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Nicole Richie for Impulse launch at Macy’s Southdale Discover the new Nicole Richie for Impulse collection. View and shop this exclusive limited-edition collection that features fluid bohemian glamour influenced by 70’s silhouettes, prints and fabrications for a fashionforward look at an affordable price, while enjoying informal modeling, sips, sweets and music Sept 12, 5:30pm at Macy’s Southdale, 1st Floor, Impulse Dept. 100 Southdale Center, Edina. Visit events for more info.

INSIGHT NEWS August 27 - September 2, 2012 • MN Metro Vol. 39 No. 35 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts •

Legacy and

dynasty By Al McFarlane, Editor-in-Chief James Garrett Jr. and Paola Sanchez-Garrett, are newlyweds. She is from the Dominican Republic. Though he was born in Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, he has deep Saint Paul roots that in effect, make him a Twin Cities native. They were my guests recently on Conversations With Al McFarlane on KFAI FM 90.3. You can listen to the interview at http://feeds.feedburner. com/insightnews/conversationswithalmcfarlane.


Courtesy of James Garrett Jr.

James Garrett Jr. and Paola Sanchez-Garrett

Addressing obesity By Darren D. Moore, Ph.D.

Photo courtesy of Samuel Ero-Phillips

From left to right: Xee Xiong, Richard Xiong, Koa Vue, Samuel Ero-Phillips , Brandon Lee, Cheng and Alfredo. Ero-Phillips got involved because he was “interested in what Juxtaposition was doing for the community

Greetings, and welcome to “Moore Therapy!” the newest column in the Insight News that will be examining all things related to couple and family relationships, Black men, health, and mental health within the African American community. I am Dr. Darren D. Moore and I will be writing a series of articles based on hot topics, current events, and requests made by you. Ladies, are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you in an intimate relationship that is driving you crazy? Do you find

Darren D. Moore yourself depressed, lonely, or abused, but yet you keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Men: do you wonder why you can’t catch a break?

Why you are overlooked and undervalued? Why you can’t get her to understand you? Parents, are you at your wits’ ends with trying to discipline your children? Teens do you struggle with getting your parents to understand you? Grown folks: are you caught in a love triangle? Do you have a secret that nobody knows? I will be talking about all of this and THEN some in my new column. Just in case you don’t know, I am a Minnesota native; I was born and raised on the northside of Minneapolis. I obtained


Students gain experience in architecture, design By Abeni Hill Insight Intern A group of students interested in environmental design recently completed a project centered on a possible light rail route. The program was a part of course presented by Juxtaposition Arts. Juxtaposition Arts, 2007 Emerson Ave. N, provides youth between the ages of eight and 21 with a creative outlet through programs in textile design, photography, drawing, painting, graphic design, and environmental design. “We started the environmental design program seven years ago as a way for young people to better understand their ability to impact the community that they occupy,” said Juxtaposition Arts Executive Director and Co-Founder Deanna Cummings. “Our (Juxtaposition Arts’) focus

Governor Dayton and Judge Wright at the announcement Abeni Hill

Students modeled the building structures around the light rail on the proposed Bottineau Transitway is rising up young people.” Cummings described Northside youth as, “the community’s greatest asset.” Participants in the environmental design program recently presented ideas for light-rail transit. The students used two dimensional drawings


Closing the digital divide for the Latino community


and three dimensional models in their presentations. The students participating either just graduated high school or will be high school juniors or seniors in the fall. The project for the students



Vitamin D: Essential to feeling and functioning better


Dayton Media

Dayton appoints Wilhelmina Wright to Minnesota Supreme Court Governor Mark Dayton appointed Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright to the position of Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Judge Wright, 48, has served on the Minnesota Court

of Appeals since 2002 and has authored over 700 opinions in that time. Prior to that, she served as a Trial Judge in the District Court of Ramsey County and as an Assistant United States Attorney for


Ex-Viking Ray Edward launches 1050 modeling


the District of Minnesota, where she represented the United States in complex economic fraud cases and violent crime cases in the


Full Circle

Insight for aspiring writers


Page 2 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

Closing the digital divide for the Latino community matching gifts from the University of Minnesota. In its final year of a three-year timeline, the project is looking to find funding in order to continue its services. Leaders of the BAP understand that computer adeptness has become a key job skill; the development of computer literacy through education is an important aspect of the BAP. Group classes targeting all levels of proficiency are offered at the larger BAP computer labs. These classes cover topics regarding Microsoft Office, financial support, social media for business use, and even Internet programming and design. What also sets the BAP apart from other public computer centers is the presence of a trained apprentice at each location. This apprentice is employed by the University of Minnesota and is able to help users with any questions they might have. Patino embraces his role as apprentice at the Centro location. “The idea is to be training myself in computer technology and introducing people that don’t have any or helping those that have some knowledge to do different things with computers,” he explains. This means he will often help with building or revising resumes, point people towards good websites to search for jobs, help them use English learning

Salvador Patino, a University of Minnesota apprentice for Centro in South Minneapolis, is extremely passionate about helping the Latino community learn more about technology and how it is important to every day life. “Unfortunately, I would say that the Latinos are the ones that are more behind in computers than other groups, so I’m trying to make them understand how important it is,” he explains. Centro is a service agency aimed at providing aid to Latino and Chicano community members in the Twin Cities. Although this computer lab is housed at Centro, it is a division of the Broadband Access Project (BAP), an outreach program developed through the University of Minnesota’s Urban Outreach and Engagement Center (UROC). The BAP updated and established 12 public computer centers aimed at increasing broadband access, awareness, and use in four federally designated poverty zones throughout the Twin Cities metro area. The project is open to all people but since this lab is housed in Centro, it caters mostly to Latinos. Each of the computer labs is outfitted with various numbers of upto-date units and high-speed Internet capabilities, such as Microsoft office. The project is funded through a federal grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, as well as

Courtesy of BAP

Centro computer lab


Simmons to lead MUL Social Enterprise Academy School

Ronald J. Simmons

Suluki Fardan

An educational leader and visionary with over twenty years experience, Ronald J. Simmons was selected by Minneapolis Urban League CEO Scott Gray to lead the organization’s Social Enterprise Academy School which serves students in grades 6-12. Simmons’ experience is vast, in addition to teaching experience in both traditional and alternative school settings, he has served stints as an Assistant Principal at Patrick Henry High School; and as the principal of North High School in Minneapolis and John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington. Known for spearheading learning communities with school climates and challenging class instruction that serve to close student learning and achievement gaps, Simmons will be bringing his expertise to the MUL Social Enterprise Academy School. The MUL

Social Enterprise Academy School, is a 21st century learning community, which has been innovatively structured based upon best practices to blend academic, career development, college readiness and expeditionary learning employing social enterprise aimed at fully engaging student learners, while preparing them for college and career pathway access. When asked about the new position and his vision for the MUL School, Simmons commented, “I am excited about the challenge of fulfilling a lifelong dream of further expanding educational opportunities for all students. and continuing to work with our future leaders of America. The vision of the Urban League Academy enables our students to pursue a successful pathway which includes high

Education forum: Engage parents, community The Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators (MABSE) recently held its first in a series of public hearings at the Minneapolis Urban League. Minneapolis School Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson and Commissioner Brenda Cassellius presented

updates on how students were progressing academically. The event drew over 50 participants, mostly from North Minneapolis who shared their ideas and comments. MABSE’s president, Francine Chakolis, moderated the public hearing. Chakolis said

the purpose of the hearing was to help the Minnesota Department of Education and Superintendent Johnson explain the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts. Chakolis asked the audience what are the most urgent issues facing Minnesota public schools

in educating African-American children and sought suggestions for addressing the challenging issues. She also asked for suggestions to help us close the achievement gap for AfricanAmerican children. One suggestion was to involve North Minneapolis

parents and community members in helping other parents and teachers educate children. Another suggestion was a need for more staff and teacher professional development on culture, as the area is home to students of many varying cultures and native languages.

The next Public Hearing in this series will be held Monday, Sept. 10 in Brooklyn Park at Shiloh Temple, 8209 Zane Avenue North. The forum will be held from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. This hearing is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 3


Busara: Practical wisdom for violence prevention Murua (Swahili for ‘Respect’) By Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P. The Swahili have a word for “common sense” called: Busara. Busara refers to the need to make knowledge useful, practical and applicable to the everyday lives of the learner. In a stoke of what I call “genius” one day it occurred to me that when we know that a problem exists, we should take the proper steps to address it. This clarity came to me one day as I was performing what we psychologists refer to as a “functional behavior assessment” (FBA) on a child at school. The purpose of an FBA is to determine why a kid does what he or she does. As tedious as it can be, conducting an FBA can be very rewarding. On this particular day, I reviewed the times during which

the misbehaviors occurred. It appeared that 95% of the behavior problems happened about 1 hour before, during or after lunch. I reflected on this and said to the staff: “We know this kid is going to have a meltdown around noon if we don’t do something, something must be wrong with us! It’s kinda like a robbery…and the robber says he’s coming at noon. Now, our job is to be ready.” It is no secret that AfricanAmerican children in Minnesota experience severe disparities in multiple systems including special education, foster care, juvenile justice and mental health. We know where the crime is taking place, yet we continue to exhibit poor tactical skills at making changes. In fact, the most recent Minnesota Student Survey conducted in 2010 clearly demonstrated that African American children in Minnesota fare worse than their white counterparts. For example, in comparison to 18% of white 9th grade girls who reported that they were “sad all or most of the time,” 22% of Black girls

in the ninth grade reported that they were sad “all or most of the time.” Likewise, similar patterns existed for Black boys in the ninth grade in comparison to their white counterparts. Specifically, 11%

symptoms of anxiety and nervousness as well. For example, fifteen percent (15%) of the Black boys in the 9th grade related that they were “nervous, worried or upset- all or most of

Violence prevention research indicates that even having one risk factor in the absence of protective factors makes individuals more vulnerable to violence. of the Black boys in the 9th grade related that they were sad “all or most of the time” in comparison to white 9th grade boys who reported being sad “all or most of the time” at a rate of 7%. These trends exist for

the time” in comparison to only 9% of white boys reporting that they were “nervous, worried or upset-all or most of the time.” Similarly, a larger percentage of 9th grade Black girls (22%) reported that they were “nervous,

worried or upset-all or most of the time” in comparison to their white cohorts (17%). Likewise, we are aware that African American youth represent over 70% of the bookings into the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and are at high risk for being impacted by exposure to violence. Within this year alone, North Minneapolis neighborhoods have experienced disproportionate amounts of violence. For example, statistics tell us that from January to March 2012, families in North Minneapolis experienced over 50% of the city’s homicides, 27% of the robberies, approximately 19% of the sexual assaults, and over 38% of the aggravated assaults. These patterns suggests that although there is no clear evidence that Black youth should innately have greater prevalence for generating criminal offenses or for evidencing mental health problems in comparison to white youth, they are disproportionately represented in systems. The systemic non-responsiveness to their needs has placed these youth

at greater risk for problems related to mental health diagnoses and treatment as a result of chronic exposure to violence. Factors that contribute to our children experiencing problems include limited access to culturally specific or culturally competent providers, limited access to funding for mental health care, cultural distrust of systems, as well as unfamiliarity with how to access mental health support. Through our Minneapolis Blueprint for Action for Preventing Youth Violence, we know that kids also need the support of at least one trusted adult, require early intervention when violence exposure is presented, need support and help when they have gone down the wrong path and that we, as parents and members of the Village, must help youth unlearn the culture of violence. WHAT FACTORS INCREASE THE RISK OF STUDENTS BEING INVOLVED IN


John B. Davis Center welcomes new school year Building Creative Capital By Bernadeia H. Johnson MPS Superintendent The Minneapolis Public Schools will welcome students in grades 1-12 back to school on August 27 and our new kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, ECFE and High Five students on August 29. Visit the new Davis Center

We are MPS. We are open-minded, welcoming, conscientious, attentive, fun, interactive, collaborative, progressive, and accountable. We are also excited to welcome our families and the community to the completed John B. Davis Education and Service Center. Since the Board of Education approved this project almost two years ago, the site has undergone a stunning transformation. The Davis Center will serve as a beacon for the future success of our students and as a welcoming hub for all members of our community. It will be a place for us to demonstrate a culture of YES. The Davis Center will help

We are working hard to provide the best service to every family, every day.

