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Upcoming Think Again MN Community Forums


2016 Global Fatherhood Foundation Domestic Violence Forum Print E-mail
Written by Samuel Mwangi   


The Impact of Domestic Violence on Migration and Suicide


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Sunday, October 23               3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center
5600 85th Avenue N

 Please RSVP on Facebook

Domestic Violence is a societal problem of epidemic proportions.  Battering affects families across immigrant communities in all socioeconomic, racial, cultural, and ethnic groups.  Any person of any belief system is capable of perpetrating spiritual abuse, just as anyone can be the victim of it.  But how does domestic violence vulnerability impact one's immigration status?  Can one be deported and to what extent is domestic violence a major precipitating factor for suicide?





henry m. ongeriHenry M. Ongeri - Founding partner and shareholder of ANTOLAK & ONGERI, the Transatlantic Law Firm, PLLC which serves the Diaspora and transnational clients by bringing practical, culturally appropriate and effective solutions to their legal needs
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Flo Nyoike - Senior family advocate with Simpson Housing Services

oduwa aganmwonyi 3  Oduwa A. Aganmwonyi - Director of Client Services at his own agency, Covenant

  Human Services, LLC & Co-chair of the Hennepin County Mental Health Advisory Council

 gladys beri


  Gladys Beri - Author and Occupational Therapy Practitioner

cheryl kolb-utinen  Cheryl Kolb-Utinen - Cornerstone Community Services Program Manager





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For more information, contact Sam Mwangi, 763-647-9787, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




           tamn and wanlainjo



MN Legislative Session and the Upcoming Elections - David Schultz PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kelly Guncheon   


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Monday, October 24

          6 p.m. - Sign-in               6:15 p.m. - Dinner           6:45 p.m. - Program       

   Church of the Epiphany, 4900 Nathan Lane N, Plymouth

   (1 block west of Highway 169 on the South Side of Schmidt Lake Road)


The MN Legislative Session and the Upcoming Election


david schultz office photoWith David Schultz

Political Science Professor at Hamline University and Political Analyst 



Come hear David Schultz analyze the results of the Legislative session as well as share his prognostications for the upcoming elections.  For those of you who haven't heard him speak, Professor Schultz is a dynamic speaker who provides valuable perspective about what's going on in St. Paul, and who has fascinating insight into the elections, both local and national.  He's a popular political analyst on local TV stations.  You don't want to miss him!



David Schultz teaches classes in American politics, public policy and administration, and ethics. Professor Schultz has authored 30 books, including his most recent, Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter (2015), Election Law and Democratic Theory (2014), and American Politics in the Age of Ignorance: Why Lawmakers Choose Belief Over Research (2013).  A Fulbright scholar who has taught extensively in Europe, Schultz is the winner of the national 2013 Leslie Whittington Excellence in Public Affairs Teaching Award.



The Westside Progressives, a non-partisan educational forum that encourages civil and thoughtful discussion about progressive issues, meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Church of the Epiphany.  $10 admission includes lasagna (vegetarian option available)/salad dinner.  If you do not want to have dinner, let Kelly Guncheon know when you RSVP.


Please RSVP to Host Kelly Guncheon so he knows how to arrange the room and how much food to order:


Thank you




The Brooklyns Immigrant Cultures - Think Again Brooklyns Print E-mail


Now and Looking to the Future



Save the Date!
Tuesday, November 15
6 p.m. - Pizza Buffet and Social               6:30 p.m. - Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers
5200 85th Avenue N

Please RSVP on Facebook
or to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



oromo streetOur November forum will give examples of four of the many immigrant groups in Brooklyn Park.  Our speakers will cover topics such as:

1) why members of their cultural background settled in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center;

2) how their culture offers strengths to their members and ways it might limit them; 

3) supportive services that have proved helpful to their cultural community and other needs they have that have not been addressed or obstacles members of the group have encountered;

4) values and practices of their culture they would like their children to maintain as well as customs and values they think could benefit the wider society; and

5) how the communities are doing now, what their hopes for the future are, and what part and visible presence they'd like to see their group have in the Brooklyns and Minnesota in the future.

We plan to explore aspects of Oromo, Hmong, West African, and Latino cultures.







Reports and Videos for Think Again MN Forums

and Related Articles


Patrick Henry High School Featured on Channel 5 Eyewitness News and Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


Principal Yusuf Abdullah Interviewed on Success of School

yusuf abdullahPrincipal of Patrick Henry High School, Yusuf Abdullah, was interviewed about the success of Patrick Henry High School by Channel 5 Eyewitness News on the 10 p.m. news on March 16.  The school achieved the highest graduation rate in Minneapolis in 2015, 87% in comparison to an average high school graduation rate of 64% in the district.  It was given the third highest rank among Minnesota high schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.  Mr. Abdullah, who spoke at the March 16th Think Again Brooklyns forum, noted that it is especially important to meet the needs of nineth grade students because students who pass nineth grade are very likely to graduate.  See the Eyewitness News report.


