Insight News

Aug 04th


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.

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.

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.

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.

Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo SoldiersBuffalo Soldiers:
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) met with World War II veterans, the historic Buffalo Soldiers, in her Washington, DC office. The Buffalo Soldiers get together every July 28th in different cities to commemorate Buffalo Soldier Day. Throughout the year they visit schools, churches and community groups to raise awareness about the historic challenges and accomplishments of the Buffalo Soldiers. Pictured below, from left, are: Trooper Bruce Dennis; Trooper Albert Curley; Trooper James Madison; Trooper Harold S. Cole; Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA); Trooper Ernest Collier; Congresswoman Waters; Trooper Al Benson; Trooper James Cooper; and Trooper Andrew Aaron. July 29, 2010.

Haitian celebrity Chef Ron Duprat and ébène founder Fayola Nicaisse establish hunger alleviation program for Haiti earthquake victims

Haitian celebrity Chef Ron Duprat and ébène founder Fayola Nicaisse establish hunger alleviation program for Haiti earthquake victimsHollywood, Ft Lauderdale, FL ( -- Recently, celebrity chef Ron Duprat and former model Fayola Nicaisse visited Haiti to examine conditions six months after the devastating January 12, 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake centered near PORT-AU-PRINCE. Overcome by the deplorable post-earthquake living conditions and hunger still rampant in their homeland, Duprat and Nicasse became more determined than ever to do something to address the still existent near famine conditions. Chef Duprat has partnered with Bergeron Land Development, Inc. to establish a culinary center in Haiti in an effort to help alleviate hunger in affected areas.

Duprat teamed up with Nicaisse - who is the founder of the highly-successful ébène organic skin and hair care line - shortly after the earthquake in a common love for their country and their eagerness to contribute to relief efforts. To meet their collective goal they are also currently working on expanding her line of skin care products. A percentage of the products' proceeds will benefit their continued relief efforts in Haiti.

Vote 2010: Absentee ballot a choice for some

Absentee ballots will be available starting Friday, June 25th for the August 10, 2010, primary election.  Let’s talk about voting, voting qualifications and voting absentee.  Voting is the first step to civic participation.  There are multiple ways to exercise your right to vote in Minnesota.  You may vote at the polls on Election Day, you may vote in-person as an absentee at the county auditor or city clerk’s office before the election or mail in an absentee ballot. 

July 20, 2010, was the last day to register to vote in order to appear on the list for your polling location.  If you are not registered by July 20, 2010 then you will have to register via same-day registration when you go to vote on August 10th. 

Study finds homebuyers in lower income and minority neighborhoods pay higher FHA loan rates

Twin Cities among worst in nation

Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization that builds power in low-income neighborhoods through community organizing, released a new study showing that nationally and in the Twin Cities, homebuyers in lower income and minority neighborhoods are paying higher rates on FHA home mortgages and that the disparities in the Twin Cities are worse than in other metro areas.  Because FHA loans are federally insured and only available to borrowers who meet the FHA lending criteria, these disparities cannot be explained by differences in risk factors, such as credit, among the borrowers.

Statement from Center for Responsible Lending president Michael D. Calhoun

Washington, D.C.—President Obama’s signing of the financial reform bill last week marked a watershed in efforts to restore common sense to lending and financial markets. Our nation now has a roadmap for ending the unfair and deceptive practices that have cost millions of families their financial security and nearly capsized the economy.

To members of Congress who worked so diligently to craft this law—and to withstand big-money lobbying against reform—we offer our deepest gratitude. Their support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and strong lending rules will help all Americans who simply want fair access to credit and the information they need to make the best financial decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses.

Passing this legislation was an enormous undertaking. Now we all face the equally hard job of implementing it as intended.

For more information: Kathleen Day at (202) 349-1871 or; Ginna Green at (510) 379-5513 or; or Charlene Crowell at (919) 313-8523 or

Melvin Carter participates in political study program

Melvin Carter participates in political study programWASHINGTON, June 29, 2010 – St. Paul Ward 1 City Councilmember Melvin Carter III has been selected by The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) as a delegate to Algeria for a 7-day political exchange program beginning on July 9, 2010. He will join six other young political and policy leaders from across the United States to study Algeria’s political system, engage in dialogue on international issues, and forge professional relationships and friendships. The program is arranged by ACYPL and made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State.

“ACYPL has the unique mission of proving select young leaders with an opportunity to travel internationally and engage firsthand in public diplomacy,” said ACYPL Chief Executive Officer Linda Rotunno. “Our delegates have access to key leaders in the nations they visit. They engage in dialogue on sensitive issues, gain a unique perspective on the country’s politics and its relations with the US, and, most importantly, forge professional relationships and friendships that can last a lifetime.”
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