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Robin Hickman guides Ordway celebration of African and African American culture MORE ON PAGE 5

Photo: Johnny Fernandes

Maria de Barros

February 10 - February 16, 2014

Vol. 41 No. 7 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts •

Built to last By Mahmoud El-Kati Columnist Matthew Little belongs to a special generation of African American people. He was a part of that second generation to be born outside of bondage – after roughly 300 years of captivity. They knew who they were and whose they were. The children of a tough, resilient and

creative people who were built to last. They were heir to a noble struggle for freedom, justice and political equality. Born in 1919 in Washington, North Carolina, the heart of America’s Dixieland with its bottomless cruelty, and yet Matthew Little and his generation continued to keep the faith and never lost hope. The challenge that he faced


Matthew Little

remembered By Harry Colbert, Jr. Contributing Writer Civil rights leader and former head of the Minnesota and Minneapolis chapters of the NAACP, Matthew Little, died Sunday, Jan. 26 at the age of 92. A World War II veteran,

Little moved to Minneapolis in 1948 and soon became active in civil rights after he was denied the opportunity to serve as a firefighter, even though he passed the written and physical exams. Little would later lead the fight that


Matthew Little

Diversity, inclusion theme of this year’s Super Bowl ads By Harry Colbert, Jr. Contributing Writer Super Bowl Sunday was an awful day for some of America’s so called “purists.” In a game that featured quarterback match-ups between southern-born white “traditional” pocket passer, Payton Manning and the

Cheerios Super Bowl ad

Denver Broncos against the more mobile, less traditional African-American QB, Russell Wilson, of the Seattle Seahawks, the game was no contest. Seattle crushed Manning and the Broncos 43 – 8. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget Seattle’s defense was led by “thug” cornerback Richard Sherman. Keep in mind the man labeled a thug by many for his post-game rant following

the NFC Championship game has a degree with honors from Stanford University. But if the game was not bad enough, in addition, the “purists” (what others are calling racists) had to endure a couple of Super Bowl ads that challenged their “American” way of life.


Legislators connect with coffee and conversation Blong Yang represents Local legislators Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-59), Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-59B) and Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL-59A) are holding a series of coffee and conversation breakfast tours with a number of local city council members and commissioners. The purpose of the meetings is to allow local residents a chance to meet one on one with their political leaders to talk about issues that affect them. The first such meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, at Cuppa Java, 400 Penn Ave. S., from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., and will include Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins.

communities of color Guest Commentary By Niki Mitchell Ward 5 Senior Policy Aide

Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (59)

Rep. Raymond Dehn (59-B)

The next scheduled meeting is set for the same day at the Lowry

Café, 2207 Lowry Ave. N., from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The

Rep. Joe Mullery (59-A)


In his recent commentary, (The Representation Gap, Insight News, Jan. 28), Jordan Ash laments the lack of an AfricanAmerican presence on the Minneapolis City Council. Former Ward 5 council member Don Samuels – who was the only African-American council member – took himself out

Councilmember Blong Yang (Ward 5, Minneapolis) of the running for the council seat and in his stead, the voters





Insight 2 Health

Obama honors Michael Wallus

When a man loves his wife

Juggling life’s choices from the kitchen

What you need to know about vaccines and pregnancy





Insight News • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Page 2

EDUCATION Obama honors Michael Wallus President Obama recently named Michael Wallus, elementary math coordinator at Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Wallus is among 102 awardees of the 2012 PAEMST, an annual award that recognizes outstanding K-12 math and science teachers across the country. Wallus is the only teacher from Minnesota to win the 2012 PAEMST. “It is an honor to receive the Presidential Award, and I am humbled to be in the company of so many outstanding educators,” Wallus said. “The award is validation that encouraging students to think about relationships and construct

D.C. for educational and celebratory events in March. They will also meet members of Congress and possibly President Obama. Prior to joining MPS two years ago, Wallus taught math at Valley Crossing Community School for 16 years. The PAEMST award recognizes Wallus’ performance during his classroom years outside of the MPS district. As the elementary math coordinator for MPS, Wallus trains third- through fifth-grade math specialists. In addition, he works with principals and classroom teachers to identify best practices in mathematics education and helps them understand how students think as they solve math problems. “In order to teach kids

meaning is a cornerstone of quality mathematics education.” News about Wallus’ award delighted Superintendent of Schools, Bernadeia Johnson, who quickly expressed her excitement and praised him for his commitment to serve MPS community. “I’m extremely proud that Mike is a recipient of this prestigious award,” said Bernadeia Johnson, Superintendent of Schools. “MPS is fortunate to have him contributing to the success of our schools, teachers and students.” A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators chose the winners, who will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. The PAEMST winners will visit Washington

Michael Wallus

math, you have to understand how they’re thinking,” he said. “It’s not about what the correct answer is that they’re getting, it’s about what the thinking behind their answer is.” In an effort to get teachers to that level of understanding, Wallus recently started summer training for K-5 educators to learn about different ways students think of math. Wallus has served as an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University where he taught master’s-level summer courses. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in elementary education from the University of Minnesota Duluth and an M.Ed. in education from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Minnesota parents urged to start school search for 2014-2015 school year right now If Minnesota parents want to choose new schools for their children for the upcoming (2014-2015) school year, they need to start researching the schooling options available to their children right away. That’s the message from organizers of National School Choice Week, which this week featured 90 events across the North Star State and a history-making 5,500 events nationwide. School Choice Week focused

attention on the importance of empowering parents with the freedom to choose the K-12 schools that best meet their children’s individual learning needs. The effort’s president, Andrew Campanella, said that the longer parents wait to exercise the options available to them, the less choices they’ll have. “The process of beginning to research new schools for your children for 2014-2015 should

begin right now,” Campanella said. “Seats in great schools are already filling up for the next school year, so parents can’t afford to wait until the spring or the summer if they want to select a different school for their children. The winter is the time to start.” Campanella said that parents should start the school selection process by making a list of desired attributes that they hope to see in the ideal school for

their child -- such as student achievement in key subject areas, parental involvement at the school level, class sizes, the theme of a school, or the qualifications of school personnel -- and then visit schools that match the criteria developed by the parent. “It’s important that parents visit the schools that their children might possibly attend, and ask as many questions as necessary of teachers,

principals, and other parents,” Campanella said. “Selecting a school for your child is a very personal decision. Every child is unique and different, and there is no ‘one-size-fitsall’ approach to educating children.” National School Choice Week raises awareness of the need for effective education options for parents, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet

schools, online academies, private schools, and homeschooling. The goal of the effort is to inform and educate parents about the school choice options available to them, while providing a platform for families to demand even greater opportunities. For a list of the specific types of school choice programs and policies in Minnesota, visit states


represented, therefore lessening the clout to win real changes that benefit communities of color and low-income neighborhoods.” I see this as particularly problematic and, I would argue, shortsighted. First, it is necessary to point out that a Hmong-American is a person of color. Do we really believe that an Asian man who’s lived in the ward more than a decade is unable to represent Black people? There is no reason to believe that Yang can’t fight for Ward 5’s best interests or the

