of 16 million people each week.

Rashida McKenzie is an inspirational speaker, based in Maryland. To find out her latest tips for helping you transform your life and find your purpose go to

Page 10 • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Insight News Assumed Name 1. State the exact assumed name under which the business is or will be conducted: Boyer International Trucks 2. State the address of the principal place of business: 21701 Industrial Blvd, Rogers, MN 55374 3. List the name and complete street address of all persons conducting business under the above Assumed Name: Boyer Ford Trucks, Inc 2601 Broadway Rd NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 4. I certify that I am authorized to sign this certificate and I further certify that I understand that by signing this certificate, I am subject to the penalties of perjury as set forth in Minnesota Statues section 609.48 as if I had signed this certificate under oath. Signed by: J Bradley Gorsuch Date Filed: 4/8/2009 Contact Person: J Bradley Gorsuch Daytime Phone Number: (612) 627-5501 Insight News 4/20/2009, 4/27/2009

ClearWay Minnesota Seeks Board Candidates ClearWay Minnesota is seeking candidates for its Board of Directors. The ClearWay Minnesota Board oversees operations of an independent, non-profit organization. ClearWay Minnesota’s vision is to eliminate the harm tobacco causes the people of Minnesota. ClearWay Minnesota’s strategies include grants, individual cessation services, research and community outreach. Board terms are three years. Board Members serve without compensation. Please submit applications to ClearWay Minnesota by May 15. Qualified candidates must have: ƒ Expertise in areas related to Board governance ƒ No affiliation with ClearWay Minnesota grantees or contractors ƒ No affiliation with the tobacco industry or related trade associations within the last 10 years

For an application, call (952) 767-1438 or email


ATTENTION: MBE/WBE CONSTRUCTION SUBCONTRACTORS We are requesting quotations for the following project: Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant Liquids Improvements Phase 1, Shakopee, Minnesota Owner: Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. Bids are due in our office no later than: April 22, 2009, 2:00 p.m. If you are interested in bidding this project or need assistance in preparing your bids, please contact our office: Madsen-Johnson Corporation, General Contractors, PO Box 486, Hudson, WI 54016 715-386-8201 / 715-386-5950 Fax An EEO Employer

Updated 1-2 Bedroom Apts. in Whittier Clean,quiet,secure, Parking available, Near bus Whittier Community Apartments 6 1 2 - 8 7 0 - R E N T ( 7 3 6 8 ) "equal housing opportunity provider"

A r ts - U s Auditions For Kumbayah, The Juneteenth Story All ages, no Experience or preparation needed, just come and have fun! We're especially looking for African American and African actors but all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to audition. April 21st & 22nd, 2009 1221 Marshall Ave., St. Paul, 5-7pm

A partner with the community, Regions Hospital celebrates Diversity. Regions Hospital has served the Twin Cities and surrounding region for more than 125 years. We are genuinely dedicated to fostering an environment that provides our patients, and staff, with the Best Care, Best Experience. At Regions Hospital, we are committed to providing state-of-the-art care in a comfortable, healing environment. Part of that care includes fostering a respectful environment that embraces the many different people that make up our community. As a Level I Trauma Center and one of the area’s most respected healthcare providers, Regions Hospital celebrates diverse talents and backgrounds. Through acceptance and diversity, we can succeed in our mission to be a healing presence in the lives of the patients and families we serve. Our passion for excellence is evident throughout our organization. As our partner, you’ll be rewarded for your talents with a wealth of opportunities and one of the area’s most attractive compensation and benefits packages. At Regions Hospital, you’ll discover a respectful, value-driven environment that can energize your career and personal growth. For a list of current openings and to apply, please visit us online at EOE Part of the HealthPartners family of care.

I have access to hundreds of foreclosed properties in Minneapolis-St.Paul and surrounding suburbs. Let me help you take advantage of this real estate market.

