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Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Richard Stodieck was lost as a young man. He found hope and a future at an apprenticeship with Full Cycle bike shop in Minneapolis.

Matt Tennant was working at a youth shelter when he discovered that kids were drawn to his bicycle. He began saving used bikes from dumpsters to repair and give to the kids he worked with. In 2008, he founded Full Cycle, which offers mentorship and training for youth who don’t have stable housing.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Talking to trees, the cool April air, and frogs: Michelle Defoe and her three daughters share the ancient Ojibwe tradition of tapping maple trees for syrup.

Michelle Defoe, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, says you have to respect the trees for the medicine they provide: speak to them, offer them food, and leave them alone to recover once warmer weather wakes up the frogs. Last month, Defoe and her three daughters tapped a sugarbush–a grouping of sugar maple trees–near Duluth.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

A steamy summer looms, especially for Minnesotans who live in urban heat islands with scant shade and spotty air conditioning. Need help in staying cool? Here are some tips.

Thursday’s extreme heat may have previewed another historically steamy summer. Minnesotans of color and those with lower incomes are disproportionately and dangerously affected by scorching weather. But there are resources to help people stay safe, healthy, and cool.

Posted inHEALTH

Overturning Roe v. Wade will harm people of color and burden Minnesota’s health care system, says researcher Asha Hassan. She predicts Minnesota will be flooded with patients from neighboring states seeking abortion access.

Asha Hassan, a reproductive health researcher at the University of Minnesota, says abortion bans disproportionately affect people of color. If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, she says, more Black women will die during pregnancy and Minnesota will see a 371 percent increase in out-of-state patients seeking abortions.

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

They thought they were alone, but leaders in the LGBTQ Hmong community found their voices and solidarity in the Twin Cities. Meet local changemakers working to improve LGBTQ acceptance and visibility in the Hmong community.

Dr. Brian V. Xiong, Kevin Xiong, SUNAH, and Xay Yang are breaking barriers as LGBTQ Hmong leaders. They’re working to make the Twin Cities and Hmong community a more welcoming place through their work with the Hmong 18 Council, New Millennium Academy, the arts, and Transforming Generations.

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

Kevin Xiong moved to the Twin Cities with $500 in his pocket after reading about a group for LGBTQ Hmong people. Today, he’s leading change as executive director of a charter school.

Kevin Xiong was 25 when he relocated from North Carolina to Minnesota in order to join Shades of Yellow, a support group for gay Hmong men. He became the group’s first executive director, and now leads New Millennium Academy in Brooklyn Center.

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

There’s ‘no word for queer’ in the Hmong language. Musician and spoken word artist SUNAH crafts new, positive phrases in Hmong to identify members of the LGBTQ community.

SUNAH wants to replace negative vocabulary from other Asian languages that some Hmong speakers use to refer to LGBTQ people. They used their time as an artist at The Cedar performance venue to craft new, positive alternatives in the Hmong language that translate to rainbow, butterfly, and handsome women, among others.

Posted inPOLICING & JUSTICE

State Senator Omar Fateh says he’s ‘troubled’ by the conviction of his brother-in-law and campaign volunteer, Muse Mohamed. Muse lied to a federal grand jury about handling absentee ballots in Omar’s 2020 primary campaign.

State Senator Omar Fateh released a statement late Tuesday evening confirming for the first time publicly that Muse Mohamud Mohamed is his brother-in-law. Muse was convicted earlier in the day of two counts of perjury. “I am troubled by this conviction,” said Omar, who did not directly address allegations of voter fraud that arose in his 2020 primary campaign.

Posted inBUSINESS & WORK

A cooling housing market drove Florence Karp out of the mortgage business. Launching a Nigerian hot sauce, Afric, put Karp into business for herself.

Making It in Minnesota: Before becoming a food entrepreneur, Florence Karp worked as a teacher, a seamstress, a mortgage broker, and a life coach. Now she markets and sells her own line of traditional Nigerian sauces to Minnesota grocers and stores. Building the business has presented challenges, Karp says. “But if you are in love with something you’re doing, you don’t care.”

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

How many kinds of pho can you find in Minneapolis? Ask Ka Vang. She’ll promote the city’s diversity in her new role at Meet Minneapolis.

Ka Vang is the first-ever vice president of equity, diversity and inclusion at Meet Minneapolis. She’ll help the association attract visitors and conventions to the city while also highlighting businesses run by people of color. Internally, she’ll help Meet Minneapolis with its diversity goals and cultural fluency.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Activists say Native and lower-income communities are disproportionately harmed by coal and gas power plants. They’re calling on Minnesota Power to adopt more renewable energy and to close some plants.

