December 18, 2020 - MN Spokesman-Recorder

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THE VOICE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY SINCE 1934 December 17-23, 2020 Vol. 87 No. 20



Legal experts declare Myon Burrell should go free he should be set free. While the panel stopped short of declaring Burrell innocent, it concluded that no purpose is The controversial murder served by his continued incarconviction of then-juvenile Myon ceration. “It was powerful and Burrell for the killing of 11-year- refreshing to hear that the panel of old Tyesha Edwards, who was prominent legal experts who unhit by a stray bullet while sitting dertook extensive review of Myon in her home in 2002, took a new Burrell’s case echoed calls from turn last week as a panel of legal Myon’s family and the communiexperts commissioned in July to ty for his immediate release,” said look into his case concluded that Nekima Levy Armstrong, who

By Mel Reeves Contributing writer

along with her Racial Justice Network organization has worked to bring attention to this case.

“He has suffered enough and he deserves to get his life back.” “The justice system failed Myon at every turn, including treat-

MSR file photo

Myon Burrell

ing him like a grown man when he was just a child. As it stands, Myon has spent nearly two decades behind bars for a crime he did not commit. “He has suffered enough,” Levy Armstrong said, “and he deserves to get his life back.” The independent investigation comes on the heels of community and national pressure brought to bear by the Black community and ■See Burrell on page 5

Pandemic puts Black youths’ resilience to the test By Charles Hallman Contributing writer

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz was there to greet the delivery of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which arrived in Minnesota Monday morning with 2,925 doses delivered to the Minneapolis VA Hospital. Photo by Aaron Lavinsky Star Tribune/ via AP pool

Blacks divided over COVID vaccine safety By MSR News Service “Because of thoughtful planning by experts who have been doing this work for years, Minnesota is ready to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We are focusing on maximizing impact, equity and transparency, so that Minnesotans can be confident in the safe distribution of the vaccine.” The arrival of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine—which was approved for emergency authorization by the FDA on Friday, Dec. 11—is welcome news to many in the African American community. Moderna's vaccine is expected to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this month. However, the news of these vaccines’ approval is also accompanied by lots of fear, doubt and consternation among Blacks. That perspective seems to be shared by many depending

on which poll one trusts. A November Axios/Ipsos poll revealed that 55% of Black folks said they would take a vaccine with the caveat that they would take it if it has been proven safe and effective. The Pew Research Center

“It’s imperative that we stop the spread and impact of COVID 19.” in its most recent poll found that only 32% of Black adults say they would definitely or probably take a COVID-19 vaccine. A study by the COVID Collaborative and the NAACP showed that most Black people don’t believe a vaccine will be safe or effective and don’t plan to get vaccinated. The MSR asked several Twin Citians about their take

on the vaccine. One of these, Marcus Owens, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum, said, “Once the vaccine is available for everyone, I will be getting in line to get the vaccine for myself and family. Understanding what this virus has done and will continue to do to our community, it’s imperative that we stop the spread and impact of COVID 19 by getting vaccinated.” “I am afraid to take the vaccine,” said Tiffani Flynn Forslund. “I have just recovered from CoVID-19 and was not happy to have it either. A credible doctor had horrible reviews of the vaccine. Why do we have competing pharmaceuticals producing the vaccine? Talk about capitalism at its finest.” “No,” said Shawn Lewis on getting an early vaccination. “I want to see if there are side effects for other African Americans who have taken it.” Tony H, a Minneapolis

resident, said, “I don’t think I would take the shot right away because I kind of think it was political the way it was rushed. It’s happening so fast. I don’t want to see 10 years from now where women can’t have babies or babies are born with deformities.” “It will be several months before the average Minnesotan will be able to be vaccinated, but we will get there,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. Department of Health staff will train providers on protocols and procedures for administering the vaccine this week, with most vaccinations expected to begin next week, December 21. The first group to be vaccinated in phase 1 will include health care workers and longterm care residents. In an interview with ABC News on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, seeking to allay concerns and fears in the Black community, said, "So, the first

Nearly 20% of U.S. youth today deal with mental health issues. Mental illness is defined as “having a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, including mild, moderate and serious mental illness.” Children’s Minnesota said COVID-19 has made the need for addressing mental health issues even more important than ever before. Anxiety, depression and suicide rates among Black children and teens have risen in recent years, but Black families seek and use mental health services at a much lower rate than White families. Barriers for Blacks accessing mental health care include stigma and fears about mental health primarily and health care generally, parental mental health struggles, and lack of knowledge and access to resources. According to the nonprofit Mental Health America (MHA), a community-based advocacy and education organization, mental illness occurs in U.S. Blacks overall with about the same or less frequency than in Whites. However, the institutional and individual racism that Blacks experience adds to the prevalence of mental health issues among Black children and adults. MHA ranks Minnesota sixth overall in the U.S. in lower mental health prevalence and seventh in access to care. It also ranks the state 28th in mental illness prevalence among youth ages 12-17

■See Vaccine on page 5

■See Pandemic on page 5

Casey Goodson Jr. Protest filled the streets of Columbus, Ohio last weekend as demonstrators called for prosecution of Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Meade, who shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. in the back, killing him on December 4 as he was attempting to enter his home. The deputy was reportedly

looking for violent offenders at the time, working as a member of a U.S. Marshals Task Force focused on violent offenders. Goodson Jr. has no criminal background according to a family attorney, and police admit he was not the target of any investigation. His body was found by his five-year-old brother and 72-year-old grandmother, who said his keys were still in the front door lock hours later.. “I believe that this inhumane man who murdered my son was looking for trouble. My son became his target because he was a Black man,” said Goodson’s mother Tamala Payne, who said

In another video crowds are shown using some kind of accelerant to burn a Black Lives Matter sign confiscatRacists vandalize historic ed from the historic Asbury Black D.C. churches United Methodist Church. Said Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, the senior pastor at Asbury Church, “For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings. ‘Seeing this act on video Videos on Twitter last made me both indignant and weekend showed an amal- determined to fight the evil gamation of Trump support- that has reared its ugly head,” ers and other right wing and said Mills. “We will move White Supremacist groups forward, undaunted in our marauding through Washing- assurance that Black Lives ton, D.C. One video showed Matter, and we are obligata group of people taking ed to continue to shout that down a Black Lives Matter truth without ceasing.” poster at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church and ripping it Four Black men facing up while shouting, “Whose execution at Trump’s behest streets? Our streets!” she believes he was executed.

Brandon Bernard

National News Briefs Ohio Deputy shoots Black man in the back at his front door

with at least one major depressive episode in the past year, and 41st with youth with a severe major depressive episode. A recent Cigna national study noted that young children’s resilience is highlighted by five key factors: exposure to diversity, sense of community, academic aspirations, family support, interests outside of the home, and good physical and mental health. Children with lower resilience are more likely to have lower self-esteem, perform poorly in school, and need mental or behavioral health treatment. “How resilient are Black youth these days amidst a pandemic?” asked MPR News last week in its latest “In Focus” series. MPR mental health reporter Alisa Roth led a Dec. 2 virtual panel discussion, which was rebroadcast on MPR Dec. 3. “It’s been a rough year,” said Roth, referring to traumatic events like the killing of George Floyd in May and the COVID-19 pandemic that have disapportionately affected Black teens and young adults locally and statewide. Minneapolis therapist Marlee Dorsey, who started her Reviving Roots Therapy and Wellness private practice in April, pointed out that young people often don’t know how to seek mental health help when needed. “I think the youth are given very little power. They’re told what to do, go to school, what to eat and what to wear,” she noted. “If we’re looking to youth to have these conversations, we are putting a lot of pressure on them

Before this year, no federal execution had taken place since 2003. However, in July, Attorney General William Barr, at the behest of President Donald Trump, resumed federal executions. Since then, eight people have been executed. Before Trump leaves office next month, five more death row inmates are set to be executed. Four of the five are African Americans. If the remaining executions move

forward as planned, Trump will leave office with the distinct legacy of being the most lethally prolific president (in terms of federal executions) in more than 130 years. More recently, Brandon Bernard, who was a teen when sentenced to death, was executed in Texas on December 10. Alfred Bourgeois, who had been on death row in Indiana for 17 years for killing his two-year-old daughter, was killed by the State on December 11. On January 14, 2021, Cory Johnson is also scheduled to die in Indiana. On January 15—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—Dustin Higgs will be killed if there isn’t a last-minute stay of execution.