John B. Davis Education and Service Center us as we strive to achieve our mission by serving well over one

Suluki Fardan

thousand students, staff, families and community members daily.

Attend school to achieve in school I know that our community is counting on us to make a difference in the lives of our students. As we prepare our students for success in school and after graduation, it is important that all of our students arrive at school on the first day on time and ready to learn. Not only are we preparing for the upcoming school year, but we are also working to prepare students for future success. Students need to attend

school to achieve in school – and everyone can play a role in making this happen. This year, we are leading an aggressive attendance campaign called Attend to Achieve because we know that attendance is critical to student success. When students attend school, they are much more likely to achieve their dreams and enroll in college. Our goal is to have 95% of students attending school 95% of the time. We are calling on all parents, students, staff and community members to help ensure that students attend


Page 4 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

BUSINESS Working effectively with ineffective colleagues Plan Your Career By Julie Desmond Website developer Kitty ignored the call coming in from a project manager at work. “She’s always yelling at me,” Kitty told her friends. If the project manager could hear that comment, she might reply, “You’re always

missing deadlines.” And both statements would be true. Even before Kitty ignored her call the project manager (PM) was livid. “Kitty is talented and she knows it, so she gets away with being a diva.” Some people crave attention, even if it is negative and puts their employment in jeopardy. This time, the PM was not going there with Kitty. This time, she tried something completely different. Professionals focus on objectives, not problems. Was the PM’s objective delivering the product or putting Kitty in her place? “It’s the product,”

said the PM. “But it’s Kitty, too.” But it’s the product first, right? With her challenges prioritized, the PM could now address them in order. So, how do you get water from a stone, blood from a turnip or a website from a developer? Yelling made the developer feel like a teenager sneaking home after curfew. Maybe Kitty was behaving like a teenager, ignoring calls and missing deadlines, but that did not oblige the PM to play the role of angry parent. Someone had to step out of the drama and approach the project

professionally. The PM, not really into dysfunctional family theater, agreed. I told her, You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The PM immediately made the connection. “So, I have to delete my angry email?” Yes, but not permanently. We know Kitty is capable, so the PM started her new email with a compliment, a bit of honey: Kitty, the client selected you for this project because you are talented and they liked the work you did last summer. Then, the issue: I have requested several extensions to

give you more time; however, the client is questioning our ability to finish this. Finally, a friendly postponement of the scolding Kitty expects: We can talk later about making sure future projects go more smoothly, but for now let’s focus on completing this one. She kept the email upbeat and left Kitty with two assignments: get the work done now and talk later about the rest of this mess. The PM wondered if she might lose some leverage if she waited to voice her frustration. Actually, the PM has all the

leverage she needs. The next time Kitty’s name is assigned to a project, the PM can say, “I’m reluctant to work with her. She misses deadlines and ignores my calls. I won’t put myself or this company in a position to be embarrassed again.” If Kitty wants to work, she will quickly change her habits and become the professional she was hired to be. Julie Desmond is IT Recruiting Manager for George Konik Associates. Write to julie@

Cheetos and Takis illuminates health disparity Business Leadership Profile By Erin Jerabek, Executive Director West Broadway Business Area Coalition If you haven’t listened to “Hot Cheetos and Takis,” the hit song and viral video by North Minneapolis sensation, Y.N. Richkids, you are missing out on perhaps one of the greatest musical acts to come out of North since Prince. The video has received well over one million views on YouTube ever since multiple national press outlets picked up the story of the youth, who are a part of Beat and Rhymes, a project by the Nellie Stone Johnson School and the North Community YMCA. While the song is catchy and the youth extremely talented, many have commented on how the piece shines a light on the health disparities and lack of access to healthy foods in North Minneapolis. This is a very real problem in our community, but there are several organizations and individuals working to change this. Over the next month, I will highlight the outstanding nonprofits and for-profits working to

address local health disparities and the huge opportunity that exists for businesses to address this market failure and make a substantial profit. Appetite for Change (AFC) is working to call attention to these nutrition issues. The North Minneapolis based social enterprise is dedicated to using the growing and cooking of healthy foods as a tool to build health and wealth in low-income areas and communities of color. AFC works with residents to build strong families and healthy communities around food. Michelle Horovitz, AFC founder and a former chef and public defender with longstanding family roots in North Minneapolis, started AFC because she believes food can be a powerful tool to build health, wealth and promote positive change in the community. “I believe that when families reclaim the kitchen as a place to bond with and educate their children, then communities become stronger and more able to deal with the struggles of daily life,” said Horovitz. “Bringing people together around food is one way to build capacity for creating social, racial and economic justice and bettering communities.” Horovitz’s grandparents immigrated to North Minneapolis from Romania and Hungry. Her family, like many Jewish families in North Minneapolis

Michelle Horovitz, Latasha Powell, Deedra Porter and Princess Titus at the time, was living in poverty; socially isolated and economically excluded because of its differences. This family history shaped Horovitz’s worldview, pushing her to fight for social and racial equality. “I was taught that the Holocaust could happen again and all minorities are vulnerable to those who don’t know or understand their differences,” said Horovitz. Working as a public defender in Miami-Dade County (Fla.) after law school gave Horovitz a closer look at the injustices in the criminal justice system and our

food systems. Having a passion for food, Horovitz later became a trained chef. She worked for a James Beard Award-winning chef, but was eventually pulled into the nonprofit world to combine her passions for social justice and food. Horovitz began to work for a national organization dedicated to food justice and education. Eventually she moved back to Minneapolis to raise her family and started AFC. AFC focuses its work on initiatives that resemble intensified versions of your standard community garden, cooking club, food education

Emilie Hitch

and access programs with a triple bottom line – food justice, economic justice and increased social capital. AFC programs are empowering Northside Residents to advocate for the food they want in their community. “There is a lot of inertia around growing food and people advocating for healthy foods, said Horovitz. “People used to feel

like they didn’t have a choice and that it was hard to change their situation, but now they are starting to think about the power they have.” Community Cooks is starting up again this fall. It’s the series of hands-on cooking workshops where community members come together to prepare a culturally relevant and healthy meal, followed by community-led, small-group conversations about food-related issues. The project was successful in its first round, with more than 100 families and 230 individuals involved. “Participants are also given opportunities to connect with community-based resources for healthy food as well as tangible cooking and nutrition materials or equipment,” said Horovitz. “All of the details of these workshops are determined by the community – the content of the dialogues, the food we cook, and the strategies for connecting participants to resources.” Community Cooks 2.0 is planning to double in size. Goals of the program include food education, sharing cooking techniques and recipes as well as sending families home with bulk amounts of food. People enjoyed the program because it was an opportunity to be part of a cooking club and meet other families living in their neighborhood. If you are a Jordan


Centro From 2 tools, or guide them through the creation and use of an email account. “People with all levels of computer knowledge are welcome at Centro,” remarks Patino, “fortunately, we have people from all levels and ages and Centro has programs for senior citizens, for young children, for youth, and you know, a couple people who walk in and want to use the lab, so we have a variety of users.” Patino is particularly happy about a particular program that is used at the lab to teach Spanish speakers English. Many of his users are unable to speak English, and this causes them immense difficulties when looking for jobs and other similar pursuits. “We have a kind of odd English class, which uses YouTube videos, watching songs that have the lyrics in English and Spanish. That’s a major success. People love it and they come very often to do it,“ he describes. As it is not a

Violence From 3 VIOLENCE? What Does It Mean to Be “AtRisk” of Violence? Individuals and communities are considered to be “at-risk” for violence if they have traits that increase their likelihood of being exposed to violence as victims or perpetrators. Violence prevention research indicates that even having one risk factor in the absence of protective factors makes individuals more vulnerable to violence. Consequently, individual, school, community and underlying factors contribute to the level of risk and vulnerability that youth experience. How Does the Social Context in which Students Live Impact Their Level of Risk? Everything from family members, peers, school and community experiences impact the ways in which a young person may learn appropriate ways of coping with anger, disappointment, shame etc. For example, in the past, researchers have identified some individual factors have been associated with an increased risk

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 5 structured class, it fits well into users’ busy lives, giving them access that they may otherwise not have time for. There is no time limit on BAP computers, which along with the emphasis on individual help, sets them apart from many other public computer labs. Technology has become the way of the world but unfortunately, this means that those who are unable to afford it are falling behind. “As we know society is working completely with computers in every single aspect that we can mention and hopefully, this laboratory is not letting them [people without access to computers] by the side. People have been introduced to the technology of computers and also the use of Internet, which is running social life, so that is the importance of these labs,” says Patino. The Broadband Access Project is happy with the progress it has made, and looks forward to continuing to close the digital divide in the future. For more information or to find a computer lab near you, visit

for violence. Several individual factors account for up to 50% of the cases, and are strongly linked to violence. For example, researchers have found that (1) Poor academic performance has consistently predicted later delinquency; (2) Academic failure in elementary school also increases risk for later violent behavior with this relationship being stronger for females than males. Another individual factor that leads to violence is (2) Unstructured free time. Truant youth and those who drop out of school before age 15 are more likely to engage in violent behavior. Finally (3) Delinquent peers: Association with friends who engage in risky behaviors is significantly linked to students’ later involvement in violence. Risk factors within the school settings include school size (with larger schools reporting more serious violent crimes), geographic location (with urban schools reporting higher rates of crime than do rural schools), and gangs (schools with gangs reported higher incidence of drugs, guns and school violence. Key risk factors observed within the community

