Tag: Minnesota

St. Cloud State University in MN Honors its 1st Black Graduate by Renaming Building Ruby Cora Webster Hall

Ruby Cora Webster, St. Cloud State University’s first black graduate (photo via St. Cloud State Archives)

via jbhe.com

St. Cloud State University in Minnesota recently dedicated one of the institution’s original academic buildings after the school’s first African American graduate, Ruby Cora Webster.

Webster graduated from the university in 1909 with a degree in elementary education. The daughter of former slaves, she was born in Ohio and moved with her family to St. Cloud, where she attended high school. After college, she became a teacher, married twice, and relocated to Missouri and later to Canada. Webster died in 1974.

The former Business Building, now known as Ruby Cora Webster Hall, houses the department of English, the Writing Center, the Intensive English Center, the department of political science, and the department of ethnic, gender, and women’s studies.

Last year, after the university implemented a non-donor related naming policy, Dr. Christopher Lehman, chair of the department of ethnic, gender, and women’s studies, spearheaded the proposal to rename the academic building after Webster. It received extremely positive feedback from the community, with 2,200 signatures collected to support the proposal.

“I commend and applaud Dr. Christopher Lehman for his initiative in researching and bringing to light the significance of Ruby Cora Webster to our school’s history and the importance of naming this building after her,” St. Cloud President Robbyn Wacker said. “Ruby is someone from our university’s early history that exemplified hope, courage and resilience and who believed in something greater than herself.”

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/11/st-cloud-state-university-names-academic-building-after-its-first-black-graduate/?fbclid=IwAR37A-eVvZzIJjVhUqRpYbuAuAXJQ6CHvwCcOS08FDQeaXzztPf-d–KQ48

Minnesota Finally Gets an African-American Museum Thanks to Co-Founders Tina Burnside and Coventry Cowens

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery co-founders Tina Burnside, left, and Coventry Cowens. Above, the museum’s fourth-floor interior and some of its exhibits. (photo by Leila Navidi via startribune.com)

by Alicia Eler via startribune.com

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.

This isn’t a scene from the Minnesota History Center or even the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It is the new Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery in north Minneapolis.

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.

While Chicago was a major destination on the Great Migration north, some continued on to Minnesota. A 2017 census report put the black share of Minnesota’s population at 6.5 percent, about half as much as Illinois. Continue reading “Minnesota Finally Gets an African-American Museum Thanks to Co-Founders Tina Burnside and Coventry Cowens”

Philando Castile Fund Aims to Feed Children in Need, Wipe Out School Lunch Debt and Keep His Legacy Alive 

Philando Castile (photo via blavity.com)

via blavity.com

Over and over again, it has been proven that Philando Castile was a kind hearted and loving man. One thing that he often did as the cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori in St. Paul, MN was paid for the lunch of students who were unable to do so. “No child goes hungry so we ensure that every student has breakfast and also lunch whether they can pay or not,” Stacy Koppen, Nutritional Services Director for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) told WCCO.

Some students are eligible for free school lunch, but many aren’t. When students can’t pay for their lunch, they will run a debt. “Lunches just for one elementary student are about $400 a year,” Koppen said. “When a student couldn’t pay for their lunch, a lot of times (Castile) actually paid for their lunch out of his own pocket,” she said. Castile’s kind gesture moved the heart of one college professor to keep the ball rolling despite Castile’s untimely death.

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus typically assigns her students in her Diversity and Ethics class a service project, but this time created her own. “His death changed who I am,” Fergus said. Her project is called Philando Feeds the Children. The project started with a $5,000 goal that was then doubled and so far has raised over $13,800 with 90 days left to donate. Castile’s mother Valerie also told WCCO and Fergus she plans to match the final total with her own donation. “She said the only thing I want for my son is for people to remember him with honor and dignity,” said Fergus.

