CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

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Monday, July 28, 2014

This Monday at 9 a.m. on TruthToTell,  we celebrate the life and work of the late Andy Driscoll, longtime host of Truth to Tell and founder of CivicMedia/Minnesota (CMM).

Back in December, 2012, Kel Heyl, the current chair of CMM, convinced Andy to turn the spotlight on himself.  With the help of KFAI news director Dale Connelly and some of Andy's friends and family, Andy reluctantly moved across the table.  What followed was an interesting look at Andy's life and motivations for some of the work he's done over six decades of broadcasting, public service, and acting.

Please join host Siobhan Kierans and Andy's son, Brian Driscoll, on Monday morning for this special edition of TruthToTell.

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or post onTruth To Tell's Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 TO HELP TTT HERE!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fifty years ago, more than a thousand mostly young people from the North joined thousands of black Mississippians in a courageous campaign to win voting rights for African-Americans. Of course, the campaign was about more than voting.  In bringing together whites and blacks as social equals in a campaign led by the Southern Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and other predominately black  organizations, Freedom Summer was a direct challenge to Mississippi’s white supremacist social order. Segregationists responded as they always have—with violence. The murders of civil rights workers shocked the nation and directed attention to a state where violent repression of African-Americans was almost routine.

Freedom Summer did not end the Jim Crow system in the South, but it galvanized a movement that would bring that day much closer. Thousands of black Mississippians participated in Freedom Schools, where they learned the basics of political organizing while honing their skills at reading, writing and arithmetic. Many participated in the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which directly challenged the legitimacy of the whites-only Mississippi delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. 

For both white and black participants, the experiences of that summer were life changing. Joining Truth to Tell co-hosts Siobahn Kierens and Tom O'Connell to recount his experience as a participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer is Dean Zimmermann. Zimmermann is well known to citizens of Minneapolis.  He served 10 years on the Minneapolis Park Board and represented the 6th Ward on the Minneapolis City Council from 2002-2005 as a member of the Green Party.

Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison will be joining us for the second half of the hour to discuss the legacy of Freedom Summer. First elected to Congress in 2006, Ellison is one of our country’s strongest advocates for economic equality and racial justice.

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruth To Tell's Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 TO HELP TTT HERE!

Andy Driscoll (1940–2014)

"It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of our friend, journalist, and founder of TruthToTell and Civic Media/Minnesota, Andy Driscoll.

On behalf of the board of directors for CMM, we extend our sympathy to his family and friends. We have lost an amazing individual and valued colleague."

 Siobhan Kierans                           

 Executive Director                                                                                                        

CivicMedia/Minnesota

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just as Christians fast and make sacrifices during Lent, Muslims sacrifice during the month of Ramadan that leads to the feast called Eid Al-Fitr , on July 28. Islam, derived from the Arabic word salam, which means peace, is one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S., and probably one of the most misunderstood.

Former boxing great Mohamed Ali and Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison are some of the people we know who adhere to the Muslim faith, but some people would be surprised to know that TV talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, and comedian Dave Chappelle also practice Islam.

While most believe that religion is a very personal thing, it is a right granted to the United States based on the First Amendment to the Constitution. As founding father Thomas Jefferson has so eloquently stated:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions in matters of Religion.”

What does it mean to be a Muslim in America in the 21st century?  What are the core beliefs of the faith? How different or how similar are Muslims to Christians and to Jews?  What is Jihad, Sunni and Shiite? What do we really know about Muslims, and what do we assume to know based on misinformation and media bias?

Join us Monday morning when TruthToTell co-hosts Siobhan Kierans and Ahmed Al-Beheary discuss the meaning of Ramadan and the rise of Islam with Kim Olstad of the Minnesota Council of Churches, Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim-American Society of Minnesota, Kaethe Eltawely, an American who converted to Islam, and Islamic educator Sheik Joussef Soussi.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

In honor of the 80th anniversary commemoration of the strike on July 20th, Truth to Tell explores the dynamics of this history-changing struggle.  What was life like for workers in Depression-era Minneapolis?  Why was Local 547 successful in defeating the all-powerful employers group, the Citizen’s Alliance, when other efforts had failed?  What were some of the struggle’s defining moments?  And what was the impact of the ’34 strike on the city of Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota, and the nation as a whole?


On-air guests: 

  Bryan Palmer is author of Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Teamsters    Strike of 1934

 

 

 Mary Wingerd is an associate professor of history at St. Cloud State University, with  a focus on working class and community history and is the author of North Country:  The Making of Minnesota

 

 

 Dave Riehle, is the retired chair of Local 650, the United Transportation Workers,  labor historian and active member Remember 34.    www.facebook.com/Remember1934

Monday, June 30, 2014

ADJUNCT ACTION: Part-time faculty organize for fair wages and working conditions — KFAI FM 90.3/106.7; Streaming @ KFAI.org

This week, TruthtoTell will explore issues facing higher education’s growing class of low wage workers: part- time adjunct faculty who are doing more of the teaching at wages that are little short of scandalous. In response, growing numbers of adjunct faculty are joining unions.  