Michelle Obama congratulates Gabby Douglas Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

First Lady Michelle Obama greets U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and her mother prior to appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” at the Tonight Show Studio in Burbank, California, Aug. 13, 2012.

include surrounding youth with substandard housing and school buildings, media portrayals of violence that desensitize youth to traumatic exposure, gun exposure and use as a means of protection and alcohol/drug use. On study reported that nationwide, alcohol is the drug most closely associated with violence. Drugs or alcohol is cited by 39% of seventh through twelve graders as a major factor in why violence occurs in schools. In addition, one study shows that 40% of students who drank alcohol at school also carried a weapon at school. Finally, the presence of mental illnesses in youth and or their parents increases their vulnerability to violence such as homicide or suicide. Also, research indicates that the impact of witnessing and experiencing violence increases a teen’s likelihood of committing a violent act. Data also suggests that experiencing childhood abuse and neglect increases the likelihood of juvenile arrest by 53% and the likelihood of committing a violent crime by 38%. In a future article, I will further elaborate on these Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Factors and their impact on our individual and community

health. Finally, familiar factors such as oppression, poverty, dysfunctional and unsupportive family systems create barriers to safety. To address these problems, a culturally-specific program entitled: “Project Murua: PreMeditated Parenting Boot Camp” is being offered. The target population for the current Project Murua grant is African American parents with children ages 10 to 18, who reside in the high-risk for violence neighborhoods of north and south Minneapolis. The program is the culmination of many years of work between Brakins Consulting & Psychological Services and the Minneapolis Urban League. The MUL strategic framework for its delivery of outcome-focused and evidence-based service is called “Gateway to Opportunity” and is comprised of four intersections for incorporating a best practice family strengthening model. With regard to specific initiatives that have addressed the issue of youth violence in our community, MUL has recognized that a major gap noted is the absence of intensive services offered in duality to parents, especially to those

parents with youth involved in the judicial system. Project Murua has a track record for strengthening and supporting families in their efforts to make sure that their students are academically and socially successful. The program provides free meals, childcare/ homework help and travel support. Parents learn to promote wellness and reduce violence in the lives of their children. Project Murua has successfully provided services to over 200 program graduates, touching the lives of over 785 children. A majority of Project Murua parents “very much agree” that they had a satisfactory experience with Project Murua and 100% of the parents graduating from our classes reported that they would recommend it to other parents. A majority of the parents have reported that they “very much agree” that they significantly increased their family wellness strategies (85%), their parenting skills (85%), increased their knowledge of community resources (93%), and increased their ability to reduce violence in their homes and communities (85%). To sign up for our next Boot Camp call 612-302-3140

or 763-522-0100 and join the ranks of parents who have begun to “Fight the Battle to Save our Children’s Lives.” BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P. is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice, serves as President of Brakins Consulting and Psychological Services, and is the Executive Director of the African American Child Wellness Institute. The mission of the African American Child Wellness Institute is to promote the psychological and spiritual liberation of children of African Descent by providing culturally specific mental health services and by developing culture-based, holistic wellness resources, research and practices. Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya 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@ or by telephone at 612-839-1449.

Page 6 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

COMMENTARY The devil is in the details when it comes to the Republican plan Nobody Asked Me

By Fred Easter


Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler

Would you be surprised to learn that in 2008, when John McCain was vetting vice presidential candidates, Mitt Romney provided McCain with 23 years of his tax returns? I’d like to say that again. 23 years of Romney’s tax returns were requested by – and provided to – John McCain’s staff. Evidently, the embarrassment Sarah Palin brought that campaign paled when compared to the storm that McCain’s staff foresaw raging around Romney’s tax records. So, the two years Romney is willing to expose now are the 2010 and 2011 returns he’s polished up in anticipation of this run at the

Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White Culture and Education Editor Irma McClaurin Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Ben Williams Production Intern Natalie Benz Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Facilities Support / Assistant Producer, Conversations with Al McFarlane Bobby Rankin Receptionist Lue B. Lampley

Child Watch

By Marian Wright Edelman Our nation’s democracy is in a crisis. We are facing the biggest challenge to our nation since its inception. No, there is not an armed rebellion going on, but, oh, is there a war—a silent, insidious, invidious, nefarious, absolutely downright ugly war. And the war is on the right to vote for American citizens. -- Barbara Arnwine, July 2012 At the Children’s Defense Fund’s recent national conference Barbara Arnwine, the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a leader of Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, issued an urgent call to action. Right now assaults on voting rights across the country in advance of the 2012 elections are keeping her very busy. Arnwine said 25 million Americans who had voted in 2008 did not vote in the 2010 midterm elections, and when new state legislators came into

Insight Intern Abeni Hill Contributing Writers Cordie Aziz Harry Colbert, Jr. Julie Desmond Fred Easter Oshana Himot Timothy Houston Alaina L. Lewis Lydia Schwartz

power after those elections, their first priority was figuring out how to keep those 25 million people from returning to the polls. Legislators in 35 states quickly drafted bills making it harder for people to vote: “everything from photo ID laws, to laws restricting early voting, to laws making it harder for third party registration groups to register people to vote, to laws making it harder for people to vote on Sundays because in many states that’s when Latinos and African Americans voted the heaviest, to laws restricting student voting.” Arnwine said the lawmakers behind these bills were counting on the targeted voters not noticing what was happening until it was too late. But, she said, “they forgot that we stand on the shoulders of giants who we will never let down . . . we get up in the morning and we say that we cannot negate the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer; that we will never forget the legacy of Cesar Chavez; that we never will negate the legacy of Mr. Korematsu; that we never can sit back and let rights be stolen.” Arnwine then shared her Map of Shame: Voter Suppression Legislation by State, that shows all of us who are ready to fight back exactly where the battlegrounds are. The map’s original title was

the Map of Voter Suppression in the United States, but one day as Arnwine was studying an early version she heard her late father’s voice in her head saying what he always did when he saw something wrong: “That’s a sin and a shame.” It’s a sin and a shame that in 2012 we are still fighting the same battles

step for every one of us is to become familiar with the Map of Shame, especially the current and proposed voting laws in our own states. Then we each need a plan. Arnwine and her colleagues are doing their part by suing states whose proposed laws violate the Voting Rights Act. But Arnwine

[...] when new state legislators came into power after those elections, their first priority was figuring out how to keep those 25 million people from returning to the polls. for voting rights that have been going on since the nation was founded and facing some of the same Jim Crow-era voter suppression tactics we hoped were dead and buried after the Civil Rights Movement. But as Frederick Douglass taught us, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” So the first

The Business of America is Business – President Calvin Coolidge, 1925 Do you know the definitions of “commerce,” “entrepreneurship” and/or “free-enterprise”? August, which is National Black Business Month [NBBM], is a good time for Black Americans to start productive business activities. African Americans across the U.S. are

urged to join the National Black Business Month movement to encourage Blacks to patronize Black-owned businesses. The movement could spark discussions and initiatives that educate Blacks in American capitalism and at the same time revive the country’s Black business districts. For some, the National Black Business Month concept will set off debate about the continued usefulness and fairness of a month and initiative dedicated to one race. What

African Americans need now is a race-based initiative and culture to support Black-owned businesses. Contemporary Blacks’ participation in the American capitalistic system is highly suspect. Blacks show high levels of economic dysfunction and are unique in our lack of internal commerce. Studies show that nowadays, a dollar goes into and out of the Black community in 15 minutes. A poor understanding of capitalism and internal circulation of funds plague

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hear them trying to persuade the electorate that their “plan” is the sensible path to success and prosperity for the country. Rather, they will mouth what I heard described as, “word salad” – a mix of words that sound fairly intelligent without really meaning anything. You will be bombarded with lies and half-truths spun to confuse, mislead and discourage voter turnout. When you hear the word entitlements, think social security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, food stamps and years ago I would have added welfare. But, welfare has pretty much been choked to death already. Paul Ryan, Romney’s

running mate, developed the Republican budget which cuts $716 billion from the budget by repealing the Affordable Care Act without replacing it. This will shift the cost of healthcare to seniors and the poor. Then Republicans say President Obama’s budget cuts $716 billion from Medicare. That’s actually true, but, Obama’s plan makes the cuts by eliminating overpayments to insurers and providers. All cuts are not equal. Pay close attention to what you hear or shut your ears altogether but, register and vote.

stressed that every person can do something to fight in this war on the right to vote, and we each need to decide now how we will execute our roles. Begin by using traditional networks and social networks to make sure every single person you know is a “V.I.P.”: they have verified their voter registration status; they have the right

identification for their state; and they know their precinct. The last is important, Arnwine said, “because the biggest devilment that goes on in these elections are what we call deceptive practices—people are going to get robocalls, and they’re going to get fliers that claim they’re from the NAACP and everything, telling people to go to the wrong polling place . . . if they’re in the wrong polling places, in most states their vote will not count.” Securing “V.I.P.” status is critical to making sure people will not be disenfranchised on Election Day. Next, Arnwine said, we need to counter the organized groups who are already planning to send “poll watchers” to African American, Latino, and student voting places to intimidate and harass voters, and we need to “get [our] friends to become poll workers, official poll workers, because that’s what they’re doing—they’re putting them inside of the polling places also, so they can challenge people on the inside and nobody will know what they’re doing. So we need good people sitting next to them, making sure that people have access to the ballot.” Now is the


Yes, culture matters: National Black Business Month By William Reed

Staff Writer Ivan B. Phifer

will turn on getting the base to the polls; which is why the real Republican energy is being exerted on suppressing the vote – particularly the Democratic vote, by any means necessary. And, reports suggest Republicans are registering more new voters than Democrats. What this says to me is that there are people in this country who hate having an African-American President more than they hate being out of work. If you’re paying attention, you can discern that the Republicans are against abortion, marriage equality, returning to boom era tax levels and what they like to call “entitlements.” But, you won’t

Mapping the war on the right to vote

Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford

White House. He learned, in 2008, that his full tax story was the kiss of death for the campaign. I hear progressive political commentators saying, over and over, that Romney has not articulated any plan regarding how he intends to do any of the things he says we all know need to be done. Things such as get people back to work, lower the deficit blah, blah, blah. Articulated plans are the tools of candidates trying to persuade the “undecided” portion of the electorate. That’s a very small group this time around. Most folk are pro-Barack Obama or proRomney and they will not be switching. This election