December 17-23, 2020

Twin Cities United Way supports metro students struggling during the pandemic By MSR News Service Recently the Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) awarded $350,000 in Student and Family Empowerment grants from its Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to community-based organizations partnering with public schools to address student needs. “This is a blueprint for how our education should be designed. It requires coordination between schools and community organizations,” said Anne Soto, Greater Twin Cities United Way director of grant-making. “United Way is responding as a philanthropic organization to an overwhelming set of student needs because we [the broader community] do not have a holistic public response to supporting these vulnerable students and their families. “Parents working outside the home are not able to provide students with academic support,” said Soto. “We have students with high risk of food insecurity and housing insecurity, and some are dealing with the adversity due to family illness from having the virus itself and inconsistent internet access. These issues are disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous and People of Color Communities.” The United Way identified two neighborhoods most impacted by the pandemic, St. Paul’s North End and Minneapolis’ Phillips/Ventura Village neighborhoods, in which to award grants. Recent studies have revealed that learning loss due to COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting students from families with low incomes and Students of Color. Before COVID-19, Min-

nesota’s academic opportunity gap between Students of Color and White students was the worst in the nation, and COVID-19 is exacerbating the issue. “We provide multi-year operational support to 95 organizations and provide grants to organizations for specific projects that work with school districts across the state to help reduce the access gaps for students seeking post- secondary education,” said Acooa Ellis, Greater Twin Cities United Way senior vice president of community impact. “We are laser-focused on disrupting inequitable outcomes.” The grants will provide culturally responsive support to address gaps that leaders in each neighborhood have identified, which include: technology and the internet; individualized instructional support; physical spaces for play and exploration; mental health support; and consistent, high-quality distance learning instruction. “What guides our work is a commitment to equity. Our vision is we will disrupt inequity particularly in the areas where we have focused our grantmaking efforts, and that’s around housing stability and food security, jobs, and financial security as well as early childhood education and what we call career future readiness,” explained Ellis. “We strengthen the connective tissue of the community. We are uniquely situated as an organization because we are a nonprofit and also a funder. We support community social responsibility efforts of the corporate sector as well as helping donors realize their goals for disrupting inequity. We sit at the center of a lot of really critical stakeholder groups,” Ellis said.

Acooa Ellis

Anne Soto Photos courtesy of the Greater Twin Cities United Way

Phillips/Ventura Village Mpls grantees Hope Community: Funds will support Hope Community’s Youth Learning and Leadership Program (YLL) that provides social-emotional support, mental health support, and navigation support for highly mobile students. Centro Tyrone Guzman: Funds will support the "Circulos de Seguridad" or “Security Circles,” which are culturally specific mental health and support groups for youth and inter-generational Latinx communities. This work also assists students and families with basic needs. Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES): Funds will support mental health small groups for middle school students and for school staff.

Student-centered efforts will provide art-based approaches to mental health services and art supplies ("therapeutic kit"). Additional efforts are focused on the mental health of educational practitioners. Boys & Girls Club Little Earth: Funds will support ongoing engagement of Native youth in the Little Earth neighborhood, including efforts around com-

port. Schools partnering with these organizations to serve students include: Aurora Charter School, Andersen United Community School, South High School, Nawayee Center School, Friendship Academy, and the Loring Nicollet Alternative High School. St. Paul North End grantees Neighborhood House: Funds

“Recent studies have revealed that learning loss due to COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting students from families with low incomes and Students of Color. “ munity connection and physical activity, academic support, and culturally specific programming. North Star Network: Funds will support in-person, smallgroup academic pods that complement the school curriculum and provide enrichment to students. This effort provides a physical space for students to log in to their virtual classrooms with adult supervision and sup-

engage with their school assignments and offers enrichment. Students are referred to the program through school staff who identify students significantly behind academically. Wilder Mental Health & Wellness: Funds will support the immediate needs of students and families participating in mental health services across multiple school sites. In addition, staff will develop a geography-specific task force of mental health providers serving schools to identify needs in the community. Schools partnering with these organizations to serve students include: St. Paul Music Academy, Paul & Sheila Wellstone Elementary, Washington Technology Magnet, Mississippi Creative Arts, John A. Johnson Elementary, Crossroads Montessori, Minnesota Math & Science Academy, and the Community School of Excellence.

will support a culturally specific, school-based coach to provide resources for food, emergency housing needs, and individual goal setting as well as a Karen family support group. Boys & Girls Club Mt. Airy: —Information provided by Funds will support full-day aca- the United Way demic small groups and online academic support for additional students. Program staff helps students and families access and

December 17-23, 2020


COVID-19 testing revisited—stopping the spread

Sean J. Ennevor, MD Guest contributor We continue to have surging COVID-19 infections as we head further into winter during this global pandemic. As the influenza season is also upon us, it is important to be vigilant regarding Sars-CoV-2 within our state. This pandemic has led to poor medical outcomes within communities of color as well as other at-risk communities. All Minnesotans should be aware of who should get tested, when that test should occur, and where to get tested. Who and when It’s important to identify which individuals should seek testing during this pandemic, particularly as some individuals see testing as a means to

gather safely. Testing availability has improved, but resources are taxed as case numbers surge, and testing resources are being stretched. Regardless, negative test results alone do not change the need for mask wearing, hand washing, or social distancing. The potential for vaccination from Sars-CoV-2 may be imminent, but we still need to limit further cases of this deadly illness if vaccination is to be effective. Contracting COVID-19 can be very debilitating and even fatal, as most are aware. Five types of individuals, listed below, are identified as high risk for contracting COVID-19 and should seek testing.

weeks E) Newborns born to a pregnant person with suspected COVID-19 Tested when neonate is one day to two days old

The current testing options in the state of Minnesota are varied. In a prior article (see below) I delineated the differing tests available at the time, predominantly nasal and oral swabbing for use during Polymerase Chain Reaction antigen testing. A test for the antibodies to Sars-CoV-2 is possible if samples from patient blood are obtained. Positive antibody results indicate current and possibly past exposure to the virus. An added option is saliva testing that may be done at Individuals who are: A) With symptoms of CO- home or obtained in a clinic VID-19 (fever, cough, fatigue, setting if available. All of the new loss of taste or smell, nau- above tests possess varied acsea, diarrhea, headache, runny curacy and meaning of their nose, difficulty breathing) 1) Obtain a COVID test ASAP 2) Isolate for at least 7 to 10 days B) In need of medical care or a procedure (elective surgery, colonoscopy, etc.) Test 24-72 hours prior C) In close contact with someone suspected to have COVID-19 Test 5-7 days after exposure D) Pregnant individuals are screened for testing 1) Upon admission to hospital 2) Typically from 37-40

results. A health care profes- access • Workplace testing: Seen sional may help guide which test is best for you as well as in high transmission workplaces and typically free to the what the results may mean. employee • Higher education institutions (colleges, universities): Predominantly for staff and students of the institution • Group settings (longterm care, incarcerated individuals, group homes, treatment facilities): Testing is coordinated by MN Dept. of Health and contracted health care providers • In-home test: Transportation is not needed, but online web access is required to order and initiate the test via Vault Health web portal. Free to Minnesotans, limited to five tests per household with results only sent via email Courtesy of MGN within 24-48 hours after the sample is received. Note for in-home tests: If Where to get tested • The Minnesota Depart- an individual has insurance, ment of Health (MDH) does they will provide their inprovide guidance for the lo- formation so your insurance cation of various testing op- company is billed for the test. If the individual’s insurance tions. • On-site health care (hos- does not pay for SARS-CoV-2 pitals, urgent care): Some- tests or does not pay enough, times limited to symptomatic the State will cover the cost. If individuals do not have insurindividuals with insurance • Pharmacies: Free of ance, the State will pay for the charge at many locations (ask test. For more information, try first), but samples may be sent out of state which can COVID Community Coordinators (CCC), who can answer delay results • Pop-up community test- questions on where to get ing events: Sponsored by tested for COVID-19. They are MDH, possibly staffed by also a resource for food supNational Guard and lasting port, mental health resources, one day to one week). These housing assistance, employevents are set up for high- ment opportunities, and COrisk groups. The testing re- VID-19 contact tracing. CCC’s contract with the sults may take two to three days, but are typically free of State (see below) is to serve communities hit hardest by charge • Semi-permanent testing COVID-19, including comsites: Placed throughout the munities of color, American state, but you need transport Indian communities, LGBTQ there as well as on-line access communities, and Minnesoto locate and register for site tans with disabilities.

The MDH and state leadership may also create targeted testing hotspots if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases within a localized area. This may also occur if the community has concerns regarding virus spread and the data supports creating a site for testing. The site may be a drivethrough or walk-through, but will have space for social distancing. One may contact a community coordinator for how to report a possible COVID-19 hotspot. We all can do our part to stop the spread of this deadly virus by seeking testing when appropriate and continuing to practice social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing. Individuals with questions about their at-home saliva test can email TestAtHome.MDH@state. To contact COVID Community Coordinators (CCC), visit To read Dr. Ennevor’s previous article, visit Sean J. Ennevor, M.D. graduated with a B.A.S. in biology and economics from Stanford University, and as a Dean’s Scholar from UCLA School of Medicine where he received his MD. He completed his medical residency and fellowship in anesthesiology at Yale University, where he was chief resident and on staff. He practiced medicine in the Twin Cities for over 14 years, and presently serves as an advisor and investor for medical technology companies throughout the country.