interests of African-Americans. The problems we face affect us all. We need to increase the safety of our communities, attract living-wage jobs, bring equilibrium to the level of public services we receive (as in snow plowing, for example) and attract economic development to the ward to name a few. In terms of bolstering racial equity and equality for Northside people of color, Yang doesn’t have to be black to understand racism, discrimination and the need for access to better opportunities. He’s lived that reality just like the rest of us. Yang grew up in the public housing, subsisted on

food stamps, and had parents who taught him to respect the value of education and hard work above all else to get ahead. Sound familiar? There are grumblings in the Black establishment that Yang won because he turned out a huge contingent of Asian voters. Well, not exactly. There aren’t enough eligible Asian voters in Ward 5 to elect Yang without voters from other demographic groups including, AfricanAmericans. And, we talked to a good number of Black people who voted for Yang because they liked his energy and his message. It’s one reason I signed

onto his campaign. He’s smart, dedicated to justice, equality and public service and he works hard. He was rewarded by winning the Ward 5 seat, which he won with a demographically diverse turnout. There was never a secret Asian plot at work. But that mixed group of voters is perhaps unwittingly signaling where we need to go. Now and in the future, our struggles are less likely to be defined by race than by income inequality. As opportunities for living-wage work decline and educational achievement disparities persist, many people of color will be further relegated

to the margins of society. In a city like Minneapolis, perhaps the smart money is on the formation of a coalition of progressives and people of all colors who work on implementing a broadly drawn agenda that serves us all. We can continue to bicker over who gets this one seat or we can expand our vision to encompass a wider alliance of motivated reformers to get us farther along the path of measurable and lasting change. Frederick Douglass said it best – “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” We better stop worrying about the complexion and start planning for strategic progression.


the first quarter of the already lopsided Super Bowl game, Gracie was seen – this time with her father – talking about the addition of another child to the family. Gracie bargained for a puppy. Again, the spot ended with the word, “Love.” And again, there were a few who took to Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to protest their outrage. But as Angela McClendon, a Super Bowl watcher from St. Louis said, Golden Valley based General Mills stood firm. “I think that it (the commercial) was a direct message to society that (General Mills) was not going to be bullied into back peddling on its decision to use an interracial couple,” said McClendon. “They felt the heat for the first commercial, but they stayed in the kitchen. I can respect that, because most companies will flip-flop when they are criticized. They stood their ground.” Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for

Cheerios said the 30-second spot is about celebrating the American family. “Cheerios is about families and love and connections – and breakfast,” said Gibson. “And our new Cheerios ad celebrates one of those special moments with a family that America fell in love with.” Tamala Nicholson of Minneapolis said for her, the commercial was less about race and more about father, daughter time. “I thought it was cute. And honestly, I saw a little girl have ‘daddy’ time,” said Nicholson. “That stood out to me because I’m a daddy’s girl. As a byproduct of my life with (my father), I see through goggles of positivity. (I see a) family having breakfast together – that’s it.” Believe it or not, the General Mills Cheerios spot was not the one that drew the most ire of the “purists.” Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” ad featuring people of varying ethnicities singing “America the

Beautiful” caused an Internet firestorm with racist rants being found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Published on Feb. 2, the YouTube video of the commercial has already logged more than 3.8 million views in addition to the worldwide Super Bowl audience. Attorney Jeffrey Kass, who lives in Denver, enjoyed the spot. “I loved the Coca-Cola commercial the best of the more serious ones, but the Cheerios commercial was still very good,” said Kass, who is white. “It was not too long ago that corporate America and its advertisements perpetrated negative feelings so this is a breath of fresh air.” Not all was lost for the “purists.” The number one rated commercial, as rated by the USA Today Ad Meter was Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” spot. Beer is as American as it gets and Budweiser is “America’s beer” – even if its parent company is now German.

From 1 elected Hmong-American Blong Yang. Full disclosure, I worked on council member Blong Yang’s campaign staff. I am now his senior policy aide, and am African-American. I am paraphrasing Ash, but he essentially says, “increasing the power of one (racial) group relative to another may result in some communities being under-



From 1 In a follow-up to the Cheerios ad that set the Internet abuzz and caused General Mills, makers of Cheerios, to disable comments from its YouTube page, the cereal maker brought back an ethnically blended family in its spot called “Gracie.” The character Gracie is the biracial girl who initially appeared with her white mother in a scene asking about the health properties if the wholegrain cereal. Later, it’s revealed that the father is AfricanAmerican. The commercial ended with the word, “Love.” The spot has nearly 5 million hits to date on YouTube and was the source of severe backlash for a vocal minority of whites. Support for the ad came from many other whites, African-Americans and other ethnicities. In the ad that aired during






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Insight News • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Page 3

BUSINESS Winter blues? Or Spring fever? Which is better for business? Plan Your Career By Julie Desmond Anyone who has had to sit in an office or classroom on an afternoon in May might know the answer to this. If that classroom or office has a big window overlooking, well, anything, that person will probably feel pretty certain that a pleasant, sunny afternoon is no time to be productive. Spring is a daydreaming, let’s take (another) walk time of year. Recent research by Professor Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School proves what the rest of us

already suspected. Productivity goes up as the rain (or in our case, snow) comes down. According to Gino, in a recent blogpost, “We found that an increase in rain correlated with a decrease in the time it took for workers to complete their tasks. To be precise, a one-inch increase in rain was related to a 1.3 percent decrease in worker completion time for each transaction.” A quick Google search on “Workplace Productivity” will expose you to the 7 drivers of workplace productivity, the 5 workplace innovations that increase productivity, 5 tricks to increase productivity in an open office, 11 steps to increasing workplace productivity (with pictures!) and even a list of 5 workplace irritations that can boost productivity in the office. Highlights include: Standup desks, yoga ball chairs,

Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Who are you working with? Where are you working? What is unique about your setup that day? When you can position yourself to have more of those days, your productivity will soar. task lists, employee rewards, turning off your email (if I can’t see it, it isn’t there?), encouraging people to talk to one another rather than

emailing (this actually works), and under the irritations column, sarcasm, gossip, a messy office, and removing the employee incentive you put

into place a few sentences back are all advised. Clearly, productivity is a personal thing. You know those days when you just feel

in your gut that you’re a rock star? Those days when people ask, How do you do it all? Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Who are you working with? Where are you working? What is unique about your setup that day? When you can position yourself to have more of those days, your productivity will soar. With all that in mind, if you’re in charge of increasing other people’s productivity, you might want to invest in some heavy shades or curtains, because, according to the official studies, no one makes as much hay when the sun shines. Julie Desmond is Manager of IT and Software Engineering recruiting for George Konik Associates, Inc. Send your career planning questions to Julie at jdesmond@