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Black communities. Money circulates zero to one time within the Black community, compared to a dollar circulation rate of six times among Latino communities, nine times among Asian communities and an unlimited number of times within white and Jewish communities, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. The National Black Business Month movement will raise the visibility of African-American entrepreneurs as the most promising solutions for the growth of American cities and commerce. National Black Business Month is an ideal time to define: “commerce,” “entrepreneurship” and “freeenterprise” to your friends and family. It can build a pillar for business in Black American culture. The basic concept behind National Black Business Month is for African Americans to make a commitment to visit a Black-owned business on each of the 31 days of August. The movement has at its base educating the masses of Blacks and other Americans on the advantages of developing and supporting Black business enterprises. NBBM had inaugural events in San Jose in June and in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco in August. Executives at BlackMoney. com are the movement’s primary advocates. Their objective is to motivate “commerce toward, between and among the nation’s Black businesses”; and to urge a show of solidarity to help Blackowned businesses increase their consumer traffic and revenue. “Each one tells one” could be a “force multiplier” for Black businesses and economics. The NBBM needs to grow legs, and you can help. To effectively participate in the NBBM initiative African Americans are requested: 1.) Visit some of the small businesses in your city

or community. 2.) Go inside the business and introduce yourself. 3.) Even if you don’t buy anything, look around to see if there are items, services or products that you may have better use for on another day. John William Templeton is a co-founder of National Black Business Month. A business journalist, Templeton is a nationally recognized author, historian, demographer and financial expert. A graduate of Howard University’s School of Communications, Templeton and his associates tout Blackand Minority-owned businesses as “increasingly important” to America’s economy. A business [also known as an enterprise or firm] is an organization engaged in the trade of goods and/ or services to consumers. There are 1.9 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S. Black-owned firms annually employ 921,032 people, and generate $137.5 billion in receipts. These days, minority business operations need ongoing support from their neighbors, local legislatures and corporate brethren. Black-owned businesses are prominent in health care and social assistance [19 percent], repair and maintenance and personal and laundry services [19 percent]. Administrative and support services, waste management and remediation services industries account for 11 percent. It’s time Blacks came together on business. Over the next few weeks, let’s spread the word on Black Business Month as much as we can. John Templeton can be reached at: johnwtempleton@ and/or William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via the Bailey

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 7

HEALTH Vitamin D: Essential to feeling and functioning better approximately 15-30 minutes of midday sun on your arms and legs is generally safe (unless you are at high risk for skin cancer) and supports vitamin D levels. Take your supplement even in the summer. Your body will adjust the amount of Vitamin D that is produced by the skin and turn off production when there is enough. Our bodies are complex, Vitamin D is not the only factor in the illnesses we discussed. Low levels of vitamin D and other nutrients may warn you of overall poor health status that increase your risk of ill health. We all have the power to change our nutrition and by doing so, impact many aspects our health. With Vitamin D supplementation, you can start today.

Our Health

By Nicole Winbush MD Good whole foods are the best sources for health giving vitamins and nutrients. However, there are some important nutrients that can be very difficult to obtain even when eating a healthy diet. Vitamin D is one of them. This is why I recommend this supplement to all of my patients. Numerous studies have documented low levels of Vitamin D among many Americans, and it is estimated that 80% of African-American adults are deficient in Vitamin D! Why does this matter? Have you ever had body pain, bone pain or joint pain and no one can find a cause? It could be low levels of vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) as it is a frequent of cause of bone and joint pain. One of the biggest ways to obtain Vitamin D has nothing to do with food. This source is the sun. Exposure to sunlight on your skin causes the production of active Vitamin D (clothes block this process). Individuals with more deeply pigmented skin are at increased risk for Vitamin D deficiency as their additional skin pigment (melanin) blocks some of the sun’s rays from penetrating their skin and producing vitamin D. Also, living in more Northern parts of the world and spending more

There are very few sources of vitamin D in the diet - these include fatty fish raised in the wild (such as mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon), eggs and dairy products that are fortified with Vitamin D. time indoors can contribute to low levels of Vitamin D. There are very few sources of vitamin D in the diet - these include fatty fish raised in the wild (such as mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon), eggs and dairy products that are fortified with Vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are now associated with a number of other often serious health conditions. Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased risk of several cancers including:

prostate, breast and colon cancer. All of these are cancers that have a higher presence and death rate among African-Americans. Could it be that the high rate of Vitamin D deficiency has something to do with this? This is possible, although additional studies are needed. Research also suggests that Vitamin D may play a role in preventing diabetes and in improved blood pressure control. Do your bones or joints ache? If you press the front

of your shin does it hurt? Get your vitamin D level checked. If your level is low, ask your healthcare provider about taking a supplement to get back into the normal range. Many symptoms of achy bones and joints will improve with supplementation. There is some debate as to what is a normal level of Vitamin D. The level of 30 (nmol/L) is okay for bone health. However, some researchers believe that for best body functioning your level should be higher, around


50. If your level is very low, a supplement can get the level back into the normal range. Once you are back in the normal range, you will need to continue taking the supplement in a smaller dosage. Your body will need calcium to absorb vitamin D. Calcium is best for your body if it comes in the form of food, a supplement is second best. (see my website for good sources of dietary calcium) For optimal health get sunlight exposure -

The information contained herein should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Please check with a healthcare provider if you suspect you are ill. Dr. Winbush is a family physician practicing at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. She has a strong interest in wellness and patient education to help individuals feel empowered to optimize their health and functioning. For more information, to leave suggestions for future articles and additional resources visit

CDC now recommends all baby boomers receive one-time hepatitis C test All U.S. baby boomers should get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus, according to final recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 30 baby boomers – the generation born from 1945 through 1965 – has been infected with hepatitis C, and most don’t know it. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases, including liver cancer (the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths), and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. The final recommendations were published recently in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Draft recommendations were issued in May, followed by a public comment period. “A one-time blood test for hepatitis C should be on every baby boomer’s medical checklist,” said

Vote From 6 time to sign up for these roles. We can also volunteer at Election Protection Coalition Command Centers to help watch out for local problems. Finally, on Election Day every one of us must do the basic job of helping other people get to the polls—as Arnwine says even “if you’re bedridden get up in the morning and call everybody you know: ‘Are you going to vote today?’” Arnwine summed up this way: “There is a role for everybody. Don’t forget. If you forget everything that I said today, if you remember nothing, just remember this one thing: that we can only win this fight if you fight.” We cannot stand by and let the right to vote be taken away again on our watch. Every one of us must decide what we can do in the fight to protect voting rights today. There’s no time to waste. 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.

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The new recommendations can protect the health of an entire generation of Americans and save thousands of lives.” CDC’s previous recommendations called for testing only individuals with certain known risk factors for hepatitis C infection. Riskbased screening will continue to be important, but is not sufficient alone. More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C – accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus. Studies show that many baby boomers were infected with the virus decades ago, do not perceive themselves to be at risk, and have never been screened. More than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die each year from

hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade and are projected to grow significantly in coming years. CDC estimates one-time hepatitis C testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with hepatitis C. And with newly available therapies that can cure up to 75 percent of infections, expanded testing – along with linkage to appropriate care and treatment – would prevent the costly consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver diseases and save more than 120,000 lives. Comments received from individuals and organizations during the public comment period (May 22-June 8, 2012) overwhelmingly supported CDC’s original proposal. As a

result, the agency did not make substantive changes to the draft

recommendations. For additional information

about hepatitis, visit www.cdc. gov/hepatitis.

Page 8 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

LIFESTYLE Ex-Viking Ray Edward launches 1050 Modeling By S. Brooks A fresh take on what’s new was shown in high style at the 1050 Modeling Launch and Fashion Event. Ray Edwards, creator of the True Ink clothing line, gathered collections from a variety of designers such as Jones Select Custom Clothiers, Studiiyo 23, Sina Y. Design Collection and Moon Daisy Vintage, and showcased their pieces on beautiful models wearing the latest designs for every season. The models’ hair was done by Diondre Wallace of Tangled Salons. The “Dare to B Different”

contest among designers at the end of the evening charged the already electrifying evening to a new level of fun. The music, food and complete ambiance of the event held at the upscale Le Meridian Chambers Hotel in downtown Minneapolis was a place for socializing, networking and an exciting show. This red carpet event, produced by The Fashion Connect and filmed by Mind of the Peeps featuring AT Productions, launched the 1050 Modeling campaign to the nation in a very classy way. Other designers showcased within the evening were Taking Flight and K Lynn’s with jewelry by Premium Divas & Co.

Photos: Lana Spencer

Ray Edwards, founder of ‘1050 Modeling’, wearing his own clothing line, ‘True Ink’ .

Edwards, a former Minnesota Viking (now an Atlanta Falcon), said he went into fashion design because he wanted to


AT Productions filming ‘1050 Modeling Launch and Fashion Event’; founder, Ray Edwards (grey suit with mohawk hair) in conversation.

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 9

AESTHETICS Adoption documentary traces four teens’ Chinese roots Film Review By Kam Williams When the People’s Republic of China implemented its one child policy in 1979, it was suddenly open season on female infants there, given the misogynistic nation’s culture’s preference for boys. That development dovetailed nicely with the increased demand for babies in the U.S. where working women often put off procreation until it’s too late for them to have kids. Forced to face up to their infertility, thousands of childless middle-agers flocked to Asia to adopt, a place where girls are a dime a dozen, given that families allowed only a single child are eager to dispose of their fairer sex rejects. While this arrangement met the diametrically opposed needs of the adoptive American and biological Chinese parents, not many of the participants in intercontinental human trafficking ever bothered to pause to wonder what effect it might have on a yellow child from a Communist

Photo courtesy of Linda Goldstein Knowlton

Ann Boccutti with her father dictatorship to be raised by white folks in a capitalist country located half a world away from their birthplace. However, that question did

occur to film director Linda Goldstein Knowlton when she decided to adopt an Asian toddler of her own. She wanted to know the unanticipated pitfalls, longterm, associated with what she was getting into. How would little ruby react to racism and looking different? Would the kid grow up to be a resentful time bomb curious about her first pair of parents or would she merely make a smooth adjustment to America and enter the ranks of the so-called Model Minority? To get some answers, Knowlton decided to follow four teenagers around with a camera, asking them probing

heartbreaking biopic which, as one might guess from the title, shows its subjects to be little lost souls who have each made peace with living in a lonely limbo not of their own making. They describe themselves as “Bananas” or “Twinkies,” a play on the term Oreo used for some Blacks, because they’re yellow on the outside but white on the inside. And I can’t say that I blame them. When 13 year-old Haley devoted her summer vacation to tracing her roots, she schlepped herself all the way to the remote peasant village in a remote region of rural China where the records said she was born. But her own

A very informative, thoughtprovoking and ultimately moving documentary exploring both the bright and dark sides of the international adoption controversy.

questions about what their lives have been like since being adopted. And the net result of that effort is Somewhere Between, a

mother couldn’t be bothered to take a day off from work to say “Hi!” or better yet to apologize for having abandoned her as a helpless infant. However, the sperm donor did submit to a DNA test, which only confirmed that, yes, this was the gene pool from which Haley had sprung. Talk about a Hello Muddah-Hello Fadduh- level letdown. Listen, even people in the States are generally underwhelmed when they track down their biological parents. Just watch any episode of that Maury Povich paternity test reality show. After all, it generally ain’t exactly the cream of humanity, or of any species for that matter, that rejects its young and refuses to nurture their own flesh and blood. Still, those parents who do surrender their babies for adoption

shouldn’t be faulted for at least recognizing that their offspring might be a lot better off raised by strangers. A very informative, thoughtprovoking and ultimately moving documentary exploring both the bright and dark sides of the international adoption controversy.

