Upcoming Think Again MN Community Forums
Informing Voters on Public Policy and Candidates
The Role of Nonprofits and Faith Based Organizations
Tuesday, August 16 6 p.m. Pizza Buffet and Social (Free) 6:30 P.M. Program
Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N
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Many nonprofit organizations and some faith based organizations sponsor policy and candidate forums and advocate in favor of public policy. Our speakers will discuss the ways in which providing information on public policies and policy advocacy can fulfill the values and mission of nonprofit and faith based organizations. The forum will also cover the rights of these organizations in regard to informing the public in regard to public policy and advocating for policy change and the limits placed on 501c3 nonprofits in regard to supporting a political party or candidate.
Carin Mrotz - Deputy Director
Jewish Community Action
Carin Mrotz holds a bachelor's degree in Religion and a master's degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration. Carin has years of experience in training, communications, program development and evaluation. Jewish Community Action organizers have been trained by the Organizing Apprenticeship Program on racial equity and work closely with partners including Protect Minnesota, the Northside Reinvestment Coalition, and the Minneapolis Urban League. Carin will explain the important role of faith based institutions in keeping people informed of the impact of public policy and ways they can promote just policy and reduce racial disparities.
Katie Rodriguez - Metropolitan Council Member, District 1
Katie Rodriguez lives in Maple Grove and represents District 1 which includes Plymouth and Maple Grove and communities west to the Hennepin County Line. Her background includes fourteen years of experience in public finance, including ten years in municipal finance positions. Recently she was the Business Manager for the League of Women Voters Minnesota. Her claim to fame is serving as host of an issues and public policy forum in Maple Grove. Katie will explain how easy it is to start a monthly forum and the big benefits of understanding public policy for citizens' participation in democracy and civic engagement.
BROOKLYN PARK AND BROOKLYN CENTER
CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUMS
The success of our cities depends on the values, knowledge, and commitment of our City Council members. Multiple people have filed to be a candidate for City Council, three in the Central District, seven in the West District, and three in the East District of Brooklyn Park and seven in Brooklyn Center.
You will be able to vote for one of them in the district in which you live at the Primary Election on August 9. No excuse primary voting is also available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Water Treatment Facility, 5100 Edinbrook Terrace, Brooklyn Park, 55443 and for Brooklyn Center weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6301 Shingle Creek Parkway. Voting will also be available at both locations on Saturday, August 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The candidates who receive the highest number of votes in each district will appear on the ballots for the November 8 General Election.
July 14 - Brooklyn Park - Central and West Districts
Candidate Forum NW Community Cable TV Weblinks
Moderator: Wayne Doe - MN Health Insurance Representative
Treasurer, Think Again MN; Division Director, Toastmaster's
July 21 - Brooklyn Park - East District and City of Brooklyn Center
The Channel 12 Broadcast
Tuesday, July 26, 7 p.m.
Brooklyn Center City Council Primary Candidate Forum
Primary Candidate Forum recorded on July 21, 2016 at the Brookdale Christian Center.
Brooklyn Park City Council Primary Candidate Forum - East District
Primary Candidate Forum recorded on July 21, 2016 at the Brookdale Christian Center.
Moderator: Kirsten Kjome - President, Brooklyn Park, Osseo,
Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center Chapter of the League of Women Voters
The Community Engagement Committee of the Northwest Suburbs Community and Labor Coalition is sponsoring these forums to help you determine which of these candidates is most likely to address your concerns and serve your needs. The Committee includes representatives of the following organizations:
Postponed to Tuesday, September 20
Church of the Epiphany, 4900 Nathan Lane N, Plymouth
(1 block west of Highway 169 on the South Side of Schmidt Lake Road)
The MN Legislative Session and the Upcoming Election
With David Schultz
Political Science Professor at Hamline University and Political Analyst
Come hear David Schultz analyze the results of the Legislative session as well as share his prognostications for the upcoming elections. Professor Schultz was not able to come on June, but we tentatively scheduled him for September 20.