Mutuality: A must in fundraising FUNdraising Good Times

By Mel and Pearl Shaw As you prepare for your next meeting with a current or potential donor, funder or sponsor we suggest focusing on what you want to learn from the meeting. This is distinctly different from a focus on what you want to share. Of course you need to be prepared to discuss the accomplishments, challenges, and vision of the nonprofit organization or

institution you represent. But that is not enough. As you prepare determine what you want to accomplish as a result of the meeting, which three pieces of information you want to share, what you would like to learn, and how you can engage the person you are meeting with. Here’s what you don’t want: a one-sided meeting where you share all the wonderful things your nonprofit has accomplished followed by an ask for a gift or involvement. You definitely don’t want a meeting where you talk about all the challenges that are threatening your nonprofit. Even if you were to walk away with a big check, we believe you would have neglected

to secure the most valuable resource: the birth or growth of a mutually beneficial relationship. Here’s an alternative: Engage your current and prospective donors in meaningful conversation. Think about it this way: if you were going out to lunch with a friend, would you want to spend all of your time hearing about how wonderful she is? Wouldn’t you want her to ask about you, your successes, your challenges? Maybe you want the opportunity to congratulate her on her successes, to connect her with likeminded men and women, or to offer guidance for how she can grow to the next level. If she does all the talking, you leave without

having shared your suggestions for how she can experience even more success. Here are a few questions you can consider including in your conversation: From your vantage point, what do you see as our strengths? Our challenges? How does our work fit with what you are seeking to achieve through your philanthropy? Do you have suggestions or guidance you could offer on how we could sustain and grow our organization? What trends are you seeing nationally? How are these manifesting in our community? Practice having a conversation with another member of your board or a fellow volunteer. Make



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a video so you can review your presentation and make appropriate adjustments. Practice until you like what you see and hear. Leave room in the conversation - and in your heart – for guidance and suggestions. Know when to be quiet. Listen. The more people feel they can help you succeed the more successful you can be. You can

accomplish more with others than you can on your own. Copyright 2014 – Mel and Pearl Shaw Mel and Pearl Shaw help nonprofit organizations grow their fundraising. Services include coaching, campaign preparation and proposal writing. Learn more at www.

Page 4 • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Insight News


When a man loves his wife Man Talk

By Timothy Houston This is the second article in which I go back to the original intent of this column, which is relationship building. Two years ago, I set out to share insights from my book, “Men Are Dirt.” The book is based on thoughts about men from a man’s perspective. During this week of Valentine’s Day, use this article as the catalyst for a healthy dialogue about your relationship. For those of you who are married, this article is based on chapter 6 of my book, and it is dedicated to you. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband: Ephesians 5:33 MSG There are no words more powerful than that of a husband. A real husband will praise his

wife because of the love he has for her in his heart. She can trust him because she is safe with him. She knows that his words are not motivated by an attempt to take advantage of her sexually or emotionally, because he has made the greatest commitment for all to her, marriage. This is the basic fundamental principle that all men must learn. He that loves his wife, loves himself: Ephesians 5:28 Marriage requires commitment, but not all men are ready to be husbands. When it comes to relationships as it pertains to marriage, some men get “cold feet.” They view matrimony as “lockdown” or the “old ball and chain.” This approach is a negative view of marriage, portraying the highest level of commitment as a loss of freedom. This view of relationships may cause men to shy away from dating and any sort of friendship that could lead to commitment, resulting in their seeking to distance themselves from the women in their lives. This “space” or lack of commitment can over time, lead to neglect. When a man loves his wife, he wants to spend time with her. He gives himself to her,

evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands out to loves their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already ‘one’ in marriage: Ephesians 5:25-28 It is my hope and prayer that every relationship achieves this oneness. Relationships are so important to me that if you mention my Insight News ad when you purchase a copy of the book, I will include a second copy at no additional cost for you to share with that special person in your life. You can get a copy at www.menaredirt. com. I encourage you all to get a copy of the book and share it with that significant person in your life. May your valentine and your Valentine’s Day be special. PhotoXpress

and they both become better together. They are no longer two, but one. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will be one flesh: Genesis 2:24 When

a man loves his wife, he loves himself, and together they are able to share this love with the world. This makes for better relationships, neighborhoods and communities. When this union takes place, we are all

better because of it. Husband, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words

Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. To get a copy of his book, for questions, comments or more information, go to www.

Five steps to build positive self esteem Motivational Moments

By Penny JonesRichardson Does having positive self-esteem take work or are you naturally built with it already placed inside of you? It would be nice to be born with this quality, but many times it takes work to build self esteem. There are millions of people who need to do those extra things to make sure they are confident

and they stay that way. Having confidence in who you are and what you want is a part of self esteem which does not happen overnight. However, there are steps that I developed to help you along your journey. These are the steps that I share with my clients which have been known to help them to build self-esteem in their lives. Tell yourself positive things about you daily Sometimes it’s easier to talk to yourself about what you want out of life. This may sound strange coming from a life coach, but it truly works. When you tell yourself positive things it helps to boost you up. Tell yourself

that you are strong, smart, and independent. It also helps to tell yourself that you are able to make all of your dreams come true and that you are determined to do just that. Do the things that make you feel better about yourself It can help boost your selfesteem immensely if you take the time to make yourself feel good and look good. It is amazing how the right clothing or the right color can change your attitude in a positive way. Also, exercise and eating right can help build self-esteem. Anything that helps you feel better inside and out will work wonders for your self esteem.

Little From 1 in the harsh realities is what shaped a sensitive, thoughtful personality towards a persistent committed life for social justice. After a typical upbringing of Black southern children of that day, Matthew Little attended college and earned a degree in biological science from North Carolina A & T, a historically Black institution, known primarily for producing fine engineers. After college, he followed the cast of what many young Black men of his generation did and that was to join the segregated U.S. Army. He did a tour of duty overseas where he was slightly wounded in attempt to make the world “safe for democracy”. After serving his country, in a world in which he and his people at the time were largely invisible, Matthew Little was rejected for admission into medical school. So Matt Little looked for his place under the sun. He ended up in Milwaukee where he worked in the industry belt. His next move was when he flipped a coin to decide whether he would move to Denver or Minneapolis. Minneapolis won. How lucky are we! Very much so!

Concentrate on your past accomplishments When you have those “bad” days, it helps to think about all of the goals you’ve achieved in the past. It helps to look at how you accomplished goals that you worked hard to achieve. Look back and concentrate on those accomplishments and smile and then pat yourself on the back. This helps to boost your ego, which in turn can help boost your self-esteem.

it along your empowerment journey if you set small goals that you accomplish weekly, or monthly. For instance, you could set of goal of waking up an extra hour earlier for a week to meditate during that time. If you set something small that you accomplish weekly, this helps to build you up and also shows you that you have what it takes to achieve those longterm goals that you are also working on.