Excellent (4 stars) Unrated In English, Chinese and Spanish with subtitles. Running time: 88 minutes Distributor: Long Shot Factory

Page 10 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

FULL CIRCLE Holistically restoring people and communities By Marque Jensen

Twin Cities residents will have a special opportunity. The Christian Community Development

Association (CCDA) will be holding its national conference in Downtown Minneapolis, and local residents will be able to explore this amazing group first hand. I attended my first CCDA conference almost 20 years ago in Jackson, Mississippi, and this single event opened the door to awareness and perspectives that have challenged and molded my entire life since. Their website states, “CCDA is a network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities holistically restored. We believe that God wants to restore us not only to right relationship with Himself but also with our own true selves, our families and our communities. Not just spiritually, but emotionally, physically, economically, and socially. Not by offering mercy alone, but by undergirding mercy with justice.” This statement is packed with meaning and I have seen these words lived out. I am encouraged to know there are Christians who talk not only about the salvation of souls, but who care about the salvation of communities. It is heartening to be part of a multi-cultural group where conversation and action revolves not around feel-good platitudes, but real justice—justice that incorporates everything from attitudes to economics. Christian Community Development is rooted in a biblically based philosophy of 8 Key Components which, when embraced, will transform the organizations and individuals who practice them. The national conference is held annually as an opportunity for networking and training for CCDA practitioners from across the county and around the world. Each year, the host city is much more than a destination; they become an active partner in preparing and presenting the event, modeling how the components of Christian Community Development are powerful tools for community transformation and justice. Each

Courtesy of Marque Jensen

CCDA founder John Perkins (left) with Marque Jensen National Conference draws over 3,000 people from around the world to share in best practices. Experts and scholars teach workshops around relevant themes. Practitioners find support by networking with others facing similar challenges. Advocates bring attention to issues affecting people at the grassroots. And provocative speakers challenge our assumptions about what it means to embody Christ’s love to

the poor in our communities. In 1993, I made the trip to Jackson with my wife and our copastors, Nathaniel and Sherri Orr. We had recently started a small church in North Minneapolis and were feeling like no one quite understood what we knew God had called us to do. As black and white leaders working together our friends often criticized or failed to understand why we believed that living out racial

unity was essential to living out our faith. While we held many of the theological beliefs of white conservatives, we clashed on our views of society, justice and politics. But in Jackson we found connection and new direction. It was my first journey into the Deep South and it was eye opening. We would go into a restaurant, which was racially integrated as a whole, but our table was almost always the only one where black and white were eating and talking together. Our presence was not always welcomed and people made no effort to hide their feelings. It was amazing to hear the stories behind the formation of CCDA and learn that this racial hostility, multiplied exponentially in the 1960s, was the environment where CCDA principals were birthed through the life and ministry of Founder John Perkins. At the conference, through speakers, workshops, and the informal networking that ensued, we found a home. Here were people who not only understood what we were attempting to do in Minneapolis, but they had already done similar things in other cities. I want to challenge Minneapolis and Saint Paul to REPRESENT, and be present during this year’s conference September 26–29 at the Hilton Minneapolis. Some great things are happening in the Twin Cities; this will be an opportunity to show the world. Yet, this is also an opportunity for us to learn from the experience of great teachers and leaders from many backgrounds and experiences. If you are tired of conferences where everyone looks, talks, and thinks the same, if you are ready to be challenged and become a participant in a great movement, this is a home for you. Registration is still open at or by calling the national office at 312.733.0200. Marque Jensen is Pastor and Current Executive Director at Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network.

Therapy From 1 a Bachelors degree in African American Studies from the University of Minnesota, a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Valdosta State University, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech. I am an assistant professor in Marriage and Family Therapy and I work with individuals, couples, and families regarding general mental health and relationships concerns. My research, teaching, and clinical interests include obesity, weight loss, eating disorders, addictions, couple and family relationships, sexuality, and general mental health. In addition, I have a special interest in working with men, African American families, and minority populations. This Saturday, I will be at the Minneapolis Urban League Family Day Celebration meeting you and answering questions about all things related to couple and family relationships, mental health, and obesity/weight loss, among other things. With the obesity epidemic reaching an all time high and its negative impact on the Black community, it is great timing that we start talking about becoming a “MOORE” healthy society. We must start examining our lifestyle, behavior, and mental health, so that we can develop effective strategies to address this growing phenomenon. Of course, I am not just talking about something I read in an article. I am talking about my life…I know a little something about this thing we call obesity. I have gone through my own weight loss journey. I have lost a total of 180 pounds going from 375 pounds to 195 pounds by working with a physician and incorporating my own mental health philosophy which I refer to as “Less is Moore.” During Family Day, I plan to shed some light on the topic of obesity from a mental health perspective in addition to other hot topics. It is my goal to inspire you to make the commitment to do something about our obesity issue. I hope to see you there… but until then, stick around…. there’s “MOORE” to come. For personal correspondence, email me at

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 11

Insight for aspiring writers Man Talk

By Timothy Houston Because I have been fortunate enough to write and selfpublish two books, aspiring writers often have questions for me. The questions are many and varied, but the most common are these. How did I get the project to fruition? What are the best steps to getting there? What are the resources available to aspiring writers? Here is my brief response to these three very important questions.

Wright From 1 United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She was awarded the United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award in 1997 and the United States Department of Justice Director’s Award for Public Service in 2000. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1995, Judge Wright practiced with the Washington, DC law firm of Hogan & Hartson, LLP. In the education and litigation practice groups, she primarily represented school districts across the nation seeking to enhance educational opportunities for public school

Question one, how do I get the project to fruition? Although this is the first and most important question, the answer is quite simple. Start writing, and write something every day. Do not be overwhelmed by the size of the project. If you write a page a day, in one year, you will have 365 pages. If you only write a paragraph a day, in a year, you will have 365 paragraphs. The key to getting to completion is to keep writing. Don’t worry about editing; there will be time for that during your writer’s block. Finishing the writing portion is the first and most important part to getting a book project completed. Questions two, what are the best steps to getting there? The best step to getting your

writing off the ground is to use the success of others as your stepping stones. First, Read what you want to write. This will give you ideas about style, format, chapters, and introductions. Next, buy books on writing styles, story structure, and character development that fit the genre you are writing. This small investment will make a huge difference. Finally, talk to other writers. This will help you to keep your process current. Attend a writers’ conference or join an online writers club. These relationships will help you to capture the just-in-time instructions that can not be found in a book. Once the writing is complete, you can move on to the next step to culmination, the

editing process. If you plan to hire and editor, (you should), be patient with this step. If you edit the book before you complete it, you will have to pay to have it reedited once you are done. After you are done editing, you can move on to the layout (style, font, book size, etc…). To expedite time, you can also have the cover designed at this time. After these processes are complete, you will have an electronic version of your book. The next step is reprinting. This is the process of getting hard copies of your book to sell. Reprinting cost vary be size, number of pages, and the number of copies you order. You may also want to consider an e-book format. They do not require reprinting. Questions three, what are

the resources available to me? The internet has changed the publishing game. For a fraction of the previous cost, aspiring writer can write, own, and selfpublish their books. For me personally, I used a one-stop shop call www.booksjustbooks. com. From this one site, I found someone to develop my webpage, edit, layout, and design the cover for my book. I also found valuable information about copywriting and obtaining and ISBN number (unique identifier for your book). Also, as you talk to other writers, you will on cover a wealth of additional resources. To all the aspiring writers, I encourage you stick with it. This is your gift to the world. I also encourage you to visit my website and get copies of my

books. Check out the quality and workmanship. If you like the quality of work, I can provide you with the contact information for the service providers I used. Also, feel free to visit the blog on my site and send me your questions. I will personally respond to them and together we can create an online log of valuable questions and answers. May your writing come to fruition! Enjoy the journey!

students. Judge Wright earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Yale College and her Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, where she was the Executive Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review. “I am proud to announce my first appointment to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Appellate Court Judge Wilhelmina Wright. It was a very difficult decision, as there were four superb candidates recommended by the Judicial Selection Commission. Any one of them would be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice,” said Governor Dayton. “Judge Wright has proven her exceptional judiciary skills by authoring over 700 opinions

during her decade serving on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. I read several of her opinions before making my decision. I was greatly impressed by her exceptional intellect, her written communication skills and, most importantly, her excellent judgment. I believe that she will serve the people of Minnesota with great distinction on our Supreme Court.” About her appointment Judge Wright said, “I am honored to serve the people of Minnesota as an Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. I will work hard to ensure that Minnesotans continue to have a judiciary that is committed to fairness and justice for all who entrust us with their most important affairs. It is my good fortune

to devote my life’s work to preserving and to promoting the values of freedom and equal justice –values that I believe in so deeply.” Judge Wright serves on the Committee for Equality and Justice. She has served on the Minnesota Judicial Council, the Family Law Appellate Mediation Rules Committee, and the Minnesota State Bar Association Task Force on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Judge Wright also is active in her community, serving on the Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Committee, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs Advisory Council, the Minnesota Lawyer Advisory Board and the Mardag Foundation Board of Directors. She has previously served on

the William Mitchell College of Law Board of Trustees, the Ramsey County Community Corrections Advisory Committee, the Federal Bar Association of Minnesota Board of Directors, Saint Paul Academy Board of Trustees, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Board of Directors, the Girl Scout Council of Saint Croix Valley Board of Directors, the Hamline University Women in Leadership Advisory Council, the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, and the Saint Paul Public Schools Graduate Standards Advisory Committee. Judge Wright is a member of the American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, National

Association of Women Judges and National Bar Association. Judge Wright was elected to the American Law Institute in 2008. She received the Myra Bradwell Award in 2006 from the Minnesota Women Lawyers, the Lena O. Smith Achievement Award from the Black Women Lawyers Network in 2004, the B. Warren Hart Award for Public Service from the Saint Paul Jaycees in 2001, and the Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans Award in 2000. In 2011, Judge Wright also received the Girls Scouts River Valleys Women of Distinction Award. Judge Wright lives in St. Paul with her husband Dan Schmechel and their daughter Kathryn.

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.

