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Oct 23rd

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Gun show question stirs controversy at MN State Fair

Gun show question stirs controversy at MN State FairAs the Minnesota State Fair wound to a close with Labor Day, debate on gun control measures started heating up again. At issue is a polling question asked of fairgoers about whether a background check should be required for people who purchase firearms at gun shows. Opponents of proposed legislation to close the gun show loophole say the question masks an agenda to take away their guns.

Heather Martens, executive director of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota, says opponents of the proposed law are just trying to promote misinformation about the issue. She says the public has already shown overwhelming support for background checks for all gun sales at gun shows, and points to recent scientific polls, including a poll of National Rifle Association (NRA) members.
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Why we are marching on October 2nd

 Why we are marching on October 2ndThe past two years have been marked by major progress despite massive challenges, and a worrying resurgence of far-right activity, urging massive resistance to our momentum. We must keep pushing forward. We have come too far to let ourselves be turned back now.

Together with our allies in the civil and human rights community, the NAACP and our allies have advanced an agenda that has successfully increased rights for women at work, expanded healthcare coverage to tens of millions of Americans, cut the sentencing disparity between crack and powder by more than 80 percent, saved more that 150,000 teacher's jobs, and created more than 3 million more jobs throughout the economy.
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Hastings condemns Dove World Outreach Center’s proposed Quran burning

Hastings condemns Dove World Outreach Center’s proposed Quran burning  (Washington, DC) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) condemned the plan by the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida to burn copies of the Quran to mark the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th:

“The downright racism behind this hate-filled organization’s threat to burn copies of the Quran is disgraceful to American values. The issue here is not our coveted right of free speech; the issue is American values. Hate is hate and this is free speech running amuck. It is irresponsible to hide behind the First Amendment and knowingly put our U.S. military in harm’s way.
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Shirley Sherrod declines new job offer from USDA

Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel

(NNPA) - After being forced to resign and then maligned publicly, Shirley Sherrod has refused to return to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was about one month ago the former USDA official resigned after a blogger posted an edited portion of a speech she had made that caused a rush to judgment by the Secretary of Agriculture and many others.

The edited tape of Sherrod speaking at an NAACP event seemed to suggest that she had declined to aid a White farmer in 1986. But when played, the full version of the event showed what really happened and put the entire speech in context: that she actually helped the farmer. Sherrod was fired once the edited tape surfaced and before the entire version was viewed.
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Mass marches across the nation to expose vast racial inequities

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - According to civil rights veteran the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., an estimated 23,000 people were arrested in civil rights protests across America between February 1, 1960 and August 28, 1963. On that day, 47 years ago, people not only marched on Washington, but in cities and towns around the nation.

“That day a thousand marches took place around the country at the same time, marches for justice and jobs,” Jackson recalled in a recent interview with the NNPA News Service.
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Waters, Rangel seek to downplay race in investigations

Waters, Rangel seek to downplay race in investigationsWASHINGTON (NNPA) – US Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) are apparently seeking to downplay public allegations of racism as they seek to make the facts of their cases heard before the Office of Congressional Ethics.

“People are speculating all kinds of things,” Waters said in an August 6 interview with the NNPA News Service. “There is one thing that I am clear about though. I am clear that if this gets obscured with any other argument before we get our facts out, we don’t stand a chance because people will say we’re hiding behind race or something. So, I think what has to happen is the charges have to be clear, we have to have our day in court and then let’s deal with the process and how the system is working or not working.”

At NNPA deadline, Waters awaited enumeration of charges involving the receipt of $12 million in bailout funds by the Massachusetts-based One United Bank, where her husband owns stock. Rangel faces 13 charges involving reporting of income on his financial disclosure forms and alleged fund-raising violations.
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Rep. Ellison and Mayor Rybak support the Local Jobs for America Act

The recession is forcing states and municipalities to cut jobs that are critically important—teachers, police, firefighters, childcare workers, and others. US Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) and the Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak are promoting the Local Jobs for America Act, which will provide funding for municipal jobs. The US House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee have estimated that the act will create or save one million jobs across the country.