Minnesota Power is planning to build a $700 million natural gas power plant in Superior, Wis. A collective of clean energy organizations is urging Minnesota Power to adopt wind and solar power instead. A study found that closing some of Minnesota Power’s existing plants would save three lives a year and $200 million in health care costs.

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

Imam Abdirahman Aden Kariye was buckled into his airplane seat Sunday ready to fly home. Then TSA agents ordered him off, causing him to miss Eid at his Bloomington mosque.

Imam Abdirahman Aden Kariye arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport more than three hours early Sunday and passed extra security measures. But he was still booted off the last direct flight to Minneapolis. He missed leading the Eid prayer Monday at Dar Al Farooq mosque, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Posted inPOLICING & JUSTICE

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey contends Minneapolis Police Department should obey one—not two—consent decrees to reform the force. State and federal authorities are investigating the police for civil rights abuses.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights issued a damning report last week on systemic racism in the Minneapolis police department, and wants to compel reform through a consent decree. Federal authorities are conducting their own investigation into Minneapolis police and could ask for a separate consent decree.

Posted inCOMMUNITY VOICES

High schooler Trinity Hanif: Minnesota lawmakers must pass legislation providing free menstrual products in schools.

Trinity Hanif, a student at St. Michael-Albertville High School, says students who menstruate can become distracted when they don’t have access to free menstrual products in schools. That hurts their education, she argues, adding that lawmakers must pass pending legislation that would provide the products for free in Minnesota schools.

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

Black Tech Talent launched two years ago to support Black professionals in Minnesota. The ambitious startup is now looking to expand nationwide.

Michael A. Jackson founded Black Tech Talent two years ago to build camaraderie among Black tech workers and to diversify Minnesota’s workforce. The organization’s online community hosts more than 7,000 subscribers and counts more than 100 corporate partners, including Best Buy, BluDot, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunrise Banks, and American Express. Jackson says the last two years have shown the rest of the country that Minnesota has a strong Black community that knows how to mobilize and that’s ready to grow.

Posted inPOLICING & JUSTICE

Minnesota Human Rights investigation finds pattern of racist law enforcement by Minneapolis Police Department.

In a newly released report, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights slammed the city of Minneapolis and its police department for what it described as a “pattern or practice of race discrimination.” The two-year investigation revealed that the police wielded more severe force against Black people, surveilled Black citizens through social media, and frequently used racial slurs.

Posted inPOLICING & JUSTICE

Upcoming federal trial will focus on alleged voting fraud in Minneapolis state Senate primary, court filings say.

Federal authorities charged Muse Mohamud Mohamed in November 2021 with two counts of lying about how he’d handled absentee ballots. The government’s latest brief, filed April 19, reveals the investigation involves the August 11, 2020, primary election in Minnesota Senate District 62, where challenger Omar Fateh beat incumbent Jeff Hayden.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Research shows that medical caregivers often don’t know what tick bites look like on Black and brown skin. That can mean delayed diagnoses of Lyme disease and other illnesses.

Minnesota’s tick season starts as soon as the snow melts. The tiny, blood-sucking arachnids enjoy the same conditions that draw us out into nature every year. Experts warn that people of color are being diagnosed with tick-borne illnesses later than white patients, and that a warming climate could encourage the spread of ticks.

Posted inINSIDE SAHAN JOURNAL

The past two years have been an extraordinary time to report the news in Minnesota. Sahan Journal’s new impact report documents what our work has accomplished and the supporters who made it possible. 

Since its launch in 2019, Sahan Journal has become a groundbreaking source of news for immigrants and communities of color in Minnesota. We are pleased to share this report on our journalism, our news team, and our donors and advertisers.

Posted inEDUCATION

Parents and students rallied to save Newport Elementary. Then, in a packed meeting, the South Washington County school board voted 6–1 to close the school and proceed with a massive building plan. 

Booming enrollment in the southeast suburbs led the district to propose a $462 million facilities plan. At a school-board meeting Thursday night, the district also voted to close the district’s smallest and most diverse elementary school. Voters will have the final say in August.

Posted inPOLICING & JUSTICE

Federal authorities charge Minnesota man connected with Feeding Our Future investigation. FBI agents apprehended him at the airport on his way to Kenya.