4 December 17-23, 2020

The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) welcomes and values commentary and feedback from the community. The articles found here are edited for clarity and/or space, but the opinions are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the MSR.

Hope on the horizon

Georgia run-off election is crucial for the nation by Republicans since 2015, and has in that time, often served as By Ray Curry a barrier to progress rather than These days, like the old Ray a forward-thinking channel Charles song says, I’ve got Geor- for progress. And it is down in gia on my mind. We should all Blue Georgia—never thought I be thinking of Georgia because would be saying that but Sister come January 5, the state is po- Stacey Abrams knew—that we sitioned to make a tremendous have the opportunity to remove change for the better—a change that roadblock. that will give President-elect Joe Biden the opportunity for What’s a runoff? On election day, neither of real legislation and real reform; Georgia’s Republican senafor lasting and potent legislators drew a majority vote. This tive buy-in to make laws once moves both of their races to again—and it has been a while special rematches taking place in now—in service to the people. January. The outcome will deterThis includes laws that address issues important to the mine control of the Senate and if working men and women of this we have a legislature that works nation: health care, the economy, together for working people— health and safety, equal justice and with our president. Or it will for all, the environment, and the determine that the political staleright to organize. And a real plan mate we have now continues. A runoff election is required, to take COVID-19 head-on with a coordinated nationwide policy under Georgia law, if candidates

“If Democrats gain both Georgia seats, the 50-50 tie in the Senate will mean that Vice President-Elect Harris will cast tie-breaking vote.” to address the ill effects, including relief for both businesses and the millions of sidelined workers who are just trying to hang on. However, we must collectively stand and fight alongside the incoming administration. Simply put, there is still much to do to ensure that Biden has the ability to accomplish his restorative plan. Biden’s plan includes working together during this pandemic to find solutions, battling the current devastating economic and health care challenges, and continuing our fight for workplace rights and safety. Accomplishing this critical work must include control of the Senate—which has been held

do not receive a majority (50% or more) of the vote. The Georgia runoff will occur on January 5, 2021. The results—depending on who wins—will swing the Senate majority to Democrats or leave McConnell and the Republicans in charge. It’s the difference between do something or do nothing. What’s at stake? Georgia Senate Democratic candidates, Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, will go head-to-head against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in two separate runoffs. Warnock and Ossoff have been endorsed by the

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UAW because they are the best choice for UAW members, retirees, and their families. They are the best choice for America and the best choice for labor. Both candidates understand that two essential things must happen, and must happen quickly to address the economic and health care crisis in this country: From the very beginning, Ossoff and Warnock have taken the pandemic very seriously. Together working with the new president and fellow Congressional members they will work to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control to save lives and get people fully back to work. Warnock and Ossoff also understand that the economy isn’t working for working people. They will work to repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. They will encourage bringing back jobs from overseas. Additionally, they will protect the Social Security and Medicare benefits we earned, defend our pensions and 401(k)s, and make it easier for workers to organize and form a union. On the flip side, their opponents Loeffler and Perdue both support more than $24 billion cuts to Social Security and $500 billion cuts to Medicare. More importantly, they have both used the dire circumstances of a global pandemic to their benefit as both were caught redhanded making insider stock deals based on information about the severity of the pandemic that they kept from the public. Not exactly a move that gives you faith in their ability to serve on the behalf of the citizens they represent. This is a historic moment in our history and Georgia holds the key. If Democrats gain both Georgia seats, the 50-50 tie in the Senate will mean that Vice President-elect Harris will cast tie-breaking votes, carrying out a pro-labor agenda. Given the rise in COVID-19 cases, President-elect Biden must be able to make immediate decisions and pass legislation that address the challenges we all face and make tough decisions to protect all working Americans. On January 5, the entire country is looking to Georgia to make an essential difference in the future of our nation. We are looking to voters to elect candidates that will protect retirement security, rebuild our economy, and implement a national plan to respond to the pandemic. The outcome of this election will affect every single person in this nation for decades to come. Ray Curry is Secretary-Treasurer of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

“If I am president, ending poverty will not just be an aspiration, it will be a theory of change—to build a new economy that incudes everyone, where we reward hard work, we care for the most vulnerable among us, we release the potential of all our children, and protect the planet.” —Joe Biden, in a speech to the Mass Assembly of the Poor People’s Campaign in September 2020 As we wait for the Electoral College to certify the results of the 2020 election, President-elect Joe Biden’s personnel picks for his administration offer a glimmer of hope. Through the combination of his policy proposals and his proposed economic team, we see a renewed focus on lifting the fortunes of Black and lower-income Americans. Biden recently nominated Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisers. She will be the first Black American in the position. Additional picks for the Council include Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, progressive Democrat economists who have advocated the Federal Reserve target the Black unemployment rate as well as increase the minimum wage. He selected former Fed chair Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary. The four have all pushed for more fiscal stimulus to stave off the threat the surging coronavirus poses to economic recovery.

Throughout the campaign, Biden’s team proposed a range of social and economic programs designed to help low- and middle-income Americans. The proposals ranged from boosts to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, a raise in the minimum wage, ongoing support for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a range of housing proposals, and an increase to the child tax credit for low income families. The Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization focused on economic and social policy research, predicts that the Biden plan for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income— the latter a program which helps aged, blind, and disabled people who have little to no income— could raise as many as 1.4 million people out of poverty. That plan would be paid for by extending the payroll tax base to include more wealthy earners. In frequent campaign appearances and talks, Biden has mentioned raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15. In addition to his position on wages, he has also advocated for paid sick leave and affordable childcare for all workers. Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, notes that both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “have long histories of fighting for economic and food justice, and both have spoken out passionately on the urgent need to end domestic hunger.” The SNAP program, which on average provides households with about $246 a month of food support in 2020, had come under increasing threat during the Trump administration. That program served roughly 43 million Americans in April 2020— around 6 million more than in the same period of 2019. On the housing front, the incoming administration’s proposals have included a range of ideas

from making Section 8 Housing Vouchers universal, increasing annual allowances for families with children, and offering tax credits for low-income households. It’s estimated that these policies alone could lift up to 20 million people out of poverty. The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, targeted aid to people in many of the same areas the Biden administration’s proposals seek to address. Many researchers estimate, absent that legislation, poverty rates would have increased more significantly than they have during the pandemic. Despite months of subsequent negotiations between the House, Senate, and White House, no additional significant fiscal stimulus has made progress through our divided government. Through a broad range of policies and economic development, the Biden administration hopes to elevate the quality of life for many Americans. Public investments in infrastructure, a transition to a greener economy and increased educational opportunities carry the potential to generate goodpaying jobs. Of course, the ability of the Biden administration to make good on its vision will depend on its ability to get legislation passed through the Senate. With the runoff elections for Georgia’s two senate seats taking place in early January 2021, we do not yet know which party will control that body, or how receptive Congress will be to these proposals. Dr. Clarence Hightower is a visionary leader with more than 37 years of nonprofit experience in the Twin Cities. He is the current executive director of the Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in the area and the state’s largest Energy Assistance program. He welcomes reader responses to

The Electoral College invites election fraud By Allan Hirsch Donald Trump’s insistence that the presidential election was rigged appears baseless. When the Electoral College meets on December 14, electors will presumably cast their votes in accordance with the election results and make Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States. That’s as it should be, but it should not blind us to the disconcerting truth that the Electoral College invites fraud. It does so because, instead of looking toward the candidates’ overall vote totals nationwide, it aggregates 51 smaller elections. As a result, fraud can determine the outcome if the election is close in just one or more states— even if one candidate wins decisively nationwide. Just look at the Trump-Biden election. Biden defeated Trump by more than six million votes— far beyond the margin of realistic fraud. But in several battleground states, totaling enough electoral votes to change the outcome, the margin is sufficiently close that Trump has managed to convince millions of people he was robbed. As a straightforward historical fact, the Electoral College produces squeakers far more often than does the national popular vote. In 1948, for example, a flip of just 31,000 votes in four states would have made Thomas Dewey president—despite the fact that Harry Truman won the national vote handily. To change the latter, election thieves would have needed to flip well over