Yusuf Abdullah's Presentation at Think Again Brooklyns

Principal Abdullah spoke on what has contributed to the success of Patrick Henry High School, especially its graduation rate and spoke on the school's vision and action plan developed through Community Cafes and a Strategic Planning Team at the Think Again Brooklyns forum March 16, 2016.  Watch the 40 minute video of his presentation with Power Point slides.


Shaping an Identity Affirming Space for
Black Males at Henry High


By the Ujima Collective, Twin Cities Daily Planet, April 6, 2016


“Imagine entering a place every day where you can gain the skills you need to make your dreams come true. A place where you are nurtured, loved and valued. Your unique skills are recognized and celebrated, your experiences validated. Your sense of self affirmed. . .   this is how Black male scholars describe their ideal school experience.”

Read the Ujima Collective's description of how their group of Henry High School teachers created an effective learning environment for Black male students.   Ujima is a Swahili term meaning collective work and responsibility.  As educators, the members of the collective are guided by the term and see it as crucial to the success of Black students.


Positive Behaviors Lead To Academic Success - Minneapolis

An Achievement Gap Committee Brown Bag - April 26, 2016

The Chief of Minneapolis Public Schools and three principals discuss how those schools are led, how they maintain a positive school climate with staff and students, and how this leads to academic and life success for students:

  • Michael Thomas, Chief of Schools for Minneapolis
  • Michael Bradley, Roosevelt High School 
  • Yusuf Abdullah,  Patrick Henry High School 
  • Ronald Salazar, Fowell K-8  

See the video





The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children PDF Print E-mail


Weblinks to Videos related to February Think Again Brooklyns Topic



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Mike Tikkanen, Samuel Mwangi, Dr. Mike Troy


Three highly informed speakers alerted an attentive audience to the importance of giving attention to domestic abuse at the February Think Again Brooklyn forum on “The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children.”  Mike Tikkanen, founder of Kids at Risk Action, author of Invisible Children spoke on his work with over fifty children in the County Child Protection System as a volunteer in the Guardian ad-Litem program as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA).  He emphasized that children in the Child Protection System are not kept safe and only half as many children reported as abused in MN were checked on in comparison to other states.  He noted that the children he worked with suffered very serious abuse and that the cost to society is huge in terms of disruption to classrooms and foster families, and health care costs that can run into the millions of dollars by the time a child reaches 18.  "We don't provide the services children need.  We use drugs instead.  It's cheaper."  If you missed the forum, see the two minute videos he showed during his talk:


Rich Gehrman, Founder of Safe Passage for Children, on Inadequacy of Child Protection Program


Overview Trailer for TPT Series on Neglect and Abuse of Children

Dr. Mike Troy, Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, described the rapid development of child’s brain that begins before birth and continues during the child’s first five years.  He noted the big contribution that nurturing parents and others in the child’s life make to the child’s brain development and emphasized that a child born to a poor family can thrive if given the attention it needs.

If you missed the forum, listen to the presentations on early childhood development at Think Again MN's Achievement Gap Committee forum.  Click on the title:


mike troypamela chawlaThe Early Years
Setting the Pathway for a Lifetime

Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, MD

Senior Medical Director
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Dr. Mike Troy

Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services

Associate Medical Director, Neuroscience Program
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Starts at 20:40



Sam Mwangi, founder of the Global Fatherhood Foundation, presented his survey findings on domestic abuse in the West African diaspora.  Almost 70% of the 205 Africans in diaspora surveyed "either knew somebody going through gender violence or they're victims themselves."  68% of the survey respondents said that husbands were the main perpetrators of violence while 51% attributed the violence to wives.  Over 70% said that they stayed together in spite of the violence because of their children.




The Economic Status of Minnesotans PDF Print E-mail

A Chartbook With Data For 17 Cultural Groups


January 2016

Minnesota State Demographic Center



"This chartbook provides a statistical portrait of the economic status of Minnesotans—including much data that has never been seen before—for the 17 largest cultural groups in Minnesota. These data result from responses by Minnesotans to the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey (ACS), the largest federal survey that produces insights into our population’s economic, social, housing, and demographic characteristics.