Mohamed Jama Ismail has been charged with one count of passport fraud, following his apprehension by FBI agents Wednesday afternoon at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Mohamed becomes the first person arrested in connection with the ongoing federal investigation into alleged food fraud and the nonprofit Feeding Our Future. The FBI first raided Mohamed’s house and seized his passport in January 2020.

Posted inHEALTH

Weight loss programs tailored to the needs of Somali and Latino immigrants show success, a Mayo Clinic study finds. Participants lost weight during COVID while many other Americans gained weight.

Somali and Latino immigrants lost weight when they worked together in culturally specific groups and received coaching by someone from their community. The Mayo Clinic’s pilot study was such a success it’s being replicated on a larger scale.

Posted inEDUCATION

South Washington County Schools wants to spend $462 million to accommodate its booming enrollment. The district also plans to close its most diverse elementary school.

Newport Elementary is a small but popular school for diverse families in the southeast suburbs, with a high percentage of students learning English. It stands out in the mix of affluent and working-class communities that make up South Washington County Schools: Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, and Afton. The district plans to turn the building into an early-learning center–though it’s not clear if state law requires a public hearing first. “I don’t think our voices have been heard,” one Newport parent says.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Many Native people have lost the foods that once nourished their communities. Hope Flanagan is teaching people how to find them again, plant by plant—starting in a park near the airport.

Flowers, buds, needles, roots. On a foraging trip through Crosby Farm Regional Park, in St. Paul, Hope Flanagan forages for native plants that are good for healing (and snacking). But the classes she offers through the nonprofit Dream of Wild Health have a bigger goal: reconnecting Indigenous people to the healthy food systems that once sustained them.

Posted inHEALTH

Two new pills are now available to treat COVID. Here’s how to determine whether you qualify to receive them.

Test positive for COVID? Effective and life-saving treatments may be available in Minnesota. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved two new pills—but they must be taken within the first five days of COVID symptoms. Seniors and many patients with high-risk medical conditions—including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, disabilities, HIV, and more—can obtain the medication for free.

Posted inEDUCATION

Why don’t Minnesota schools ever seem to have enough money? We asked House education-committee chair Jim Davnie how we got here and how to fix it.

The Minneapolis teachers strike highlighted a problem that spans the state: School districts run up perennial deficits to pay for special education and English-language learning. How did we get here? And how might the divided state legislature finally fix education funding? (Hint: What about the state’s $9.25 billion budget surplus?)

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

Minneapolis and St. Paul can take several steps to improve life and build economic success for immigrants and refugees, a new study says.

Minneapolis and St. Paul city officials, community organizers, and business leaders participated in a study that offers solutions for helping immigrants and refugees. The report recommends expanding multi-language skills and improving police training. The findings will be presented to both city councils for implementation.

Posted inBUSINESS & WORK

Akeem Akway used to cut hair for his Fridley high school pals at $5 a pop. Now he owns three barber shops and crafts $100 fades for some of the biggest names in Minnesota sports.

Making It in Minnesota: Since going viral on social media in 2013, Akeem Akway has built a loyal following and counts Timberwolves stars Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell among his regulars. The immigrant from Ethiopia runs three barber shops across the Twin Cities. He told Sahan Journal how he’s built his success—starting with getting fired from his first haircutting job.

Posted inCULTURE & COMMUNITY

Minnesota’s Somali community is mobilizing to send aid to Somaliland after a massive fire broke out at a well-known market. The fire in Somaliland hit on the eve of Ramadan.

A fire recently destroyed an open-air market in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. While no deaths were reported, Minnesota community members said the damage has greatly affected residents who were ramping up to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Posted inNews

Minnesota Department of Education commissioner publicly addresses alleged Feeding Our Future fraud for the first time. Heather Mueller was questioned at a Senate hearing.

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller told a Senate committee that her agency identified potential issues early on. But Senator Roger Chamberlain criticized the department’s response and lack of in-person visits to verify that federal money was being used to feed children.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Marvin Roger Anderson was displaced from St. Paul’s historically Black Rondo Neighborhood as a child when Interstate 94 was constructed. Now in his 80s, he sees promise in a plan to reconnect the area.

The non-profit organization, ReConnect Rondo, wants to bridge the gap in St. Paul’s historically Black Rondo Neighborhood that was bifurcated by the construction of Interstate 94. The group plans to build a land bridge across the highway and construct commercial space and environmentally friendly housing. The highway was built through the neighborhood decades ago, displacing hundreds of Black families and businesses.

