CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

Here you can find a listing of all shows ...

Monday, August 31, 2015

When is there too much of a good thing? Low-income and working-class communities—often communities of color—lack access to thriving businesses, healthy food, and decent housing.  But what happens when new investments make a neighborhood desirable to middle-class (often white) newcomers? Is it inevitable that “turning around” a neighborhood ends up turning out its low-income and working-class residents? Is gentrification inevitable? Are there ways to improve our communities without displacing the people who live there?

On today’s edition of Truth to Tell, Ralph Crowder, filmmaker and media activist, ( and Queen Nuchie, leader of 1family1community and the Poor People’s Campaign of Minnesota, discuss their efforts to preserve and strengthen the historic African-American community in South Minneapolis. Their story has lessons for inner-city neighborhoods in Minneapolis-St. Paul and across the nation.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, two approaches to racial justice have competed for community support and financial resources.  On the one hand, advocates for racial integration challenged the exclusion of African-Americans from neighborhoods, schools and employment opportunities.  Citizens of all races and ethnic backgrounds, they argued, should be able to live in any community they choose.  And along with choice of neighborhoods would come the social and economic benefits accorded whites.

Advocates of community control, on the other hand, believed that only by building up African American communities could genuine racial equity be achieved. These arguments had parallels in other ethnic and cultural communities, as well.  Today, both advocates for housing integration and placed-based development see their approach as a way to reduce racial inequities and build a sturdy path out of poverty

To explore where these paths converge—and perhaps at times  diverge—Truth to Tell will feature a conversation with Sue Watlov Phillips, executive director  of one of the region’s premier housing advocacy organizations, the Minnesota Interfaith Council of Affordable Housing.  MICAH, as it is commonly known, has joined  several inner-ring suburbs and Minneapolis community groups in legal complaints challenging policies that concentrate housing in high-poverty areas. 

Also joining the discussion are Owen Duckworth, who works on the Equity in Place initiative as coalition organizer for the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Nelima Sitati Munene, who helped rebuild housing in North Minneapolis in the aftermath of the recent devastating tornado and continues to work on affordable housing issues in the northwest suburbs where she resides.  Nelima also served on the Metropolitan Council’s Housing Policy Planning Work Group, which will influence housing development in the metro region for the next 25 years. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Does everyone have a right to health care?  Is gun violence a medical issue?  How do we think about end-of-life decisions?  Embryonic research?  What about doctors who participate in torture?  Perhaps no field of human activity is more fraught with ethical issues than medicine.  And no physician has done more to raise public awareness of bio-ethical issues, than Dr. Steven Miles, professor of medicine and bioethics at the University of Minnesota. In this edition of Truth to Tell, we will explore the critical field of medical ethics by examining some of the most important—and controversial—medical issues facing our community today.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A coalition of labor unions and community organizations is calling on the city of Minneapolis to raise standards for working families by ensuring earned sick and safe time and a fair work week, putting an end to wage theft, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  The City Council has responded by setting up a working group to study the issues. Mayor Betsy Hodges has expressed strong interest in the  worker-protection proposals while stating reservations about  the $15 minimum wage hike.

Just how far can a city go in protecting its workforce?  Shouldn’t these issues be handled at the state or perhaps regional level?  Will unilateral action cost Minneapolis jobs or will a strong stand by Minnesota’s largest city spark action in St. Paul, metro suburbs, and eventually the state? 

Monday, August 3, 2015

On July 22, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joined 60 mayors from around the world for a meeting with Pope Francis on climate change.  The meeting was more than ceremonial.  The Pope believes cities have the power to make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change as well as the often-related issues of extreme poverty, forced migration, and human trafficking.

Hodges was the only mayor of a Midwest city to be invited to the Pope’s meeting.   It turns out Minneapolis is already taking aggressive action on climate change. The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan adopted by the City Council in June of 2013 sets ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reductions.  Using 2006 as the baseline, the city pledges to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recently, the Minnesota Department of Health and Pollution Control Agency released Life and Breath: How Air Pollution Affects Public Health in the Twin Cities. Meanwhile, environmental justice advocates are organizing state-level support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan—President Obama’s ambitious plan to reduce carbon and other emissions from the nation’s power plants.  A key component of this effort is the True Cost of Coal Campaign organized by the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Joining Truth to Tell to discuss the link between air pollution, public health and environmental justice are:

  • David Bael, economic policy analyst, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Jean Johnson, environmental epidemiologist, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Karen Monahan, organizer, North Star Branch of the Sierra Club

For more information, check out the links below:

Monday, July 13, 2015

The written word can be a powerful thing.  A poem can create in a few sentences a new and magical way to experience the world.  A novel can take readers places they have never been and introduce them to people they will never meet.  Through memoir, we can discover a bond with people whose lives may be very different from our own.  And the power of non-fiction to help us understand—and even change—the world is essential to democracy.