Set small goals that you can achieve easily Achieving goals is never easy, but any goal that you complete should be celebrated. Sometimes it’s easier to make

Reward yourself for every goal you achieve Now when you complete any goal, you should be very proud of yourself. Sometimes goals are hard to complete and it takes

After moving to Minneapolis, he held a number of odd jobs before applying for work with the Minneapolis Fire Department, which was his first major encounter with the mad and ugly racism of the north. After scoring top grades on the written and physical exams, and failing the oral interview he was rejected. After confronting the man about what seemed an obvious act of racial discrimination, he was told by the official, “I don’t think it was going to work.” One of his daughters, Titilayo tells us that this discriminatory event was one of the experiences that spurred her dad’s interest in civil rights. From the time of his membership in the NAACP to the long time leadership in it, Matthew Little’s career crisscrossed the map of civil rights. From his various positions, he talked and bargained with the power of the elite of politics from the Democratic Party and the likes of Humphrey, Mondale, Anderson, and Fraser. He intermingled with various heads of governmental agencies, he cooperated with a cross-section of local civil rights groups, from the State Capital and city hall, to organizations such as The Way Unlimited, a short lived, but radical organization on Plymouth Avenue in north Minneapolis. Matt was a friend

and supporter of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the most radical Native American group in politics. He had the capacity to walk with kings and still maintain a common touch. Matthew Little is at least partly responsible for many African Americans getting wellpaid jobs throughout the state of Minnesota. As a man, Matt Little possessed more than his share of virtues: he was courageous and humble, an air of dignity and reason. But most of all, he had possessed a Nelson Mandela like quality of grace. He was a graceful man and easy to talk to. He was one of our most honored citizens deserving every honor that he received. He was elected five times to the Minnesota State Executive Committee; four times he was elected to the Democratic National Convention, and another four times as an Elector, from Minnesota as part of the U.S. Electoral College, to cast his vote for the U.S. President. Matthew Little was overcome with joy in 2008, when he was able to cast a vote, as a member of Minnesota’s Electoral College, for President Barack Obama. Among his long list of awards are the Human Rights Award from the Minnesota Human Rights Commission, the Democratic Party’s Hubert Humphrey

determination and perseverance to complete them. Each time you complete a goal you should reward yourself with something that makes you feel good about a job well done. Rewarding yourself after you accomplish any goal can make you feel great and can help to build your self-esteem. And as always, stay focused, stay determined and keep striving for greatness. Penny Jones-Richardson is a published author and life coach. She can be reached via her website at www. or email at

Award and the Urban Leagues Outstanding Civic Service Award. He received an honorary Doctorate Degree of Law from the University of Minnesota. Many will miss Matthew Little’s “Little by Little” weekly column published in the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder with his commentary on political, social and educational issues. The man was a model for most of us who wish to move the world through a door rather than a keyhole. Matthew Little has left us his wife, Lucille, five children who follow his spirit, four girls and a boy, fifteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Matthew Little’s four daughters are all a wonder to behold. All are activists for the common good like their father. Finally, Matthew Little, like Martin King, has left us the committed life. He understood that the chief aim of life is not simply to be happy. His life said to us all that… The chief aim of life is to be useful To be responsible To be compassionate To count for something To make it matter that we lived at all

Photo: Johnny Fernandes

Maria de Barros

Robin Hickman guides Ordway celebration of African and African American culture By Harry Colbert, Jr. Contributing Writer The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is a public institution. That means the beautiful building housing a 1,900-seat orchestra hall, ornate lobby and rehearsal spaces located at 345 Washington Street in Saint Paul is funded in part by public contributions – as well as a host of private donations. Each year nearly 400,000 people are greeted by ticket takers to experience a variety of performances at the Ordway. But of that number, few are of African descent or people of color. That didn’t sit well with the powers that be at the Ordway. It also didn’t sit well with Robin Hickman. “My mother would say things like, ‘My tax dollars pay for these institutions, so we have a right to be here,’” said Hickman, CEO and executive producer of SoulTouch Productions, and director of the Ordway’s Taking Our Place Centerstage: The African Diaspora in Harmony (TOPC). It wasn’t the rights of people being denied at the Ordway that kept people of color from attending the many

Robin Hickman offerings at the hall; it was the programming. With TOPC, the Ordway is producing events geared towards a more inclusive audience. The most recent installment of that series includes a host of performances throughout February and continuing through the first of June. Programming includes Maria de Barros, Wednesday, Feb. 19, a discussion with Ronald K. Brown, choreographer of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess Feb. 25, the play, The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess March 25 – March 30 and Step Afrika!, May 31, and June 1. As part of its Black

Leah Nelson History Month Celebration, the Ordway will host a reception before Maria de Barros’ Feb. 19 performance honoring Naomi Tutu, an international speaker on race and gender justice and daughter of South African Bishop Desmond Tutu. Naomi Tutu will also give a special introduction for de Barros. Hickman said the efforts of the performance venue reach beyond the venue itself. In addition to performances, many of the performers will be available for discussions and workshops at various locations throughout the

Naomi Tutu Twin Cities. “This goes beyond the Ordway. The Ordway is walking with the community in presenting these experiences and performances. We are working together to create an exciting array of events that can open up minds and hearts,” said Hickman. “We’re in partnership with Youthprise (a learning beyond the classroom initiative), we had young men who had correctional issues come to the Ordway, we had busses from south Minneapolis come with our seniors, 200 strong. I had

the opportunity to meet a man who was playing piano outside of the Ordway and come to find out he was homeless. I said brother, one day you’ll play inside of here and six months later he did.” The Ordway’s TOPC program began in October 2010 in partnership with communities of African and African-American ancestry. The initiative, led by Hickman and program manager, Leah Nelson, is committed to artistic, educational and economic engagement. “We have such a creative and energetic team behind

Ronald K. Brown this program,” said Patricia Mitchell, president and CEO of the Ordway. “Throughout this season, we are all on a journey that inspires, uplifts, and entertains – a journey made possible through artistic and education programming designed and executed in partnership with community leaders and artists.” The African Diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world that are descended from the historic movement of peoples from Africa, predominantly to the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, among other areas around the globe.

Walker Art Center presents 2013: The Year According to


The year according to Greg Tate

By Alex Lauer

As subject, field, reference point, or combination of the three, music has been a part of Greg Tate‘s work since the beginning. His 1985 cofounding of the Black Rock Coalition with Vernon Reid and Konda Mason began a journey that would align with the forthcoming New Black Aesthetic and lead to a staff writer position at the Village Voice, multiple books and essays, and his current group, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. A commonly referenced honorific recognizes Tate as one of the “Godfathers of HipHop Journalism,” but instead of defining his career, this became a jumping off point for promoting black artists in a variety of venues.

In advance of Burnt Sugar’s return to Minneapolis this spring, Tate put together an extensive rundown of his most important moments of 2013. He begins by recognizing the loss of Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, proceeds to show he is just as—if not more—involved in the music scene as he was in 1985, and ends by looking to the future of social justice through the Dream Defenders. Burnt Sugar—The Arkestra Chamber Any World That I’m Welcome To: The Steely Dan Conductions Saturday, April 26, 8 pm William and Nadine McGuire Theater, Walker Art Center $25 ($22 Walker members) Tickets: 612-375-7600 Burnt Sugar, the 19-member Afrocentric jazz/funk collective, lays claim to and subverts the Steely Dan songbook in a program curated and conducted by guitar hero Vernon Reid (Living Color). Of the wildly diverse palette and players in the New York ensemble, Arkestra leader Greg Tate says, “Burnt Sugar

got the nerve to claim Sly Stone, Morton Feldman, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix, and Jean Luc Ponty as progenitors. Our player-ranks include known Irish fiddlers, AACM refugees, Afro-punk rejects, unrepentant be-boppers, feminist rappers, jitterbugging doo-woppers, frankly loud funk-a-teers, and rodeo stars of the digital divide.” Look for heady and deeply funky remakes of Steely Dan classics such as “Pretzel Logic,” “Haitian Divorce,” “Any Major Dude,” “Black Cow,” “Kid Charlemagne,” and others. _______________________

1. R.I.P. Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris: The sudden blindside passing of our friend, mentor, artistic conscience, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris on January 29, one year ago tomorrow.

