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.






Immigrants Demographic and Economic Impact on MN, Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail



The Dynamic Contribution of MN Immigrants



Tuesday, September 15

6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social                6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N

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 judy stuthmanSpecial Guest Host: Judy Stuthman

National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award Winner

for her Leadership in Registering over 62,000 New Citizens


Past President - League of Women Voters MN


Demographic Trends in MN 

Opportunities and Contributions of Immigrants

In an Aging State with a Declining Work Force


immigrant distribution in mn


Allison Liuzzi – Research Scientist
Minnesota Compass
Project at Wilder Research

allison liuzzi


The Minnesota Compass Project works with national and state data sources to describe trends in the state and to measure progress on topics related to its shared quality of life. Allison Liuzzi joined Wilder Research in the spring of 2012. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Luther College and her master's degree from Michigan State University. She completed her doctoral coursework in Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.



A Report on Two Research Projects

Immigrants' Economic Impact on MN

The Economic Potential of Africans in MN





Bruce P. Corrie – Associate Vice President for University Relations and International Programs and Professor of Economics, Concordia University


bruce p. corrieProfessor Bruce P. Corrie offers a new way of looking at minorities and immigrants as ethnic capital adding to the economic, cultural, social, political, and innovation fabric of Minnesota. “If we look at these communities from this perspective we will discover a new engine for economic and social growth in America.”

Professor Corrie's most recent research on
“The Economic Potential of African Immigrants in Minnesota” was funded by the McKnight Foundation. The report's estimates of African immigrant consumer spending, business needs and trends, civic and fiscal contributions, satisfaction with the policy infrastructure, and financial assets will help policy leaders grow the economic base of African immigrants in Minnesota.



Question and Answer Panel


Dr. Bruce Corrie and Allison Luizzi


mn immigrants speaker panel - wako george sareva



radio africa tamn acer lwvbpomg adc oromo c of c bp concordia u





Making Democracy Work - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


Despite a Complex Legislative Process
We the People Can Help our Legislators

Improve their Bills and Meet their Promises


Thursday, August 20

6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social      6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N



Please RSVP and Share on Facebook


nelson eaton bp council paulsen


Professor Don Ostrom and Communications Expert Audrey Britton will present an exciting two part program.  Professor Ostrom will explain how the legislative process works.  You'll find it has a fair degree of complexity.  Audrey Britton will show us how it's possible for citizens to improve legislative outcomes in spite of the complexity.  Come find out how you can do it too.  Be sure to sign up so we order enough pizza!


Thanks and see you Thursday.



The Complex Process of Developing Legislation 

Don Ostrom - Retired Professor of Political Science
Gustavus Adolphus College


don ostrom
Award Winner for extraordinary teaching, Professor Don Ostrom will explain the complex process by which legislation is introduced, developed, and blocked or passed in committees and the floor of the House or Senate and then negotiated in a conference committee if different bills are passed by the two bodies. Since the Governor (or President at the federal level) can veto a bill, negotiation with the administration is also an essential part of the process.
Professor Ostrom will also speak on getting to know and participate in your city government and give us a glimpse into the U.S. Congress.




Great Ways to Share Your Insights and Determination to Improve Legislation

Audrey  Britton -  Communications  Expert
 Government  Affairs Director, Small Business Minnesota


Audrey Britton will include  tips on evaluating legislators, and on how voters can share their concerns and insights with their state legislators and committee chairs to improve legislative outcomes.  Audrey is a communications and public relations specialist who is currently the Acting Executive Director of Small Business Minnesota and has been the organization's Director of Government Affairs for the last three years.   She will be drawing from her extensive participation in talking with legislators, hearings, press conferences, written communication with legislators, and letters to the editor.  She has worked on many legislative issues, especially as they relate to small business, including health care, transportation, education, and taxes.



Recorded by Radio Africa.  Sponsored by Think Again MN.  Cosponsored by the Brooklyn Park Community Engagement Initiative and the Brooklyn Park, Osseo, and Maple Grove Chapter of the League of Women Voters.




Ranked Choice Voting - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


Ranked Choice Voting Considered for Brooklyn Park

Tuesday, June 16     6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social     
       6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N


In Brooklyn Park, candidates for Mayor and City Council now compete in a primary election in which very few voters participate. Then the two people with the most votes in the primary face off in a general election.

The City of Brooklyn Park Charter Commission is currently working on a proposal for Ranked Choice Voting to present to the City Council for a Vote later this year. In RCV, all the candidates run at one time and voters are asked to pick and rank the best.

According to Wy Spano, Director, University of Minnesota-Duluth Center for Advocacy and Political Leadership, "The difference between these two approaches is staggering. Instead of voting against the worst option in a two-person head-to-head contest, we’re ranking the best in a group."

