Sahan Journal launches search for new staff to grow our audiences, major donors, and sales and marketing programs. Be part of the future of diverse nonprofit news in Minnesota!
Sahan Journal launches search for new staff to grow our audiences, major donors, and sales and marketing programs. Be part of the future of diverse nonprofit news in Minnesota!
Sahan Journal is searching for new staff to support our audience growth, major gifts, and sales and marketing. Be part of the future of diverse nonprofit news in Minnesota!
Over the weekend, Minneapolis Public Schools offered pay bumps and class-size caps. Union leaders say these concessions should become permanent. The district and school board leaders say added spending could lead to ‘drastic cuts’ down the road.
From the legislature, to the clinic, to the foundation board room, to the traditional healing circle, Catalyst Initiative embraces every possible angle for creating more health and healing.
It starts with addressing racism in healthcare.
Mary Davis, who suffers from fibromyalgia and other health issues, has been using medical cannabis for four years to treat chronic pain. She can store the medication in her federally subsidized Section 8 townhome but can’t use it inside. She’s forced to vape it outside under scrutiny from neighbors and the constant fear of being arrested by the police.
Making it in Minnesota: Aldwaik grew up in East Jerusalem and came to the U.S. as a teenager. Besides making his small shop an essential stop for his diverse customers, he is deeply involved in the neighborhood.
Could just anyone claim to feed children and get millions of dollars in federal funds? Who was responsible for monitoring food sites under federal Child Nutrition Programs? Did the Minnesota Department of Education follow federal oversight guidelines? We asked state and federal officials about how the food aid programs were supposed to work–and what may have gone wrong.
Canceled classes will have to be made up. But the number of days that need to be rescheduled varies by school.
The adult basic education program serves many immigrants learning English and other adults pursuing their high school equivalency. Students say their striking teachers provide a vital service and need higher pay.
As the Minneapolis educator strike stretches into a third day, the school board chair speaks with Sahan Journal about class-size caps, teacher pay, and the state’s $9 billion surplus. Limited resources should go to students and educators who need them most, she says.
Environmental activists and many locals want the Roof Depot site to be developed into an urban farm with affordable housing. Last fall, the City Council approved the city’s plan to turn the site into a water utility yard—potentially increasing traffic and pollution in a diverse neighborhood that already experiences environmental health problems.
Masjid Al-Ilhsan mosque leaders hired nighttime security and warned congregants to remain vigilant. But they plan to update security equipment after two men broke into the St. Paul mosque and stole a safe, a van, and other items.
Minneapolis Public Schools outlines strike’s effects on the school calendar; adult basic education teachers make the case for higher pay; school board chair Kim Ellison shares her approach to negotiations; an economist analyzes Minneapolis teacher pay; educational support professionals speak out on the Northside; and an outdoor rally at the Capitol ends in “Purple Rain.”
On a frigid morning, educational support professionals made the case for the strike. “We aren’t being heard, and so we have to do something about it,” said Shayla Johnson, an associate educator for pre-kindergarteners.
Minneapolis Public Schools expected contract negotiations to last all day with striking educators. Instead, the mediator-led talks ended with no progress. “They keep forgetting who’s in control now,” said union head Greta Callahan.
A strike rally on the south Capitol lawn in St. Paul drew throngs of educators, families, and elected officials. A strike band played “When the Saints Come Marching In.” And Minneapolis Public Schools stayed closed for another day.
Research from the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan policy group, finds that teacher salaries in Minneapolis have barely kept up with inflation over the past three years. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers has made wage gains into a key issue in negotiations with Minneapolis Public Schools.
Maria Isa Pérez-Hedges is making a run for the Minnesota House as Latina lawmakers in the Senate face new roadblocks due to redistricting. DFL Caucus Leader Senator Melisa López Franzen chose not to run for reelection after redistricting placed her in the same district as fellow DFL Senator Ron Latz, a long-time incumbent with history in the area. The changes lead some lawmakers to wonder about the future of Latino representation in the Senate.
The north Minneapolis park is set to undergo a $21 million renovation with features such as a community center, an aquatic center, athletic fields, an ice skating rink, and an amphitheater.
Sahan Journal spoke to Wale Falade, the Nigerian-born architect leading the project, about listening to community needs, founding a Black-led design firm, and building his own kitchen cabinets.
Here’s all the latest news about the first Minneapolis teacher strike in a half-century. Minneapolis educators and the district remain far apart on major issues such as class-size limits, mental health support for students, and pay raises for education assistants.
Five residents of a south Minneapolis apartment building describe early-February encounters with an FBI agent. Together, they say they faced questions about their voting methods in the 2020 City Council election in Ward 6. Several say they were shown images of their IDs or photos of neighbors and a Minneapolis politician. The elders say the FBI encounters left them scared and reluctant to vote in the future.
