From the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition
Two staff members went two Minnesota Tribal communities for their local pow wow. We set up tables and brought our outreach materials, including posters that show Native Women and speak to sex trafficking. We also brought our Shawl Project-which brings awareness to the people about sexual violence and helps to remember that this is not our tradition. We were welcomed in both Tribal Communities, including Fond du Lac- and Upper Sioux. We wore the shawls and we brought many extra shawls we asked local women to dance with us into the circle and a story about the shawls and our work – was read by the announcer. These events have hundreds of Tribal Community Members in attendance. In Upper Sioux we were honored and asked to stand next to the Veterans which is a high place of honor. In Fond du lac we were asked by a spiritual leader to bring shawls and he read the statement to the community at least three times, and he called for the healing of all victims of sexual assault -and told the community that the healing starts now-today. It was a powerful experience for all involved.
From our member National Federation for the Blind Minnesota:
Hennepin County informed a blind mother that someone had filed a complaint stating that she could not properly take care of her children (a one-year-old and a three-year-old) because she is blind. The county sent a social worker to investigate and possibly remove the children to foster care.
NFB served as an advocate for the mother and worked with the social worker to show how a blind mother cares for children using alternative techniques. The county social worker concluded that the techniques were just as safe and effective as those used by sighted mothers, and the mother kept her children. One of the greatest problems faced by blind parents is the common misconception that a blind person cannot possibly do anything as difficult as taking care of a child. Educating social workers and others to the reality that blind people can and do raise children just as successfully as sighted people is an ongoing struggle.
From our member the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council:
At the 6th Annual Winter Warmth this year, we had a family come in that spoke very little English and wanted to get coats for the 4 kids. Not only did they get the coats, hats, gloves and scarves but the little boy won a bike and have never ridden one before. The family was surprised but it didn’t stop there when the kids were tested for lead they end up winning a $100 gift card. Santa Claus and the Park Instrumental project made this family day. The mom was so overcome with joy that she started crying
From our member Kulture Klub Collaborative:
KKC was founded by artist Dorit Cypis in 1992 and is now under the direction of Crystal Brinkman. Since its inception, KKC has partnered with YouthLink to access the homeless youth community. KKC is a valued member of the homeless youth serving community, with numerous partners in the metro area, and thousands of dollars of in-kind donations.
No other arts organization in Minnesota works with this population in this long term way. Without KKC, these youth would not have access to consistent arts programming. Entering its third decade of programming, KKC has served over 6,500 homeless youth. KKC has attended over 1000+arts events at over 100 local arts and cultural venues in the Twin Cities.
KKC is an independent 501(c)3 arts organization that brings together artists and homeless youth in the Twin Cities. Through multi-disciplinary workshops, open mics, artist residencies, and art outings (ArtView), KKC brings dignity and respect to these special young people as they enter adulthood.
Learn more at http://www.kultureklub.org/!
From our member group Echoes of Peace:
The Echoes of Peace “Art of Ubuntu” project engaged different modes of art to express ubuntu– “I am because we are” –a concept of community and inter-relatedness from South Africa. This project brought a rich and multi-layered experience to participants and audiences.
The “song” part of the project bridged community by bringing adults and youth who might not otherwise have an opportunity to sing in a choir. Kako’s Choir, an after school program children’s choir, was part of the collective chorus. Members from the broader community joined who were not otherwise involved in a choir.
The “dance” part of the project brought an arts learning experience to adults and youth who might not otherwise have been provided with such an opportunity. These activities involved Kako’s Choir and youth and adults from the Family Freedom School. The EOP dance instructor’s work with Family Freedom
School dovetailed with the school’s aims “to strengthen families through educational opportunities designed by community members to address institutional racism, privilege, and social isolation.”
The “poetry” part of the project brought a writing experience to Kako’s Choir and to women residents at the St. Louis County jail. The “visual art” project impacted students at ten local schools.
Learn more at www.echoesofpeace.org.