one million Truman votes to Dewey’s column. Similarly, in 1976, Gerald Ford would have defeated Jimmy Carter with a shift of just over 9,000 votes combined in Ohio and Hawaii. For Ford to have won the national popular vote, however, would have required flipping 841,000 votes. The 2016 election provides another excellent example. Hillary Clinton received almost three million more votes than Donald Trump—a swing of more than 1.4 million would have been needed to change that outcome. By contrast, a swing of fewer than 62,000 votes in Florida and Michigan combined would have changed the Electoral College from Trump to Clinton. For good measure, tiny swings in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and small swings in Arizona and North Carolina, would have changed the Electoral College result dramatically. The 2000 election provides the clearest example, because it was uncommonly close. Flipping a few hundred votes in Florida could have changed the Electoral College outcome. By contrast, 272,000 Al Gore votes would have to have swung to George W. Bush to change the popular vote winner. Even in this uncommonly close election, more than half a million votes separated the candidates nationwide. That, in a nutshell, is why a national popular vote would safeguard against fraud: In a contest featuring 150

million votes, even very close elections produce comfortable margins nationwide. The Electoral College presents would-be fraudsters a golden opportunity. They must switch only a small number of ballots in a few states to steal the election. It is true that they would need to know in advance which states would be close. In this day and age, however, you don’t need a Ph.D in political science to predict which states will prove decisive: You need only read the newspaper. Consider how well known it was that the 2020 election could come down to Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Arizona and Georgia were also rightly regarded as swing states. The proof is in the pudding. In four of our last six presidential elections (all but 2008 and 2012), the losing party alleged that fraud cost their candidate the White House. Such claims are bolstered by the artificial closeness of these races created by the Electoral College. There are several more prominent arguments for abolishing the archaic and undemocratic Electoral College. But even those who disagree with those arguments should recognize that the Electoral College increases the risk of fraud. Alan Hirsch is chair of the Justice and Law Studies program at Williams College.

December 17-23, 2020




murder of Oliver. Doubts about the imprisoned juvenile were raised until they reached a near crescendo close to the end of Klobuchar’s campaign for president when advocates of Burrell’s innocence shut down her campaign appearance in St. Louis Park. Klobuchar apparently bowed to the pressure. After meeting with Burrell’s family, she asked Hennepin County Prosecutor Mike Freeman in March to open an investigation into the case. At that point the experts agreed to convene a panel, and the Minnesota State Attorney General’s Office agreed to further investigate the case. The eight-member panel contends in its report that they were unable to address Burrell’s guilt or innocence, partially because Freeman failed to turn over all of the prosecution’s evidence to the panel despite previously agreeing to do so. Freeman released his own report of sorts on Thanksgiving ahead of this anticipated announcement with a press release saying he was interested in taking 15 years off Burrell’s life sentence. At the same time he declared, “There is no question that Myon Burrell pulled the trigger that fired the fatal bullet.” According to one of the panelists Maria Hawilo, distinguished professor of law at Loyola Uni-

versity Chicago, the panel sought to examine the integrity of the conviction and the integrity of the sentence. Another panelist, Mark Osler, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas, wrote in a recent editorial that the Burrell case had to be put in context. “The period leading up to Burrell's arrest in 2002 was marked by racially charged fearmongering about young ‘super-predators’ who would be violent for the entirety of their lives. Mandatory minimums and other harsh sentencing tools were increasingly used against child offenders, in a belief that they were incapable of change,” wrote Osler in a commentary that appeared in the Star Tribune last weekend. “When my son told me he was innocent, I believed him,” said Burrell’s father Michael Toussaint. “The family regrets the facts that there will always be doubters in this case. People who had nothing to gain came forward and said that they lied on him in 2008. My son deserves the life that was taken from him. If he gets out of jail it is because he earned the right to be free.” The panelist’s report acknowledged troubling problems with the case, including what they termed “tunnel vision” relating to Burrell’s guilt or innocence and “confirmation bias” by the investigators.

Issues raised by the panel • The use of jailhouse [snitches] as witnesses: McDowel’s AP story was accompanied online by a video tape in which police were offering to pay for just a name. All of the witnesses claiming Burrell’s guilt received sentence reductions. • Discounting of witnesses: Angela Willliams: One witness, Angela William, the girlfriend of Hans Williams who was with Ike Tyson, the confessed shooter, the day of the shooting spoke to the panel in November via zoom. She insisted that Williams told her that Burrell was not involved in the shooting just as she has she said to police from the very beginning. Ike Tyson: Tyson and co-defendant Hans Williams testified under oath in 2008 to the trial judge that Tyson was the shooter. The two have also asserted that Burrell was not on the scene the day of the shooting: He was not there. Two workers nearby saw the shooter running away and their descriptions did not match Burrell’s, nor did a description of the second shooter as tall and thin match the 5’3” Burrell. • Discounting of Burrell’s alibi: Burrell insisted he spent much of that afternoon hanging out at Cup Foods. The report uncovered that there was never a review of the Cup Foods tape that showed the inside of the store, which Burrell said would be on the cam-

era because he was in the store at the time of the shooting. In his interview with the AP, Continued from page 1 Burrell said he believed the police had the Cup Foods tapes and was thing you might want to say surprised when his lawyer did to my African American brothnot present them in court in his ers and sisters is that the vaccine defense. that you're going to be taking The panel recommended that was developed by an African the case be handed over to Minne- American woman.” He was resota’s new CRU for further inves- ferring to Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, tigation, noting that the missing who was co-leader of the team at police and prosecution files, wit- the National Institute of Health ness interviews, tape recordings, (NIH) that worked with Modand details about deals cut with erna to develop its vaccine. "And jailhouse informants “may yield that is just a fact." new evidence of actual innocence Corbett who works at NIH's or due process issues.” Vaccine Research Center as a Acknowledging that this case postdoctoral fellow, has a Ph.D. was doubly tragic, Toussaint said in microbiology and immunoloit was important to him that the gy. She said in the ABC interview public recognizes that “we don’t that she thought it important ever want to forget about Tyesha that Black people know she was Edwards. And I feel for her father. involved in developing a vacI understand that he wanted to cine. "This person who looks like see somebody prosecuted.” But you has been working on this for he insisted his son did not kill the several years… I wanted it to be girl. visible because I wanted people Burrell’s case is scheduled to to understand that I stood by the be heard by the Minnesota Board work that I'd done for so long as of Pardons this week. well," explained the doctor. The coronavirus has killed Read the full report at nearly 300,000 people to date and infected more than 15 milfulconvictions/. lion people in the U.S. The Black community in the U.S. has been Mel Reeves welcomes reader infected and died from the disresponses to mreeves@spokesman- ease at a disproportionate rate across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

away from where Floyd was killed. Mental health “isn’t a normal conversation we have in our comContinued from page 1 munity,” 23-year-old Lewis McCafor something adults should be leb told the MPR audience. responsible for. It takes a great deal Minneapolis Public Schools of courage…to stand up against Counseling Services Manager your group of family members to Derek Francis added that it has say they are having and need help been hard for Black students to with mental health,” said Dorsey. tell adults about their problems, “This pandemic is taking a toll especially adults who don’t look on the Black community from a like them. Distance learning hasn’t physical and mental health stand- helped either, he reported. point,” said 23-year-old Devin “I miss the interaction,” admitNewby, a former University of ted Francis in an MSR pre-event Minnesota student who works at interview. “I miss meeting with Children’s Minnesota just blocks students in person.”

Minnesota ranks second in the nation with students who are identified with a mental illness that affects their ability to succeed in school, according to MHA. “Mental [illness] is undeniable” among many students, he continued. “Their routines are so far off and the anxiety rates have increased because students don’t know when things are going to return to normal. There is a lot of day-to-day life trauma that is happening during the pandemic that [is] affecting Students of Color.” Black people “have a great deal of power and resilience,” Dorsey

told the MSR. “Talking to a primarily White audience [on MPR], I want to make sure that we’re not just [portraying] these Black youth as people to feel bad for. Think of them as people with a great deal of power, a great deal of resilience, and people who’ll continue to do what they need to do.” The panel also stressed the importance of finding a culturally competent therapist as well as being able to afford the sessions. “I finally found one,” said Quincy Powe, age 23, who works with YouthLink. “If I wasn’t going to college right now, I wouldn’t have

access to this therapist.” “Once you find a therapist,” you must ask specific questions, added Newby. “Do you have experience working with Black patients? Do you have experience working with LBGTQ patients? It makes the pool of therapists to choose from smaller and smaller.” “Therapy is supposed to be a collective experience,” stated Dorsey, a licensed therapist for nearly a decade who provides multi-culturally competent therapy services, working mostly with college-age adults. “My hope for my business is to grow in a way that serves