Posted inCLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Alicia D. Smith is the Minneapolis Park Board’s only commissioner of color. The newly elected member vows to include people who’ve been left out.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board went from three commissioners of color to one after the November election. Newly elected commissioner Alicia D. Smith is a Black woman who says she’ll restore faith in the parks and create programs that brings children together.

Posted inEDUCATION

Minneapolis teachers and district reach tentative deal to end strike after three weeks. Agreement includes raises, class-size caps, mental-health spending—and a lot of unfinished business.

The final agreements between Minneapolis Public Schools and Minneapolis Federation of Teachers came together around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning; teachers will vote on the contracts over the weekend. Union leaders and district officials both praised the deal. But some of the provisions are temporary and will expire, signaling potential budget challenges in the future.

Posted inCHANGING MINNESOTA

Minneapolis City Council members for the first time pass a resolution recognizing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The effort also supports the public playing of the call to prayer year-round.

The council’s new Muslim Caucus crafted the resolution, which lets mosques know that they can play the Islamic call to prayer, or adhan, multiple times a day. An existing city ordinance already makes it legal to play sounds associated with religious worship between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., but playing the adhan has not been commonly practiced.

Posted inCOMMUNITY VOICES

Roxxanne O’Brien: Community voices must be included in the redevelopment of the former Northern Metal Recycling site in north Minneapolis.

North Minneapolis mother and community organizer Roxxanne O’Brien says years of environmental injustice can only be addressed by bringing community members to the table. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, she says, needs to include the public as it decides what to do with the Northern Metal Recycling site, which polluted the area for years.

Posted inHEALTH

Ever wonder what the comic strip Peanuts would look like if the main characters were Korean American? Brothers Rich and Martin Lee decided to find out.

Cartoonist Martin Lee and University of Minnesota psychology professor Rich Lee address race in a new comic strip, The Other Ones by Lee, which they started during the COVID pandemic. Now, Rich is examining the potential health benefits of using comics to help patients address past trauma.

Posted inEDUCATION

As Minneapolis educators’ strike stretches on, even parents and kids who support striking teachers long to return to school.

Mothers and children passing time at Powderhorn Park on Monday eagerly pressed a reporter about whether a resolution was in sight. Told no, they sounded disappointed, but not distressed. “I want the same things as the teachers want, because they work hard to provide for the students,” said one mom.

Posted inEDUCATION

What’s the biggest obstacle to ending the Minneapolis teachers strike? The district says it’s increased spending requests for mental-health services.

Minneapolis Public Schools says that union demands related to mental health and special education would cost the district an additional $70 million. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers wants the new contract to set case-load limits for counselors, nurses, and social workers, and requirements to hire service providers in each school.

Posted inEDUCATION

Strikeblog Week 3: Minneapolis educators say the district is getting close to an acceptable contract offer. The district says it’s made a final offer to support staff. The Minneapolis teachers strike continues. 

Negotiations over the weekend made progress on raises and bonuses for educational support professionals. Minneapolis Public Schools has called for the union to accept its “last, best, and final offer” or enter arbitration. How close are we to a settlement to reopen the schools? Depends whom you ask.

Posted inHEALTH

Last spring, Hennepin Healthcare System demoted the Filipino American head of its OB-GYN department. In a newly filed discrimination lawsuit, Dr. Tara Gustilo says she was penalized for her ‘colorblind’ political beliefs and her opposition to ‘racially segregated’ health care. 

After the murder of George Floyd, Dr. Tara Gustilo started speaking out about the dangers of urban “riots” and Black Lives Matter. Complaints from colleagues prompted Hennepin Healthcare to remove Gustilo as chair of the department. But Gustilo’s new discrimination lawsuit presents a wider charge: that health care policies intended to achieve equity for patients of color actually discriminate against white patients.

Posted inHEALTH

A first-of-its kind study by University of Minnesota students and faculty found that medical students across all racial groups disproportionately come from affluent backgrounds.

Fourth-year UM medical student and lead researcher, Arman Shahriar, said the findings raise important questions about how patients relate to doctors, where doctors choose to work based on income potential, and how socioeconomic diversity can improve health care.

Posted inDEMOCRACY & POLITICS

Dozens of East African delegates signed up to support Amane Badhasso in her congressional challenge against Betty McCollum. Then local DFL volunteers started calling and texting them to question their credentials.

Amane Badhasso’s campaign signed up dozens of supporters, mostly East Africans, as delegates in her congressional run against incumbent Representative Betty McCollum. But volunteers with the local DFL office began texting and emailing them, questioning whether they were delegates. The incident raised concerns about inclusivity, profiling, and voter suppression.