The South Minneapolis market is struggling with vacancies, the loss of its manager, and a dramatic drop in foot traffic – partly because employees of the nearby Allina Health headquarters are working from home.
Sahan Journal has unpublished the original story. We deeply regret the mistake and apologize to our readers and to Ubah Hussein Dhiblawe.
Low-income communities of color are most likely to be harmed by pollution and climate change, says Tee McClenty, new executive director of the Minneapolis nonprofit. As a woman of color who’s passionate about racial
and climate justice, she’s committed to making the fight to address climate change and for cleaner air and water more inclusive.
Burglaries have increased in St. Paul, particularly in the western part of the city, where the mosque is located. Leaders say congregants don’t feel safe.
Growing the Herd
Prepare + Prosper offers low-fee financial products, services and coaching.
The friendship between a former Olympian and the college kid he took under his wing shows the power of mentoring — to make both individuals’ lives all the richer.
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers unions have identified raising educational support professional pay as a major demand as they prepare to strike. Classroom aides in both cities say they’re working harder than ever, but still struggle to pay their bills. “My job description is, ‘We can ask you to do anything we want,’” says one of her grueling work day.
Millions of people around the world play video games, investing in a multibillion-dollar industry. A large and growing percentage of the gamer community identifies as people of color.
A jury found Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights. The three former Minneapolis police officers participated in Floyd’s arrest, while Derek Chauvin, the senior officer on site, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The jury also convicted Thao and Kueng of failing to intervene with Chauvin, who was found guilty in April on state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s killing.
Commentary: At first, a payday loan may seem innocuous and helpful, a way to relieve the immediate pressure of piled-up bills. But soon their high interest rates ensnare the low-income people they target. Such predatory practices have their roots in racist economic and residential policies. The head of Exodus Lending, a St. Paul nonprofit, pleads for “a change in the system.”
Sharmarke cited personal reasons for stepping down. He owns the building with Abdi Salah, a former aide to the mayor, who also has resigned.
A climate action plan with big ambitions offered no commitment to shutting down the HERC, which generates electricity from burning garbage. Foes say people of color and low-income families suffer most from the carbon dioxide and particulates it emits.
I started Sahan Journal to provide committed coverage to immigrants and people of color in Minnesota. But it’s not all good news. Sometimes that means reporting on allegations that some people would rather keep out of the public view. We owe our readers the truth. And we need to be honest with ourselves about potential wrongdoing.
Making It in Minnesota: Amalia Moreno-Damgaard is an author, chef, and local TV personality. In 2021, the Latino Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota honored her as entrepreneur of the year. And while she studied in culinary school, Moreno-Damgaard also credits the lessons she learned about food and small business from her grandmother, who ran a variety store that served Indigenous customers in Guatemala.
To live in Hope
The northeast Minneapolis restaurant reflects founder Kamal Mohamed’s guiding principles. There is no “I” in StepChld, whose dishes reflect the creativity of the whole staff, not just one chef. And its food and atmosphere aim to feed the soul. Kamal describes the cuisine as “music you can eat.”
Educators could strike March 8 in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Citing the last two stressful years, teachers and education support professionals in both cities are seeking better pay and expanded staffing, more mental health support, and smaller class sizes. Amid the turmoil, the fate of many teachers of color is uncertain. The school districts say they simply can’t afford what the educators want.
Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter was sentenced Friday to two years in prison in the killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last year. Wright’s parents expressed anger at the outcome: “Kim Potter murdered my son and … today the justice system murdered him all over again,” Katie Wright said.
Mayor Jacob Frey’s office announced Abdi Salah’s departure following a call from Sahan Journal about the top staffer’s connection to the Feeding Our Future investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that Abdi used child nutrition funds to purchase a south Minneapolis apartment building. Abdi has not been charged in the investigation.
What led an Indian family of four to try to enter the United States in such a risky way? Was it the long wait to join relatives? A visa system that offered no options? Our narrow standards for seeking asylum? We’ll never know, because the Patels lost their lives trying to walk from Canada into Minnesota. For their sake, we must do better.
Xiong, who worked at the Star Tribune for 18 years, is a pioneering Hmong American journalist who brings deep experience in coverage of courts and crime.
Xiong saw the importance of hard work, the sting of prejudice and the impact of the legal system on her community as she was growing up. After years as a leader in politics, the nonprofit world and the law, she has been named St. Paul-based CAAL’s new director.
Now that a Minnesota state panel of judges has released its redistricting map, counties and cities will begin work on theirs. The changes could have a major impact on representation for communities of color.
Omar sponsored legislation that expanded federal food aid programs during the pandemic. She now has asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to investigate allegations they’ve been abused for personal profit.