Three St. Paul private colleges are part of this national trend.  Two weeks ago, adjunct faculty at Hamline University voted to form a union.  At the University of St. Thomas, adjunct faculty will soon be holding a vote of their own. At Macalester College, an intense conversation continues. Meanwhile at Metropolitan State University, where adjuncts  already have the option to join the faculty union, issues facing the university’s large pool of part time professors are receiving renewed attention.

Co-hosts Siobahn Kierans and Tom O’Connell will talk with adjunct professors about their experiences as part- time faculty.  What brought them into teaching?  What keeps them going?  And how can union organization lead to a greater recognition of their critical role on the front lines of higher education? 

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on Turth To Tell's Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 TO HELP TTT HERE!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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Today is something of departure from our usual public affairs focus to catch up with one of Minnesota’s critical cultural institutions – The Minnesota Orchestra. It’s actually back with a vengeance after nearly two years of roiled relationships between the Orchestral Association and its musicians. This group of extraordinary talents found itself confronted by the take-it-or-leave it offer during negotiations of a 32% cut in their pay, among other items, or face a lockout. The predictable outcome was to reject the offer. All music activity ceased.

Lockouts have increasingly used by management of all sorts of industries, but to counter strikes by union employees. The public simply was caught unaware that this could happen to a revered bunch of professionals like the 95 tuxedoed classical musicians. The management – Michael Henson and the board chair at the time, Jon Campbell, wanted to pare the orchestra’s size – significant, according to the members, to maintain the high quality of musicianship.

After 15 months of a very painful lockout during which the world class conductor, Osmo Vänskä, resigned when a Carnegie Hall concert long scheduled had to cancel. Last straw for Vänskä, so he moved to the sideline, but not too far. He conducted several concerts staged by the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra in a few local venues, joined by well-known concert soloists like pianist Emanuel Ax. Other former music directors came “home” to lead the ensemble in other concerts - Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Edo de Waart and Eiji Oue.

Finally, the swords were sheathed enough to come to agreement and the lockout ended January 14th.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS will talk with three men intimately in the Orchestra’s operation, negotiations, performing and reporting on it all. Then, we’ll hear selections from the Grammy-winning recording of the Jean Sibelius’ symphonies, and a treat – some live cello from Tony Ross, and the amazing season now planned.

GUESTS:

TONY ROSS - Principal Cellist, Minnesota Orchestra and part of the musicians’ negotiating team.


KEVIN SMITH - formerly President of the Minnesota Opera, will serve as interim President and CEO, following Michael Henson’s August 31 departure until a permanent successor is identified.


 


MICHAEL ANTHONY – Long-time StarTribune Minnesota Orchestra critic, reviewer and observer, now a Minneapolis-based free-lance writer and critic.


Monday, June 16, 2014

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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This last weekend the Green Line (Central Corridor) started rolling for its inaugural trip along the 11 miles connected downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, to the so-called “Target Central” station, where most of the rail systems serving the Cities and the region hereabouts will ultimately converge  and become the Metro region’s transit hub and even an entertainment venue (presumably to keep. Keeping our focus on the LRT and other transit equity issues seems apropos in returning to this topic this week.

A whole hell of a lot of angst emerged from the disruptions for small business outlets along University Ave, especially, in St. Paul, most of them owned and operated by entrepreneurs of color.

Equity issues can still be found in most aspects of the design and construction of the Green Line well beyond the impacts on business. New lines are planned to cut through sensitive neighborhoods, but not necessarily ready to serve the equity needs for the new parts of North Minneapolis and the entire Southwest Corridor stretching to Eden Prairie. Some of the issues rearing their heads again, many new ones have highlighted the uniqueness of each project – how does the Northwest-bound Bottineau Light Rail Transitway (Blue Line extension) actually serve the nerve center of the North Side’s African-American community. The natural corridor, Broadway Ave, weaves through already distressed neighborhoods, too narrow without the capacity to carry a standard light rail system. Smaller-gauge rails – like those of streetcars – would fit. Is that a solution to fair and equitable access to transit for Northsiders. Riders there could connect to the Bottineau via streetcar. But what other issues confront these folks?

Then, not far from the Bottineau, the Southwest Light Rail system (Green Line) planned through the near-North Harrison neighborhood before swinging Southwest through five cities – Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The battle lines here have been complicated by the role older freight rails and the alignment through the Cedar Lake complex of lakes, bike and hiking trails.