Continued from page 1 activists such as Levy Armstrong on Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was Hennepin County prosecutor at the time of Burrell’s first conviction. Klobuchar had been bragging about Burrell’s conviction, even using it in her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But her continued usage of Edwards’ murder case to demonstrate her “tough on crime” bona fides lopened the door to lingering questions about Burrell’s innocence. Associated Press reporter Robin McDowell raised serious doubts in February with her wellresearched article, “Amy Klobuchar helped jail teen for life but case was flawed,” which came to some of the same conclusions as the panel. The AP article brought a national focus on the case as other major media outlets focused on the fact that Burrell was convicted without any solid evidence. There was no gun, fingerprints or DNA pointing to Burrell, only jailhouse snitches and the intended target of the shooting, Tim Oliver, who initially testified that he was hiding after ducking down behind a wall. Burrell, at age 16, was sentenced to life for killing Edwards and sentenced for the attempted


more people, not just me offering the services, and do it in a way that is in line with my values of serving the community and Black folk, Indigenous folk, and People of Color.” Last week’s MPR event was a collaboration between the statewide public radio network; American Public Media’s Call to Mind mental health initiative; and Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project. Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to

6 December 17-23, 2020

December 17-23, 2020


Local film ‘Black in Minneapolis’ imagines revolt against police violence David Buchanan is a Minnesota-based writer, director, filmmaker, and the mastermind behind a popular local film that is making national waves. “Black in Minneapolis” depicts police violence, specifically in the state of Minnesota. “It really started when I saw the video of Philando Castile murdered live on Facebook,” Buchanan said. “That’s when I put pen to paper and actually wrote the film. It took about four months to write; it got pretty much right into production after that.” The film was initially entitled “Black.” After the unjust murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Geoff Riley, an actor in the film and a team member, recognized the importance of leveraging the racial justice movement against police violence that Minnesota catalyzed. In 2020, the name of the film would change to “Black in Minneapolis,” and opportunity for film distribution would rise. “When everything happened with George Floyd and of course buildings are being burnt and riots are starting, I got a few calls from the distribution companies that I had

feelings and experiences about racial injustice in Minnesota to the forefront. “As Black males, you know, what happened to Philando is the headline but also, sadly, we are already familiar with it. I had already lost people to gun violence, people who lost their livelihood to police brutality,” said Morrison. To add another element of realism, Buchanan made a clever creative decision to include interviews with real people who have experienced police violence in the film. This brought a documentary aspect to this otherwise fictional narrative. “If you sit down with a person for an hour, hour and a half, they’ll just talk to you and start to tell stories,” he said. “I also wanted the audience to recognize, yeah, you’re watching something that’s supposed to be entertaining [and], even though I want people to be entertained by the film, I also want them to kind of recognize that we [Black Director David Buchanan Photo by Anthony Harlin people] are real human beings out here and things are happening,” “Black in Minneapolis” centers Black producers—a Black man Buchanan explained. Buchanan is also very clear around a Black man who starts and a Black woman. All the cast a revolt after the police unlaw- was Black, 90%, aside from the and protective about his intentions for the film. It is a film by fully murder his brother. The cops.” Because of this, many mem- Blacks for Blacks without much film’s protagonist Joe is played by Emmy Award-winning ac- bers of the cast like Morrison and consideration for any other group tor Toussaint Morrison. “Going Briley were able to bring their real of people as consumers. “If it’s a into it, [the question] was, how is this person dealing with loss and having to live in the city where the murderers of his brother are celebrated, exonerated and paid? That type of anger and rage, it will change you,” Morrison said. Buchanan shares how, unique to Minnesota, the cast and crew of his film were predominately Black..“It’s told by Black people. I’m a Black man, we had two

By Tiffany Johnson Contributing writer

reached out to prior that said, ‘Hey, this is the film that you sent me,’” Riley recalled. These companies recognized the uncanny similarity between “Black in Minneapolis” and the events happening in realtime in Minnesota.

different movie that doesn’t have to deal with such traumatic events, then it’s like, yeah, I want everyone to see my film… But I’m not going to pretend like I’m making something for every single person on Planet Earth. Because then you’re probably not going to please anybody,” he said “Black in Minneapolis” is not just the story of Black folk, but also the story of a city—our city— that has in recent months revealed how deep to the roots racial injustice and police brutality run in this land. “This film is not only from the perspective of a Black man, but it has a Minneapolis aspect to it,” Morrison said. “It’s going to influence the dialogue of Black people militarizing and being justifiably angry.” “Black In Minneapolis” is now available to stream on iTunes, Vimeo On-Demand and Amazon. To learn more about this film, go to Tiffany Johnson welcomes readers' responses to

‘Billie’ Review: Documentary offers fresh insight into legendary talent four decades. A cousin attests, death, which involved her “Billie turned tricks when she falling or jumping out a win-

By Dwight Brown She had an enigmatic presence. A unique, restrained voice with distinctive phrasing. Wrote and sang the iconic protest song “Strange Fruit.” That’s her: Billie Holiday. Lady Day. Died too young and now a faint memory. Eleanora Fagan was born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia and died July 17, 1959, at the age of 44 in NYC. Her legacy is clear, though the facts of her existence are not. Even her autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues” (1956) is a bit sketchy. In the 1960s, journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl attempted to reconstruct Holiday’s life journey with a bio book. She spoke to friends, family, and associates amassing 200+ hours of interviews and 125+ audiotapes, only to die mysteriously before she could finish her project. Documentarian James Erskine (“Battle of the Sexes”) and producer Barry ClarkEwers helm this ambitious bio-doc and gathered, edited, and assembled the communiqués from Kuehl’s source ma-

A unique remembrance of a remarkable but ill-fated chanteuse who sang the truth.

“Billie” hit select theaters on Dec. 4, 2020. terials into a fairly evocative portrait. A non fiction film resembling a visual/audio album. One with her photos, footage, performances, and recordings propelled by conversations that backtrack to Holiday’s turbulent life. Hearing firstperson recollections from Holiday’s cousin, Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms, Count Basie, a former

dow. Two women. Two tragedies. A feature film (“Lady Sings the Blues”), countless books, and other documentaries have plowed this same turf. But credit writer/director James Erskine, colorist Marina Amaral, editor Avdhesh Mohla, music supervisor Kle Savidge and cinematographer Tim Cragg for making this a visual journey of great

pimp, and FBI agents who tracked her drug deals is quite sobering. Viewing images of her on 16mm and 35mm videos, masterfully colorized by the Brazilian artist Marina Amaral, adds an intense you-arethere aspect. The depths of the filmmakers’ dedication to this project are best evidenced in the still photographs from Holiday’s last stage perfor-

ADVERTORIAL Help Metro Transit imagine the future of bus service, today Imagine a bus route with fast, frequent service all day long. Imagine never having to check a pocket schedule, but showing up to a station and seeing the arrival of your next bus -- which may already be moments away. How about stations with heat during the winter months, more lighting, and security cameras? And, wouldn’t it be nice to pay before you board, just like light rail? Sound too good to be true? In some areas, these improvements are already reality, like the METRO A and C Lines, where a bus arrives every 10 minutes during most of the day. Now, Metro Transit needs to hear from you, the members of the communities we serve, about your needs as we work to visualize Network Next. Network Next is Metro Transit’s vision for the 2040 bus network, which will guide future investments across the metro area. This includes a series of proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines that feature service and station improvements. We have identified several high-priority lines for these improvements and need your feedback on which order we should design and build them. Your participation in a survey will help us identify where to build BRT upgrades like: NexTrip signs, bike racks, real-time route information, security cameras, emergency phones, more lighting, push-button heating, and ticket machines that accept credit to pay before you board. Take part in an online survey at More information about Network Next at


Photos courtesy of Altitude

had to.” Holiday laments in her torch song “Fine and Mellow”: “My man, he don't love me. Treats me awful mean. He's the lowest man. That I've ever seen.” Discovering how Holiday adopted her singing style adds to her aura. Louis Armstrong’s trumpet was her model: “I always wanted to sing like an instrument,” declared Holiday. And she did,

From Display Ad Department/MN Spokesman-Recorder PHONE: 612-827-4021 FOR BILLING INQUIRIES & TEARSHEETS PLEASE CONTACT Billie Holiday in the documentary “Billie” ACCOUNTING DEPT

distinction. A unique refrom the proscenium at the membrance of a remarkable mance. EMPLOYMENT It’s almost as DISPLAY if Lady Apollo theater, recording stu- but ill-fated chanteuse who SIZE: 3 COL X out 5 INCHES 15 RATE with$42.00 Benny Goodman, sang the truth. Day is stepping of her = dios PERatCOL. INCH grave St. Raymond Cem- the front of Count Basie and TOTAL: etery in the$630.00 Bronx to tell her Artie Shaw’s big bands, and “Billie” hit select theaters and Carnegie TVOD nationwide on December own story.For fans, learn- world-renowned ing how the ultimate jazz Hall. 4, 2020. Pleasecrafted proof, respond with email Theconfirmation revealing footage also singer songs like Visit NNPA News Wire Film to “God Bless the Child” and notes the indignities Lady Critic Dwight Brown at Dwight“Strange Fruit” is a revela- Day faced (couldn’t stay in and BlackPresWhites-only hotels, forced to tion. Hearing how she suf- darken her skin); her mercufered sexual abuse, dabbled rial bisexual love life; and a in prostitution, and suc- childhood that left her torcumbed to drugs and al- mented. A parallel subplot cohol makes you wonder centers around the biograhow she even survived for pher Kuehl’s ambiguous