Hope to see you then! Kelly Guncheon
Reports and Videos for Think Again MN Forums
and Related Articles
Principal Yusuf Abdullah Interviewed on Success of School
Principal of Patrick Henry High School, Yusuf Abdullah, was interviewed about the success of Patrick Henry High School by Channel 5 Eyewitness News on the 10 p.m. news on March 16. The school achieved the highest graduation rate in Minneapolis in 2015, 87% in comparison to an average high school graduation rate of 64% in the district. It was given the third highest rank among Minnesota high schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report. Mr. Abdullah, who spoke at the March 16th Think Again Brooklyns forum, noted that it is especially important to meet the needs of nineth grade students because students who pass nineth grade are very likely to graduate. See the Eyewitness News report.
Yusuf Abdullah's Presentation at Think Again Brooklyns
Principal Abdullah spoke on what has contributed to the success of Patrick Henry High School, especially its graduation rate and spoke on the school's vision and action plan developed through Community Cafes and a Strategic Planning Team at the Think Again Brooklyns forum March 16, 2016. Watch the 40 minute video of his presentation with Power Point slides.
Shaping an Identity Affirming Space for
Black Males at Henry High
By the Ujima Collective, Twin Cities Daily Planet, April 6, 2016
“Imagine entering a place every day where you can gain the skills you need to make your dreams come true. A place where you are nurtured, loved and valued. Your unique skills are recognized and celebrated, your experiences validated. Your sense of self affirmed. . . this is how Black male scholars describe their ideal school experience.”
Read the Ujima Collective's description of how their group of Henry High School teachers created an effective learning environment for Black male students. Ujima is a Swahili term meaning collective work and responsibility. As educators, the members of the collective are guided by the term and see it as crucial to the success of Black students.
Positive Behaviors Lead To Academic Success - Minneapolis
An Achievement Gap Committee Brown Bag - April 26, 2016
The Chief of Minneapolis Public Schools and three principals discuss how those schools are led, how they maintain a positive school climate with staff and students, and how this leads to academic and life success for students:
- Michael Thomas, Chief of Schools for Minneapolis
- Michael Bradley, Roosevelt High School
- Yusuf Abdullah, Patrick Henry High School
- Ronald Salazar, Fowell K-8
See the video
Weblinks to Videos related to February Think Again Brooklyns Topic
Mike Tikkanen, Samuel Mwangi, Dr. Mike Troy
Three highly informed speakers alerted an attentive audience to the importance of giving attention to domestic abuse at the February Think Again Brooklyn forum on “The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children.” Mike Tikkanen, founder of Kids at Risk Action, author of Invisible Children spoke on his work with over fifty children in the County Child Protection System as a volunteer in the Guardian ad-Litem program as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA). He emphasized that children in the Child Protection System are not kept safe and only half as many children reported as abused in MN were checked on in comparison to other states. He noted that the children he worked with suffered very serious abuse and that the cost to society is huge in terms of disruption to classrooms and foster families, and health care costs that can run into the millions of dollars by the time a child reaches 18. "We don't provide the services children need. We use drugs instead. It's cheaper." If you missed the forum, see the two minute videos he showed during his talk:
Rich Gehrman, Founder of Safe Passage for Children, on Inadequacy of Child Protection Program
Overview Trailer for TPT Series on Neglect and Abuse of Children
Dr. Mike Troy, Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, described the rapid development of child’s brain that begins before birth and continues during the child’s first five years. He noted the big contribution that nurturing parents and others in the child’s life make to the child’s brain development and emphasized that a child born to a poor family can thrive if given the attention it needs.