Southwest will be covered as the Metropolitan Council, the Minneapolis City Council and the City of St. Louis Park where well-heeled West Minneapolitans and St. Louis Parkers are demanding their amenities of one sort or another be preserved as they see it. Some of the issues have been partially resolved, but where does the equity play out in this scenario selecting the routes for those segments of the SWLRT.

This time out, we’ll explore the equity issues for the two lines on the west of the city and its suburban sisters and North Side under serious debate and organizing around them along their respective corridors.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with the active organizers directing their efforts to ensure equity and neighborhood concerns are addressed.

GUESTS:

RUSS ADAMS – Executive Director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability


KENNEDY WILLIS – Executive Director, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Mpls.

 

 


MICHAEL MCDOWELL – Transit Organizer, NOC (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change)

AASIM SHABAZZ – Co-Chair, Blue Line (Bottineau Transitway) Coalition (North Side)


Monday, May 26, 2014

Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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You would think this country never before faced the reality of raging inequalities embedded in our history and culture from the flood of recent latest state and federal reports, articles, activists writers from local scholars and up to the national and international level – like Pulitzer winning columnist Paul Krugman, say, or David Cay Johnston, on the economic side, or Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow) and hundreds of other voices from inside and outside the cultures appearing all over the place in the re-emergence of criminal enforcement travesty in the rate of incarceration of men (and women) of color in this country.

Hardly new.

When a topic gets hot – for a time – the topic is made to look as though the subject had never raised its ugly face before this.

Is this another fad with its relevant – and important – writings expect to gathering dust on shelves in desk drawers when it’s all waving red flags – again – crying out for serious action and changed attitudes?

The latest – and excellent, perhaps courageous – effort to document the decline or failure to improve in addressing – seriously – healthcare disparities in a Minnesota Department of Health issued in February (directed to submit to the Legislature). Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota (Feb, 2014) It dives in and avoids sugar coatings about the structural racism that continues to cement the inequality in healthcare access, cost and outcomes among Minnesotans of color – most especially African-Americans, Native Americans ad Latinos (documented and undocumented).

But the Health Report goes well beyond simple definitions, but succinctly inform an ill-informed public that this:

This report reveals that:

• Even where health outcomes have improved overall, as in infant mortality rates, the disparities in these outcomes remain unchanged: American Indian and African American babies are still dying at twice the rate of white babies.

• Inequities in social and economic factors are the key contributors to health disparities and ultimately are what need to change if health equity is to be advanced.

• Structural racism — the normalization of historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal dynamics that routinely advantage white people while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color and American Indians — is rarely talked about. Revealing where structural racism is operating and where its effects are being felt is essential for figuring out where policies and programs can make the greatest improvements.

• Improving the health of those experiencing the greatest inequities will result in improved health for all.

 Take note: the mention of white privilege in a state report – a rarity. But the easier, perhaps, for public consumption is the recent essay (blog) penned by UST Law School Professor, Nekima Levy-Pounds on White Privilege.

(We had hoped to include Commissioner Ed Ehlinger or the report’s co-authors – Assistant Commissioner Jeanne Ayers and/or Melanie Peterson-Hickey, Research Scientist at Minnesota Center for Health Statistics. And we’ll try to get the on another time.)

Once more, we try to convert the written word to action by recognizing just how deeply in our DNA now that it perpetuates the notion that whites are superior, smarter, cleaner, law-abiding, etc., and that whites control the massive machinery of every aspect of American – and they barely recognize just how truly privileged they have been for centuries.

(To get us started Monday morning is a short conversation with Winona LaDuke, Indigenous Economist and White Earth activist, head of Honor the Earth, fighting the tar-sands oil pipelines being pushed across the upper plains and Indian Country land. A perfect example of White Privilege still in action as the powers march across the lands long ago usurped by our Native brothers and sisters.)

Racism, our privilege, and all the economic, education, health care and the rest we see in the disparities in action every day, subtle and not so must be seen as a dangerous, public health issue for all of us.

Inequality – and the appropriate dark cloud hanging over the self-governance promise we have yet to see one fulfilled – belies the near-apocalyptic direction we’re heading if we don’t seriously form a plan to reverse the fatal direction.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS take your mind into the depth of these issues – not to scare us away, but to see the dangers lurking if we don’t change all of it.

GUESTS:

NEKIMA LEVY-POUNDS – Director, Community Justice Project (CJP), an award-winning civil rights legal clinic and Professor of Clinical Education in the St. Thomas University Law School.