December 17-23, 2020

December 17-23, 2020


Black businesswoman named chair of the board of Starbucks By Stacy M. Brown Mellody Hobson, a Princeton graduate who in 2019 earned the Woodrow Wilson Award—the university’s highest honor—was named chairwoman of the board of Starbucks.

stakeholders.” Hobson, 51, also serves as chairwoman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit that provides area teens with highquality after-school and summer programs. Additionally, the Chicagoborn businesswoman is vice-

Courtesy of NNPA

Mellody Hobson With the promotion, Hobson becomes the only African American woman to chair a Fortune 500 company. “I am thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair,” Hobson exclaimed. “Over nearly two decades, I have seen the company continue to elevate and transform its business—adapting to various market environments and evolving consumer trends. “I look forward to working with the board and talented leadership team on accelerating our strategy, supporting our valued partners, and continuing to create significant value for all of our

ment Company Institute’s executive committee. Besides serving over 15 years on the Starbucks board of directors, Hobson is the co-CEO of Ariel Investments, LLC, a global value-based asset management firm. In that role, she is responsible

chair of World Business Chicago, co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and the

for the management, strategic planning, and growth for all areas of Ariel Investments outside of research and portfolio management.

With the promotion, Hobson becomes the only African American woman to chair a Fortune 500 company. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She is a member of The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees and serves on the Invest-

Hobson also serves as chair of the board of the company’s publicly traded mutual funds. Before being named co-CEO, Hobson spent nearly two decades as the

firm’s president. “Beyond Starbucks, she has brought invaluable experience to boardrooms across the nation. She currently serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase,” the company wrote in a news release, noting that Hobson is also a past director of Estée Lauder Companies and served as chairwoman of the board of DreamWorks Animation until the company’s sale. In addition to graduating from Princeton, Hobson also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s College, and the Uni-

versity of Southern California. In 2015, Time Magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People” worldwide. “From the very beginning, I set out to build a different kind of company—one in which all decisions were to be made through the lens of humanity,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ modern day founder and chairman emeritus said. “Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than 20 years. She is a fearless leader defined by her grace and wisdom. She has long embraced Starbucks’

purpose and, along with the leadership team, will continue to reimagine Starbucks’ future through the foundation of its past. My heart is full and thankful that Starbucks will have Mellody’s leadership as chair.” Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire senior national correspondent. Find more of his stories on Twitter at @StacyBrownMedia.



December 17-23, 2020

Local entrepreneur creates business from self-care journey To elaborate, the exquisite “Black Soap Collection” is infused with a delightful medley of organic ingredients. McConnell uses pure honey, shea butter, coconut oil, and aloe vera. There are a total of four aromatic black soaps available: original black soap-unscented, frankincense and myrrh, lavender, and cupy the space will receive six lemongrass. Customers can indulge in months of free rent due to the im-

Butters By Jay

Black Business SPOTLIGHT By Ashley Lauren Butters By Jay started right here in North Minneapolis, and I started it because there was a need for it in the marketplace,” said owner Jasmine McConnell. After she looked for natural hair products at major retailers and noticed the lack of natural products, McConnell invented her own. As a result, the stellar beauty brand was launched. “I started Butters By Jay five years ago. The formulas for a lot of the products have been around for 10 years. I’ve been using the products for 10 years—I started when my hair journey began and it started blossoming from there,” McConnell recalled. There’s a special meaning behind the name Butters By Jay (BBJ): “It’s a play on words. So, butters—I have butters and shea butter. And then there’s the butterfly as the B,” said McConnell. The butterfly exemplifies growth and change. McConnell emphasized that the transformation of a butterfly represents her natural hair journey. “The butterfly really is about evolution of the company and butters in the Black culture is a way to describe our hair is poppin’,” McConnell explained. Most recently, BBJ was selected as one out of 17 local businesses featured at the Mall of America’s (MOA) Community Commons. All tenants that oc-

“I want to help people with their journey of self-care—changing the quality of life for people.” pact of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest. The grand opening was in October. At the MOA’s Community Commons, customers can find a

the original-unscented whipped shea butter, lavender blend, and lemon-butter whipped shea butter found in the Whipped Shea Butter Collection. These products

Jasmine McConnell plethora of natural beauty products on display at the Butters By Jay pop-up shop. The BBJ beauty line offers a variety of black soaps, whipped shea butters, bath bombs/steamers, and sugar scrubs.

can be used on hair, nails, and skin. They are non-toxic, natural, and euphoric. Kids love them, too. Customers also have a rich selection of colorful and calming bath bombs/shower steam-

construction business, the McConnell Construction Company. She said, “I build single-family homes from the ground up and I remodel commercial spaces.” McConnell has worked on local projects: Project for Pride in Living, James Town Apartments, People Serving People, St. Matthew’s School, and First Unitarian. She plans on launching McConnell Construction very soon and the website is currently under construction. “The most challenging thing for me currently is being present because I do have two companies. Every day I use all 24 hours in the day that God gave me, and I don’t let up,” McConnell said. She recently hired someone, which will allow her to be more present and have an opportunity to grow both businesses. Overall, McConnell said, “I want to help people with their journey of self-care—changing the quality of life for people. I have people come back to me like, ‘Girl that Shea butter really Butters By Jay at MOA’s Community Commons Photos by Ashley Lauren did something for my eczema.’” She added, “Support us beers to select, from Eucalyptus not organic, they are plastic, but cause we’re trying to financially Shower Steamer to Peppermint that’s the best way now to pre- independent.” She also had Shower Bomb. The products are serve them,” McConnell said. words of encouragement for the McConnell continued, “Ten youth: “Always bet on yourself,” activated when droplets of water come into contact with its surface. years ago, when I went natural she said. That’s when the aromatherapy for my hair there were not a lot of products available—so using experience begins. Shop Butters By Jay online by The sweet-scented, sugar my hands and being a carpenter, visiting scrubs are made with raw sugar I just decided to formulate prod- To shop in-person visit MOA’s and organic oils and are used to ucts for myself.” Community Commons, located She successfully completed at 238 South Avenue, Bloomexfoliate and nourish the skin. Customers can also try Tropical the Carpenter’s Apprenticeship ington, MN. Hours of operation: Sugar or the Cucumber Mint Program and became a journey- Monday-Wednesday 11 am to 7 Sugar Scrub. The refreshing woman carpenter in 2014. “I pm, Thursday-Saturday 10 am products are filled with antioxi- went to North High and MCTC to 8 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 7 dants and hydrating ingredients. for Construction Management,” pm. All of the Butters By Jay prod- McConnell said. Ashley Lauren welcomes reader It’s a balancing act being a responses to challman@spokesmanucts are high-quality, moisturizing, and revitalizing. “I try to use business owner. McConnell all organic products and ingre- operates Butters By Jay and is dients for sure. Like my jars are working towards launching her

December 17-23, 2020

Legals State of Minnesota Ramsey County


Employment District Court Second Judicial District Court File Number: 62DAFA201261 Case Type: Domestic Abuse

From Classified State of Minnesota Ramsey County Department/MN Spokesman-Recorder

District Court Second Judicial District Court File Number: 62DAFA201262 Case Type: Domestic Abuse

From Classified Legal Assistant Department/MN Central Minnesota Legal Services-St. Cloud Office Spokesman-Recorder

Full-time position in our St. Cloud office. Duties include client

In The Matter Of Nora Smyth and OBO Minor Child Vs Tervese Miller Notice of Hearing by Publication (Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 8) To Respondent named above: An order has been issued directing you to appear to a hearing on 1/4/21 at 8:15 AM before Referee James J. Street for an Order for Protection Hearing and explain why the relief sought in the Petition for the Order for Protection should not be granted. You must contact the Ramsey County Court Administrator’s Office at 651266-5130for hearing location details. You may obtain a copy of the Petition and any order issued from the court from the Ramsey County Court Administrator's Office. If you do not appear at the scheduled hearing, the Petitioner's request may be granted as a default matter. Failure to appear will not be a defense to prosecution for violation of the Court's Order.

