The first billboard for this new project, Public Comment, coming out of the shop that Sam and Jonathan Herrera are working on went up outside of the offices of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) and CANDO, the Central neighborhood organization. The goal is to gather common, if not always complimentary in association, questions from around the neighborhood and to distill these gathered questions into a series of uniformly designed billboards, translated into the predominant languages spoken in the neighborhood. If you live in the Powderhorn, Central, or E. Philips neighborhoods of the 9th Ward and have a broad question concerning how we live with one another or might possibly in the future, call the Public Comment hotline and leave us a message: 1.800.536.0702 (special thanks to Aaron Johnson Ortiz at CTUL for the invitation to house the first billboard and to Rachel Hiltsley for her labor and insight into the project and its future). Also, if you are a commercial or residential property owner in the neighborhood and would like to host a billboard please get in touch. We’d love to collaborate with you as the project moves forward.
Yesterday and today the shop has been closed. We’ve been out in the streets with our friends and our neighbors, voicing our anger, our commitment, desire, rage, and love in this moment.
With the help of Labor Camp we made a gigantic banner, as wide as the street itself, that Sam and Derek carried with Sam’s kids from Lake & Nicolette all the way down to City Hall. Together with thousands of others, it was a cathartic and beautiful collision of unique experience and shared purpose.
Today we made our way to the Minnesota state capitol for the Women’s March, joining over 100,000 others expressing our support for women’s rights in the fight against misogyny and systemic sexualized violence against women.
Many doors to a more inclusive and progressive future are wide open today. Our challenge? Keeps those doors open for as long as it takes to bust the hinges off.
This will take more than marches and more than slogans. It will mean not asking for permission to takes the streets. It will mean speaking up and acting out in our places of work and education. It will take confronting difficult issues at home with loved ones, and in our relationships with friends alike. It will take – each and every one of us – being active, energized, and out front each and every day. In all our moments, not simply the ones we see as “political.” It will take the recognition that politics is, simply, power and how it operates. And power exists between individuals, their relationships, their institutions. It takes our shining a light on that power – ours and the power (or lack thereof) of others – and pushing that power towards what is right…
Women’s Power – POC Power – Indigenous Power and Reconciliation – Economic Equality – Environmental Justice – Immigrant Rights!!!
It will require an America identity that sets a true example for the world about how to treat other humans and the planet we share. But what more? Putting gender, race, class, sexual orientation, nationality aside it might serve us more so to get down to what we can agree on when we think about being “human.”
At the moment this human thing, at least as regards the way we’re engaging it now, isn’t doing us too much good and we are quite literally sketching out our own extinction. Rather than jockeying for positions of power, what if we began to consider what is best for all of us and not just some of us? What if we began to think small as a path towards thinking big; looking directly in front of us rather than squinting into the distance and inevitably distorting what lies right in front of our face? What’s closest to you? What is it connected to, and you in turn it? After a while we begin to understand the network, and radically, deeply personally, comprehend our value as a node within it.
A belated THANK YOU to let everyone know how amazed, grateful, and overwhelmed we are at the care and work everyone put into making Surround Sound, our record lathe fundraiser, happen. As well, of course, the massive amount of folks who showed up for the day. It was packed, and beautiful. The vibes throughout the day communal and welcoming.
Steven, Derek, and I were all discussing how seemingly effortless putting the whole thing together was. And, of course, that’s not true. The day went off so smoothly because everyone chipped in the effort and made sure that it could happen. What is true is that each of the musicians, and everyone else helping out, put in a hand, and through out shared efforts we were able to materialize a communing of brilliant people to highlight the skills and souls of so many folks – and that includes everyone who showed up to support too! I am so happy with how things turned out. And I cannot wait to get all the parts together to get the lathe up and running.
So, if everything goes according to plan, we’ll have the lathe up and running by the end of the year. Maybe even just in time for some lathe cut holiday presents.
About a half-hour ago I was sitting here in Beyond Repair with Steven and had a bit of a shock. Who stepped into the Midtown Global Market, looking around, confused, not sure where to go? None other than MPD Police Federation President, Bob Kroll. He soon walked off, looking for something. Intrigued, I left Steven in the shop and walked around the market looking for Bob. Was he searching for us? If not, was he hungry? Where would he eat?
It seems though, while I was gone, Bobby found his way to the shop. He came in, saw a stack of Sgt. Kroll Goes to the Office, took about four or five, and avoiding any eye contact or interaction with Steven of any kind, quickly walked out.
I’ve been extremely happy, and frankly somewhat surprised, at the overwhelmingly positive reception this action has elicited. Both from the public at large, as well as elected officials in MPLS city government. Furthermore, it seems the action has been effective enough to get back to Lt. Kroll, and drive him across town to what he refers to in the comic as our “shit-hole neighborhood!” But hey, art will compel you into worlds that, prior to exposure, one would never dare to venture. I congratulate Lt. Kroll for, once again, braving the wilds of South MPLS.
