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Immigrant Experiences In MN - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail

 

 A Big Welcome is Great, but not Enough!

Immigrant Experiences and Human Rights in MN

 


Tuesday, May 17      
6 p.m. Pizza Buffet and Social  (Free)        6:30 P.M.  Program


Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N

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Michele McKenzie - Deputy Director and Director of Advocacy, The Advocates for Human Rights

“Moving from Exclusion to Belonging: Immigrant Rights in Minnesota”

michele mckenzieMichele McKenzie’s presentation is based on a two year study that analyzed how well Minnesota protects the human rights of refugees and immigrants. During the study, participants were asked questions about what makes a community welcoming. As the study progressed, the researchers found that while making newcomers feel “welcome” is important, it is not sufficient in the face of discrimination, exclusion, and the denial of access and opportunity that results from human rights violations. Michele McKenzie will cover the main findings of the report including immigration, law enforcement, and the justice system; housing, education, access to basic needs; and issues in the workplace. She will suggest ways to eliminate human rights violations that were uncovered during the study.

Michele McKenzie serves on the senior leadership team at the Advocates for Human Rights. She also leads the organization's research, education, and advocacy team and is responsible for advocacy on The Advocates' domestic priority issues, including migration and human trafficking. She joined the staff of The Advocates in 1999 as an attorney representing asylum seekers and detained immigrants.

McKenzie has served as an adjunct clinical faculty member of William Mitchell College of Law and the University of Minnesota Law School. She teaches the Immigration Education and Outreach Externship for the U of M Law School’s Center for New Americans. Michele received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and her B.A. from Macalester College.


oduwa aganmwonyiOduwa Aganmwonyi - Director of Client Services at Humana Human Services

Insights into Immigrants Social and Mental Health Problems

Oduwa Aganmwonyi will speak on social and mental health problems of MN immigrants and what the causes of these problems are. He will share his insights on how immigrants can best be helped through improvements in mental health and family support services.

Oduwa Aganmwonyi is Co-chair of the Hennepin County Mental Health Local Advisory Council and a member of the Brooklyn Park Citizens Long-range Improvement Committee.



Welcome to our new Brooklyn Park Assistant City Managerwokie c. freeman

Wokie Freeman - Paths to Success in the Immigrant Community

Wokie Freeman will discuss her own successful education and career path including the opportunities, organizations, and systems that were helpful, and describe how she overcame any obstacles along the way to success.

Wokie was previously the Assistant Executive Director and Director of Operations & Programs at the U of M Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC). Her professional experience includes public relations, strategic planning, fundraising, and information technology.

 

 

tamn bphr advocates for hr lwvbpomg bp

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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.

 

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

 

Weblinks to Videos related to February Think Again Brooklyns Topic

 

 

mike tikkanen samuel mwangiand mike troy

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.

 

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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.

 

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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 Open Electoral Process and Leading Election System PDF Print E-mail


mns democracy 11916 linda freemon 2

                                                                                                                                                          Photo by Linda Freemon

 

Secretary of State Steve Simon speaking on MN's Leading Election System at the January 19th Think Again Brooklyns forum.  He commented on MN's longstanding same day registration which has made it possible for more Minnesotans to vote and has been adopted by many other states.  He noted recent improvements that make voting easier such as online registration, registering when changing a driver's license, and no excuse absentee voting and explained there were further improvements MN could make such as allowing felons on probation who have completed their prison sentences to vote, automatic registration of 16 and 17 year olds, and early voting.  Mohamud Noor described the process a candidate goes through to become endorsed by a political party.  "It starts with talking with one's family," he emphasized.  Benjamin Kruse explained the political organization of MN, the sequence of caucuses and conventions that begins March 1, and the purpose of each one.

 

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Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary PDF Print E-mail

 

Charlie Rose Interview of Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

First Woman President of Union Theological Seminary

 

Note from Jeff Strate:

serene jones union theological seminaryRev. Dr. Serene Jones is president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  A few of my colleagues attended Union.  Some of the western world's most influential theologians have served on its faculty. On December 20th, Serene Jones spoke with Charlie Rose about Union and the changing world it has always responded to. These days that means Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, the Bully Trump, terrorism, mass killings, and Islamaphobia. This Charlie Rose Show discussion runs 14:30 minutes:


http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60665355

 

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Unfinished Business: The Continuing Work of Arvonne Skelton Fraser PDF Print E-mail

 

arvonne fraser 2Arvonne Fraser gave the keynote speech at the Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy panel discussion in honor of her 90th birthday.  Following are her concluding comments.  For more comprehensive exerpts, see the Star Tribune article:  Arvonne Fraser on the women's movement: 'What follows is the hard part'

 

"A primary responsibility of any group or country if it wants to endure is to produce, recruit and train its next generation of citizens and workers. . . .  Why do companies expect that the next generation of workers — employees — will be produced by those who choose to become parents, as a gift to employers? To add insult to injury, parenthood is often seen as an impediment to success at what is called the workplace. Add that housecleaners tend to be paid more than child care workers; school hours have little relationship to business hours, and maternity and other family leaves in this country are unpaid. That’s disrespect and disregard bordering on hostility toward some of the most important work done in any society. That must change."

Arvonne Fraser is senior fellow emerita at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a former director of the Office of Women in Development at USAID, and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  She is a founder of what is now Think Again MN.

 

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The Top Charts of 2015 - Economic Policy Institute PDF Print E-mail

 

Economy Still Fails Low and Middle Income Americans with Stagnant Wages

 

Although the unemployment rate is down and the pace of monthly job growth is healing some of the damage inflicted by the Great Recession,  the Economic Policy Institute’s top charts of 2015 show the economy is still failing ordinary Americans with stagnant wages despite increasing productively.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The charts show that an economy with shared prosperity can be created with policies that keep interest rates low, raise the minimum wage, make collective bargaining easier, expand access to overtime pay, and eliminate discriminatory practices that contribute to gender inequality.  (Economic Policy Institute, December 17, 2015).  View the charts.

 

share of prime age workers hasnt recovered from recession

 

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voter id laws discourage voting narrow

Bernie Sanders Graphic

 

A recent General Accounting Office study revealed that turnout was at least 1.9 percent lower in 2012 in Kansas vs 2008 and 2.2 percent lower in Tennesee as a result of new Voter ID laws.  That means it's likely 34,000 more Kansans and 88,000 Tennesseans would have voted if the new laws weren't in place.  Young people, black people, and newly registered people were the groups that saw the biggest drop in turnout.

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