Insight News

Feb 08th

Black, Jews working for justice

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Last week January 20, Martin Luther King Day, “Conversations with Al McFarlane” devoted its focus to the historic civil rights martyr who won the world-coveted Nobel Prize for Peace. Last week January 20, Martin Luther King Day, “Conversations with Al McFarlane” devoted its focus to the historic civil rights martyr who won the world-coveted Nobel Prize for Peace.

First, though, Third Ward City Council candidates Olin Moore and Don Samuels continued their series of appearances at the community Forum. The contest for the council seat took on a personal tone as Moore, now the DFL-endorsed candidate, and DFL member Samuels shared their backgrounds with the Lucille's Kitchen audience.

“I got into this race with my eyes wide open," said Moore. “I was concerned for the city where I have spent most of my life about where we were headed as a city. When I grew up, I [could] ride safely to the park, walk safely to school. Our parents didn't worry too much about me or my friends."

Moore said he was raised by a single mom, and lived in South Minneapolis until roughly 1990, when he moved to North Minneapolis' Harrison neighborhood. “Quite honestly, it was a new experience. But, we found many folks to be very welcoming and committed to their neighborhoods and got involved in North Minneapolis politics. Three years ago we moved to Sheridan in Northeast Minneapolis to live with my wife, Amy Dawson, where we now own a home. The values I was raised with were values to be involved in the community."

Samuels who, himself, was a single parent for 15 years, described himself as having "a diverse background. I'm one of 10 children, grew up in Jamaica and came to America at age 20. I have the advantage of being an immigrant and an African American. In addition, I'm from a poor home [and] understand what it means to [live] on the edge. I've also had an upper middle class income and relate to people who're doing well. That gives you [some of] the ways my history has prepared me to be a leader in a community that is very diverse."

Resmaa Menakem, Director of Programs at Tubman Family Alliance (formerly the Harriet Tubman Center), who recently appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Oprah After The Show,” discussed how the organization caught Oprah Winfrey's attention. Menakem, who has worked in the field of domestic and family violence for 14 years, said, “We look at domestic violence from a family point of view. Not just getting somebody away from [someone else], but also trying to create an environment in which people can grow and, if they're going to stay together, be together without hurting each other."

Menakem said he has done training around the country for about the past five years. He was in Duluth when a representative from Winfrey's Harpo Productions contacted him. “Oprah was looking [to do a program] on domestic violence. She hadn't done a show on domestic violence in the last six years, because she didn't feel there was any [new information] in terms of how you help people heal and grow. A producer [from the show] called me and we got to talking. Then, Oprah flew in and interviewed participants at Tubman," said Menakem.

Colleen Sheehy, director of education at The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, spoke about the museum's exhibit "In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin King, Jr." which runs through April 6 and is free of charge. Produced by the Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the tribute will tour only six cities. It's the first major exhibition of visual arts to venerate this American hero and contains 115 paintings, photographs, works on paper, prints, sculpture, and mixed media pieces by more than 100 artists. Crossing generations, those artists include such figures as Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearde

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