Community members share stories, concerns over immigration reform PDF Print E-mail


Christiaan Tarbox, Community Editor of the Brooklyn Center Sun Post, reported on Think Again Brooklyns February forum on Immigration Reform.  You can read "Community members share stories, concerns over immigration reform" online.


javier morillo andrew suah abena abraham and elizabeth tolzmann

Speakers:  Javier Morillo, Andrew Suah, Abena Abraham, Elizabeth Tolzmann




African Immigrant Services: a culture of community innovation and inclusion PDF Print E-mail


African Immigrant Services has institutionalized a culture of community innovation and inclusion in how they understand and take action on issues directly affecting their communities. Abdullah Kiatamba, Executive Director of AIS, believes the key is access to information and then mobilizing for action. 


See the storygraphic in MinnPost that outlines AIS' work and explains how they plan to use community education and engagement to change the roles of African immigrants and other underrepresented groups in the northwest suburbs of Hennepin County from observers to active leaders.


Think Again Brooklyns has worked with African Immigrant Services on the Voter Restriction Amendment and on civic engagement conversations and community forums.




Snack'n Talk on the Bottineau Light Rail Transit Line PDF Print E-mail


snackn talk on bottineau lrt 22614

                                                Photo by Linda Freemon


Packed House at the Roasted Pear, 2/26/14

Sponsored by ACER, Think Again MN, City of Brooklyn Park






Immigration Reform PDF Print E-mail


A Better Future for Immigrants,

Their Families, and MN's Economy



Tuesday, February 18        5:30 p.m. - Pizza and Social        6 p.m. - Program
Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center
Room C to left of indoor library entrance

TMZ International Radio will broadcast the forum to Africans nationwide and in 22 different countries.


Please RSVP on Facebook if you can.

Javier Morillo: President, SEIU Local 26


javiermorilloIn February we are welcoming one of the top experts in Immigration Reform to Think Again Brooklyns.  Javier Morillo will discuss issues surrounding immigration reform such as:  What labor rights do immigrants have?  How are labor rights infringed upon nationally and in MN?  What methods can be used to empower immigrant workers?  How can Immigration Reform improve the lives of immigrants and their children? What will the Immigration Reform Bill include? 

Javier Morillo-Alicea is the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, which unites close to 6,000 property service workers in the Twin Cities metro area. He has served as as SEIU's National Immigration Campaign Director and has received awards for his leadership of state legislative immigration campaigns. Morillo was previously a Fullbright Scholar and taught history and anthropology courses at Carleton and Macalester Colleges.



abena abrahamAbena Abraham
Mounds View High School Student from Liberia

Abena will explain the uncertainty of her refugee status as an immigrant from Liberia and the big impact lost immigration status papers had on her family.


Elizabeth Tolzmann

Brooklyn Park Community Engagement Coordinator

elizabeth tolzmannImmigration Reform would not only benefit immigrants themselves.  With an aging  Caucasian population and fewer Minnesotans entering the labor force, the success of Minnesota's new citizens will have a big impact on Minnesota's economy. Elizabeth Tolzmann will discuss Common Barriers and Challenges facing Immigrants in Local Communities and the Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Reform
In addition to serving as Brooklyn Park's Community Engagement Coordinator, Elizabeth Tolzmann is an immigration attorney (Of Counsel at Davis and Goldfarb PLLC) and an Adjunct Professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.  She will provide an overview of immigration law and concepts, discuss common legal issues impacting immigrants in the community, and explain the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform for employers and businesses.



A Question and Answer Session will follow the presentations


We request that you not wear political buttons or shirts because we want our guests of all political persuasions to feel welcome at our forums.

Questions: Gail Hanson, 763-229-5448
Carol Woehrer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  


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The Bottineau Light Rail Transit Line PDF Print E-mail


You're Invited to Snack 'n Talk on


The Bottineau Light Rail Line


 metro train

Faster Transportation


A Link to Jobs and Education


A Catalyst for Housing and Commercial Development 



 Wednesday, February 26

6:30 p.m. - Sign-in and Hor d'oeuvres           7 p.m. Program


Roasted Pear

9690 Colorado Lane, Brooklyn Park

(North of 610 on Zane across from Cub Foods)


The proposed Bottineau Light Rail Line could bring big benefits to north Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park, but residents need to get involved early to make sure developments along the line benefit them. Join the conversation to get up-to-date on the Bottineau LRT path, on the location of the stations, and on how you can participate in shaping station design and development near the stations.


Brent Rusco - Senior Engineer, Hennepin County

Division of Engineering and Transit Planning


brent ruscoBrent Rusco, the Bottineau Transitway Study Manager, will bring you up to date by explaining the planning process for the Bottineau Line; its goals, timeline, and funding; and the organizations responsible for the planning, design, and construction of the Bottineau route.  He will discuss the location and design of the stations.