See how proposed plans would affect you
Making it in Minnesota: After obtaining a master’s degree in the U.S., Samuel Ngwa returned to the family trade. “It dawned on me that all this time when my father was kicking my butt to pick beans, people all over the world were drinking coffee,” Ngwa says. Under the label Safari Pride, he has imported, roasted, and sold coffee from Africa’s “bean belt” for more than 25 years. But the time feels right to grow the business, he says.
Don Samuels confirms to Sahan Journal that he is “meeting with people” to discuss a possible run for the 5th Congressional District. And he says he may consider either a DFL primary challenge or running under a different party affiliation. Samuels emerged last year as a political supporter of the Minneapolis Police Department, and fought a ballot measure to overhaul the city’s public safety structure.
Eid will be a school holiday in Minneapolis, Hopkins, Moorhead, and Mankato. Muslim students and educators say the change will eliminate the need for them to choose between traditions and schoolwork, and signifies recognition and respect. “It’ll make a lot of people feel more accepted,” said one Hopkins student.
It’s hard but rewarding work, says Nora Clark, who has been doing it for 17 years. But many have left the field during the pandemic, and the Minnesota legislature is being asked this year to increase pay.
House Democrats are proposing a $1 billion investment in climate and a bill to prioritize environmental justice in 2022.
Calls for a ban on no-knock warrants and for Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to resign continue a week after police officer Mark Hanneman killed 22-year-old Amir Locke in a no-knock raid. In an interview, Frey discussed transparency, his police reform agenda, and public mistrust of the city’s police.
How can Minnesota help people of color who live in big apartment buildings save money—and benefit the environment at the same time? Citing a new study, housing and energy advocates are pushing the Legislature to pass higher energy efficiency standards to reduce heating bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
Arnold Kubei says he “lost everything,” after investing all his savings and maxing out his credit cards in a business that went bust. Today, he provides housing services and assisted living facilities through a pair of companies headquartered in Woodbury: Metro Care Human Services and Home Sweet Home of Minnesota. The lesson from his story, Kubei told Sahan Journal, “is to not give up, to not be discouraged. I failed. I went bankrupt. But I stayed consistent to my vision.”
Minnesota community colleges and their students are looking for housing support as federal COVID rental aid expires. When homelessness looms, students say, classes and studying suffer. “We have a serious concern; we are very worried,” says one college administrator.
How to talk to kids about race
Partnership provides Brooklyn Center residents access to police de-escalation app
State Representative Esther Agbaje learned about the killing of 22-year-old Amir Locke after Minneapolis police raided her downtown apartment building. City Council member Robin Wonsley Worlobah had been pushing for public safety changes in committee meetings. The killing of Amir Locke during a no-knock raid demonstrated to both the city’s inability to change policing and preserve life.
The organization’s director, Aimee Bock, says it was studying whether to expand into other states, and that it needed a reserve fund to tap in case of emergencies.
In an open letter, the students write, “The Black Law Students Association demands action. We refuse to support a system that disproportionately targets black bodies and executes them without reservation. Fire the men and women who decided a 7 a.m. no-knock warrant was appropriate. Release the details of the warrant in full. We built this country; we deserve better than living in fear.”
The bodycam footage shows a Minneapolis police SWAT team entering the apartment without knocking and shouting “police search warrant” before the shooting. The search warrant stemmed from a St. Paul homicide investigation, though Locke was not named in the warrant. Mayor Jacob Frey and interim Minneapolis police chief Amelia Huffman answered questions about the latest police killing in a press conference that followed the release of the bodycam video.
FBI search warrants accuse Abdiaziz Farah, the founder of Gateway STEM Academy, of using child nutrition funds to purchase a Porsche and a $575,000 house. Gateway STEM Academy has not been accused of wrongdoing.
A seasoned immigrants’ advocate, KaYing Yang sees her new role in the Biden administration as her best opportunity yet to highlight the contributions and needs of her Southeast Asian community. Yang, who arrived in the U.S. at age 7 as a Hmong refugee, has plenty of personal and professional experience to draw from. And she said she won’t be afraid to challenge those in power to do better.
St. Paul defense attorney A.L. Brown explains what a federal search warrant actually does and how it may lead to a grand jury and criminal charges. “It’s best not to try to read into the search warrants,” Brown tells Sahan Journal. “It says what it says. That’s the government’s view.”
Aimee Bock blames a feud with the Minnesota Department of Education for a federal probe into alleged misuse of food aid. Her lawyer says documents seized by the FBI will prove her point, and predicts she won’t be charged.
South Minneapolis Democrat returns 11 donations, seven from people directly named in federal search warrants. Four also donated to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Omar condemns any misuse of food aid money.
Due to a recent court ruling, immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens can now participate in the process.
This month, Hamse Warfa announced he’s leaving Minnesota state government for a role in the Biden administration. He believes Minnesotans and people of color have benefitted from innovations in the way the state Department of Employment and Economic Development reaches out to job-seekers.