From our member CAIR-Minnesota (CAIR-MN):
You may have heard the news reports about the story of Asma Jama, a 39-year-old Somali American woman who was assaulted in a local Applebees by a white woman who was upset with Jama for speaking Swahili.
CAIR-MN advocated for Jama by calling for hate-crime charges to be filed against Jodie Marie Burchard-Risch, the 43-year-old white woman who attacked Jama with a beer mug and caused Jama to receive 15 stitches on her face.
The incident caused Ms. Jama severe psychological trauma, and yet she courageously forgave Ms. Burchard-Risch during her court sentencing.
Learn more about CAIR-Minnesota at https://www.cairmn.com/.
To drive outreach for queer Thai playwright’s Prince Gomolvilas comedic drama, Penumbra Theatre and Theater Mu partnered with Wat Thai of Minnesota, a center of arts and cultural heritage for Thais living in Minnesota, to support both the center’s Thai New Year activities and our coproduction of The Brothers Paranormal. We participated in the center’s Third Annual Songkran Uptown Block Party and Songkran New Year Festival to honor elders, celebrate the new year, and engage with community.
We also collaborated with the Twin Cities ice cream shop, Sebastian Joes, to create a custom flavor to help promote our coproduction: chocolate/vanilla swirl with chocolate chips and ginger, called “Brothers Paranormal.” We served free scoops on May 19 for our special Ghost Stories in the Park event, which featured 5 artists who were paid to perform dramatic readings of folk tales from across Asian/African diasporas.
For the past 30 years, Violence Free Minnesota has been gathering information on domestic violence homicides that happen in Minnesota. In October 2019, we released the “Intimate Partner Homicide Report: A 30 Year Retrospective” which provided information on the 685 people killed in Minnesota due to relationship abuse. The report included specific recommendations for policy makers and for all people who live and work across Minnesota.
No one else gathers data on domestic violence homicides in the state. Violence Free Minnesota has taken up this task in part to keep the memory of the victims of intimate partner homicide alive. But we also do this work so that we can learn from these deaths, identify patterns of behavior, and to fashion policy recommendations that can improve the prevention and intervention efforts in this state. For example, we know that approximately 50% of all domestic violence homicides are committed with guns. But we do not know how perpetrators are accessing firearms. We recommend that legislators lift the prohibition on the MN Dept of Health to gather firearms data in order to gain the information needed to fashion gun policies that will be targeted and effective.
JJ’s the kind of kid who can slip through the cracks. He quietly finishes his worksheets, but hasn’t had the confidence to believe in his own ideas. This had been holding him back.
Even though over 70% of students qualify for free-or-reduced-price lunch, thanks to donors, JJ’s teacher and COMPAS connected to bring a stop-motion animation residency into his classroom.
Working with the COMPAS Teaching Artist, students turned social studies lessons into something amazing. They planned storyboards, drew backgrounds, wrote dialog, created puppets, and then used technology to capture and edit original movies.
The teacher’s report? The students loved it! FIVE STARS!
JJ was drawn to this new way to communicate. “At first it seemed hard, but then, with my group, it was easy,” he told us. “You can make your own characters, and they can do… whatever.”
Telling a story by combining artistry, technology, and team work captured JJ’s imagination. His ignited imagination motivated him to keep trying until he was excited about what he created.
Through creative experiences, JJ built confidence in his abilities. His teacher reports his new confidence continued to show up in his learning throughout the year and JJ made great progress because of it.
When Sandy first arrived at Animal Humane Society, her fur was so dirty and matted that the 10-year-old Cocker Spaniel was barely recognizable as a dog. Her skin was badly infected and her teeth were damaged and decayed. The sweet senior spent two weeks at AHS receiving expert medical treatment. and Through it all, sweet Sandy remained in good spirits. With her amazing personality, it’s no wonder Sandy was adopted within a few days in the Golden Valley adoption center. Now she’s happy, healthy, and loved in her new home!