The Good News Network recently highlighted the story of Ahmed Ali, 21, a non-verbal student who has been attending the Minneapolis Public School system’s Transitions Plus Program for the last three years.
Ali was chosen to give a commencement address this year, making history with it by using speech software he helped develop with a speech pathologist to deliver words he composed on his own to his appreciative audience.
I am going to give free wisdom to the graduates… you will achieve a lot of amazing things with or without disabilities. Without a doubt. Secondly, life is basically a marathon. As human beings, we are running a relay race,” said Ali via his device. “The track is your life. Every time you achieve something you pass the baton to the next person. Guess who you are passing the baton to? It’s you. Each stage of your life you are passing it to a new you. It’s not the end of the line for you, but it’s a new you in our beautiful world.
KARE11 posted video of highlights from Ali’s software-delivered speech. Watch below:
“If you (poked) him, you would probably hear a sound of music. He was music, kind of like how God is love,” Nelson offered.
Although Prince died two years ago in April, the university decided to continue a process that had begun in 2015 and honor him with the posthumous degree. Awarding someone who isn’t alive is rare, the school said.
The university said the degree is in recognition of the singer’s “remarkable talent, enduring influence in music, and his role in shaping the city of Minneapolis.”
Kim said the university’s honor to Prince also serves as an important lesson and reminder. “Society pressures young people to conform to certain standards, and Prince was anything but standardized,” he said. “Be yourself, know who you are and good things are going to happen.”
A reproduction of a 19th-century purple dress with white lace collar is positioned on a stand, as if waiting for its owner to slide it on. A copy of the Green Book, an historic guide that helped steer travelers toward black-welcoming businesses, is gently perched under a glass case. Large panels explaining the history of African-Americans in Minnesota stand in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.
Co-founded by civil rights attorney Tina Burnside and writer/education administrator Coventry Cowens, the museum addresses a long-standing gap in the Twin Cities. “Minnesota is one of the few states that does not have a museum dedicated to the African-American people in the state,” said Burnside.
For 30 years there have been repeated attempts to remedy that. Why has it taken so long? “I couldn’t tell you why,” she said. “Perhaps it’s a question for the people of Minnesota.”
The museum is entirely volunteer-run. At its soft opening Sept. 8, more than 200 people packed into the spacious fourth-floor gallery it shares with Copeland Art and Training Center in the new Thor Construction headquarters at Penn and Plymouth avenues N.
Like a mini-history center, it is similar to places like the Hennepin History Museum or the Somali Museum of Minnesota. Parking and admission are free.
The inaugural exhibition, “Unbreakable: Celebrating the Resilience of African Americans in Minnesota,” which runs through December, focuses on early settlers in the 1800s, black female heroes, the Great Migration from the South, and war veterans who fought abroad yet faced racism at home. Exhibitions will rotate every three to four months. The next one, opening in January, will focus on the civil rights movement in Minnesota before the 1960s, with a focus on the development of the NAACP in the Twin Cities and Duluth in the early 1900s.
Cross says she was on a Delta Flight from Detroit heading to Minneapolis when a passenger became unresponsive and flight attendants called for medical help.
But when Cross tried to step in, she recalls the flight attendant told her, “We are looking for actual physicians…”
“I’m sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I’m sick of being disrespected,” Cross wrote in a Facebook post after the alleged incident.
The response has galvanized black doctors to respond by posting their own credentials — and faces — to show people exactly #WhatADoctorLooksLike. #WhatADoctorLooksLike challenges stereotypical depictions of black people by showing their successes and achievements.
Delta is currently investigating the Cross incident. Meanwhile, black doctors everywhere will continue to win.
Check out the best responses to #WhatADoctorLooksLike below:
James, 44, who now lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in the British award’s 47 years. It’s also the first for his publisher, Oneworld Publications.
‘It is a crime novel that moves beyond the world of crime and takes us deep into a recent history we know far too little about. It moves at a terrific pace and will come to be seen as a classic of our times,” said Michael Woods, chairman of the judging committee.
James didn’t expect to wow the critics, but that’s what he did with his 686-page epic novel.
“It’s like a Tarantino remake of ‘The Harder They Come’ but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner, with maybe a little creative boost from some primo ganja,” wrote Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times.
“It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting — a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.”
James’ other works includes two novels, “John Crow’s Devil” (2005) and “The Book of Night Women” (2009).
Last year, the prize was opened to any novel published in Britain and written in English. In previous years, winners had to come from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Commonwealth nations.