However, the ACS data that are collected are not always released by the Census Bureau in a way that helps policy makers and community leaders in Minnesota understand key differences in our very diverse populations. Standard racial groups used by the Census Bureau are too broad, and while data are often available for the largest ethnic or ancestry groups nationally, those may not be the groups most relevant in Minnesota.

To better illustrate economic status in Minnesota, we have constructed cultural groups and assembled data from the ACS in a manner intended to be more useful to those working to improve the economic security of Minnesotans. The result is this first-of-its-kind economic status chartbook, which presents information for 17 cultural groups, all those with enough survey responses to create useful estimates."


Download the chartbook.





30th Anniversary Celebrated at Stone Arch Discussion Group PDF Print E-mail


Think Again MN President Jeremy Wieland

Remembers Don and Arvonne Fraser and Many Others


30th anniv tamn celebration at stone arch dec 2015


elizabeth gliddenThe longest running forum of Think Again MN is the Stone Arch Discussion Group which meets at the Wilde Roast Cafe in SE Minneapolis.  Stone Arch celebrated its 30th anniversary and that of our nonprofit in December.  The other Think Again MN monthly forums are the Achievement Gap Committee in St. Paul, Westside Progressives in Plymouth, and Think Again Brooklyns in Brooklyn Park.  Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (left) spoke for the occasion at Stone Arch on the Working Families Agenda.  Following are 30th anniversary comments from Jeremy Wieland, President of Think Again MN and Stone Arch host:

jeremy wieland
"The Stone Arch Discussion Group has been a forum to share ideas and challenge policy innovators. It has also been a wonderful forum for friends to share a cup of coffee and for businesses to show support of the community.  Stone Arch has been a venue to meet and humanize elected people who represent us in government, to talk with the thought leaders and academics who push the policy boundaries, and to hear from the government employees who forge law & policy into reality.

don ostrom at 30th anniversary dec 2015Without Arvonne and Don Fraser, we would never have met the first time. We thank them for public service in both the civic and civil realms that is too vast to measure. They did not do this alone. I have been on the Board for over ten years and I’ve benefited from the mentorship of the Frasers, Don Ostrom (left, in front) and Carol Flynn, who were Presidents before me, and Barbara Allivato, Vici Oshiro, John Farrell, and Brian Hanninnen who made pretty much everything run on time. Barbara Bearman and Matt Little were especially welcoming to a much younger me. I thank Amy Klobuchar for being an early President and now respected Senator. I thank so many who endeavored on this project before us. 

I want to call attention now to our current Board, many of whom you may not know. Carol Woehrer, John Riskin, Wayne Doe, Tammie Carino and former Legislator Betty Folliard. Carol, John, Wayne, Tammy and Betty give tirelessly, as have their predecessors, so that we have venues and speakers to continue the work of civic engagement and democracy building. They are all inspirational in their own ways whether they know or not.

Today’s celebration is of each of you in the room this morning, and everyone who raised a cup at Gardens of Salonica, or who tempted fate marching down the stairs of Jitters, and everyone who has taken a bag lunch to seek solutions to the achievement gap, or shared the history of progressive politics in Minnesota, or reached out to engage new Minnesotans before the historic rejection of the marriage amendment. Together the great work of our society progresses under our hands, and I like to think that we are making progress."





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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article


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2016 Candidate Forums


       Brooklyn Park

      Brooklyn Center


       Maple Grove


City Council Candidates

State Senators & Reps

County Commissioners

School Board Members


See list with dates, times, locations, candidates, and NW Cable TV videos.





 Talks on Voting 
 & Voter Restriction at
 GOTV Concert 

Ministers and community leaders introduced concert goers to the history of voting in the U.S. and MN and encouraged concert goers to vote for the candidates who include everyone in their vision for MN and the country.  They also spoke of the attempt to roll back voting rights through an amendment to the MN Constitution which was rejected by the voters in the election following the 2012 GOTV Concert.  You can hear their insightful presentations on this half hour tape.

The speakers, introduced by the concert organizer Reva Chamblis, included:


Carolyn Jackson, ACLU MN, Gospel Concert, 10/26/12

Carolyn Jackson
Lobbying Coordinator, ACLU MN
The Struggle to Expand U.S. Voting

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Dane Smith - President, Growth and Justice

"Minnesota leads the nation in voter turnout.

. . .  We have one of the most open and

accessible, accurate and upright voting

systems in the world."

joy marsh stevens gospel concert 102612

Joy Marsh Stephens

ISAIAH Chairperson for West Suburban Region

Informed Voters Need to Vote for Candidates that Benefit Everyone.

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Pastor Devin Miller
"It doesn't take a whole lot of votes to
make a difference, but it sure makes a
difference if a whole lot of people don't vote."

View the video of their talks by John Risken.


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