All this said, I feel it is important for me to make this public; after the release of Sgt. Kroll Goes to the Office many people have urged me to publicly state the fact that Kroll, MPD, and their allies could retaliate in some way. Maybe, maybe not. But I agree that it is important to state that this possibility is, in fact, logical to consider and on my mind.
As an example, after the production of the comic was made public, but not yet released, the car in the above photo parked directly outside our home one afternoon. Having constructed low-wattage radio stations in the past I was interested, but also confused, by the DIY antenna apparatus on the roof of the vehicle. Something was off with its construction and orientation. I took a photo and sent it to a friend who is far more knowledgeable in that area than I am. He stated that, while not definitive, his guess was that it was a “cell phone sniffer.” What’s that? Well, myself and the small group who organized the visit to Mayor Hodges house last November, on the night the police were cracking down at the 4th Precinct Shutdown, are well aware of what it is. Area journalists, through a FOIA request, were able to find out as well. It’s a device that can read your text messages and listen in to your phone calls. It’s a tactic that MPD used that night and what allowed them to meet us at the Mayor’s house in advance of our arrival. And who knows, maybe it’s what is on top of the van outside our home in this photo. Or maybe not.
All of this sounds terribly psychotic and paranoid. But paranoia often arises out of social landscapes that speak towards something larger than each singular, seemingly fantastical, worry or suspicion. A kernel of truth exists in each.
So, if I start getting pulled over a lot; if we suddenly have numerous coding violations on our home; if, god forbid, DHS and MPD knock down our door over alleged child abuse accusations (which happened not long ago to a friend here in town who is critical of the police and their tactics; if I happen to be walking home and have the shit beat out of me, well, we all know who’s hand is at play. (Hi, Bobby!)
And this goes for ALL the artists involved in its production, and everyone else helping with its distribution as well.
I was sad to miss Bob when he visited the shop. I genuinely would have liked to have talked to him about his actions and ours. I called the Police Union a short while after we missed one another, but he wasn’t there. So I left a message on his voicemail inviting him to call me back to talk about the work. Maybe even have a book signing at the shop?
So Bob, it’s apparent that you are, in fact, paying attention to all this. I invite you to talk about it, but please don’t hit me – or accuse me of anything, or fuck with my kids, or listen into my phone calls or read my emails – let’s just talk.
I’ll be at Beyond Repair noon tomorrow. See you here. I’ll buy you a coffee.
Wake up tomorrow morning, for the sake and justice of the world you truly want to live in and ask, “what can I do today?” We would argue, nine time out of ten, “getting arrested” is a likely consequence of those very thoughts if you are really thinking about the well being of yourself and ALL those around you. If you equate “good works” and “legality” as one in the same you need to sit down for some long thought. They are not. More than not they are mutually opposed. Throughout history, never more than now, has free thought been so compromised. Act as an individual for the sake of all individuals. Free yourself to free us all.
The new Riso we got at the shop uses this moving graphic when it needs you to wait before taking the drum out of the machine. We have determined it is a chipmunk.
We have decided to name the machine based on this graphic, and seeing that Riso is a Japanese company it seemed only right that we should use the Japanese name for Chipmunk.
So, if you come into the shop and ask “what’s that machine over there,” we’ll answer, “Oh, that’s Shimarisu.”
This is Willie. He was here in the market to have lunch and noticed our poster focusing on how the MPD took 61 seconds to kill Jamar Clark from the moment they arrived to the point of the shooting. Willie took a handful of posters to distribute to friends and family. Come in and grab some too. Let’s keep up the pressure. #byemike #justice4jamar
Calling all health care professionals:
Many “students of health” (LPN, RN, APRN, PA, MD, LICSW, PHN) learn about specific communities through studying “health disparity.” The neighborhoods of South Minneapolis’s 9th Ward – where Beyond Repair, and in turn the Midtown Global Market, reside – are sociopolitical landscapes that are often approached as “disparaging communities” within such training.
Seeing as neighborhoods suffering “health disparities” are often predominantly of color, as well as poor, and often are affectively rendered voiceless regarding their own health care needs, what does this say about pedagogy put into practice within the field of health? Furthermore, with these questions in mind, what role, in specific, does this play within pedagogy and practice considering the area around Beyond Repair and the Global Market are within reach of several well-recognized, large scale hospitals and health systems?
These will be continuing, semi-formal, lunchtime and happy hour conversations aimed at seeing how we, as individuals within health hierarchies, can leverage our skills and knowledge through publication and public-making towards more radical and decentralized practices within the neighborhoods in which we live and work.
Come with questions and considerations about how we can move our ideas across bureaucracy and into the public realm to assist those who we serve.
Printing up editions of Katie Hargrave’s, History Repeats Itself. A redacted book of current GOP presidential hopefuls. Kind of so much nicer to see the majority of there words taken out, and then… kind of not.