If you missed the forum, listen to the presentations on early childhood development at Think Again MN's Achievement Gap Committee forum. Click on the title:
The Early Years
Setting the Pathway for a Lifetime
Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, MD
Senior Medical Director
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Dr. Mike Troy
Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services
Associate Medical Director, Neuroscience Program
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Starts at 20:40
Sam Mwangi, founder of the Global Fatherhood Foundation, presented his survey findings on domestic abuse in the West African diaspora. Almost 70% of the 205 Africans in diaspora surveyed "either knew somebody going through gender violence or they're victims themselves." 68% of the survey respondents said that husbands were the main perpetrators of violence while 51% attributed the violence to wives. Over 70% said that they stayed together in spite of the violence because of their children.
A Chartbook With Data For 17 Cultural Groups
Minnesota State Demographic Center
"This chartbook provides a statistical portrait of the economic status of Minnesotans—including much data that has never been seen before—for the 17 largest cultural groups in Minnesota. These data result from responses by Minnesotans to the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey (ACS), the largest federal survey that produces insights into our population’s economic, social, housing, and demographic characteristics.
However, the ACS data that are collected are not always released by the Census Bureau in a way that helps policy makers and community leaders in Minnesota understand key differences in our very diverse populations. Standard racial groups used by the Census Bureau are too broad, and while data are often available for the largest ethnic or ancestry groups nationally, those may not be the groups most relevant in Minnesota.
To better illustrate economic status in Minnesota, we have constructed cultural groups and assembled data from the ACS in a manner intended to be more useful to those working to improve the economic security of Minnesotans. The result is this first-of-its-kind economic status chartbook, which presents information for 17 cultural groups, all those with enough survey responses to create useful estimates."
Download the chartbook.
Think Again MN President Jeremy Wieland
Remembers Don and Arvonne Fraser and Many Others
The longest running forum of Think Again MN is the Stone Arch Discussion Group which meets at the Wilde Roast Cafe in SE Minneapolis. Stone Arch celebrated its 30th anniversary and that of our nonprofit in December. The other Think Again MN monthly forums are the Achievement Gap Committee in St. Paul, Westside Progressives in Plymouth, and Think Again Brooklyns in Brooklyn Park. Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (left) spoke for the occasion at Stone Arch on the Working Families Agenda. Following are 30th anniversary comments from Jeremy Wieland, President of Think Again MN and Stone Arch host:
"The Stone Arch Discussion Group has been a forum to share ideas and challenge policy innovators. It has also been a wonderful forum for friends to share a cup of coffee and for businesses to show support of the community. Stone Arch has been a venue to meet and humanize elected people who represent us in government, to talk with the thought leaders and academics who push the policy boundaries, and to hear from the government employees who forge law & policy into reality.
Without Arvonne and Don Fraser, we would never have met the first time. We thank them for public service in both the civic and civil realms that is too vast to measure. They did not do this alone. I have been on the Board for over ten years and I’ve benefited from the mentorship of the Frasers, Don Ostrom (left, in front) and Carol Flynn, who were Presidents before me, and Barbara Allivato, Vici Oshiro, John Farrell, and Brian Hanninnen who made pretty much everything run on time. Barbara Bearman and Matt Little were especially welcoming to a much younger me. I thank Amy Klobuchar for being an early President and now respected Senator. I thank so many who endeavored on this project before us.
I want to call attention now to our current Board, many of whom you may not know. Carol Woehrer, John Riskin, Wayne Doe, Tammie Carino and former Legislator Betty Folliard. Carol, John, Wayne, Tammy and Betty give tirelessly, as have their predecessors, so that we have venues and speakers to continue the work of civic engagement and democracy building. They are all inspirational in their own ways whether they know or not.
Today’s celebration is of each of you in the room this morning, and everyone who raised a cup at Gardens of Salonica, or who tempted fate marching down the stairs of Jitters, and everyone who has taken a bag lunch to seek solutions to the achievement gap, or shared the history of progressive politics in Minnesota, or reached out to engage new Minnesotans before the historic rejection of the marriage amendment. Together the great work of our society progresses under our hands, and I like to think that we are making progress."
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.