Support will be targeted directly to states and municipalities with the greatest number of people out of work in order to restore important local services. “Cities have been under tremendous pressure to lay off government jobs which only decreases our quality of life…It is entirely appropriate for the federal government to intervene since the private sector can’t provide the number of jobs that we need,” Ellison said. The Local Jobs for America Act will help ensure that local com¬munities can still operate essential services. Because of the recession, many local communities have cut back on education, public safety, childcare, health care, and transporta¬tion. As a result, families who rely on these services are suffering the cost of these cutbacks.
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Shanice Brown: Standing before the world

Shanice Brown: Standing before the worldReporter intern brings strength, passion to exploration of technology, youth and culture

“Sitting here at this desk in the Insight News office is a surreal experience for me because I'm reminiscing on where I was and how I moved to where I am now,” said Shanice Brown, reflecting on her first day of work as a reporter intern for Insight News.

Being a teenager can be a confusing and complicated part in one's life. With hormones going wild and a young person trying to find herself, it's hard to believe that things can get more challenging than that. That is far from the truth. As a newly turned 17-year-old, this bowl of craziness is something that Brown is grateful for, she said. The simple reason why Brown gladly embraces this chaos is because this is her first year living a teenage life.
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A Moment in Time: Looking Back to 1995

A Moment in Time: Looking Back to 1995It is always helpful to look backward as one moves forward. Changes in my job, changes in my personal life as my mother ages, changes in the world, all seem to demand that I take some time to reflect. It is fortunate that while working as an Assistant Professor of anthropology at my alma mater, Grinnell College, I was asked to contribute to the institution’s sesquicentennial issue of reminiscences. What I contributed was an excerpt from the talk that I gave to the graduating Black seniors, class of 1995. It was my last semester at Grinnell, and my words to them were about my struggles as a student at Grinnell, many of which they also had endured. I also spoke about what it meant to be the first African American alumni (and I believe the first woman alumni) to have been hired as a faculty member. The ranks were filled with white male alumni but no women, and absolutely no minority alumni, of which there were few. The Grinnell College Blue Book was published in 1996 for the Sesquicentennial. Even back then I was thinking about Legacymaking. Click here to read more.

Ellison secures funds for Central Corridor and Lowry Ave Bridge

Ellison secures funds for Central Corridor and Lowry Ave BridgeWashington, D.C.  -- Representative Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis) secured two major appropriations for the Fifth District - $45 million for the Central Corridor Light Rail System and $900,000 for the Lowry Ave Bridge.  Both appropriations were included in the 2011 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill (H.R. 5850) that passed the House late last night.

“Creating safe, affordable and reliable transportation options is one of my top priorities in Congress,” Ellison said.  “Our economy depends on our ability to get where we need to, when we need to, quickly and affordably.”

The $45 million Central Corridor appropriation, an 11-mile light rail line connecting downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, represents the first major federal down payment for the proposed $957 million transit project that will serve over 40,000 riders daily by 2030.
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CAIR-MN: Electrolux asked to clarify Ramadan accommodation

Muslim workers have not agreed to proposed change  to meal schedule during month-long fast

(ST. PAUL, MN, 7/23/10) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) last week called on Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux to clarify a statement claiming that it will now offer legally-mandated religious accommodation to Muslim employees at its St. Cloud, MN, plant during the upcoming Ramadan fast.

Earlier in the week, CAIR-MN requested accommodation because of a new policy that prohibits all food on the production floor, except for food required by those with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Since that policy was put in place, Muslim employees, their union representatives, and CAIR-MN have worked to seek an accommodation to allow the workers to bring a snack onto the production floor to break their fast at sunset during the month of Ramadan. The time to break the fast changes daily.
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