Upcoming Think Again MN Community Forums
Employment, Policies, and Programs
Tuesday, May 16 6 p.m. - Free Pizza Buffet and Social 6:30 p.m. - Program
Brooklyn Park Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N
Please RSVP to Facebook or to
With reports showing that Minnesota is the state with the greatest disparities between white people and those who are people of color and immigrants, efforts to close racial gaps are underway at all levels of government: state, county, and city. Our May forum will address equity efforts in two cities, Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park.
One Minneapolis - Reversing the Racial Disparity Trends
Joy Marsh Stephens is an Equity and Inclusion Manager in the Minneapolis City Coordinator's Office. She will speak on the varied responsibilities of her position which involves working with city departments to tie their goals to racial equity outcomes, aligning racial equity work through the city's engagement design team, program evaluation, and working hand in hand with the community to advance racial equity. The most exciting work that Joy and her team will be leading in the years ahead is the 5 year federal grant the city was awarded to work alongside communities to address their capacity to be resilient in the face of stress and trauma.
A Thriving Community with Opportunity for All
Wokie Freeman is Brooklyn Park's Assistant City Manager. Her wide ranging responsibilities include assisting with the day-to-day operations of the City, Community Engagement, Communications, Human Resources, and special projects. Brooklyn Park is the sixth largest city in Minnesota with more than 80,000 residents, 52% of whom are people of color. 400+ employees serve the people of Brooklyn Park. Wokie will explain how Brooklyn Park includes equity principles and policies in its departments, activities, and employment practices.
A Question and Answer session will follow the presentations.
Thank you to our Partners
Reports and Videos for Think Again MN Forums
and Related Articles
Julissa Arce worked her way up to become the vice president at Goldman Sachs by age 27 while being an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. When she gives lectures at colleges and universities, people often ask, "Why don't "illegals" get in the back of the line, and do it the right way?" She notes that "the line" is a mythical place that distracts from the need for immigration reform. Most undocumented immigrants cannot complete an application, go through a process, or pay a fine to start the process of becoming U.S. citizens. Read Arce's CNBC article: "Here's the myth about being an undocumented immigrant that drives me crazy."
Great Business and Employment Resources
at North Hennepin Community College Fair
Speakers from Everyone In, the City of Brooklyn Park Business Department, the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers, the Neighborhood Development Center, and EMERGE together with representative of 18 organizations that hosted tables, provided a wide range of information and resources at the NW Business and Employment Opportunity Fair. The Fair was held in the Grand Hall of the NHCC Business and Technology Fair the evening of Tuesday, February 21. It was sponsored by NHCC, Hennepin Technical College, and Think Again Brooklyns with the help of cosponsors incuding the City of Brooklyn Park; Everybody In; the Human Rights Commission; and the Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center Chapter of the League of Women Voters.
Sam Grant, Executive Director of Everybody In, gave the opening talk on Minnesota's worst in the nation disparities between whites and immigrants and people of color. Everybody In is serving as a clearinghouse for data, insights, and best practices for closing the disparity gap.
Seated are the other speakers: Rob Smolund, Finance Director at the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers; Mohamed Ali, Associate Director, and Fatima Muhammad, Director of Workforce Development, at EMERGE; Teshite Wako, Finance Director of the Neighborhood Development Center; and Adeel Ahmed, Brooklyn Park Business Coordinator. Michael Birchard, the Chief Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer at NHCC moderated the forum.
Left - Jean Maierhofer, Chief Diversity & Affirmative Action Officer at Hennepin Technical College, hosted the college's table at the Fair.
Right - Thea Gaither, Client Services Specialist at Women Venture, explained to a Fair attendee the services Women Venture provides for women planning to start or expand a small business.
Photos by Linda Freemon
Written by Kelly Guncheon
The Role of Print, TV, Radio, and Social Media in Today's Society
With Chris Ison - University of Minnesota Journalism Faculty Member
Professor Chris Ison drew an audience of over 100 people at the Westside Progressives forum at Church of the Epiphany in Plymouth on February 21. Ison teaches courses in news reporting and writing, investigative reporting, and media ethics at the University of Minnesota. He is co-author, with Jane Kirtley, Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, of the book Media Ethics Today: Issues, Analysis, Solutions.
Christ Ison was the Assistant Managing Editor for Investigative Projects at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis from 2001-2004. Before that he was a reporter at the Star Tribune for 15 years. Ison worked on the investigative team, and earlier covered federal agencies, local government, and gambling.
Great conversation and information at the Westside Progressives October 24
about what the mainstream media is missing in this election cycle
with Prof David Schultz. So fun to have a packed house!
Principal Yusuf Abdullah Interviewed on Success of School
Principal 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
Weblinks to Videos related to February Think Again Brooklyns Topic
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:
The 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.