St. Paul Schools have also started their own campaign, Food For Thought, which allows people to make a donation to clear lunch debts.“That campaign helped us raise almost $40,000 (last year) and it helped almost 2,000 students who couldn’t pay for their meals,” said Koppen. “This year we have almost 900 students who currently appear that they need our help as well.”

To read more, go to: New Philando Castile Fund Aims To Wipe Out School Lunch Debt And Keep His Legacy Alive | BLAVITY

Philando Castile Family Reaches $3M Settlement with City of St. Anthony, MN

Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile (photo via eurweb.com)

by Amy Forliti via thegrio.com

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mother of Philando Castile, the black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last July, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city that employed the officer, avoiding a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve. The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile, who is the family’s trustee, was announced Monday and comes less than two weeks after officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges connected to her son’s death.

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile told the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun. The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. The acquittal of Yanez, who is Latino, prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul that shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests.

The $2.995 million settlement for Valerie Castile will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St. Anthony. The plan for distribution of funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks. Robert Bennett, who along with attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said a decision was made to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds.” The settlement will also allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said.

“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.” Bennett said the foundation’s mission is to provide financial support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence.

Bennett said Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, is not part of the settlement. Reynolds has also hired an attorney, but it’s not clear if she is still planning a lawsuit or has any standing for a federal claim. Reynolds’ attorney did not return messages Monday.

The settlement happened faster than others stemming from the killings of black men by police officers elsewhere. Last week, a $1.5 million settlement was reached in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That settlement came nearly three years after the death of Brown, whose parents sued the city.

Bennett said his decades-long relationship with Joe Flynn, the attorney who represented St. Anthony in Castile’s case, helped bring a quick resolution. He also said the city of St. Anthony has a commitment to make positive changes to their police department. The city is undergoing a voluntary review by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, with the goal of improving trust between the police department and the communities it serves.

To read full article, go to: Philando Castile family reaches $3M settlement in death | theGrio

Black Santa, For the First Time Ever, Comes to Mall of America in Minnesota

Larry Jefferson is the first black Santa in the 24-year history of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. (STAR TRIBUNE SCREENSHOT)

article by Monique Judge via theroot.com

For the first time in its 24-year history, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., had a black Santa on hand to help spread holiday cheer Thursday.

“This is a long time coming,” Landon Luther, co-owner of the Santa Experience, which has run the intimate photo studio at the mall for years, told the Star Tribune. “We want Santa to be for everyone, period.”

Customers at the Mall of America have two Santa options to choose from: They can wait in line with everyone else at the mall for the free Santa, or they can book an appointment with the Santa Experience. The Star Tribune reports that Luther conducted a national search last spring for a Santa to whom children of color would be able to relate. Santa Sid, who has worked at the Mall of America for 20 years, met Larry Jefferson of Irving, Texas, at a Santa convention in Branson, Mo. Of the 1,000 Santa impersonators in attendance, Jefferson was the only black one.

“It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Luther said.

Jefferson, dressed as Santa Larry, will greet children, pass out candy and pose for photographs by appointment only from Thursday to Sunday.

To read more, got to: For 1st Time Ever, a Black Santa Comes to Mall of America in Minn.

Halima Aden Makes History as 1st Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Halima Aden (photo via cosmopolitan.com)

article by Gina Mei via cosmopolitan.com

Halima Aden is flawlessly breaking down barriers in the pageant community: Over the weekend, the 19-year-old made history as the first contestant in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant to wear a hijab throughout the competition and a burkini during the swimsuit round. And needless to say, she looked absolutely stunning.

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)
Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

The Somali-American teenager, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and moved to America when she was just 6 years old, ultimately made it to the pageant’s semifinals Sunday. But as she told multiple sources both before and after the pageant was over, despite not winning, she hoped her participation would serve as a reminder that beauty comes in many different forms.

