MN's Open Electoral Process and Leading Election System PDF Print E-mail


mns democracy 11916 linda freemon 2

                                                                                                                                                          Photo by Linda Freemon

 

Secretary of State Steve Simon speaking on MN's Leading Election System at the January 19th Think Again Brooklyns forum.  He commented on MN's longstanding same day registration which has made it possible for more Minnesotans to vote and has been adopted by many other states.  He noted recent improvements that make voting easier such as online registration, registering when changing a driver's license, and no excuse absentee voting and explained there were further improvements MN could make such as allowing felons on probation who have completed their prison sentences to vote, automatic registration of 16 and 17 year olds, and early voting.  Mohamud Noor described the process a candidate goes through to become endorsed by a political party.  "It starts with talking with one's family," he emphasized.  Benjamin Kruse explained the political organization of MN, the sequence of caucuses and conventions that begins March 1, and the purpose of each one.

 

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Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary PDF Print E-mail

 

Charlie Rose Interview of Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

First Woman President of Union Theological Seminary

 

Note from Jeff Strate:

serene jones union theological seminaryRev. Dr. Serene Jones is president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  A few of my colleagues attended Union.  Some of the western world's most influential theologians have served on its faculty. On December 20th, Serene Jones spoke with Charlie Rose about Union and the changing world it has always responded to. These days that means Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, the Bully Trump, terrorism, mass killings, and Islamaphobia. This Charlie Rose Show discussion runs 14:30 minutes:


http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60665355

 

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Unfinished Business: The Continuing Work of Arvonne Skelton Fraser PDF Print E-mail

 

arvonne fraser 2Arvonne Fraser gave the keynote speech at the Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy panel discussion in honor of her 90th birthday.  Following are her concluding comments.  For more comprehensive exerpts, see the Star Tribune article:  Arvonne Fraser on the women's movement: 'What follows is the hard part'

 

"A primary responsibility of any group or country if it wants to endure is to produce, recruit and train its next generation of citizens and workers. . . .  Why do companies expect that the next generation of workers — employees — will be produced by those who choose to become parents, as a gift to employers? To add insult to injury, parenthood is often seen as an impediment to success at what is called the workplace. Add that housecleaners tend to be paid more than child care workers; school hours have little relationship to business hours, and maternity and other family leaves in this country are unpaid. That’s disrespect and disregard bordering on hostility toward some of the most important work done in any society. That must change."

Arvonne Fraser is senior fellow emerita at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a former director of the Office of Women in Development at USAID, and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  She is a founder of what is now Think Again MN.

 

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The Top Charts of 2015 - Economic Policy Institute PDF Print E-mail

 

Economy Still Fails Low and Middle Income Americans with Stagnant Wages

 

Although the unemployment rate is down and the pace of monthly job growth is healing some of the damage inflicted by the Great Recession,  the Economic Policy Institute’s top charts of 2015 show the economy is still failing ordinary Americans with stagnant wages despite increasing productively.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The charts show that an economy with shared prosperity can be created with policies that keep interest rates low, raise the minimum wage, make collective bargaining easier, expand access to overtime pay, and eliminate discriminatory practices that contribute to gender inequality.  (Economic Policy Institute, December 17, 2015).  View the charts.

 

share of prime age workers hasnt recovered from recession

 

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Black Lives Matter Protest PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Snyder   

 

black lives matter protest david snyder

 

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Who Put the NRA in Charge of Our National Security? Print E-mail

 

marian wright edelmanMarian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund, writes, “Since Robert Kennedy’s and Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 deaths more than 164,000 children have died from gun violence in America—three times more than all the American soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam War and every external conflict since.”  She questions why we are so reticent to stand up against the pro-gun lobby when American children are 18 times more likely to die as a result of gun violence than children in 25 other high income nations.  She notes that in 2013 alone 33,169 lives were taken by guns and 83,075 were injured, yet guns remain the only unregulated consumer product.  Read her article.

 

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Jump in black poverty reveals unfulfilled potential in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail

 

kenya mcknight ahadRecommended by Kenya McKnight Ahad

 

"This is one of the most balanced and truest articles I've seen thus far written about the recent drop in Income for Black people in Minnesota!  While MN DOT is, by no means the standard for being fair and just to black and people of color in MN, we recognize their internal strife and hope the compliance issues get settled fast!  This article is very thoughtful and hits key points which I very much appreciated."

"Jump in black poverty reveals unfulfilled potential in Minnesota," Editorial Board, Star Tribune, September 25, 2015 - State squanders potential as its working-age population begins decline.

 
 
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The Dynamic Contribution of MN Immigrants - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Freemon   

 

the dynamic contribution of mn immigrants 91515

 

Great turnout at September's Think Again Brooklyns forum on

The Dynamic Contributions of MN Immigrants!