3. Free Form Funky Freqs in France: The Free Form Funky Freqs is a completely improvisational trio comprised of Vernon Reid, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and Grant Calvin Weston. Their unbridled and indefatiguable performance in Paris last February at the Sons d’hiver Festival was dedicated to the memory of Butch and the late guitarist Jef Lee Johnson. I ain’t mad at Burnt Sugar’s two Conductions for the festival either — our live scoring of Oscar Micheaux’s 1925 film Body and Soul, starring Paul Robeson, and “Any World That I’m Welcome To—Burnt Sugar Freaks The Steel Dan Songbooks Most Racially Provocative Under The Direction of Maestro Vernon Reid.” Photo courtesy Sons d’hiver Festival

2. Morris Tribute: The remarkably moving tribute to Butch held at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on February 7, which included testimonials from David Murray, Henry Threadgill, and William Parker. Photo: John Taggart, courtesy the Wall Street Journal 4. Marc Cary and Go-Go: Marc Cary’s two night celebration of Abbey Lincoln at Harlem Stage. Cary’s cocreation with the Burnt Sugar Arkestra of The Upper

Anacostia Lower Gold Coast Symphonic with DC Go-Go masters Kenny Kwick, D. Floyd, and Go-Go Mickey and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis for two performances at Lincoln Center Atrium and The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. We were later told that was the first time Go-Go had been performed in the halls of the Kennedy Center, though Chuck Brown had once been allowed to play out on the mall. Leadbelly nailed my hometown perfectly when he sang, “It’s a bourgeois town,” as did George Clinton when he declared ”God Bless Chocolate City and Its Vanilla Suburbs” — even if those suburbs are way more chocolate now than in 1976 and nobody would have ever predicted a mo’ vanilla Anacostia back in the day.

5. Vijay Iyer Trio: Hearing the Vijay Iyer Trio perform an expansive set in Berlin at The Coltrane Club on the day that George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Truly a balm in Gilead for a brother who felt ready to implement Def Con 3. The Harlen Stage premiere of Vijay and Mike Ladd’s third music theatre collab, Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project, was also a highlight of the year. Photo Jimmy Katz 6. Cécile McLorin Salvant: Hearing the stunning voice of Cécile McLorin Salvant for the first time at the home of Margaret and Quincy Troupe, taking special note of her extra sick suspense-filled, pungent,

Photo: Nisha Sondhe

Page 6 • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Aesthetically Speaking

bassist Mimi Jones, vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles, and pianist Courtney Bryan which performs music by all women composers including Alice Coltrane, Nina Simone, and Betty Carter.

and effervescent phrasing on Jitterbug Waltz and Nobody. Photo: JP Dodel Photography

7. Gregory Porter in Blood on the Fields: Gregory Porter turning out the revival of Wynton Marsalis opera Blood on the Fields down at Jazz At Lincoln Center. Shook that hall and those tunes like they’d both been made for him to own. Photo: Richard Perry, courtesy The New York Times

8. HER at Zinc Bar: The debut performance of the allfemale collective HER at Zinc Bar — an ensemble made of drummer Kim Thompson, harpist Brandee Younger,

9. Courtney Bryan: The very emergent pianist and composer Courtney Bryan, now completing a PhD at Columbia, also debuted a symphonic work at the university alongside fellow orchestra writing compatriot and M-Base alum Andy Milne. Bryan’s gig at the Blue Note with drummer Kim Thompson featuring works for drums and piano and tape loops was a mutha too — especially hearing her accompany snippets of chestnuts by Nat King Cole, Barbara Streisand, and Michael Jackson. Photo courtesy Columbia University

10. Spectrum Road at BB King’s: Catching Spectrum Road at BB King’s—Vernon Reid, Cindy Blackman Santana, and Jack Bruce’s thermo nuking revival of Cream and Tony Williams Lifetime music. Photo courtesy Spectrum Road

Aesthetically Speaking • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Page 7

Guioi: The Other Blacks Jamaican Guatemalan roots. Born in Guatemala, Arnold moved to New York City with her family back in the Fifties as an adolescent, around the time many other Guiou left for America, too. Sadly, most of the friends she made in the States knew next to nothing about her native country, especially regarding its black population. So, as an adult, despite the fact that much of the Jamaican presence back there had gradually disappeared due to assimilation and emigration, she made it her mission to honor what remains of her vanishing traditions. To that end, she has preserved here an informative mix of photos and personal anecdotes, recorded and oral history, bios of leaders and luminaries, and a genealogy of Afro-Jamaican Guatemalan surnames. And she even included recipes for a variety of local delicacies, like Fish Escovitch, Fried Breadfruit, Bulla Cake and Sorrel Wine. As much a history book as

By Kam Williams [This book] chronicles the journey of a group of Jamaican pioneers who went to Guatemala during the early 1900s and carved out a life for themselves and their descendants... Though a miniscule part of the African and Jamaican Diaspora, Guiou is another step in the unveiling and unraveling of our past, as it documents the lives, struggles and accomplishments of a people who, in spite of our adversity, have managed to excel in the areas of academics, medicine and sports…” -- Excerpted from the Preface (page 13) Did you know that Guatemala once had both an English and Spanish-speaking black community? The latter group, known as Garifuna, arrived

from Nigeria by way of St. Vincent where they blended with Carib Indians beginning in 1635 before migrating to Guatemala. By contrast, the former group was brought there to work the fields only about a hundred years ago by the United Fruit Company, settling in an area called Colonia. These Englishspeaking Afro-Jamaicans, or Guiou, gradually disappeared over the intervening decades, but not before making a lasting impression upon their adopted homeland and elsewhere. Written by Gloria J. Arnold, Guiou: The Other Blacks is a meticulously-researched and generously illustrated text dedicated to documenting the cultural contributions of Guatemala’s English-speaking blacks. The author ostensibly undertook this challenge as a labor of love, given her Afro-

a heartfelt tribute reflecting a proud Guiou’s deep appreciation of her ancestors and her rich cultural heritage.

by Gloria J. Arnold Tate Publishing Paperback, $12.00 96 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-62746-147-4

Guiou: The Other Blacks The Afro-Jamaican Presence in Guatemala

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Next session starts March 15


Page 8 • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Aesthetically Speaking 2

Snapshots 1




1) #MPLS having fun on stage at the Dakota Jazz Club. 2) DJ Willie Shu gives the Gas Face to show it’s about to get funky at Cause. Shu was DJing as a part of Rhymesayers Entertainment artist Longshot’s birthday and CD release party. 3) Jennifer Moore (left) and Channie Wilson about to “Feel the Vibe” outside of the Dakota Jazz Club, waiting to see #MPLS. 4) The beautiful Farr Ahmed checking out #MPLS at the Dakota. 5) The Twin Cities is losing yet another talented Black professional as Breana Ponder (right) is taking her talents to Seattle. She and Akilah Mahon were at Cause on their tour of places in the Twin Cities they had not yet ventured.