“A lot of people will look at you and will fail to see your beauty because you’re covered up and they’re not used to it. So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing,” she said in an interview with KARE-11. “Be who you are. It’s easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

To read more, go to: Halima Aden Makes History as the First Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Officer Who Shot and Killed Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter

Philando Castile (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by via madamenoire.com

Prosecutor John J. Choi of Ramsey County, Minnesota announced today that Officer Jeronimo Yanez will face three criminal charges for shooting and killing Philando Castile in July. Castile’s death, if you will recall, came just a day after the police-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Choi said that Yanez’s use of deadly force was not justified as he “never removed or tried to remove” the gun he had in his pocket during the traffic stop. Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. The latter charges were applied since both Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old child were present in the car and put in danger during the shooting.

Officer Yanez killed 32-year-old Philando Castile on July 6 during a stop in Falcon Heights. The St. Anthony police officer shot Castile after spotting his gun, and the New York Times reported that Yanez’s lawyer claims that Castile didn’t follow commands. However, in Facebook live video recorded by Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, she said that Castile was license to carry his weapon and was trying to make Yanez aware of his gun when he was shot.

The livestream video showed Castile bleeding with the officer standing nearby, and it was viewed millions of times. Those who knew Castile had nothing but great things to say about the school cafeteria manager following his death, and those who didn’t know him, for the most part, were demanding action.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Yanez is the first officer since 2000 to be charged in a police-involved death in Minnesota, this despite there being more than 150 deaths involving police in the state since that time.

To read more, go to: Officer Who Shot And Killed Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter

Official Prince Tribute and Lineup Set for October 13 in Minnesota (VIDEO)

Billed as Prince: The Official Prince Tribute — A Celebration of Life and Music, the event is organized by the late musician’s family and estate, and will take place Oct. 13 at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center in his hometown.

The lineup also includes Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, Tori Kelly, Luke James, Bilal, Mint Condition, Morris Day & the Time, Judith Hill and Liv Warfield, the New Power Generation featuring Morris Hayes plus members of 3RDEYEGIRL.

The concert is expected to bring in more than $1 million to Prince’s estate, according to The Star Tribune.

H.U.N.T. Movement: The Game, Snoop Dogg Lead March to LAPD Headquarters, Meet with Chief Charlie Beck

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Peaceful H.U.N.T. Protesters marching on Los Angeles Police Headquarters on 7/8/16 (photo via losangelesconfidential @ Instagram)

Rappers and Los Angeles-area natives the Game and Snoop Dogg led a unification march for men of color Friday morning to the Los Angeles Police Department’s graduation of its newest officers, hours after five Dallas police officers were shot and killed and seven others were wounded during a sniper attack.

About 6:30 a.m., the Game posted on his Instagram account a call for black, Mexican and men of all races to march to the Los Angeles Police Department’s headquarters to “make the Californian government & its law branches aware that from today forward, we will be UNIFIED as minorities & we will no longer allow them to hunt us or be hunted by us!!!”

He said women and children should stay away, “THIS IS OUR MISSION FOR THEM,” he wrote.

The Game, a Compton native whose legal name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, said in his announcement the march had to be peaceful.

“Do not: bring any weapons or anything illegal. Do not come high or belligerent … We don’t need any HOT HEADS or anyone there for the wrong reasons… We will stand as we are, UNIFIED. I’m calling ALL GANGS, ALL RACES, ALL GROWN MEN affiliated or not & we will stand UNIFIED.”