 

Twenty percent of Brooklyn Park residents are immigrants. Dr. Bruce Corrie shared that BP immigrants' consumer power is $304 million and they pay $35 million in taxes. He and the panelists encouraged the community to think about immigrants as assets and focus on the opportunities they offer in terms of their entrepreneurship, global networks, cultural traditions and more.

 

Oduwa Aganmwonyi:   I wish more people heard we what did tonight from Dr. Corrie. The message was powerful and so timely. I encourage all immigrants to hold their heads up. Someone knows your pain and lack of recognition. God knows!

Sam Mwangi:  Yes, inspite of this massive economic contribution there is still a big wage inequality along the racial disparity line. However, the meeting was an eye opener, and wished so many immigrants had shown up. It was very engaging and we need to work together. Thanks Think Again Brooklyns.

 

If you missed the forum, you can get key information by using the following resources:

Northwest Community TV Channel 12 Newsclip on the forum

Dr. Bruce Corrie's one minute animated survey
on the major findings of his research on MN's immigrants
:

what if we viewed immigrants differently  dr. bruce corrie

 

Minorities Transforming MN through Success in Business.  See Bruce P. Corrie's 1.5 minute video on the latest data on minority businesses in Minnesota.

 

immigrants transforming mn dr. bruce p. corrie 92015

Sun Post article on the forum.

 

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Innovation and Inclusion PDF Print E-mail


maykao hang2015 League of Women Voters Convention Keynote

 

 

In her keynote speech August 24, 2015, Dr. MayKao Hang, President and CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, addressed the challenges and opportunities organizations face to become inclusive and the methods they can use to become culturally competent.  Listen to her one hour presentation which includes a question and answer session.

 

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Turbine Technology Increases Wind Potential throughout U.S. PDF Print E-mail

 

wind turbines germanyA recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory study reports great news on wind energy.  Significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing technology which makes taller turbines to catch the wind possible.  Wind energy potential increased in nearly every state making 2/3 of states now able to produce 100% of their electricity with wind.  See the Director of the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, John Farrell's article and slides showing the increase in wind energy potential since 1991.

 

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Achieving Health Equity through Development along the Bottineau Light Rail Line PDF Print E-mail

 

Think Again Brooklyns Forum Highlights

 

 lrt and apartment bldg

 

 

Larry Hiscock, Program Officer for Transit Engagement at NEXUS Community Partners, gave the main presentation on “Achieving Health Equity through Station Planning” at the Think Again Brooklyns forum on May 19, 2015.  Mr. Hiscock told us that 27,000 people were expected to use the Bottineau Light Rail Line by the year 2030, but transportation wouldn't be the only benefit of LRT. During the coming years and decades, there will be extensive development along the line. For every dollar spent on the transit line itself, we can expect $7.00 in development investment around the station areas. The challenge for communities along the line is to guide this development so it can contribute to health equity.

 

larry hiscock"Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to realize their health potential, that is the highest level of health possible for that person without limits imposed by structural inequities." Hiscock noted that 30% of a person's health is influenced by a person's life style, and the other 70% is influenced by structural factors such as a person's education, income, the percent of income spent on housing, and availability of transit.

 

photos from equity in development along bottineau line tab 51915

While the average household income in the Brooklyn Park area is $68,000, for black residents, it is $32,395. While 50% of the residents in Brooklyn Park are white, 80% of the jobs are held by white people. People with a lower income have to spend a much higher percent of their income on rent or house payments, not only due to lower incomes, but also to the practice by banks of limiting who could get loans by redlining districts from the 1930's to the 1970's and more recently by directing black and Latino homebuyers to subprime loans. Redlined districts declined socially and economically and continue today to have higher rates of infant mortality.

 

Low income families also have to pay a high percent of their income on transit. A recent study at Harvard University found that the availability and cost of transportation had a greater impact on families than did income and being a one parent family. Thoughtful development around the light rail which meets the needs and provides opportunities for people of all backgrounds can help reduce the disparities.

 

structural racism speaker

 

For a quick overview of the many factors which contribute to structural racism, watch the following 6 minute video. It might take a minute or two to load.

 

https://www.facebook.com/youngparis/videos/505199609628089/

 

 

 

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Reflections on Labor Day PDF Print E-mail

 

labor day workers sketch

 

 

The Rebellious Spirit of the First Labor Day Is Spreading Anew, by Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown, September, 2015

Labor Unions: The Folks Who Gave You the Weekend by Dean Baker, Huffington Post, September 7, 2015

Free Riding on the Labor Movement, by Amy B. Dean, Aljazeera America, September 1, 2014

How on-call and irregular scheduling harm the American workforce, by Lonnie Golden, nsnbc international, September 6, 2015

Greening America’s Energy Workforce, by Emily Schwartz Greco, Other Words, September 2, 2015

 

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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

steve simon

 

Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

 


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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