To use Ranked Choice Voting for city elections, the City Council would have to approve the Charter Commission's recommendation unanimously, or it would have to be placed on the 2016 election ballot and approved by a majority of the voters who voted on RCV. If approved through either method, Brooklyn Park's Mayor and City Council members would be elected using RCV starting in 2018.

For June, we will hear from three people regarding Ranked Choice Voting:

david g. williams

 David G. Williams - Professional Engineer and 41 year Brooklyn Park Resident


Mr. Williams will speak on the Charter Commission's work so far on Ranked Choice Voting and will describe the timetable for getting the Charter Commission's recommendation on RCV to the City Council.

jeanne masseyJeanne Massey

Executive Director of Fair Vote Minnesota

An Overview of RCV, How It Works, and What the Benefits Are
The Experience in Minneapolis and St. Paul




linea palmisano

Linea Palmisano

Minneapolis City Council Member for Ward 13


The Benefits and Challenges of Running as a Candidate under RCV


‏A “Q and A” will follow the presentations.


Radio African will record the forum for later broadcast on Radio Africa.


Sponsor:  Think Again MN


Cosponsors:  Fair Vote Minnesota and the Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center Chapter of the League of Women Voters 






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


Think Again Brooklyns Forum Highlights


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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.








Development along Bottineau LRT Can Contribute to Health PDF Print E-mail


Development along the Light Rail Can
 Contribute to Healthy Communities


Tuesday, May 19     6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social     
       6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, Brooklyn Park City Hall
5200 85th Avenue N


The way we plan and design our communities plays a big role in our physical, emotional and financial health. The Bottineau Light Rail Transitway Health Impact Assessment found that the transit line offers real potential to improve health for people in communities near the transit stations as well as for transit users. Careful planning can improve physical activity levels, job access, traffic safety, education access, and available healthy food as well as reduce housing and transportation costs. Since Brooklyn Park residents know a lot about which features would benefit them the most, the public will be invited to a workshop in early June to give their suggestions for development around the light rail stations. This forum will inform you on how the planning process works, and provide background for those who'd like to participate in the process.

Denise Engen

Hennepin County Community Engagement Coordinator

The Process of Station Area Planning

Todd Larson - Senior Planner, Planning Division of Development Department, City of Brooklyn Park or Emily Carr - Development Project Coordinator for City of Brooklyn Park

What Station Area Planning Means for the Long Term Development of Brooklyn Park

Larry Hiscock – Program Officer, Transit Engagement at NEXUS
Former Program Director – Harrison Neighborhood Association

Larry Hiscock's presentation will focus on how the station area planning can be used to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in Brooklyn Park.


Issa A. Mansaray - Editor, The AfricaPaper

Nelima Sitati - Executive Director, Summit Hill Association, Former Housing Coordinator for Harrison Neighborhood Association

What's Needed Along the Light Rail and How Can Diverse Groups Benefit?


Take a 7 minute Virtual Tour of the Bottineau Light Rail Line on You Tube.

Sponsor:                                             Co-Sponsors:



The Rapid Growth of Solar Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail


At the Think Again Brooklyns forum last week, Lynn Hinkle, Policy Director for the MN Solar Energy Industry Association, noted that nationwide just 20% of homeowners have roofs appropriate for solar panels. However, anyone can invest in solar energy through Community Solar Gardens in which Minnesota is a leader. In the last five years, Minnesota's solar industry has expanded from $150 million to a billion dollar industry. 

Jamez Staples, President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, told us about his program for getting people from marginalized communities prepared for solar energy careers averaging $50,000 a year through combined work and study at Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other Technical Colleges.  Mr. Staples noted that growth in the use of renewables could eventually keep the $18 billion dollars currently sent to other states for coal and gas in our own state.

              The Growth of Solar Energy in MN, Think Again Brooklyns, 4/21/15 - Linda Freemon

For additional information on MN's clean energy progress, see the articles below.





MN's Solar Energy Growth - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail
Think Again Brooklyns


Earth Day:  Support Expansion of Renewable Energy in MN

Big Benefits of Solar Energy:  Clean Air, Good Jobs,

Lower Costs, and Dispersed Local Ownership


solar rooftops facebook header

Tuesday, April 21     6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social     
       6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N


Please RSVP and Share on Facebook


Wind Energy has been rapidly growing in Minnesota for some time, and now solar energy is also beginning a steady climb. The rapidly increasing use of wind and solar energy is a result of falling prices for renewable energy production together with federal and state incentives. Farmers can participate in the ownership of wind turbines, churches, businesses, and homeowners can have solar rooftop panels installed, and apartment dwellers can buy shares in community solar gardens. Come to our Think Again Brooklyns Earth Day forum to find out how you too can participate in the ownership of the source of your electricity.