Page 12 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

Mothers overcome children’s deaths By Ivan B. Phifer Staff Writer From Death to Life, consists of a group of mothers who have experienced the loss of their children either through the correctional system, or through violence. The group gathered to remember victims through an event called Gospel & Jazz on the Lawn on Sat., Aug. 18 at the Gardens of Alafia Place, a new non-profit in North Minneapolis. The event featured performances by Robert Robinson and Sam Reeves & Friends. The event was hosted by Brian Mogren, CEO of Alafia Place, 900 16th Ave. N. Alafia Place provides affordable housing to people who are dedicating their lives to establish innovative and transformative community initiatives. Alafia is a Yoruba greeting, to convey tranquility, wellness, calmness and good tidings. From Death to Life’s mission is to end violence through healing and reconciliation between families impacted by homicide. It offers support groups empowering parents to come to terms with the impact of homicide through emotional, spiritual and mental healing. In addition to supporting healing groups such as Two Mothers and Many Mothers One Love, From Death to Life sponsors an annual prayer walk, community gatherings that celebrate life and talks that invite others to witness the healing power of forgiveness. “We need deep love at the center of everything to make it work,” said 5th Ward City Councilman Don Samuels. From Death to Life was founded by Mary Johnson in

Photos: Michael Benham

Celebration of life 2005. She did so in efforts to heal herself spiritually after visiting Oshea Israel, the killer of her son. “My only child was murder in 1993,” said Johnson. “In 2005, I went to prison and met with Oshea. I decided to go (to the prison) to make sure I still did

not have hatred for him. I viewed him as an animal and wanted him locked-up for life. That was justice for me at that time.” Johnson said the defining moment was when Israel asked if he could hug her. “As I was falling, he had to

hold me up. He whispered to me, ‘I think you will be the person to help me cry,’” she said. “Men need to learn to cry, there is some deliverance you can have if you shed some tears.” Israel, since that time, has grown spiritually.

Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel “It has been a beautiful journey to know where we come from and see where we are now,” said Israel. “She was able to be vulnerable in my presence. Through my vulnerability, I dug deep enough to console her and make that promise I would never hurt her again. The power of a hug leads to forgiveness. Had I not asked to hug her, there is no telling what would have happened.” “Big” Sy Huff, announcer for the Minnesota Lynx, who also works with youth to reduce violence, said he is inspired by the love Johnson and Israel share. “It speaks volumes, not just how compassionate people could be if they reached out to one another, but the bond is creating relationships for other families and victims in the community,” said Huff. In September of 2011, Johnson and Israel appeared in the Heroes Among Us section of People Magazine. Following that story, they were interviewed on ABC’s

The View by Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Their story has also been featured in other major news outlets, including CBS Evening News, National Public Radio’s Story Corpse and documentary titled “SMOOCH.” “Every time I hear (their) story it seems like it’s brand new,” said Huff. “There is no way I could have told that story.” For all the group’s efforts to speak out against violence and providing community leadership, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has declared Aug. 18, 2012 “From Death to Life Day.” Israel left Stillwater in 2009 and now lives next door to Johnson. She now claims him as her “spiritual son.” From Death to Life meets at St. Jane House on the first, third and fifth Saturdays of the month, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The St. Jane House is located at 1403 Emerson Ave. N. For more information call (612) 965-9446, or visit

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 13

John B. Davis Education Service Center exceeds workforce and contractor participation goals The construction team for the new Minneapolis Public Schools John B. Davis Education and Service Center on West Broadway in north Minneapolis has exceeded its women and minority participation goals for the 173,000 square foot building. The team of Mortenson/ THOR Construction announced that 51 percent ($12.9 million) of the $25 million in contracts issued were awarded to women and minority owned firms, far exceeding the goal of 25 percent. Fifty-one percent is the highest percentage Women and Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) participation ever achieved by Mortenson /THOR Construction. In total, 80 different firms received contracts, including 21 minority-owned businesses

and 23 women-owned firms. Twenty-four of the WMBE firms were subcontractors, 18 were suppliers and two were trucking firms. The size of the contracts ranged from $250 to $2 million. Goals for diversity in the workforce were 25 percent for minority workers and 5 percent for female workers. Actual workforce percentages were 27 percent minority and 10 percent female. Total workers on site were 759, with 156 minority and 50 female with a total of 133,016 hours worked on the project. “When we started this project, one of our core objectives was to have a strong representation of Women and Minority Owned Businesses included,” said James Burroughs, executive director of the MPS Office of

Courtesy of Mortensen Construction

John B. Davis Education Service Center Courtyard Equity and Diversity. “Through strong collaborations with the Mortenson/Thor/Legacy Management team and the community at large, we were able to far exceed our goal for minority business and women

participation along with workforce participants.” “We are proud of this achievement,” said Lynn Littlejohn, director of community affairs for Mortenson Construction. “Strong

community participation is vitally important to Minneapolis Public Schools, and by working with WMBE firms and having a variety of contract sizes we were able to exceed expectations.” “These numbers prove that we can have a diverse workforce and, as well as minority and women-owned construction subcontractors and suppliers, providing great opportunities and experience. And the result is a quality product, delivered on time and on budget,” said Richard Copeland, founder and chairman of the board of THOR Construction. The $36 million new service center is designed to meet the future needs of families, community members and the school district and will bring together in one central location some 570 Minneapolis school

staff members who were located in four separate buildings. On a daily basis, the new service center will serve more than 1,000 students, staff, families and community members. It will house Adult Basic Education classes, a welcome center for families enrolling their children and testing facilities for kindergarten students and students receiving English Learner services. Mortenson Development and Legacy Management and Development Corporation were the lead developers for the educational service center. Urbanworks Architecture and Urban Design Perspectives were the architectural design team, and Mortenson Construction and Thor Construction were general contractors for the project.

1,850 youth employed in summer STEP-UP program Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak celebrated the wrap-up of the City’s STEP-UP summer jobs program last week with interns and their employers, including many of the city’s top corporations and nonprofits. The Mayor thanked the 230 businesses and organizations that employed 1,850 youth this summer and presented special awards to STEP-UP employers Wells Fargo and Project for Pride in Living. Wells Fargo and Project for Pride and Living were honored for their outstanding commitment

to Minneapolis youth at the event. “Today we recognize the bright, talented youth that earned not only a paycheck this summer through STEP-UP but also work experience that will help guide them as they make career decisions ahead,” said Mayor Rybak. “We also recognize the commitment from the business community to mentor these kids, with special tribute to Wells Fargo for more than doubling the number of interns employed this summer, and to Project for Pride in Living for their work to prepare

kids, so they are trained before they ever step in the door.” “The interns are bright, eager to learn and really grow through the opportunity to participate in this program,” said Executive vice president for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage John Rasmussen . “The STEP-UP internship program clearly supports and cultivates their dreams of having a successful future.” Awards were also given to six select interns and three company supervisors who were nominated for their outstanding performances

and contributions during the 2012 STEP-UP program. The interns and supervisors represented STEP-UP employers Boston Scientific, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Universal Hospital Services, North High School Community Education, WomenVenture, Minnesota Twins, Kaleidoscope Place, and Mortenson Construction. Speakers included Mayor Rybak; STEP-UP Chair Richard Davis, U.S. Bancorp Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Andrew Furco,

Associate Vice President for the Office of Public Engagement at the University of Minnesota. Three STEP-UP interns also shared stories from their summer internships, including Jordan McKinney, and Claire Weers, who were employed by MIGIZI Communications; and Brianna Gay, who was employed at William Mitchell College of Law. Through a public-private partnership with local businesses and organizations, the STEP-UP program significantly benefits low-income youth and youth

of color by helping them gain valuable work-readiness skills and long-term professional skills, and connecting them with business and community leaders. The STEP-UP program—which is managed in collaboration with AchieveMpls—has created valuable workplace experiences for nearly 18,000 Minneapolis youth, ages 14-21, since 2002 and was recognized as an outstanding model for youth employment and public-private partnerships at a White House conference in 2012.

ARC and Minnesota Somalis collaborate for Somalia relief program The Minnesota-based American Refugee Committee has been named a “Top Ten Finalist” for the Peter Drucker Innovation Award for Nonprofit Innovation. The Awards committee recognized ARC for its “I AM A STAR” program, which engages the Somali community in Minnesota and around the globe to help shape ARC’s humanitarian

response in Somalia. “In all, the Drucker Institute received 612 applications from nonprofits in 49 states and the District of Columbia. [The American Refugee Committee] should be proud to stand out as one of the most innovative nonprofits in America,” the Drucker Institute reports in a letter to ARC.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three candidates in September. The winner will receive a $100,000 prize from the Coca-Cola Foundation. Information on the Top Ten Finalists can be found here: http://www.druckerinstitute. com/link/drucker-awardfinalists-2012/ . The “I AM A STAR” program

was developed in Minnesota, in partnership with Minnesota’s Somali community. The program has since expanded globally— engaging Somali communities in other US cities and in places like Norway, Sweden, Qatar, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom—to help provide relief in Somalia, home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The

“I AM A STAR” program also has engaged more than 30,000 people online to build a global community of support for Somalia. “This award is a real tribute to the incredible work of the global Somali diaspora, who have come to support this effort in so many ways—and the thousands of people around the

globe who have taken creative action through ‘I AM A STAR’ to help Somalia,” said Daniel Wordsworth, ARC’s President. “We’ve learned that there are people all around the world ready to help people in need— and if nonprofits are innovative, creative, and diligent, they can help them do just that.”

Page 14 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

COMMUNITY SPOKES Bike Walk Connect opens in East-Central Minneapolis The Minneapolis bicycling boom has largely bypassed the city’s growing East African population - until now. On Wednesday, Aug. 22, SPOKES Bike Walk Connect, a new community bicycling and walking resource, opened to serve residents of the Seward, Cedar-Riverside and Phillips neighborhoods. The goal of SPOKES, located at 1915 East 22nd St. (1/2 block west of Minnehaha Ave.) in Minneapolis, is to create and grow a more diverse and informed community of bicyclists and walkers in the community, according to Sheldon Mains, director of SPOKES. “While our services and programs are open to all, SPOKES is working especially at helping East Africans in the Seward, Cedar-Riverside and Phillips neighborhoods of Minneapolis bike and walk more,” Mains said. “A lot of people in this area are not bicycling. We have found there are a lot of barriers. For example: not knowing what kind of bike to get; the cost of a new bike; not knowing how to ride a bike; and not knowing how to ride in traffic.” The Twin Cities has the nation’s highest population of residents originally from East Africa - principally from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

SPOKES Bike Walk Connect

Faisa Farah (left) and Nasra Noor (right) stand with Nasra’s daughter, and Nasra’s new bike. Faisa is a participant in the SPOKES Bike Walk Connect learn-to-ride bike class. Nasra, the Seward Neighborhood Group’s community organizer for Seward Towers, bought the bike when she heard about the opening of SPOKES and its learn-to-ride bike classes. According to estimates from the latest American Community Survey, Minnesota is now home to more than 100,000 people from sub-Saharan Africa, including more than 32,000 of Somali ancestry.