Today TTT explores the Power of Words with:

Peter Rachleff, retired history professor at Macalester College and co-founder of the East Side Freedom Library and Monte Bute, a faculty member at Metropolitan State University who has inspired hundreds of students to wrestle with important, and often challenging, thinkers who have helped shape our times.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Over the next several months, TruthtoTell will be taking a look at developments in rural Minnesota. For many urbanites, rural Minnesota is a riddle. Who lives there? How do they make a living? Can you get Starbucks coffee there? Do rural people eat more pie than city folk? Are they more religious? How come rural people seem so conservative?  Do black people live in rural Minnesota? Gay people? Do rural people hate unions? Do farmers have to own 1,000 acres these days to make a profit?  And, most basically of all: What do rural people want, anyway?

On Monday’s edition of TTT, we begin our series by focusing on the political map. During the last election cycle, DFL incumbents lost 11 legislative seats to Republicans, who won control of the state House of Representatives. As a result, many of the issues that we have been covering on TTT died or were watered down: Driving privileges for undocumented immigrants, the Felon Voting Restoration Act, needed expansion of transportation infrastructure, funding for pre-K, and environmental protections are just a few of the issues that might have been different, had the DFL managed to win those elections.

So where did the DFL lose seats?  And more importantly, why? Did Republicans have better candidates, more money, a superior campaign strategy? Was—and is—the philosophy of today’s Republican Party more in tune with a majority of rural voters? Or can the DFL reclaim those seats in the 2016 presidential year.

Joining TTT to help us answer these and other questions is Jim Niland, a longtime labor and political activist who served most recently as political and legislative director of AFSCME Council 5, one of the largest public employee unions in the state.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The much anticipated release of Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate Change was greeted with jubilation by environmentalists and social justice advocates around the world. In his 192-page message, Laudatu Si (“Praise Be”), the Pope links climate change to the over-arching theme of his papacy — fighting global inequality and poverty.

In the short time that he has been Pope, Francis has inspired millions — and not only Catholics.  Certainly his insistence that climate change is real, man-made and requires a massive response by individuals, corporations, and governments comes at a critical time. But can the Pope’s teaching and example really make a difference?  Will climate skeptics inside the Church and in the general public re-examine their views and perhaps even their conscience?

To help us understand the Pope’s message on climate change, as well as his larger impact, TTT is joined by:

Dr. Paul Wojda, associate professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas.

Matt Gladhue, organizer for ISAIAIH, a congregation-based social justice organization

Dr. David Pellow, sociologist and environmental justice scholar, recently with the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Minnesota

Monday, June 15, 2015

In 1968, Minnesota’s young and powerful Democratic-Farmer Labor Party faced its biggest internal crises since the Democratic wing led by Humbert Humphrey out-organized the remnants of Minnesota’s once-dominant Farmer-Labor Party.  The issue in the late ‘40s was the rise of U.S. militarism at the dawn of the Cold War.  The issue in 1968 was a legacy of that earlier era: the Vietnam War.  The most visible face of that conflict was the contest between two DFLers to replace Lyndon Johnson as president:  Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Eugene McCarthy.

The conflict didn’t start, however, in 1968.   Several years earlier, people like Vance Opperman were leading anti-war teach-ins at universities, church basements, and living rooms across Minnesota.  In an age before Facebook and Twitter, millions of Americans found ways to connect with each other in a powerful movement that had a major impact not only on the course of what was fast becoming an Indo-Chinese war, but on U.S. politics as well.

Special guest-host Bob Meek will be joining Tom O’Connell to interview one of the key participants in this history, Vance Opperman.  Vance will take us through the grassroots efforts that led up to the 1968 contest, the action within the DFL from precinct caucus to state convention, and also offer some  reflections on the public careers of these two giants of Minnesota politics: Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy