Hey Folks… MPLS based writer, Safy Farah and collaborators are in the process of launching a new publication project, 1991, a zine about the past and present written and produced from the perspective of young Somali-Americans artists and authors. It looks like a fantastic project and deserves all the support it can muster to get off the ground. If you have the ability, here’s an opportunity to help with a current fundraiser for the publication.
Many of us here in MPLS are a little shaken, but not at all surprised, after the verdict – not guilty on all counts – for Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony, MN cop who murdered Philando Castile. How to move forward, how to act, how to relate and continue to coexist with one another here in a state that speaks so highly of itself, yet knows full well that it must come to terms with both its past and present and future wrong-doings. The first step, as always, is to begin to unpack the nature of it all: how we see it, how we feel it, how our attitudes become formed into our institutions.
Earlier today, frequent squatter at the shop (and dear friend and conversation partner), Marlon James wrote a piece about his experiences being the “big, black guy” here in Minneapolis. Please take a moment to read it in full, and consider how, while this post-verdict moment may feel singular, that moment accumulated becomes the totality of public life for black American men and women.
You can change a system, an institution, a standard of measure, but until you work to change yourself, this shit’s gonna keep going down, and the experiences and daily dread Marlon describes will never go away. Our institutions our us, they do not change on their own.
“Smaller, smaller, and smaller” by Marlon James
“This is not to say that I deny membership in certain groups or communities. Not at all. But the ‘We’re here, too!’ agenda says nearly nothing to me about the real problems and conflicts in the world. The way those then-new orgs (especially in liberal Minnesota) attracted corporate ‘good works’-type funding–and pretty quickly professionalized their staffs–for me was a red flag. It was a good moment for Asian Americans looking for professional opportunities in the arts, but not for Asian American cultural workers whose political agendas overflowed the confines of identity assertion.” an excerpt from Anthony Romero and Dan S. Wang’s forthcoming conversation in print, The Social Practice That is Race