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diversity : Featured Stories

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My View: Solving Minnesota's problems means getting everybody at the table

The budget debate and state government shutdown have underlined Minnesota's needs and the difficulties of meeting them. Tristan Pollock, a young social entrepreneur and writer, visits the Engaged Philanthropy Conference and suggests what the philanthropic community needs to do in these tough days.

Green Jobs For All

VideoLine: Making the green economy inclusive

"Environmental justice is the new civil rights movement," says a young woman in this video, created by the organization Green for All. The video, posted last month, highlights a number of green jobs efforts in the Twin Cities that marry sustainability and social justice.

Mohammed Bilal

"Real World" star and educator headlines the Facing Race Awards

Poet, musician, diversity consultant, and reality-show star Mohammed Bilal rapped about the "real world" of race when he keynoted an awards ceremony in Saint Paul last week. The talk was about justice, and the awards went to five Minnesotans who have worked hard--and hopefully--for it in our community.

Faheem Uddin Khan of Little India

The immigrant soul of Central Avenue: A slide show

The stretch of Minneapolis' Central Avenue Northeast that runs from around 18th Avenue to a little past Lowry is a colorful collage of immigrant businesses: Hispanic, Arab, Afghan, Indian, Southeast Asian. Bill Kelley's images capture a neighborhood that feels both faraway and very close to home.

The ICC's Anna Chernakova, Massimo Bonavita, and Nassim Rossi

Looking for the real Italy in Minnesota? The Italian Cultural Center can help

In colloquial Italian, the word spunto means a creative idea. Italy has given the world more than its share of spunti in art, architecture, music, design, and more--and five years ago some adoptive Twin Citians got a spunto of their own: to create a place that celebrates all things Italian. Today the Italian Cultural Center teaches language, sponsors film showings, collaborates with art and opera venues--and it's just getting started.

the creative team at 4RM+ULA

For the architects of 4RM+ULA, the whole city matters

When James Garrett Jr., Nathan Johnson, and Erick Goodlow formed an architectural firm, they vowed to do more than create attractive buildings. The three Saint Paulites knew the city and its needs from the ground up, and they wanted to make an impact on the whole urban fabric. Via their company, 4RM+ULA, they're bringing a holistic design sense to some of the highest-profile projects in the Twin Cities--including the Central Corridor.

Kimberly Nightingale of the St. Paul Almanac

Saint Paul Almanac publisher Kimberly Nightingale wants to change the way America tells its stories

At first glance, The Saint Paul Almanac is a handy week-planner full of local information. Dig a little deeper and you discover founder/publisher Kimberly Nightingale's vision: a place where stories from every corner of the city, and every ethnic community, come together. But there's more: Nightingale sees the Almanac as a tool for transforming the way Americans learn about each other. And people around the country think she's on to something.

Johnny Northside

Johnny Northside and friends: North Minneapolis' best-known blogger has spawned his own blogosphere

John Hoff, aka Johnny Northside, blogs about North Minneapolis with passion and personality. He believes the neighborhood is headed "someplace amazing," and he's helping it get there with stories about its pleasures and problems. And he's inspired others to join the cyber-conversation, co-creating one of the most vibrant civic blogospheres in town.

Banners Iidentifying the cultural corridor

American Indian Cultural Corridor: New art, new enterprise on Franklin Avenue

Franklin Avenue east of Hiawatha in Minneapolis used to be best known for bars and blight. Today, though, the area is blooming with Native enterprise as an American Indian Cultural Corridor takes shape. Culture and art are major drivers of the neighborhood's renaissance--an art gallery is one of the anchors, and there are new tribal and company offices and apartments too--and plans call for a brand-new mixed-use building and a Native-owned hotel. The biggest change, though, is a new sense of cohesion and pride at street level.

Juxtaposition Arts Facade

Juxtaposition, the community-minded hip-hop arts center, gets ready for a growth spurt

In North Minneapolis, there's an arts center that's been tapping into, and amplifying, the energy of African-American youth culture for fifteen years. Juxtaposition Arts is a place where neighborhood kids fired up by hip-hop turn street savvy into beauty and visual excitement through art and design. "Juxta" has collaborated with the likes of the Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theater, but its heart has always been in its neighborhood; and now, with a planned $8.2- million expansion, it's primed to be a major player in the cities' art scene as it amps up its impact on the North Side.

Conny's Cone

Down Dale: Images of a city street

Our photographer, Bill Kelley, took a leisurely trip from Maryland Avenue to Selby Avenue on Dale Street, making images of the many faces of this great old Saint Paul street: the well-loved neighborhood institution called Conny's Creamy Cone, a place to get Cambodian DVDs, the ambitious new Frogtown Square development, Big Daddy's Barbecue--and a gigantic sunflower too. Join him on one of the city's most diverse and soulful thoroughfares.

Groupo Rival at El Nuevo Laredo

El Nuevo Rodeo: The restaurant/dance club with something for everybody in the Latino community

El Nuevo Rodeo is a a large, cheerful Mexican restaurant on Lake Street. It's also a gigantic, pretty sensational dance club upstairs, drawing huge crowds to hear the biggest names in Latin music, from Mexican banda and norte�o groups to pop and salsa superstars. For co-founder and owner Maya Santamaria, a music promoter who used to be an anthropologist, it's also a cultural and community center for the whole local Latino population--straight and gay--and a symbol of Latino entrepreneurship and enterprise in the Cities.

Daithi Sproule

The sound of Ceol Heights: An Irish music renaissance on Saint Paul's West Side

Guitarist Da�th� Sproule, a globe-trotting member of the Celtic supergroup Altan and one of the true giants of traditional Irish music, lives not in Dublin or New York but on Saint Paul's West Side--along with a growing community of musicians who play Irish music locally and nationally, and who love the fact that their close-knit neighborhood gives them plenty of chances to get together and jam.

Zuhur Ahmed on Air

Meet Zuhur Ahmed, the young, female radio voice of the Twin Cities Somali community

It's hard for 25-year-old Zuhur Ahmed to find some time for herself. Wherever she goes in the Twin Cities Somali community, from malls to workplaces to coffee shops, people have something to say to her. Her issue-oriented call-in show on community radio station KFAI is an open forum for what concerns Somalis here--immigration, family issues, crime, gangs, drugs. And what she's learned has convinced her to continue helping people displaced by global unrest and chronicling their lives.

Joel Breeggemann

The get-to-NoMi guy: Joel Breeggemann knows why you should move to North Minneapolis

North Minneapolis--NoMi--has had its share of hard times, crime, and social dislocation over the years. But neighborhood advocate Joel Breeggemann is sick of one-sided portrayals of the neighborhood. He and other Northsiders know it as a friendly, green, increasingly trendy "small town in the city" where neighbors are joining together to make things better--and word has been getting out. Scores of first-time homeowners have been drawn into the neighborhood by Breeggemann's Get to NoMi Home Buyers Tours, which celebrate the North Side while showcasing some amazingly affordable houses.
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