The 47-unit building will be located on Penn Avenue and Golden Valley Road, and George hopes the building will be a positive change for an area known for crime and violence. “Housing, I believe, is the foundation to doing whatever you want to do,” George said.
“If you don’t have stable housing, you’re not worried about education, you’re not worried about eating healthy, you’re not worried about anything else,” George said.
George is also making it easy for residents who’ll live in the building. Instead of having to travel miles to a grocery store, residents will be able to take advantage of a grocery co-op that George is also developing in the building.
“That’s what people look for when they go live in a neighborhood,” George said. “Where’s my grocery store? Where is my movie theater? Where can we go eat? Where can our kids go play at a park? And this was just a place where there is just housing.”
And this is just the beginning for George and Ford. After this initial building is finished, they plan to build another one.
“This is just the start,” George said. “This is just the catalyst of everything that’s going to go on.”
A passenger on a Megabus that was heading north from Chicago has been hailed as a hero after he reportedly subdued an armed man who fired at least one shot minutes after the bus started its journey.
Kenneth Smith, 28, told the Chicago Tribune that he had just settled into his seat late Tuesday when a loud noise resounded through the bus. Smith was traveling to Minneapolis to visit his 6-year-old son.
Police said the gunman discharged his weapon in the bathroom of the bus. He then approached the driver and allegedly began harassing her. A witness said it appeared the gunman also attempted to grab the steering wheel, per WMAQ-TV.
That’s when Smith intervened, confronting the man and telling him to return to his seat. The suspect reportedly did as he was told, but came back moments later, with a gun.
“He came back downstairs, he was grabbing at his hip, I had already seen that and I told him he was getting too close,” Smith told WMAQ-TV. “As he kept coming that’s when I rushed him, I choked him, he fell to the floor, the clip came out of the gun and that’s when I saw it so I pulled it out, gave it to my cousin and I held him down until the police arrived.”
Wednesday evening protests inspired by those who marched for answers in the death of Freddie Gray spread from Baltimore to other cities. Some highlights:
-In New York City, protesters starting at Union Square in Manhattan marched throughout the city, at one point shutting down the West Side highway and Holland Tunnel., according to CBS-2. At least one dozen arrests were made, according to USA Today, and Michael Skolnik of Interactive One, who was out with the marchers, and sent out a photo of Instagram of one of them. His caption: “Lots of arrests in NYC tonight. This could be a very long night…”
-In Washington, DC, NBC-4 reported that “a large group of protesters,” rallied peacefully after gathering at Gallery Place and DuPont Circle.
Meanwhile, back in Baltimore, the epicenter of protests in reaction to the death of Freddie Gray after suffering a severed spine in police custody, USA Today reported that thousands gathered outside of City Hall. Eighteen people had been arrested in Baltimore by 8 p.m., including two juveniles, the paper reported. Just after a citywide 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew took effect, conditions were reportedly calm.
Several businesses and education leaders came together to do something for disadvantaged youth.
This was the simple notion for action that came from a conversation during a haircut. The result was a daylong stream of happy and hopeful children, from many cultural backgrounds, with happy and thankful parents in tow.
Fades of Gray barbershop owner Julian Gray, together with his longtime client Kevin Bennett, principal of The F.A.I.R. School in Minneapolis, devised a simple event to give away free haircuts to youth headed back to school. In order to challenge his group of barbers, and have the greatest impact, Gray set a difficult goal of 100 haircuts during the one-day event.
Free backpacks donated by Ameriprise Financial, filled with wooden hair brushes, snacks and coupons were given to each child after their haircut. Fresh from their haircut, children glowed as they took their tickets to claim a free backpack with additional goods and gift cards donated by Fades of Gray, F.A.I.R. School – Downtown, Target, Osseo Public Schools director of Educational Equity, Tony Hudson and Will Walker of Walker Law Offices. Excitedly, some children immediately put on their backpack as they made their way back to mom, dad, or guardian, with new wooden brushes in hand.
“We all know how good it feels to get a haircut. For the kids it’s something simple to set them up so they can learn better. It’s just a way to support them and help them be successful,” said Gray.
Event sponsor Hudson commented on his appreciation taking part in the initiative, saying, “My kids go to F.A.I.R., so I’ve got a good relationship with Kevin. We’re two brothers that try to support each other with our work. And it’s powerful that everybody else here is like that too. Once you have that, it’s just about showing up. Sometimes you just have to keep it simple.”
“We want to let the kids know that we’re Black men who care about you and understand your experience. Just to give the kids a simple pat on the back and say thank you to them, for adding value to the community by showing up and doing their best in school,” said Bennett.