The Embassy Suites Minneapolis North would love to help you plan your perfect day! We are here to cater to your needs and can customize menus for your event. The Embassy Suites is a great location for: Wedding Receptions Rehearsal Dinners Fundraisers Family Celebrations Call : 763.560.2700 for availability or to schedule a tour

Insight News • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Page 9

COMMUNITY Juggling life’s choices from the kitchen By Emily Blodgett When most of us shudder at the thought of feeding 100 people, Lachelle Cunningham’s wheels start turning. She’s thinking, “What’s fresh and available? What ethnic cuisine should I explore? Which dish should I prepare that’s tried and true and where can I be completely creative?� The entrepreneur chef, owner of Chelles’ Kitchen LLC, has rented space at Kitchen in the Market at Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. Despite juggling a staggering number of balls, including two young children, culinary school, teaching after school classes at various Twin Cities high and junior high school and regular catering jobs, she is focused, energized and with the assistance of Neighborhood Development Center’s (NDC) training program, ready to take on that meal of 100 – or ten times that.

Coffee From 1 day’s final meeting takes place at Emily’s F&M, 2124 44th Ave. N. from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., with Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson.

Cunningham has been preparing for all the aspects of life as a professional chef since she was a girl. And it wasn’t just the cooking and baking with her mom (the “traditionalist�) or her father (the “spice king�), her stepmother (the “experimenter�) or even the after-school food creations with her brother. Cunningham’s work history as an executive assistant in budgeting and financial reporting, event planning, customer relations and human resources has prepared her for the business side of the famously challenging field of catering and restaurant work. Now she believes she can focus more on her passion – making food people love to eat. “I’ve finally found my passion, and it’s not working behind a desk,� said Cunningham. “I am inspired by and love food. And when people would tell me ‘this is fabulous,’ it’s just reinforcement that I’m doing what I should be doing.� Though she’s full-on with catering, her wheels spin again with future possibilities of opening

Another series of meetings is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, with gatherings at the Corner Coffee, 514 N. 3rd St., Ste. 102 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., featuring Higgins and Councilmember Jacob Frey followed by a 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. event at the Avenue Eatery, 1101 W. Broadway.

Emily Blodgett

Independent caterer Lachelle Cunningham owner of Chelles’ Kitchen LLC prepares herbs in the Kitchen in the Market in Midtown Global Market.

All the meetings take place in Minneapolis. In addition to the cafÊ meetings, Champion is holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Ave.

N. The town hall meeting’s purpose is to provide a preview of issues likely to be discussed during the 2014 legislative session. “Minnesota is finally moving out of a decade of budget deficits and towards a more stable economy. Now that our state is on firmer ground, it is time

a restaurant, starting an urban garden and teaching cooking classes for adults and children. “I’m still in culinary school. I need to learn to take baby steps,� laughed Cunningham. It was her father who first directed her toward the class at Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) in north Minneapolis in the spring of 2012. The chef wasn’t a stranger to NDC. Her aunt was the late NDC director of training, Bonita Martin. And though Cunningham had years of practical work experience and a proven ability in her field, she called her time in NDC’s Plan It! Entrepreneur Training program, “the most useful thing I’ve ever done professionally.� Cunningham said the Plan It! book is a tool she still references when thinking about her future or when tweaking her business plan. Cunningham refers to NEON trainer and NDC loan officer, Phillip Porter, as an advisor who offers assistance without micromanaging. “He’s a guide who helped

bring elements of business management together and aligned it for me so it made sense for what I want to do,� said the chef. “The more I learned from him the more I realized that running a business wasn’t a foreign language at all; it’s the language I’ve been learning to speak all along.� The NDC training also provided her with strong relationships with her peers who bounced business plans off each other, provided support, referrals and even services. Her classmate, Frank Brown, designed her logo. “As you can tell I have a lot of plans,� said Cunningham. “There’s a lot more I still want to do and I know I haven’t yet hit the height I can with NDC.�

to address some of the issues important to our communities.� said Champion. “I urge citizens to attend my town meeting and become better informed and help stay involved in the political process. Town hall meetings are also designed to be listening and learning sessions. We want to hear your ideas on how to make

government work better for our communities, what legislative priorities we should focus on, and how we can better lead the state.� For more information regarding the town meetings, please call the office of Sen. Champion at (651) 296-9246.

Learn more: Emily Blodgett, Director of External Communications Neighborhood Development Center, • 651.291.2480 663 University Avenue, Suite 200 Saint Paul, MN 55104

2 0 1 4 B L A C K H I S T O RY E V E N T S C A L E N D A R History HiJinx: Black History Month When: Feb. 15, 16, 22, 23, 2014 Time: Noon to 4 p.m. Where: Minnesota History Center, Admission Cost: $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members. Visit the History Center for free programming each weekend in February. Explore the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit and learn about Harold Brown, a WWII Tuskegee airman. Try on a parachute pack and make your own model aircraft. The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza directed by Talvin Wilks When: Feb. 6 – March 2, 2014 Where: Penumbra Theatre Company Admission Cost: Adult $40.00 and Student (with a valid school ID for college/ university) $15.00 His brutal death was the spark that ignited one of the most important social justice movements in the world, but Emmett Till remains a stranger to most Americans. The Ballad of Emmett Till introduces you to the boy and celebrates his life through the eyes of those who loved him and knew him best. As his mother said, her son was “the sacrificial lamb of the Civil Rights Movement.� When he

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.� ― Frederick Douglass

died, the world woke up. For ticket purchase, go to http:// or call (651) 224-3180. Bearing Witness: The Ballad of Emmett Till When: Feb.11 at 7:30 p.m. Where: RCL—Roseville, 2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville In 1955, a 14-year-old boy was brutally murdered in

Mississippi for the “crime� of whistling at a white woman. His death shocked the conscience of a nation and helped ignite the modern Civil Rights Movement. The Penumbra Theatre presents scenes from their new play with a Q & A session to follow. NOMMO, featuring Kevin Young

Classifieds Seasonal Parks & Forestry Maintenance Workers City of Plymouth-Seasonal Parks & Forestry Maintenance Workers. Assists in the construction, maintenance, and repair of parks, playgrounds, and related facilities. Season is April-October. Evening & weekend work required. For more information, or to apply, please visit Position will be open until filled.