chris eatonSenator Chris Eaton – State and Local Government Committee Vice-Chair and Member, Environment and Energy Committee.  Senator Eaton will discuss the 2015 MN Clean Energy Plan and its prospects in the legislature.

lynn hinkle solar Lynn Hinkle ‪-‬ Director of Policy Development for the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association (MNSEIA).  Mr. Hinkle will speak on the benefits the 2013 Solar Energy bill is bringing to MN, including increased jobs and lower energy costs, and on the savings homeowners, churches, and cities make when they install solar energy panels.  He will also discuss the future of clean energy in MN and its contribution to MN's economic growth‪.‬

jamez staples

Jamez Staples - President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, a company that is developing the green infrastructure and renewable energy market through the use of people from marginalized communities. Mr. Staples will speak on how homeowners can finance rooftop solar energy, what subsidies are available, and the affordability of solar energy‪.‬

‏A “Q and A” will follow the presentations.



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MN Nonprofits' Leadership in Public Policy PDF Print E-mail


Research    Message    Education    Coalition    Advocacy

Tuesday, March 17
6:00 p.m. - Pizza and Social               6:30 p.m. Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N

This forum showcases the very important role that nonprofit organizations play in public policy development in Minnesota.  Minnesota's nonprofits lead the way to progressive policies that meet needs and provide opportunities for a broad range of our citizens.  We have asked leaders in a few nonprofits to describe their nonprofit's activities, but there are dozens of others engaged in similar activities that influence public policies.


nonprofit  collage

                   Nonprofits are where you'll find the excitement of making our state a better place for everyone.


Please Share and RSVP on Facebook



Jeanne LeFevre - League of Women Voters Action Co-Chair

Jeanne LeFevre will speak on ways that nonprofits influence legislative outcomes. She will give a presentation on the issues the LWVMN is supporting at the legislature this session, on how the LWVMN carries out its support of legislation, and on how citizens can keep informed and participate in issue advocacy.

The League of Women Voters work has traditionally focused on candidate forums and registering voters.  In recent years, the LWVMN has expanded its work on research, education, and public policy advocacy on issues ranging from voting rights to sexual violence against children, renewable energy, immigration, and equal opportunity in MN's schools.

sarah walkerSarah Walker - President, Impartial Justice Coalition and Founder, Minnesota Second Chance Coalition, a coalition of 60 justice reform organizations

Sarah Walker will speak on the progress of the Restore the Vote Campaign, which aims to get legislation passed to restore the vote to people who committed a felony once they complete their prison sentence.  She will explain how persistence over time and coalition building can lead to legislative success.

Sarah Walker's public policy work has received many accolades. She was the recipient of the 2010 Minnesota Council of Non-Profits Statewide Advocacy Award, 2010 Hennepin County Bar Association Advancing Justice Award, 2010 and 2011 winner of the Politics in Minnesota’s Leaders in Public Policy Award.   In 2012, the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health granted her its Outstanding Service Award for her work in Juvenile Justice. 

Sarah Walker was born in Zambia.  She spent most of her childhood in Texas and graduated from Carlton College.  She is currently working on a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Minnesota.

A Question and Answer session will follow the speakers' presentations.


lwvbpomg tamn 2nd chance bp diversity





"My Brother's Keeper" - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


children reading and hs grads

A Challenge to Communities  to Improve 

Life Outcomes for All Young People

Tuesday, February 17

6:30 p.m.  Pizza Buffet and Social       7 p.m. Program


Brookdale Library, Rooms ABC
6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center


Please note that our February forum will be at the Brookdale Library because the City Council is meeting that day.  We just heard from the Library that we can have Room C at 6:30 for pizza and the social.  Rooms A and B might not be ready that early.  If so, enter Room C along the passage to the right.

Please RSVP and Share on Facebook

antonio smithAntonio Smith - Brooklyn Park Community Outreach


Just back from a trip to Washington with Mayor Jeff Lunde to exchange ideas on President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" program to inspire  boys to reach their life goals


The Goals of the "My Brother's Keeper" Challenge

How the City of Brooklyn Park and other Communities are Contributing to Improving the Life Outcomes of Youth


sally nault maurerSally Nault-Maurer - Early Childhood Program Coordinator at Osseo Area Schools

Osseo Schools' Preschool and Early Childhood Family Education Programs

How Early Childhood Learning Contributes to Long Term Academic Success


gale cannonGale Cannon - Family Life Educator




Park Buddies Program at Park Haven Apartments for Children and Families at Park Brook Elementary School




stephen wreh-wilsonStephen Wreh-Wilson - Executive Director, Pro USA

Helping high school students to set goals and work with mentors who will guide them in reaching their goals


samuel mwangiSamuel Mwangi - Executive Director, Global Fatherhood Foundation

How fathers can make a big contribution to their children's success in school and life





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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

facebook logo

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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