SPOKES will provide bicycling goods and services geared toward bicycling newcomers, including: Bicycling classes - including adult learn-to-ride classes Community bike library -

Calendar • Classifieds MN Humanities Center: An Evening with Jonathan Odell Sept 6 Join Minnesota author, Jonathan Odell, as he reads from his book, The Healing. Participants will have an opportunity for dialogue with the author, and each other, in response to this powerful story, its themes, and its relationships to the past, present, and future. Participants may bring their own Supervising Attorney copy of The Healing for Supervising Attorney – Senior Law Project, the discussion. Books by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. For details go to Jonathan Odell will be available for purchase at the event. Thur. Sept Employment Opportunities 6, 6–8:30pm at MN Pilgrim Baptist Church seeks persons to fulfill the po-

Send Community Calendar information to us by: email,, by fax: 612-588-2031, by phone: (612) 588-1313 or by mail: 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411, Attn: Natalie Benz. Free or low cost events preferred.


sitions of Director of Music, Bass Guitarist and Drummer. If you are interested please send resume to PBC 732 West Central Avenue St. Paul, MN 55104, attention: Russell Knighton or email the Church Office at:

FT Parent Advocate Nonprofit seeks FT advocate to assist parents of children w/disabilities on education related issues. Position offers great benefits, competitive salary and rewarding environment. Call PACER 952-838-9000 or Parents of children with disabilities are encouraged to apply. EEO/AA

Nature’s Edge

4222 Clearwater Road Affordable Housing in a Beautiful Natural Setting 2BR Starting @ $660/Mo. 3BR Starting @ $760/Mo. Call today! 320-203-7726 Income Guidelines Apply

Minneapolis Public Schools is accepting applications forthe following vacancies:

Phone: 612.588.1313

Humanities Center 987 Ivy Avenue East St. Paul, MN 55106. $10 per person, include light hors d’oeuvres Register at healingseries The Advocates’ Refugee & Immigrant Program House Party Sept 6 With the help of hundreds of trained volunteers, the program helps asylum seekers in search of protection under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The program provides free legal representation, consultations, and services to help victims of human rights violations. Benefit takes place at the home of Andrea and Jim Rubenstein 5108 Bryant Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55419. Questions, please contact Mary Scott at mscott@ or (612) 746-4680. Fashion’s night out at Macy’s Downtown Minneapolis Sept 6 Fashions Night Out adventure where Macy’s By Appointment Personal Shopping Manager, Jennifer Horan will be hosting a commentated fashion show. Sept 6., 6–11pm at Macy’s Downtown 700 Nicollet Mall, MPLS. New underwear looks

Director, Community & Family Partnership Diversity EEO Associate


You may view and apply for these positions by visiting

From 1

starting in spring 2013, SPOKES will lend bikes, helmets, locks and lights Low-cost bikes - starting in spring 2013, SPOKES will offer reconditioned bikes for sale at affordable prices

was to design building structures around the light rail on the proposed Bottineau Transitway. Students Alfredo Perez, Brandon Lee, Cheng

Open shop hours - the public will have access to a complete bike repair shop, open from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays Separately, on the fourth Monday of each month, there will be an open shop for women only. Youth bike mechanics classes - Beginning this winter, SPOKES will offer an afterschool program teaching youth on basic bike mechanics skills Community rides - Starting Sept. 8, SPOKES will sponsor community rides for families “One of our first hires at SPOKES was Abdiasis Hirsi Abdi - our community outreach coordinator, to ensure quality outreach to the East African community,” Mains said. “Abdi

Fax: 612.588.2031


from Calvin Klein, free consult and makeover by Chanel, and design your own dessert at the cupcake bar. Visit com/events for more info.

Oakland, CA. Mount Olivet Baptist Church is located at 451 W Central Ave, Saint Paul. The Reverend Dr. James C. Thomas is the pastor.

Chain Reaction Theater Project: SEVEN Sept 7 & Sept 16 SEVEN: Inspiring Stories of Seven Daring Women Fighting Injustices. The play celebrates bravery, compassion, and hope for a better future. Fri. Sept 7, 7pm at Solomon’s Porch,100 West 46th Street. MPLS 55419. Sun. Sept 16, 6:30pm at Faith Lutheran Church, 11115 Hanson Blvd., NW Coon Rapids, MN 55433. Tickets: “Pay as you can” with a suggested ticket price of $15, cash or check only. Tickets can be purchased at the door. All seats are general admission. For more info visit: www. or write

ADIEU SUMMER CONCERT Sept 9 Annual multicultural family event celebrating and embracing diversity through the International music and dance. This year lineup will include the instrumental group THE TALKING STRINGS featuring violinist Gary Shulte, jazz vocalist Lee Engele, TRIO BOSSA NOVA featuring vocalist/percussionist Lidia Berman, and TICKET TO BRASIL performing as a ten piece ensemble featuring guitarist Pavel Jany, saxophonist Doug Little, Brazilian vocalist Joyce Perez and keyboardist Dan Musselman among others. Sun., Sept 9, 4–6:30pm at Como Lakeside Pavilion 1360 N. Lexington Pkwy, Saint Paul, MN 55103. Tickets are $10 children under free. For tickets and more info visit www.tickettobrasil. com or call 651.308.7246.

Mount Olivet Missionary Baptist Church Annual Fall Revival Sept 9-12 Begins Sun., Sept 9 at 4pm and Mon- Wed, Sept 10-12 at 6:50pm nightly. Guest minister will be the Reverend Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine, Pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in

Lee, Kao Vue, Richard Xiong and Xee Xiong created models of a bike shop, coffee shop, and food co-op. These structures would be on each side of the light rail as it passes through at Broadway and Penn Ave. In June 2011, the Bottineau Transitway was proposed to provide more

is originally from Somalia, graduated from the University of Minnesota, and only recently learned how to ride a bike himself, making him an ideal example for our services.” Major funding for SPOKES is provided by Bike Walk Twin Cities, a federal nonmotorized transportation pilot program administered by Transit for Livable Communities through the Federal Highway Administration. For more information about SPOKES, including sign-up for the SPOKES newsletter, go to, e-mail to, or call 612-787-RIDE (7433).

Hour Dollars Service Exchange Seeks New Members Sept 12 Hour Dollars members earn

hours providing services (such as gardening, minor home repair, piano lessons or driving) for other members. They use earned hours to receive services from any member in the Hour Dollars Service directory. Persons living in the Twin Cities Metro area and suburbs may join. Become an Hour Dollars member at orientation on Wed. Sept 12 6-7:30pm at Rondo Community Outreach Library. Free underground parking entrance is on University Avenue at Dale. Request more information at Hennepin County Master Gardeners Seeking New Volunteers Info session Sept. 13 If you have a love of gardening and a love of volunteering, consider applying to be a Hennepin County Master Gardener volunteer. Info session Thur. Sept 13 6:30–7:30pm at Brookdale Library Meeting Room C 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center, 55430. To be notified about the upcoming application process, send an e-mail to hcmg@umn. edu Seeking applications Now– Oct 1.

transit opportunities for the northeastern part of the Twin Cities. Architect and Environmental design instructor Samuel EroPhillips said he decided to give apprentices this project as a vision of what North Minneapolis could look like. The group analyzed case studies, visited locations such as, The Wedge, and did a light rail tour during the eight-week program. Ero-Phillips said when the students first started the program not everyone was at the same level of design

knowledge, but by the end of the project all the student provided valuable input. “They came early and stayed late,” said Ero-Phillips. He said the most rewarding part of the program was the finished project. “I am proud of them for sticking with it.” For more information about Juxtaposition arts and the programs they offer, visit For more information about the Bottineau Transitway and its developments, visit http:// htm.


goal: great teaching in every classroom, for every student, every day. This year, my main priorities include: • increasing teaching effectiveness and student learning in the classroom • increasing school and administrator effectiveness • ensuring we have more great schools where the need is greatest • increasing our long-range financial stability I am confident we have the right strategies in place to close the achievement gap and put a good teacher in every classroom, a strong principal in every school and a high quality school in every neighborhood. We are MPS. We look forward to making 2012-2013 a great school year. When we all work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the Minneapolis Public Schools.

From 3 school. Everyone can play a role in helping improve student attendance. I urge you to connect with students, encourage them to attend school and make school an interesting and welcoming place to learn. Students want and need relationships with caring adults – they need to know that somone cares about them and their future. We can’t teach our students and help them achieve academic results when they are not in school. Attendance counts. Every student counts, and every day counts. And it’s the law. Working together toward a clear goal We are committed to our mission: we exist to ensure that all students learn; and our vision, every child college and career ready. We are working together toward a clear

Insight News • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Page 15

Q&A From 1 Al McFarlane: You and Paola both are in the same profession and own a business that can grow as your family grows. How did you meet? Paola, you tell the story. Paola Garrett: We actually met in a social network. We were friends for a couple of years and then we started dating for a while. The love was there and now we are together, married and happy, very happy. AM: You told me how he proposed to you. PG: You know, I am not a perfect English speaker but I will try. He invited me to a jazz concert in Santiago, my city in Dominican Republic. I was not so excited about the invitation but I said, you know what, this guy is visiting here for me, so let’s go. When we got there, all my friends were there. I said “Oh my god, this is fun. Everybody is here!” JG: It was a coincidence. PG: Coincidence or something, I thought. At one point, the jazz singer was saying something like, “I want to sing a song for a couple here tonight. The guy wants to propose marriage to the girl.” And I said, “Oh my God! That is cool.” Then she started singing. I was like, “Oh my God!” Because it was our song. I couldn’t believe what he was doing. He was standing and holding my hand. We were dancing. All the people there were laughing and screaming. Ladies were crying. It was a whole situation. I couldn’t believe it. It is on Facebook and it was on YouTube, too. I mean it was a full situation. Until this day people look at me in the streets in Santiago and say “Hey you are the girl who …”

L-R: Paola Sanchez-Garrett, James Garrett Jr. and Al McFarlane in studio AM: Paola, you teach at the University. What is your background? PG: Well I am architect. I am also a city planner in Santiago. I studied at Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in Santiago and I teach urban planning there. AM: Your family is renowned because your famous father is a media personality. PG: Yes, he is a character. My father is a TV producer there. He used to be a famous DJ in the 60s to the 80s. Now he is more or less just in TV production. JG: He is not just in TV production. He is a TV personality. I think he has like the longest running show on the island. He is on Monday to Friday in the 7 o’clock primetime slot. AM: He is the dean. JG: He is the guy. He is in front of the camera and he is also producing. But he is a TV personality.

AM: So, a famous love affair?

AM: I raised the question in order to sort of paint this picture of your new family. Family is so important. You also talked about your mother, Paola. About how wonderful and strong a woman she is.

PG: Yes, something like that.