Chief Operations Officer (COO) The Chief Operations Officer is responsible for NorthPoint’s Human Services’ organization’s day-to-day operating activities, including program operations, facility management, development, revenue growth and budgeting. Qualifications: • BS/BA required. Master’s degree in Human Services, Business or related field preferred • Demonstrated leadership skills and work in a multidisciplinary integrated services environment • Solid working knowledge of nonprofit budgeting, business development and strategic planning • Minimum of five years of experience required in senior level management of a non-profit organization If you are interested in this position, please submit resume and cover letter to Ethel Thomas-Giles at by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

When: Feb. 12, 2014 at 7 p.m. When; Hubert H. Humphrey Center, Cowles Auditorium, University of Minnesota 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis Admission Cost: Free and open to the public. Reservation Requested Join us for the 10th annual NOMMO African American Author Series, featuring host and moderator Alexs Pate. Our second event features poet

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Temporary positions The MN House of Representatives has a number of temporary positions for the 2014 Legislative Session. DFL Caucus: • Legislative Assistant • Communication Specialist • Constituent Service Specialist/Writer Sergeant-at-Arms: • Committee Pages • Legislative Assistant House Public Information Services: • Information Assistant • Writer • Television Production Technician Complete job postings can be found at or call (651) 297-8200 for a faxed or mailed copy. EEO/AA EMPLOYER

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Kevin Young on February 12, 2014.These dynamic events feature the authors reading from their work and engaging in spirited dialogue with Pate about the state of the art of African American literature. To secure a reservation, http:// nommo/ African Americans in Ports and Waterways

Fax: 612.588.2031

When: Feb. 13, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. Admission Cost: Free The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Historical Society team up to present a program for Black History Month, focusing on African Americans in transportation. Join us as we navigate through the history of Black voyagers and sailors who explored the Great Lakes and Northern Territories. The Pullman Porters of Saint Paul; Building Community by Writing Black History When: Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Where: RCL—Maplewood, 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood During the great days of railroading, they were the well-traveled AfricanAmerican elite who brought news of the outside world back to their community. They formed the nation’s first black labor union, and their leader was a titan of the early Civil Rights Movement. Join us to hear the story of the Pullman Porters of Saint Paul. Film on Friday When: Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. Where: RCL—Maplewood, 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood Join Ramsey County Library in Maplewood for outstanding feature films drawn from the many stories of Black History.














Page 10 • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Insight News

Why Black America desperately needs another Charles Hamilton Houston By Dr. Artika Tyner Despite a downturn in the economy and skyrocketing unemployment rates, engineers of social change are in high demand. These engineers seek to create transformation in their communities through the exercise of leadership. Engineers of social change recognize that leadership is about leveraging one’s influence to remedy injustices and eradicate systems of marginalization. Needed now more than ever are social engineers within the African American community, who will seek to address emerging racial justice issues like mass incarceration and disparities in the educational system. Who is the social engineer? Social engineering was developed in response to racial inequities in the justice system. Civil rights pioneer, the late Charles Hamilton Houston, developed this theory due to his lifelong commitment to burying


Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford

the remnants of racism. Houston characterized a social engineer as the “mouthpiece of the weak and a sentinel guarding against wrong.” As a civil rights pioneer, he exercised leadership as a tool for promoting the common good and creating access to justice. Houston’s personal commitment to becoming a social engineer was influenced by his life experience in his adulthood, in particular serving in the military. Houston’s experience of racism and discrimination in the military left a lasting impact. Following his military service, he later vowed to gain power by speaking the fluency of the language of the law (i.e. the language of power). Houston’s commitment to wage a relentless battle against injustice was manifested in these words: [I vowed] that I would never get caught again without knowing something about my rights; that if luck was with me, and I got through this war, I would study law and use my time fighting for men who could not strike back. Houston fulfilled his commitment and pursued a law degree with great vigor at Harvard Law School. Over the course of his lifetime, he inspired generations of social engineers which include his protégé Justice Thurgood Marshall and a cohort of civil rights lawyers (Spottswood Robinson, Oliver Hill, to name a few).

Nobody Asked Me

By Fred Easter

Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Ben Williams


Culture and Education Editor Irma McClaurin

Editorial Intern Abeni Hill Production Intern Sunny Thongthi Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Contributing Writers Harry Colbert, Jr. Julie Desmond Fred Easter Timothy Houston Alaina L. Lewis Darren Moore Alysha Price Photography Michele Spaise Corey Collins Contact Us: Insight News, Inc. Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis., MN 55411 Ph.: (612) 588-1313 Fax: (612) 588-2031 Member: Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC), Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. (MBPCI), National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Postmaster: Send address changes to McFarlane Media Interests, Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411.

Charles Hamilton Houston What are the job qualifications for social engineers? Leadership skills and a passion for social justice are the only prerequisites. You will receive on the job training. In addition, you will develop a number of invaluable skills that will be indispensable on your leadership journey. These skills include: 1. Creative problem solving. Social engineers see new possibilities. For instance, with over 2 million people incarcerated in the United States and people of color accounting for 60% of those imprisoned (despite making up only roughly 30% of the total population), social engineers must begin to ask themselves:

how can the pipeline to prison be dismantled? Social engineer, Michelle Alexander created a blueprint for analyzing and addressing the impact of mass incarceration in her acclaimed book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Alexander warns: “The fate of millions of people—indeed the future of the black community itself— may depend on the willingness of those who care about racial justice to re-examine their basic assumptions about the role of the criminal justice system in our society.” She exemplifies the qualities of a social engineer by challenging the status quo and seeking to promote social justice.

3. Leadership development. Engineers of social change create transformation through the utilization of core leadership skills: • Vision (foresight, creativity) • Values (integrity, honesty, an ethic of service) • Personal skills (self-awareness, self-control) • Interpersonal skills (emotional intelligence, empathy, persuasion) • Technical competence (knowledge, preparation, sound judgment) Additionally, engineers of social change lead community members by supporting the development of each individual’s leadership skills and realization of the full potential of their collective power. 4. Bridge building. Engineers of social change are integral to

community-building by acting as a liaison between community members, policy makers, and key stakeholders. For instance, a social engineer could serve as a bridge builder by addressing the racial disparities in school disciplinary practices. Nationally, African American students are three times more likely than their white peers to be suspended, expelled, or arrested for the same kind of conduct at school. A person committed to social engineering would tackle this issue by bringing together students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members to deliberate on how to address this inequity and ensure fairness in disciplinary practices. This is an example of how engineering is critical to leading social change. Are you ready to get started? Openings are available in both your local community and the global community, whether serving on a nonprofit board or volunteering for a local civil rights organization. All you need to do is simply apply today. Opportunities abound. Dr. Artika Tyner (University of St. Thomas School of Law, Member of the Minnesota African American Museum Emancipation Proclamation Committee) and Beatriz Espinoza (University of St. Thomas School of Law)

There’s still a need for HBCUs OK, this time, somebody actually did ask me. I was asked, “What makes you think that your dad’s experience nearly a century ago, or yours, nearly a half century ago, should inform any decision about education today?” I acknowledged that I was an elder. So let’s look at the more recent past. I quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s coverage of a report on the Educational Effectiveness of

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2. Grassroots organizing. Traditionally, leaders have played an integral role in shaping public policy and effecting systemic changes. Engineers of social change can use their leadership skills to empower communities as they advocate for the protection of civil rights and equal access to justice. They use their leadership skills to help people carry out their ideas and create a strategic plan of action to achieve their goals.

