Insight News

Monday
Nov 24th

News

CAIR-MN: Electrolux asked to clarify Ramadan accommodation

Muslim workers have not agreed to proposed change  to meal schedule during month-long fast

(ST. PAUL, MN, 7/23/10) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) last week called on Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux to clarify a statement claiming that it will now offer legally-mandated religious accommodation to Muslim employees at its St. Cloud, MN, plant during the upcoming Ramadan fast.

Earlier in the week, CAIR-MN requested accommodation because of a new policy that prohibits all food on the production floor, except for food required by those with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Since that policy was put in place, Muslim employees, their union representatives, and CAIR-MN have worked to seek an accommodation to allow the workers to bring a snack onto the production floor to break their fast at sunset during the month of Ramadan. The time to break the fast changes daily.
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Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo SoldiersBuffalo Soldiers:
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) met with World War II veterans, the historic Buffalo Soldiers, in her Washington, DC office. The Buffalo Soldiers get together every July 28th in different cities to commemorate Buffalo Soldier Day. Throughout the year they visit schools, churches and community groups to raise awareness about the historic challenges and accomplishments of the Buffalo Soldiers. Pictured below, from left, are: Trooper Bruce Dennis; Trooper Albert Curley; Trooper James Madison; Trooper Harold S. Cole; Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA); Trooper Ernest Collier; Congresswoman Waters; Trooper Al Benson; Trooper James Cooper; and Trooper Andrew Aaron. July 29, 2010.

Haitian celebrity Chef Ron Duprat and ébène founder Fayola Nicaisse establish hunger alleviation program for Haiti earthquake victims

Haitian celebrity Chef Ron Duprat and ébène founder Fayola Nicaisse establish hunger alleviation program for Haiti earthquake victimsHollywood, Ft Lauderdale, FL (BlackNews.com) -- Recently, celebrity chef Ron Duprat and former model Fayola Nicaisse visited Haiti to examine conditions six months after the devastating January 12, 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake centered near PORT-AU-PRINCE. Overcome by the deplorable post-earthquake living conditions and hunger still rampant in their homeland, Duprat and Nicasse became more determined than ever to do something to address the still existent near famine conditions. Chef Duprat has partnered with Bergeron Land Development, Inc. to establish a culinary center in Haiti in an effort to help alleviate hunger in affected areas.

Duprat teamed up with Nicaisse - who is the founder of the highly-successful ébène organic skin and hair care line - shortly after the earthquake in a common love for their country and their eagerness to contribute to relief efforts. To meet their collective goal they are also currently working on expanding her line of skin care products. A percentage of the products' proceeds will benefit their continued relief efforts in Haiti.
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Vote 2010: Absentee ballot a choice for some

Absentee ballots will be available starting Friday, June 25th for the August 10, 2010, primary election.  Let’s talk about voting, voting qualifications and voting absentee.  Voting is the first step to civic participation.  There are multiple ways to exercise your right to vote in Minnesota.  You may vote at the polls on Election Day, you may vote in-person as an absentee at the county auditor or city clerk’s office before the election or mail in an absentee ballot. 

July 20, 2010, was the last day to register to vote in order to appear on the list for your polling location.  If you are not registered by July 20, 2010 then you will have to register via same-day registration when you go to vote on August 10th. 
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Study finds homebuyers in lower income and minority neighborhoods pay higher FHA loan rates

Twin Cities among worst in nation

Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization that builds power in low-income neighborhoods through community organizing, released a new study showing that nationally and in the Twin Cities, homebuyers in lower income and minority neighborhoods are paying higher rates on FHA home mortgages and that the disparities in the Twin Cities are worse than in other metro areas.  Because FHA loans are federally insured and only available to borrowers who meet the FHA lending criteria, these disparities cannot be explained by differences in risk factors, such as credit, among the borrowers.
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Statement from Center for Responsible Lending president Michael D. Calhoun

Washington, D.C.—President Obama’s signing of the financial reform bill last week marked a watershed in efforts to restore common sense to lending and financial markets. Our nation now has a roadmap for ending the unfair and deceptive practices that have cost millions of families their financial security and nearly capsized the economy.