Oyate Hotanin is reimagining justice in the justice system.
Where in Minnesota can you find Filipino favorites like malunggay, puto cheese, pan de sal, and prepared meats like chorizo de Cebu? Until recently, the answer was almost nowhere. That’s why Herman and Faith Rott opened Filipino Village Grocery Store–in the middle of a pandemic. The couple talked to Sahan Journal about how they’re making their business a success.
A federal search warrant unsealed last week claims Feeding Our Future, a Minnesota nonprofit, stole money intended to feed disadvantaged children and adults. Owners and partners of Safari Restaurant allegedly took millions. Six of those men made large donations to the reelection campaign of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey–including an individual whom the mayor appointed to a committee for public safety.
It’s affordable. It’s great exercise. It’s easy on the environment. And best of all, it’s exhilarating. Minnesotans of color share their love of winter biking as well as tips on how to get started and where to find advice and camaraderie.
Federal search warrants connect a nonprofit called Stigma-Free International to Feeding Our Future. Jamal Osman said he was involved with Stigma-Free until June 2020, and then cut ties with the nonprofit. Investigators allege Stigma-Free participated in a wide-ranging fraud beginning in January 2021, stealing millions of dollars from programs intended to feed low-income children.
Sahan Journal is reporting on Feeding Our Future and allegations that the nonprofit funneled federal food aid to shell companies and individuals who may have kept the money for themselves.
Nurses have more knowledge and protective equipment. Patients with Omicron don’t tend to be as sick. But it’s far from business as usual on the COVID wards.
Nursing educator is heading back to work on the hospital floor with COVID patients. Because of her own experience with the disease, she plans to be extremely careful not to spread the disease to her family.
Not as many patients are dying as in the early days of the pandemic, but COVID patients may suffer permanent effects of a long hospitalization.
Younger patients hospitalized now sometimes think they know better than medical staff. Nurses are burned out and chronically short of hands to take care of them.
The Omicron variant may have supplanted Delta, but hospitals still are struggling. There still are too many patients and not enough nurses.
Feeding Our Future allegedly funneled federal money through dozens of shell companies that appear to have been established on the fly. “To date, the conspirators have stolen millions of dollars in federal funds,” the FBI said in the search warrant affidavit. “The scheme is ongoing.”
Minnesota schools have run into protests as they try to decide whether to keep kids in school or switch to online learning during the Omicron surge. We asked Minnesota’s eight largest school districts just how many kids are staying home from school.
Sahan Journal writes often about how immigrants and communities of color are participating in Minnesota’s elections. Readers also need clear and fair reporting about investigations involving absentee ballots and election integrity.
A November 18, 2021, indictment alleges Muse Mohamud Mohamed gave false statements in grand jury testimony about his handling of absentee ballots.
Local aid groups have set a mid-February deadline to resettle 750 Afghans in Minnesota. Participate in a donation drive. Shop on an Amazon wishlist. Anyone can help. Housing is the most urgent need, but aid coordinators are well aware that needs go beyond material things. “We know a house is nothing if you don’t have dignity, if you don’t have joy, if you don’t have a sense of comfort and safety,” says one aid wrangler.
People of color make up 55 percent of Brooklyn Park’s population. Three of the four candidates running for an open city council seat are immigrants.
City council candidate says Brooklyn Park should reimagine public safety to reflect the community’s diversity. Housing and supporting small businesses also are big issues.
Currently a member of the city’s Planning Commission, candidate focuses on community engagement and bringing value to Brooklyn Park’s east side.
For weeks now, at-home COVID tests have been in short supply at pharmacies and stores across Minnesota and the United States. Now, a new federal program means anyone can get COVID tests mailed to their home–for free? How do you do it? When should you use them? When do you still need a lab test?
Dedicated courts are growing in the Twin Cities. Funding has been set aside for two new courts in south Minneapolis, where a recreational scene is booming.
Hoffman is leaving her senior role at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, where she directed community-giving programs. In her new role at HealthPartners, the giant Minnesota health provider and insurer, Hoffman will address community health, equity, and access to culturally competent care.
Remona Htoo’s book, “My Little Legs,” is one of the few Karen-language books published in the U.S. Htoo and her 22-month-old daughter, Emma, enjoy sledding, backpacking, and camping out. They’ve visited wilderness areas in the metro and the North Shore; so far, the toddler has notched 10 national parks.
University of Minnesota researchers analyzed more than 5,000 death certificates in the state from the year 2020. They found a higher mortality rate from the virus for people who were born outside the country than among people born in the U.S.
As the Omicron variant surges, so do teachers’ stress levels. Staffing shortages and low student attendance are forcing some districts into remote learning. As schools enter their third pandemic year, Minnesota teachers of color talked to Sahan Journal about the challenges of teaching–and how their students are coping.