Insight News • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Page 11


Chillin with Al Nolen, Jr.:

Nolen, Jr. attributes personal successes to Nolen, Sr. and others Mr T’s Sports Report

By Ryan T. Scott The best part of writing this column, and other articles, is the cool and enlightening moments with the shiny young stars of the Twin Cities. Nothing can replace wisdom from old folks; but make no mistake, wisdom has no reigns, and young folks can ride that horse with the best of ‘em…they just tend to get bucked off a little more often. The “wisdom of the years” can also be called “I’m sick of falling off this horse”. Gopher point guard Al Nolen, Jr. has the first cornerstone of wisdom firmly on his foundation. Listening is the first cornerstone of wisdom (in my opinion), and Al Nolen, Jr. has been privy to listen to some of the best. The fact that Nolen is a Jr.,

and that he is on a solid path to success, says that there is a Sr. who most likely had a whole lot of good to say. Al Nolen, Sr. loves his son very much, and together with his mother, Rosie Burch, you can see that everything parents are supposed to pour into their child shows in Jr.’s words and countenance. “My Mom and Dad talked all the time about going to college. I took a lot of trips to the career center because of that. Patrick Henry High School did a good job of reemphasizing through college practice tests, so that helped a lot, too,” said the point guard. Obviously, Gophers Head Coach Tubby Smith has plenty of wisdom to pass on. “Coach (Smith) teaches a lot. The fact that he is an accomplished Black male role model means a lot. Obviously it is a bit easier to relate and communicate with him in general. I feel blessed to be in this position,” said Nolen. Nolen talked at length about coach Smith’s call for leadership. Relating a poignant moment and lesson with regard to leadership Nolen said: “We were on a down swing during

the mid-season. What I had to do was listen to coach and take a leadership role in conveying his wishes to the team. Through that we were able to all get on the same page and make a strong finish, which resulted in qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. It takes mental toughness to fight through those rough patches, and coach consistently drives home the point of mental toughness. He expects a lot out of all of us, but as the point guard I am the first extension of the head coach as a player on the court.” Beyond his collegiate community, Nolen continues his leadership through his home community as well. Through impromptu drop-ins on his former high school team’s (Patrick Henry HS) practices, or in more formal addresses to camps such as the Clyde Turner Educational Basketball Camp, he tends to the important responsibility of giving back what he can to the North Minneapolis neighborhoods that helped mold him. “I’m honored if I’m seen as a role model. Lawrence MacKenzie and the other successful players from

Ryan T. Scott (L) with Al Nolen Jr. Henry did the same for me. I think because we help each other out like that, more kids from the neighborhood are starting to look at how they can take advantage of the opportunities available with a lot of schools in the area, whether the U or one of the other good schools.” The same mentoring takes place at the college-level. At the University of Minnesota, former players such as Walter Bond come and talk to the Men’s

Basketball team. Bond was particularly adept at relaying the message of turning all experiences into positive outcomes said Nolen. Nolen obviously has a good chance to play professionally, whether in the United States or abroad. First thing’s first, however. This spring and summer provide the opportunity to step his game up to the next level for this coming fall when

his junior season begins. “Obviously we saw that our conference rival Michigan State made it to the NCAA Championship, so we have a clearer idea of what it takes to accomplish our bigger goals. We just have to put in the work,” he said. Don’t you love it when young folks talk about hard work? In response to my typical question of what he would convey to young people from his neighborhood or otherwise, Nolen suggests: “Be yourself, and follow your own path. Make your own trail, and keep yourself around positive influences. Negative influences come around a lot, but if you do what you have to do first, and make sure you chase your dream then they will not want to be around you as much. And like my Dad always says, ‘Try to do the right thing.’” We should all do the right thing by passing this article on to a young person, because you can’t say it much better than that. Nolen’s pick for the NBA Championship?…The Los Angeles Lakers. Good pick Junior. We can chill more often homie.

Page 12 • April 20 - April 26, 2009 • Insight News We accept these credit & debit cards

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Insight News ::: 4.20.09  

Insight News for 4.20.09. Insight News, the community journal for news, business and the arts serving the Minneapolis / St. Paul African Ame...