From 1 desegregated the department. He also led the fight for fair housing in Minnesota and for equal education in state public schools. “My father was a man who had undying love for his people,” said Titilayo Bediako, Little’s daughter. “If you look at my father’s life it’s always

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) conducted by The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. According to the study, although HBCU students tend to have lower SAT scores and high school grades than their African-American counterparts at historically white institutions (HWIs), they produce 40 percent of Black science and engineering degrees with only 20 percent of black enrollment. Of the top 21 undergraduate producers of African-American science PhDs, 17 were HBCU’s. Of note, many of those students would have been considered underprepared by majority institutions. Given lower funding levels and the underprepared nature of some students, HBCUs are “doing a much better job” than HWIs in educating African-American

students. This article appeared in December 2010. It also pointed out that, “Faculty members’ dedication to teaching, student-support networks, encouragement to pursue leadership posts in their fields of study, and the availability of faculty role models help to explain the success of an HBCU education.” I used to argue, back in the last Ice Age, against the importance of SAT scores in assessing the strength and potential of prospective African-American applicants to Carleton College. In my view, the Scholastic Aptitude Test measures socio-economic status rather than scholastic aptitude, e.g. some of the words I had to differentiate between when I took the test were lugubrious,

been one of service. He said we as a people must give our best. He wouldn’t accept second. He was about putting AfricanAmerican people at the front.” Condolences for Little poured in from throughout the community. “Matt Little was a true civil rights leader in Minnesota, and was one of my good friends and mentors when I ran for office,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “From leading the state’s delegation to the March on

Washington to his presidency of the Minnesota NAACP to his active participation in the African-American Leadership Council in St. Paul into his 90s, Matt never stopped fighting for equality and justice. Minnesota is a fairer and freer state because of his lifelong advocacy, and his legacy will be remembered for generations to come.” Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum called Little a longtime friend. “Matt Little was a remarkable leader and friend, and the impact of his life’s work fighting for equality and justice can be felt across Minnesota and the country to this day,” said McCollum. “I had the pleasure of knowing Matt for nearly 30 years and he was a wonderful mentor to me as we worked together on progressive issues. I was honored to have Matt nominate me for the DFL party endorsement during my first campaign for Congress. He brought a fierce passion to his work but was among the gentlest souls you could ever hope to meet. I will miss Matt dearly and carry on his passion for justice and equality through my work. My prayers are with Matt’s wife Lucille, family members, and all the friends who loved him.” Minnesota’s only AfricanAmerican state legislators, Sen. Jeffrey Hayden (DFLMinneapolis), Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) released a joint statement to show their gratitude for Little. “Today we honor Matthew Little – our friend, our mentor and a hero of Minnesota’s civil rights movement,” said the trio in a statement. “Matt will always be remembered for his immeasurable contributions to the advancement of racial justice and civil rights; but we will remember him most for his constructive mentoring and the encouragement he gave so many local African-American leaders that looked up to him. “We stand on Matthew Little’s strong and secure shoulders. He encouraged

acumen and perspicacious. If you Google lugubrious you’ll find it means mournful or sad. In my family, we said “sad” when we meant sad. Out on the project’s playground, I would have had to play alone if I ever used the words “lugubrious,” “perspicacious” or “acumen.” We’d have said “slick,” “clever” or “street smart.” I’ve had a fairly successful and happy life without ever using any of those words, except in this context. Too many of the too readily accepted “measures” of student ability are really measures of how close one measures up to standard, white, upper middle class norms. Back in the day, in many northern cities demographics were shifting. Residential gerrymandering was breaking down. In high schools in places

such as Gary, Ind. and Oakland, college counselors bristled at the fact that black college admissions staff was in their schools throwing money and opportunity at students who they deemed not half as strong as they had been in their day. What they would tell me was, “You’re wasting your time. No one here can make it at a college like Carleton.” I see a parallel in “old white money’s” reaction to Barack Obama’s election. Obstruct his ability to get anything done. Punish the country, with tough economic times, for electing him in the first place. Is it possible that the educational establishment hasn’t lost the capacity to educate Black kids. They’ve just hidden the map.

Matt Little walking his granddaughter, Sindiswa down the aisle at her wedding. each of us to become educated on the issues and grow as leaders in our communities. He showed us how to achieve meaningful change by working through the political and legal systems. Most importantly, he paved the way, giving us the confidence and the drive to continue his struggle for social justice, always with the overriding values of nonviolence, understanding, and optimism for the future. We are forever grateful for Matthew’s Little’s leadership, his courageous actions and his inspiring words. Matthew brought his struggles to life through his stories of the discrimination he faced and how he prevailed against injustice. He rose to become President of the local NAACP chapter and became a tireless voice in fighting inequity in education, housing and hiring.

So, although we grieve for our friend today, we are comforted in the knowledge that his life has opened up so many possibilities for our children and grandchildren, and inspired each of us to take up the cause of liberty and justice for all.” Bediako, one of five of Little’s children, said her father was a tireless leader and a great father. She said in addition to heading the area’s NAACP and working with the state’s DFL Party, Little worked fulltime with the United States Postal Service for 33 years and ran his own lawn care business. “My father was an example of Black excellence,” said Bediako. “For those who don’t think African-American men don’t have it going on, they better look at the life of Matthew Little. He’s just one example of African-American men doing great things.”

Insight News • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Page 11

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VACCINES AND PREGNANCY A pregnant woman has just returned from her first prenatal doctor’s visit. Her doctor has given her a large packet of information on how to keep herself and her growing baby healthy. There is a long list of everything she shouldn’t do, restrictions on eating certain foods and drinks, no smoking, avoiding changing the cat litter, and the list continues. She is confused because there are so many things she shouldn’t expose herself to or put in her body, but her doctor recommended that she get a flu shot and a whooping cough vaccine. She does not want to do anything that will hurt her baby and wonders if it is safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy. Vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy are safe for pregnant

women and their unborn babies, and are an important part of having a healthy pregnancy. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that pregnant women get two vaccines during every pregnancy: the influenza vaccine, commonly called the flu shot, and a pertussis or whooping cough vaccine, which is the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) shot. A pregnant woman’s doctor may also recommend other vaccines before, during, or after pregnancy depending on her age, other medical conditions, whether overseas travel is planned, and what vaccines she has received in the past. Vaccines help keep pregnant women and their new babies healthy. After a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, she passes along protection from

preferably between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy (during the third trimester). The Tdap shot protects both the pregnant woman and her baby from pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. This disease can be life-threatening to infants, but mothers receiving a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy helps protect babies against whooping cough until they are fully vaccinated. While there are a lot of things pregnant women cannot do, there are many things a pregnant woman can do to keep herself and her baby healthy. Getting vaccinated is important to check-off the “to-do” list when preparing for a new baby. Learn more about vaccines that pregnant women should receive at adults/rec-vac/pregnant.html.

vaccines to her baby. This protects her baby from some diseases during the first few months of life until the baby can get vaccinated. Vaccines also protect pregnant women from getting some diseases that can be dangerous to themselves and their babies. Pregnant women should get the influenza (flu) shot because the flu can make them very sick. Women who get a flu shot during pregnancy are less likely to go into early labor, and their babies are less likely to be stillborn, born at a low birth weight, or hospitalized after birth. It is safe for a pregnant woman to receive the flu shot at any time during her pregnancy, and it will not hurt her unborn baby. Pregnant women should also receive Tdap vaccine during every pregnancy,


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Page 12 • February 10 - February 16, 2014 • Insight News

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Insight News ::: 02.10.14  

News for the week of February 10, 2014. Insight News is the community journal for news, business and the arts serving the Minneapolis / St....

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