PG: Yes, we are three, I am the

oldest and definitely, to have that kind of family is very important. The family is something that I always remember. The family teaches us how to be good people, to give the best of ourselves for ourselves and for each other. It is really important for me and I always remember that. AM: And James you come from a lineage of accomplishment as well. Talk about your family background here in Saint Paul. JG: My family goes way back to the late 1800s here in Saint Paul. I am a fifth generation Saint Paulite. I wasn’t born here as you mentioned earlier. I was actually born in Charlotte Amalie in the US Virgin Islands, but my family moved back here. My mom’s side of the family is from here. So we have been in Saint Paul pretty much in the same part of Saint Paul, for over a 100 years. And my grandfather’s godfather was the first Black municipal architect in the United States. Cap Wigington was the city architect in Saint Paul I think from the teens through the 50s. My grandfather, James Griffin, in 1972 became the highest ranking urban police officer in the United States when he became St. Paul Police Department Deputy Chief. He was 42 years on the police force. He was elected to the St. Paul School Board and served 16 years on the school board. Saint Paul Central High

Alaina L. Lewis

School Stadium is actually named after my grandfather. And the Saint Paul police headquarters is also named James S. Griffin Building. My mother Linda, formerly Griffin-Garrett, was a long time Saint Paul public school teacher. She spent 30 plus years in education, creating the multicultural agenda for education. She was an education consultant for the State of Minnesota for several years as well. So you know there was sort of a foundation that was put in place and there were certain expectations instilled in my brother, Christopher and me when we were growing up that we were going to be successful. We were going to dream and we were going to proceed to chase down those dreams and try to execute them. AM: I see, in talking to both of you, legacy and dynasty. We talked about legacy already: Paola, your rooted family in Santo Domingo in Dominican Republican and James, your family in Saint Paul. But dynasty in that not only are you attracted to each other as two individuals who bring legacy to the table, but you also bring your professional expertise and your hopes. You own a architectural firm called 4RM+ULA with offices here in St. Paul and also in Dominican Republic. What’s the vision for your enterprise?

JG: 4RM+ULA actually turned 10 on July 1st this year. We have been practicing architecture here in Twin Cities based in Saint Paul for 10 years. We are licensed here to practice architecture in Minnesota and I hold a New York State license. We do some work in New York City. We are looking to expand that. She is licensed in the Dominican Republic and we formed a version of 4RM+ULA in the Dominican Republic and we are currently pursuing work down there. So really the vision is to create several satellites, to spur off of the home in Minnesota. I feel like the sky is the limit. I feel like we spent 10 years paying dues, learning the craft. For many years before that we worked for other firms and under other architects, being mentored. For the last 10 years on our own we have been really learning quite a bit about business, about commerce, about the importance of just really being on point with your regulations and your finances. With that sort of foundation under us, we are ready to run pretty fast. AM: Your biggest project to date is the Light Rail project between Minneapolis and St. Paul. JG: We were brought in to be part of the proposing team in 2007 for the Central Corridor Light Rail and we are part of a successful winning team with AECOM. We worked with AECOM in the capacity of architectural designers basically executing station design for all 18 stations along the Central Corridor route including a station right out front here (on Cedar Avenue). We have done that for approximately five years and had a chance to really touch and manipulate and put our fingerprints all over every single one of the stations. So that is probably our most notable work to date. It is something that we will be using. It runs right through our neighborhood, a block from my house. It runs right in front of our office. So it is very rare that as an architect you have an opportunity to actually do something that is going to benefit you yourself and your community and that you are going to be able to look at every single day of your life.

AM: I see you and Paola as part of the hip-hop generation. To me, that means there is a will for selfdevelopment and confidence and a sense that we have the capacity to change the world and make the world what we want it to be. We are not dependent on somebody else defining us. We have an obligation, a duty and the power to define ourselves and our future. Does that make sense you? JG: Yes. But there are several sorts of hip hop generations. There are the originators of the culture that were actually doing it in the late 70s and early 80s. We were part of that first generation that grew up in a world where hip-hop was there. We can’t remember a time before hip hop. So we were the first generation from kindergarten through the rest of our lives to just be a part of it. I think hip-hop a lot of it is doing the most with less. We went through the protest movement in the 80s with the “Stop The Violence” movement and talked about self-determination and the ability to self-define. That is what we are trying to do. AM: What is the guiding principle that directs you, either from hiphop space or from your parents and from legacy? What is it that is in the back of your mind and at the base of your heart as you pursue life and career? JG: For me it is responsibility. I feel like I owe a huge debt to the ancestors and those whose shoulders I stand upon. I have also been presented with a lot of opportunities and to capitalize on those opportunities is something that I feel very responsible for. AM: And Paola what about you, what are your thoughts? PG: I think it is honesty. It is the combination. James is a real responsible man. And I think I am very honest. I am honest with myself. I am honest with him all the time. And I try to be honest with the rest of the world. It is important in these days to be honest and responsible.

Fashion From 8 wear progressive clothing, not always retro gear. His clothing line, True Ink is an athletic apparel line that is stylish and comfortable. His designs also feature inspirational sayings to help refocus the values of the consumer. One of Edwards’ own core values is to help others. Through 1050 Modeling, a community-based web portal (http://www.rayedwardsjr. com/), Edwards wants to provide a platform where stylists, designers, models and others in the fashion world can meet and discuss the latest trends, bounce around ideas and share their latest creations with others in the industry.

Ray Edwards, founder of ‘1050 Modeling’; Anthony Tunstall of AT Productions; Cory Collins, Photographer; and Thomas Peeples of ‘Mind the Peeps’

Appetite From 4 neighborhood resident, you may have noticed the community garden on the corner of 26th Ave. N and Knox Ave. N in Minneapolis. Through a partnership with Jordan Area Community Council (JACC), AFC installed a flower garden, six raised beds, a compost bin and rain barrels. By next year, AFC plans to expand the community garden and start an intergenerational growing and cooking program with We-Win

Simmons From 15 An educational leader and visionary with over twenty years experience, Ronald J. Simmons was selected by Minneapolis Urban League CEO Scott Gray to lead the organization’s Social Enterprise Academy School which serves students in grades 6-12. Simmons’ experience is vast, in addition to teaching experience in both traditional and alternative school settings, he has served stints as an Assistant Principal at Patrick Henry High School; and as the principal of North High School in Minneapolis and John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington. Known for spearheading learning communities with school climates and challenging class

Institute. AFC is also partnering with the City of Minneapolis and the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. Together the partnership will work to reposition the 12 Northside corner stores to provide and increase sales of fresh, local, and affordable produce. As corner stores are often under scrutiny for high prices and old produce, the collaboration is working to achieve a win-win for both the community members and business owners by increasing sales while providing a better selection at a lower price. Project elements

include enhanced produce displays, increased visibility of healthy foods within the stores and community outreach and marketing around the availability of fresh produce. Horovitz also contributes and partners with several other organizations working on food justice issues in North, including the West Broadway Farmers Market. She has been at the West Broadway Farmers Market twice this season, first preparing a mouthwatering watermelon salad, and a few weeks later returning to show market-goers how to make chickpea and veggie salad, a dish designed to be perfect for those

breaking fast during Ramadan, as well as everyone else. In her outreach, Horovitz gets a great deal of feedback from the community on what food related businesses people want. “People want to see more grocery stores with better quality and affordable fresh produce. They want healthy food options for carryout and restaurants and multi-cultural markets. I also hear that people are interested in diverse cultural food options, perhaps a Latin-soul food fusion,” said Horovitz. She described the market gap in healthy food choice in North Minneapolis as “the chicken and egg challenge.”

The market thinks people only want to eat unhealthy food, but in reality, until we have options, it is difficult to assess what people really want. Horovitz herself admits, “Even though (I don’t like to), I find myself eating unhealthy food; my issue being time. There is nowhere to pick up a healthy meal fast. And other people’s access issues include transportation, money and time.” When asked about the Y.N. RichKids, Horovitz responded, “The kids are talented and singing about what they know and expressing themselves with what they are familiar with. When you have a neighborhood that is

saturated with unhealthy food choices kids are more likely to rap about unhealthy food than fruit and vegetables. It is a dream for kids to rap about fresh produce.” Whether Y.N. RichKids’ next song is about Honeycrisp apples and snap peas or not, Horovitz and AFC would like to make sure that all of the young rappers have access to them and an array of healthy foods, at the corner store and beyond. For more information or to get involved in AFC, contact Michelle Horovitz at michelle@ or 612-655-6791.

instruction that serve to close student learning and achievement gaps, Simmons will be bringing his expertise to the MUL Social Enterprise Academy School. The MUL Social Enterprise Academy School, is a 21st century learning community, which has been innovatively structured based upon best practices to blend academic, career development, college readiness and expeditionary learning employing social enterprise aimed at fully engaging student learners, while preparing them for college and career pathway access. When asked about the new position and his vision for the MUL School, Simmons commented, “I am excited about the challenge of fulfilling a lifelong dream of further expanding educational opportunities for all students. and continuing to work with

our future leaders of America. The vision of the Urban League Academy enables our students to pursue a successful pathway which includes high academic achievement, career choices in both current and emerging occupations; the vast array of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) aligned jobs, dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, and essential college attendance attaining a range of postsecondary certifications as well as Bachelor’s degrees. I am expecting great outcomes this year and welcome the opportunity to lead the school’s team of educators and support the successful educational journeys of our students.” In addition to classes required for high school graduation, the MUL Academy offers the following learning opportunities found to improve school bonding

and learning outcomes for today’s student learner: Expeditionary learning which means students will complete projects and assignments that link academics, careers and the real world, Increased focus on identifying a career of interest, vocational career awareness sessions that provide students with opportunities to explore careers of interest while also helping them to understand the postsecondary education required to enter the career, Positive youth development sessions focused on behavior, healthy relationships, peer issues, attitude, violence prevention, goal setting and achievement and the development of other key soft skills and characteristics that students will need to attain good jobs, The creation of social enterprises related to these

careers so that students can earn money and obtain hands on work related experience, A partnership with the Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Design (READ) Program offering students opportunities to explore aviation, sound engineering, television and video production and graphic arts, Earning the ACT National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) along with a Minneapolis Public School(MPS) high school diploma, Summer internship opportunities in Building and Construction Trades; Culinary Arts; Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and College visits, financial aid information for college, and presentations from MUL college partners. Scott Gray, the organization’s CEO and a solutionist who

envisioned the strategic direction for the MUL school in response to data about disconnected students, lagging high school graduation trends among youth of color and escalating unemployment rates said, “It is unacceptable that our kids of color are not learning on par with other kids in the State of Minnesota and we can’t continue to prescribe the same old strategies when the needle is not moving. We must develop bolder strategies that give our kids a chance to succeed in the global world.” To obtain more information about the school and for enrollment information contact the MUL Social Enterprise Academy at 612-874-9667, stop by the school’s informational table at the MUL Family Day event slated for August 25, 2012; or email Orieon Thurston, the Dean of Students at othurston@

Page 16 • August 27 - September 2, 2012 • Insight News

Insight News ::: 8.27.12  
Insight News ::: 8.27.12  

Insight News for the week of August 27, 2012. Insight News is the community journal for news, business and the arts serving the Minneapolis...