DANE SMITH – President of Growth & Justice, a broad public policy research organization addressing economic, education and healthcare inequities across the board.


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WINONA LaDUKE – Indigenous Economist; Director, Honor the Earth, former Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate


AND YOU! Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

Monday, May 19, 2014

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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Less than four weeks out from the launch of the Green Line (Central Corridor), on the heels of opening the so-called “Target Central” station, where will ultimately converge all of the rail systems serving Minnesota and the region hereabouts and become the region’s transit hub and even an entertainment venue (presumably to keep  .

A whole hell of a lot of angst emerged from the disruptions for small business outlets along University Ave, especially, in St. Paul, most of them owned and operated by entrepreneurs of color.

Equity issues could be found in most aspects of the design and construction of the Green Line well beyond the impacts on business. For many residents living along this corridor, memories of the historic inequity visited on the central city of St. Paul dating back to first major divisive swath of freeway – I-94 – cutting through all many of the properties and the folks living around there remember Rondo. For the older folks displaced or friends and family of those going through the prime example of trampling on residents and businesses back now loomed large as they envisioned the Central Corridor wiping out another predominantly community of color in the same general vicinity.

Now, new lines are planned to cut through sensitive neighborhoods, but not necessarily ready to serve the equity needs for the new parts of North Minneapolis and the entire Southwest Corridor stretching to Eden Prairie. Some of the issues rearing their heads again, many new ones have highlighted the uniqueness of each project – how does the Northwest-bound Bottineau Light Rail Transitway (Blue Line extension) actually serve the nerve center of the North Side’s African-American community. The natural corridor, Broadway Ave, weaves through already distressed neighborhoods, too narrow without the capacity to carry a standard light rail system. Smaller-gauge rails – like those of streetcars – would fit. Is that a solution to fair and equitable access to transit for Northsiders. Riders there could connect to the Bottineau via streetcar. But what other issues confront these folks?

Then, not far from the Bottineau, the Southwest Light Rail system (Green Line) planned through the near-North Harrison neighborhood before swinging Southwest through five cities – Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The battle lines here have been complicated by the role older freight rails and the alignment through the Cedar Lake complex of lakes, bike and hiking trails.

Southwest has been covered well as the Metropolitan Council, the Minneapolis City Council and the City of St. Louis Park where well-heeled West Minneapolitans and St. Louis Parkers are demanding their amenities of one sort or another be preserved as they see it. Some of the issues have been partially resolved, but where does the equity play out in this scenario selecting the routes for those segments of the SWLRT.

This time out, we’ll explore the equity issues for the two lines on the west of the city and its suburban sisters and North Side under serious debate and organizing around them along their respective corridors.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with the active organizers directing their efforts to ensure equity and neighborhood concerns are addressed.

GUESTS:

RUSS ADAMS – Executive Director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability


KENNEDY WILLIS – Executive Director, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Mpls.

 

 


MICHAEL MCDOWELL – Transit Organizer, NOC (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change)

AASIM SHABAZZ – Co-Chair, Blue Line (Bottineau Transitway) Coalition (North Side)


Monday, May 12, 2014

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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Local Somali and East African communities are fighting poverty, educating kids and promoting peace and development in the Horn of Africa as well as in their “new” US communities.

Ask your neighbor about the Somali Diaspora in Minnesota, and she is likely to tell you about the pirates in the academy awarded nominated film, Captain Phillips, young El Shabab recruits, and growing Somali power in local politics. Less understood is the major contribution Somalis and other East Africans make to their countries of origin. From the individual financial contributions that serve as a life line for relatives back home, to disaster relief and hunger alleviation, to an increasingly sophisticated range of education and development efforts, Minnesota’s East African community is making a difference.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and Guest Host, TOM O’CONNELL will be joined by three guests who are deeply familiar with these efforts.

GUESTS:

ABDURASHID ALI – Director of Somali Family Services, a Twin Cities based nonprofit with extensive programs in Puntland, Somalia. Beginning with the construction of Puntland’s first library and resource center, SFS has organized a series of impressive initiatives aimed at building a peaceful, democratic, and just Somalia.

 

JAYLANI HUSSEIN – Board Secretary, American Relief Agency For the Horn of Africa (ARAHA); Lead Consultant, Zeila Consultants; Planner, MN Department of Agriculture. Mr. Hussein has traveled the Horn of Africa on number of times on behalf of ARAHA – to open a regional field office as well as to oversee large‐scale humanitarian projects in the Somali Famine of 2011. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Community Development/City Planning and is currently pursuing a law degree.

AWO AHMED – Literacy Program Coordinator, Metropolitan State University. Awo plans to do graduate work in global health and use her knowledge to work with her father, who directs a health clinic in Lasbas, Somalia.