In The Matter Of Fatmata Bangoura and OBO Minor Child Vs PHONE: 612-827-4021 Steven Christopher Bicks

PHONE: 612-827-4021 intake; compiling reports using office case management system;

(Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 8) FOR BILLING To Respondent named above: INQUIRIES An order has been issued directing you to appear to a hearing on 1/6/21 at 3:00 p.m. before Judge Mark Ireland for an Order for Protection Hearing & TEARSHEETS and explain why the relief sought in the Petition for the Order for Protection PLEASE should not be CONTACT granted. ACCOUNTING DEPT

services; and other duties as assigned. Microsoft Word & Outlook FOR BILLING experience a plus. Familiarity with electronic case management INQUIRIES systems. Salary: D.O.E. up to $37,364. Excellent benefits. & TEARSHEETS Resume, references, and cover letter by Dec. 18, 2020. (applicaPLEASE CONTACT tions accepted until filled), specifying interest and skills to Sheila Merriman, CMLS,DEPT 110 6th Avenue South, Suite 205, 56301. ACCOUNTING



Court Administrator Ramsey

1WEEK RUN If you do not appear at the scheduled hearing, the Petitioner's request may FLAT RATE $100.00 PREPAID be granted as a default matter. Failure to appear will not be a defense to

1WEEK RUN Technology Business Analyst FLAT RATE $100.00 PREPAID

prosecution for violation of the Court's Order.

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder December 17, 2020

Notice of Hearing by Publication

You must contact the Ramsey County Court Administrator’s Office at 651-266-5130 for hearing location details.

You may obtain a copy of the Petition and any order issued from the court from the Ramsey County Court Administrator's Office.

No calls please. EOE.

Product Owner

SullivanCotter, Minneapolis, MN. Req. Bachlr’s in Mgmt. Info. Systems or related comp. degr & 2 yrs. exp. in software develop; 1 yr. exp. w/ Software Development Life Cycle; Agile and/or traditional software develop approaches, MS office tools, incl Visio; 1 yr. working in relational database management systems & writing SQL queries for data analytics; 6 mos. exp. reading, analyzing & interpreting scientific & technical journals & interpret techn inst in mathematical or diagram form. Must be a Certified Scrum Product Owner. Submit resume to:

Court Administrator Ramsey Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder December 17, 2020

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Certificate of Assumed Name Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 333

client intake; drafting legal documents; referrals to community

From Classified Department/MN rEP Spokesman-Recorder PHONE: 612-827-4021 Continued from page 12 FOR BILLING INQUIRIES & TEARSHEETS PLEASE CONTACT ACCOUNTING DEPT


events (long jump, high jump, and triple jump), to lead Minneapolis Henry (coached by Cook) to the Class AA state track title in ASSUMED NAME: Plap Marketing and Consulting 1990. I remember when Quina PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS: 13838 Jasmine Way Rogers MN 58103 ATTORNEY POSITION USA Davis of Minneapolis Henry NAMEHOLDER(S): Name: Address LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW (coached by Cook) won the Olufemi G Ekisola 13838 Jasmine Way EMINENT DOMAIN Rogers MN 58103 USA 200-meter dash, took second in the 100, and led the 800-meter reASSUMED NAME If you submit an attachment, it will be incorporated into this document. If the Kennedy & Graven, Chartered practices in local governattachment conflicts with the information specifically set forth in this document, lay team (with Alesha Simmons, ment law representing cities, townships and school districts. FLAT RATE $150.00 this document supersedes the data referenced in the attachment. Please visit Jidana Cook and Tracy Hender2 WEEK RUN son) in dominant fashion at the By typing my name, I, the undersigned, certify that I am signing this document We seek an attorney to work with our eminent domain as the person whose signature is required, or as agent of the person(s) whose girls’ state track meet in 1990. practice team. In particular, representing clients for commissignature would be required who has authorized me to sign this document on sioner hearings, relocation claims and appeals. There is remember when Tamara his/her behalt or in both capacities. I further certify that I have completed all Please proof, respond with email Iconfirmation to display@spokesopportunity to work in other areas of local government law. required fields, and that the information in this document is true and correct Moore (Miss Basketball 1998) and in compliance with the applicable chapter of Minnesota Statutes. I underand Mauri Horton (Miss BasketThree years of litigation experience is a minimum requirestand that by signing this document I am subject to the penalties of perjury as ment. Demonstrated experience and interest in eminent set forth in Section 609.48 as if I had signed this document under oath. ball 1999) led Minneapolis North domain is preferred. Tamara Moore SIGNED BY: Gabriel Olufemi Ekisola We offer a competitive salary and benefit package. The poMSR file photo MAILING ADDRESS: None Provided sition will be filled as soon as we find a qualified applicant. Any questions, please email below. championship in 1988. EMAIL FOR OFFICIAL NOTICES: I remember when Tyrone To apply: Please e-mail a cover letter, resume and unofficial STATE OF MINNESOTA transcript to Neil Simmons, Administrator, Kennedy and Minor (St. Paul Central, coached OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FILED Graven, Chartered, at 12/08/2020 11:59 PM by Floyd Smaller) defeated Leonard Jones (Minneapolis Kennedy & Graven, Chartered gives equal consideration Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder December 17 & 24, 2020 to all qualified applicants, regardless of their race, color, Henry, coached by Jim Cook) to creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, marital capture the triple jump and lead status, ancestry, sexual orientation, or status with regard to struggle…” the Minutemen to the Class AA public assistance. We encourage all candidates with the professional background identified above to apply, including Sports aren’t a virus repel- state boy’s crown in 1989. candidates from diverse communities or who lent. Playing sports for the sake I remember when Tony Continued from page 12 self-identity as diverse. of so-called normalcy under Queen (North), Louis Boone This state last week averaged the misconception that it is safe (Washburn), Steve Lasley (South- Brett McNeal Courtesy Edison High School White man. “They put me in jail nearly 100 deaths a day, accord- from catching the deadly virus west), Charles McKissack (Henfor one night.” ry) and Levain Carter (Minneaping to the COVID Tracking Proj- is risky at best. Some whine that kids olis South), all African Americans, (coached by Faith Johnson-PatAfter he was released and the ect. The APM Research Lab says Continued from page 12 charges dropped, Haywood’s nationwide one in 800 Blacks, shouldn’t be disappointed, de- were head boys’ basketball coach- terson) to its first Class 3A boys’ one in 750 Indigenous, one in prived if they can’t play sports. es at the same time in the Minne- basketball title in 1998. from sunup to sundown in the mother saw it necessary to get I remember when Minneapo- cotton fields picking, planting, her son out of town as quick1,100 Pacific Islanders, one in Life is full of disappointments. apolis City Conference during the lis North had the most Minnesota and chopping cotton,” recalled ly as possible. He had want1,150 Latinx, one in 1,925 Asians We all have them. Part of grow- late 1980s. ed for a long time to leave I remember when Robin In- Mr. Basketball recipients with for- Haywood. and one in 1,325 Whites have ing up is learning how to get over it. gram, head boys’ basketball coach ward Redd Overton (1981), Brett died from COVID-19. When he wasn’t in school Silver City for good. “We’ve done a lot of things at Minneapolis North, brought McNeal (1985), Derek Reuben Haywood worked the fields. “You could not leave the A Morning Consult poll last week reported that more than unnatural,” observed Stringer. the Polars, with a number-five (1988) and Khalid El-Amin (1997) But as he grew to six feet tall farm just like that, so I had to one in two adults (56%) say the “I’m praying that the mental seed in Region 5AA, to the Class each claiming the prize. and more, he found success in go to the next town and esworst of COVID has not yet health of the team survives. It’s AA state champion boys’ basketbasketball, making the varsity cape,” continued Haywood. Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald team as a youngster barely out “I escaped from Silver City to crazy.” ball game, finishing as runner-up been seen. welcomes reader responses to of grade school. Chicago where my brother to Owatonna in 1990. “I have to really take a step Charles Hallman welcomes I remember when Jones back and make sure that I was But his height would soon [lived].” comfortable in this environ- reader responses to challman@ teamed with Martez Williams make him a target off the court Next week: From the Windy to score all points in only three ment,” admitted O’Banion, a as well as on. “When a big kid cancer survivor. “It’s been a starts to grow in my neck of the City to Motown Charles Hallman welcomes woods, they end up putting you in jail on some false charge, reader responses to challman@ which they did when I was 14,” he told me. Haywood was accused of threatening to kill a From Classified The filing of an assumed name does not provide a user with exclusive rights to that name. The filing is required for consumer protection in order to enable customers to be able to identify the true owner of a business.




Larry Jerome Flournoy

Sunrise, Februrary 26, 1957 — Sunset, December 3, 2020 Larry J. Flournoy, 63, lost his battle with cancer on December 3, 2020. He was born on February 26, 1957 in New Madrid, Missouri. He was the ninth child of 12 born to the union of Luvenure and Theodis Flournoy, and he was the last surviving son from that union.