Nelima Sitati-Munene - Community Organizer Harrison Neighborhood Association


nelima sitati-muneneAs Equity Rubric Pilot Project Coordinator, Nelima Sitati-Munene is working with pilot school districts, and with a set of local community organizations in communities of color to build a shared analysis, assessment, and action plan to strengthen equity practice and leadership in schools. Strongly committed to policy work that puts communities at the center, she is a current policy fellow with the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and serves on the Metropolitan Council’s Housing Policy Planning Work Group.


Nelima Sitati-Munene will address the development opportunities that light rail will bring. She will explain why Brooklyn Park residents should be involved in the planning process for that development and how they can do so.


Moderator: Wynfred Russell - Executive Director, African Career, Education, and Resource Center


wynfred russellAs Executive Director of ACER, Inc., a government-funded community- based organization, Wynfred Russell, promotes inclusivity and accessibility, and leads efforts to expand the capacity of limited resource communities in Minnesota. He has extensive experience in public health planning and education policy development, and is an experienced multi-platform communications practitioner.


If you have a question, please contact Carol Woehrer, 763-537-0816, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Caucus Workshop PDF Print E-mail

Sunday, February 2, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center, MN
Rooms A and B to left of indoor library entrance

RSVP - Please let us know you are coming if you can:


writing a resolutionDo you ever think that your government - city, state, or national - is not paying attention to your situation or your family's needs?  You can do something about that by participating more fully in the electoral process.  It will take a little of your time, but can produce big results in your favor, especially if you combine your efforts with others.

resolution vote

Minnesota has a unique electoral process which provides for broad participation by voters, not only in voting, but in developing a party's platform and endorsing candidates to run for office. It all starts with your party's caucuses on February 4. This Caucus Workshop will introduce first time caucus goers to what happens at a caucus, and explain how they can have a big impact in this important grassroots process.

If you already attend your caucus, please invite others who have not attended a caucus to do so for the first time in 2014 and tell them about this Caucus Workshop which will prepare them to fully understand and participate in their caucus.

The nonpartisan workshop is sponsored by Think Again MN and African Immigrant Services. For further information, contact Carol Woehrer, 763-537-0816, or Abdullah Kiatamba, 763-432-0597, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




MN's Electoral Process: Diverse Audience, Excellent Speakers PDF Print E-mail


resolutions banner

       MN's electoral process gives all citizens a chance to participate in choosing a party's
       candidates and public policies. Above:  Writing, discussing, and voting on a public policy.


joy marsh stephensForum Attendee Joy Marsh Stephens posted in MN's Electoral Process: Minority Influence in 2014
9:20pm Jan 16

"If you missed it then you REALLY missed something special. Hats off to all the organizations who sponsored this really valuable educational opportunity. Thanks as well to the many speakers who took time to share their knowledge and empower a whole new base of constituents. I'm glad I was there along with so many of my neighbors."

Points Shared by the Speakers

benjamin kruseBenjamin Kruse opened the forum with an explanation of caucuses as the starting place for MN's Electoral Process.  At the caucuses, precinct chairs and vice chairs are elected, delegates to the Senate District Convention selected, and Resolutions proposed for the Party Platforms.  At the Senate District Convention, candidates for state legislative offices, this year MN Representatives, are endorsed and delegates and alternates elected for the Congressional District and State Conventions.  If you don't want to run to be delegate yourself, you can cast your vote for someone who plans to vote for the same candidates you prefer.

patricia torres raySenator Patricia Torres Ray told the diverse audience that a Caucus was an easy way to become involved in a political party.  It is a way for people to have a big influence because the number of participants tends to be small.  The people who participate become like an extended family.  Senator Torres Ray noted that most of the legislation she proposes has been suggested by her constituents, adding that it is the public that leads on legislation.  Legislators usually support legislation when the public rallies behind it.


sarah walkerSarah Walker, President of the Coalition for Impartial Justice, spoke on the large number of black men, one in five, who are disenfranchised in Minnesota.  Due to laws promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, many more people were convicted of felonies in states throughout the nation in the last 30 years.  Most of these convictions are for drug use and do not involve violence.  While drug use is similar in black and white communities, stop and search policies in black neighborhoods have resulted in a far higher rate of arrest for black men. Drug arrest policies carried out since the 1980's have resulted in the U.S. having the highest rate of incarceration of any nation in the world. 

MN is one of the states lowest in incarceration, but one of the highest in probation and parole.  Currently people on probation and parole are not allowed to vote.  Ms. Walker stated that the Second Chance Coalition is advocating restoring the right to vote to people convicted of a felony once they complete their prison sentence.  Restoring the right to vote encourages people to take on the responsibilities of citizenship and helps them to become reintegrated into the community. 


devin monteroDevin Montero, Brooklyn Park City Clerk, spoke on the important role of election judges, and the extra help that bilingual judges contribute to elections.  He also brought one of the new voting machines and showed how the machine works.