View this post on Instagram

Operation H.U.N.T Meet NOW at Joe's auto park parking 1221 west 3rd street Los Angeles California 90017 Calling: ALL AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN, MEXICAN AMERICAN MEN & any other RACE of REAL MEN with heart to stand with us today & walk peacefully to the LAPD headquarters. [LEAVE ALL WOMEN & CHILDREN AT HOME… THIS IS OUR MISSION FOR THEM] Do not: bring any weapons or anything illegal. Do not come high or belligerent.. We don't need any HOT HEADS or anyone there for the wrong reasons… We will stand as we are, UNIFIED. I'm calling ALL GANGS, ALL RACES, ALL GROWN MEN affiliated or not & WE WILL STAND UNIFIED tomorrow !!!! Our numbers are all the weapons we need !!! We do not need to be dumb, retarded or uncivilized today… ALL WE NEED IS EACH OTHER… I will not lead any of you into a trap !!!!! Objective: to make the Californian government & it's law branches aware that from today forward, we will be UNIFIED as minorities & we will no longer allow them to hunt us or be hunted by us !!! Let's erase the fear of one another on both sides & start something new here in the city of Los Angeles, a city we all love & share ! There are many things that have to be done to rectify this situation that has plagued us for hundreds of years & UNIFICATION is the 1st step !!! Again, I'm asking for ALL of my AFRICAN AMERICAN, MEXICAN AMERICAN & any other AMERICAN who has the heart to STAND WITH US to meet us at the above address & take the 1st step into altering our future for our children & our FAMILIES….I LOVE EVERY ONE OF YOU & WE OWE IT TO OURSELVES & OUR FAMILIES TO BE MEN & TAKE A STAND MY BROTHERS.. THE TIME IS NOW – The Game 📸 @derekdidit

A post shared by The Game (@losangelesconfidential) on

 

Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, said organizers didn’t know there was an LAPD recruit graduation scheduled for Friday morning. The point of the march was to reintroduce the Police Department to members of the community it serves, he told reporters at the scene.

About 50 men joined the march to LAPD headquarters.

“The mission is to reintroduce our community to the LAPD… just to get some understanding and dialogue,” he said. “We’re the ones they’re going to be dealing with, we’re the ones that are going to be pulled over. … We’re here on peace.”

The group began planning the march before dawn, the Game said. Organizers spoke with marchers about their unifying, peaceful message so it couldn’t be misconstrued by police, and conversely, so they would listen when law enforcement responded.

“We don’t have to fear each other today,” he said.

The march came amid a growing discussion about law enforcement’s relationship with minorities and was preceded by three days of bloodshed.
Continue reading “H.U.N.T. Movement: The Game, Snoop Dogg Lead March to LAPD Headquarters, Meet with Chief Charlie Beck”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton Officially Declares June 7 “Prince Day”

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Prince (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

Move over Beyonce. Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton has officially declared Tuesday June 7, 2016 “Prince Day.”  The move comes just weeks after the governor angered Prince fans by giving Beyonce, a Texas native, her own day in Minnesota before giving one to the state’s most famous musician.

Prince was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis and passed away on April 21, 2016 at his Paisley Park home in Chanhassen, Minn. He would have been 58 tomorrow.

The governor encouraged all Minnesotans to wear purple in honor of Prince’s “enduring legacy,” in his proclamation. See below:

Prince Day Proclamation

WHEREAS: Prince (Rogers Nelson) was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and

WHEREAS: Prince’s artistry, music, and brand showcase his outstanding contributions to music and the arts and entertainment industry; and

WHEREAS: Prince was one of the best-selling recording artists of all-time; a prominent singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist, he went on to create revolutionary music and an iconic identity, which later inspired a movie, known as Purple Rain; and

WHEREAS: Prince was a seven-time Grammy Award winner and the winner of a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and multiple American Music Awards and Minnesota Black Music Awards, ultimately securing himself a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Prince was considered a music industry innovator, a mentor, and a humble philanthropist; and

WHEREAS: Prince was the creator of uThe Minneapolis Sound,” a contribution not only to the global catalogue of music genres, but to Minnesota’s worldwide prominence and its economic growth; and

WHEREAS: The untimely passing of Prince on April 21, 2016 impacted millions and has been marked with tributes and celebrations of his life and music across the world; and

WHEREAS: Prince Day will be celebrated in Minnesota on June 7, 2016, Prince’s birthday; and

WHEREAS: Minnesotans are encouraged to wear purple on Prince Day in honor of The Purple One’s enduring legacy.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARK DAYTON, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, June 7, 2016, as:

PRINCE DAY

View the actual Prince Day proclamation here.

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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