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When Larry was eight he witnessed the drowning of his 10-year-old brother Walter on September 6, 1965. Two years after the death of Larry’s brother, the family was still experiencing trauma from the loss, so they uprooted their children for a new start and moved the family to South Minneapolis on the 3400 block of 3rd Avenue. Larry J. Flournoy leaves to cherish his memory a devoted daughter, Marcy; two sons, Larry and Theodis; six grandchildren, Takeila, Larry Jr., Larry James-Lee, Latrell, Larryon and Naja’rea; four sisters, Verlena, Virgie from Dallas, Callie and Carol; three nieces, Veronica from Philadelphia, Adero and Tonya; four nephews, Lloyd (Kato), Larry, Billy and Nene; and a host of caring friends.

Department/MN Spokesman-Recorder MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER 3744 4th Ave. South • Minneapolis, MN 55409 PHONE: 612-827-4021 Phone: 612-827-4021 • Fax: 612-827-0577 FOR BILLING Tracey Williams-DillarD Publisher/CEO INQUIRIES cecil e. NeWmaN l auNa Q. NeWmaN Founder-Publisher CEO/Publisher & TEARSHEETS 1934-1976 1976-2000 WallaceCONTACT (Jack) JackmaN Norma JeaN Williams PLEASE Co-Publisher Emeritus Vice President Emeritus ACCOUNTING DEPT

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The Celebration of Larry’s life will be at Estes Funeral Chapel and Cremation, 2201 Plymouth Ave. North, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411 on Thursday, December 17, 2020. Public viewing at 1:15-2:15 pm. Please wear a mask! Interment at Sandhill Cemetery, Flournoy’s family plot, New Madrid, Missouri.

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder December 17, 2020

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December 17-23, 2020

NFL playoff The little known story of Spencer Haywood positioning heats up!

Fitz Beat Larry FitzgeraLd


obody likes playing during a pandemic. Already this year 300,000 Americans have died because of the coronavirus. Good to know the historically fast vaccine is on the way. Help us God, it’s all around us. The NFL, now 13 weeks into the season, is trying to do the impossible: 32 teams playing 256 games with no fans and no cancellations. Amazingly, with several adjustments because of COVID-19, the NFL is back on schedule. With 14 playoffs spots, seven in each Conference (AFC, NFC), so far Kansas City (12-1), Green Bay and New Orleans (both 10-3) and Pittsburgh (11-2) have clinched playoff spots. With the odd number seven, this year is unlike years past when two teams from each Conference, numberone and number-two seeds, got first-round playoff byes. In 2021 just two teams get byes. If the season ended last week it would be Kansas City and Green Bay. We are closer than you

to write about athletes which we cover for whatever reason.” “Neither one of us has written a book before,” added Spears, ESPN’s The Undefeated’s senior NBA writer. They have now: “The Spencer Haywood Rule” (Triumph Books) was published in October. “I do think Spencer Haywood had a comfort level in talking about a lot of things in terms of racism, growing up in cotton fields and things like that,” ex-

think with three weeks to go In the AFC it’s Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Tennessee, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Baltimore. In the NFC it’s Green Bay, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Arizona. The Vikings still have a shot at getting in with 6-7. They host the Chicago Bears, First in a multi-part series also 6-7, on Sunday after losing 26-14 to Tampa Bay and Tom Brady. It's difficult for Mike Zimmer. His kicker Dan Bailey missed three field goals Sunday. He also missed kicks vs. Jacksonville the previous week, but the Vikings survived to beat a 1-11 team 2827. What will Zimmer do? There is no margin for error. It's fish or cut bait time in the NFL. It's win or go home. A 9-7 record will likely grab a Wild Card in the NFC. Vikings star linebacker Eric Kendricks has been selected the Vikings NFL Walter Pay- In 1969-70, with the ABA’s Denver Rockets, the 6-foot-9 Spencer Haywood had the single greatest season in Denver ton Man of the Year. pro basketball history. Photos courtesy of Triumph Books

Larry Fitzgerald is a longstanding contributing columnist at the Minnesota SpokesmanRecorder. He can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGYAM 740 Monday and Friday at 9:10 am, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on “Almanac” (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@, or visit

“When a big kid starts to grow in my neck of the woods, they end up putting you in jail on some false charge.” Spencer Haywood


know both Marc Spears and Gary Washburn, as we all are National Association of Black Journalists [NABJ] Sports Task Force members. Both are veteran journalists who Spencer Haywood wanted to pen his life story. Black journalists don’t often get a chance to help write a legend’s autobiography, the co-authors told fellow Black journalists Michael Holley and Michael Smith on their “Brother from Another” podcast on the Peacock channel. “As Black journalists we don’t get to do those types of things,” noted Washburn, the national NBA writer for the Boston Globe and NABJ Sports Task Force VP. “We don’t get a lot of book deals, a lot of opportunities

plained Spears. “He felt he was more comfortable talking” about those experiences to the two Black writers. Haywood’s story “is historic stuff. It is a pleasure to tell it,” said Washburn. “Someone who has been so impactful in the last 50 years [and] people doesn’t know his story. He’s been underappreciated.” I know Haywood’s legacy from growing up in Detroit, where his basketball exploits took off. I was in seventh grade at the time. We first met by phone decades later in the summer of 2018, then later at the 2018 NABJ convention in Detroit where he was honored. Earlier this month, with Spears’ help, our third meeting took place, again by phone. Now in

Spenser Haywood with Kobe Bryant

Spenser Haywood with Michael Jordan didn’t have any silver, and it ain’t a city,” chuckled Haywood recalling his birthplace, population 375. The ninth of 11 children, he was born prematurely, delivered at home by a midwife three months after his father died suddenly of a heart attack. Silver City basically was a throwback to the old South. Its Part one: A big kid in town Spencer Haywood was born Black citizenry worked as sharein 1949 in a very small Missis- croppers, making slave wages sippi town. “I was on a farm in for a White farmer complete the Delta, in this town called Sil- with an overseer. “We worked ver City, Mississippi. Silver City ■ See View on page 11

his 70s, Haywood talked about his life, sometimes humorously, sometimes deadly serious, but always interesting and unapologetic. We talked for nearly an hour—a chat with a legend I’ll relate below and in next week’s “View.”

I remember when… Disappointed kids no excuse for needless risk Playing sports during a pandemic still doesn’t make sense. Duke Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski questioned after a game last week whether or not playing basketball at this time is wise. “For the good of the game and mental and physical health of players and staff, we need to constantly look at this thing,” he noted. Coach K’s comments afterwards drew both cheers and jeers on social media. “I appreciate Coach K’s taking a position at all, because no one wanted to address whether or not we should be playing because of the financial ramifications,” Minnesota WBB Assistant Coach Danielle O’Banion told me last week. “I also have a problem with folk who are saying he is only taking that position because he lost two non-conference games. I believe that’s far from the truth.” “We are all wondering what is going on here,” said Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer. “It’s amazing we’re playing basketball in a middle of a pandemic. We have to pay attention to many things that are going on.” Added Rutgers junior guard Zipporah “Zippy” Broughton, “It is mentally challenging, [but] at the end of the day, we’re here to hoop.” This reporter last week

Danielle O’Banion (in yellow T-shirt)

Courtesy of Twitter

sparked a Twitter dust-up af- resorted to name-calling in their ter I opined that the state high arguments. One wrongly called school league decided to sanc- me a racist. A group called Let Them Play MN that claims 23,000 members filed suit last week against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz for his current partial shutdown orders, scheduled to end Dec. 18, because of COVID concerns. The group contends that youth sports aren’t a risk for catching the virus so much as other places. A New York Times analysis tion sports this year because they cowed down to mostly White recently found that over 6,000 parents’ and coaches’ com- college athletes, coaches and staff have tested positive for plaints. I said that we haven’t heard the coronavirus thus far; this from Black coaches and parents number might be larger because that playing sports during CO- data was available from only 78 VID-19 is a good thing so much of 135 Football Bowl Subdivias we have heard it from others. sion schools that reported. The Although some disagreeably University of Minnesota had 336 but intelligently and respectfully positive cases, tops among FBS debated with me, others instead schools.

“I’m praying that the mental health of the team survives.”

■ See SOE on page 11

ries from my career as a prep sports columnist. I remember when St. Paul Central (led by Rickey Suggs, Stacy Robinson, John Williams, Brian Dungey, Davey Givens and Farron Henderson) defeated Minneapolis North (led by Ben PreP Scene Coleman, Mike Esaw, Damond Dickson and Patrick Dr. Mitchell PalMer McDonalD Burston) for the 1979 Twin City championship in the Here (in chronological first boys’ basketball game I order) are some fond memo- ever saw.

I remember when Minneapolis Central, led by then-head coach Richard Robinson, won the City Conference football championship in 1980. I remember when Stacia Hines, Daphne Walker, Ebony Kelly, Gloria Holcomb, Margaret Davis, and Queen Wilson led Minneapolis North (coached by Jim DuBose) to their second consecutive City Conference ■ See Prep on page 11