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MN's Electoral Process: The Influence of Minorities in 2014 PDF Print E-mail


resolutions banner

          MN's electoral process gives all citizens a chance to participate in choosing a party's candi-

          dates and public policies. Above:  Writing, discussing, and voting on a public policy.


Welcome to Think Again Brooklyns 1st Gathering for 2014
Invite your Friends and Neighbors

Thursday, January 16        5:30 p.m. - Pizza and Social        6 p.m. - Program
Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center
Rooms A, B, and C to left of indoor library entrance

Let us know if you're coming if you can .
You can RSVP on Facebook - See "Join" in the right column.

patricia torres rayCaucus Goers Big Influence on a Party's Candidates and Policies: Join the Serious Business and Fun at your Party's Caucus!

Senator Patricia Torres Ray
MN's First Latina Senator


benjamin kruseThe Organization of Politics in Minnesota

Roadmap to the Caucuses and Conventions


Benjamin Kruse - Senator, SD47, 2011-2012



sarah walkerWhy It's so Important for Minorities to Vote
  How the 2013 Election Law Makes Voting Easier
Sarah Walker - President, Coalition for Impartial Justice
Award Winning Justice Advocate



devin monteroThe Role and Responsibilities of Election Judges
The Special Contribution of Minority Election Judges


 Devin Montero - Brooklyn Park City Clerk


Question and Answer Session and Breakout Groups
Questions: Gail Hanson, 763-229-5448
Carol Woehrer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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Think Again MN Receives African Immigrant Services Award PDF Print E-mail



ais appreciation dinner 111513             

Think Again MN was given the Award for Community Education and Engagement by African Immigrant Services at the Appreciation and Awards Dinner on November 15, 2013.  Over 300 people attended the dinner including members of Think Again Brooklyns' host team:  Radious Guess, Reva Chamblis, Linda Freemon, and Carol Woehrer.




The Brooklyns - Hard Hit by Job Losses and Foreclosures PDF Print E-mail

Meeting the Housing Needs of Low Income and

Minority Families and Homeowners in Foreclosure

housingTuesday, November 19
6:30 p.m. Pizza and Time to Socialize
7 p.m. Program

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


Over the last few years, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center have been the Hennepin County suburbs with the highest rates of foreclosures.  Across the United States, the homes of people of color have been foreclosed at a higher rate.  A report by the Minneapolis Urban League shows this trend is true for the Twin Cities as well.  While the rate of foreclosures has declined some, it is still about four times the normal rate.  At the same time, rental rates have increased placing great strain on the budgets of low wage workers.  


How have the MN Legislature, federal programs, and the Metropolitan Council's Housing Plan Work Group responded to the housing needs of those affected by the recession and foreclosure crisis?


owen duckworthOwen Duckworth - Alliance for Metropolitan Stability; Member of the Metropolitan Council's Housing Policy Plan Work Group

Topic:  The Metropolitan Council's Fair Housing Equity Assessment and its Coordination with Thrive MSP 2040, the Twin Cities region's long range planning effort

nelima sitati-muneneNelima Sitati-Munene - Community Organizer, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Public Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Member of the Metropolitan Council's Housing Policy Plan Work Group

Nelima Sitati-Munene works on housing-related issues, safety and crime prevention, and increasing community participation in the committees of the Harrison Neighborhood Association.  She has previously worked as a victim’s advocate at the domestic abuse center in Hennepin County and at Alexandra's House.

Topic:  The Politics of Race and Place:  The Challenges of Representing a Community with many Low Income and Minority Families

ron elwoodRon Elwood - Supervising Attorney, Legal Services Advocacy Project

Mr. Elwood has worked previously in management positions at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and the New York State Public Service Commission, as a consultant on energy for the Minnesota State Legislature, and as a planner on housing and homelessness for the Ramsey County Human Services Department.
Topic:  Ron Elwood helped craft the Foreclosure Relief Bill that became law in 2013.  He will explain the protections this new law provides to homeowners in foreclosure in obtaining loan modifications and other options for avoiding losing their homes.  He will discuss the process by which this bill achieved virtually unanimous support in both the MN House and the MN Senate. He will also describe legislation passed over the last several years that protects homeowners and renters in foreclosure.

Dana Slimmer - Housing Specialist, Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin.  Ms. Slimmer works directly with homeowners at CAPSH to help them navigate through the workout/modification process with their lenders.  She also provides pre-purchase and refinance counseling and reverse mortgage/HECM counseling for seniors, and co-teaches the financial literacy classes.
Topic:  Foreclosure Prevention Resources in the Community and Foreclosure trends

Bring your questions and comments.  A "Q and A" will follow the speakers' presentations.




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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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