To members of Congress who worked so diligently to craft this law—and to withstand big-money lobbying against reform—we offer our deepest gratitude. Their support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and strong lending rules will help all Americans who simply want fair access to credit and the information they need to make the best financial decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses.

Passing this legislation was an enormous undertaking. Now we all face the equally hard job of implementing it as intended.

For more information: Kathleen Day at (202) 349-1871 or kathleen.day@responsiblelending.org; Ginna Green at (510) 379-5513 or ginna.green@responsiblelending.org; or Charlene Crowell at (919) 313-8523 or charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

Melvin Carter participates in political study program

Melvin Carter participates in political study programWASHINGTON, June 29, 2010 – St. Paul Ward 1 City Councilmember Melvin Carter III has been selected by The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) as a delegate to Algeria for a 7-day political exchange program beginning on July 9, 2010. He will join six other young political and policy leaders from across the United States to study Algeria’s political system, engage in dialogue on international issues, and forge professional relationships and friendships. The program is arranged by ACYPL and made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State.

“ACYPL has the unique mission of proving select young leaders with an opportunity to travel internationally and engage firsthand in public diplomacy,” said ACYPL Chief Executive Officer Linda Rotunno. “Our delegates have access to key leaders in the nations they visit. They engage in dialogue on sensitive issues, gain a unique perspective on the country’s politics and its relations with the US, and, most importantly, forge professional relationships and friendships that can last a lifetime.”
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Great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington to lead Oakland/Bay area youth in historical journey across country, following his footsteps from slavery to freedom

Great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington to lead Oakland/Bay area youth in historical journey across country, following his footsteps from slavery to freedom"The highest test of the civilization of any race is in its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up." -- Booker T. Washington


San Leandro, CA (BlackNews.com) -- When President Obama was elected he asked Americans to help restore the country. Oakland, California native, Sarah O'Neal Rush, great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, has not forgotten her pledge to do just that. Rush is the founder and executive director of Booker T. Washington Empowerment Network (BTWEN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. From July 30, 2010 - August 7, 2010 she will lead eight youth and three mentors on a Freedom Journey, a rite of passage, following the footsteps of her great-grandfather from slavery to freedom.
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Senator Franken Introduces “HELP Separated Children Act”

Legislation addresses problems exposed by 2006 Worthington raid and increased ICE arrests

The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota is proud to announce its support for the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act introduced last week by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and others. The bill will help ensure that children remain safe, informed, and their interests accounted for during Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and all enforcement actions.

The legislation directly addresses problems exposed in the aftermath of the 2006 raid at Swift & Company meatpacking plant in Worthington, MN, after which numerous children were without their parents and had no way to find them. 
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Friends, leaders celebrate Toni Carter

Friends, leaders celebrate Toni CarterFriends and family gathered at a barbeque on Father’s Day to wish Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter (District 4) a happy birthday and to begin fundraising for her reelection campaign.

Rory Koch, Legislative Assistant to State Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-32A), has recently filed to challenge Commissioner Carter for her seat in the November 2nd elections.

In attendance at the barbeque were Lt. Gov. candidate Robyn Robinson, former FOX 9 news anchor; DFL-endorsed candidate for MN House of Representatives District 65A, Jeremiah Ellis; and Commissioner Carter’s son, St. Paul City Councilmember Melvin Carter III (Ward 1). “People often ask me if seeing my mother achieve so many great things has inspired me, that I could do the same. But in fact, it had quite the opposite effect. [Working so close with her] has made me realize that I could never do all of the things she has done,” Councilmember Carter said.
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Gulf residents protest, brace themselves for after affects of oil spill

Gulf residents protest, brace themselves for after affects of oil spill WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Flames coated the water as a cloud of grey and black smoke hovered over the Gulf of Mexico. Carlos Felder could have been one of the 11 men killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, but he instead was an onlooker. Felder stood on the deck of the boat, eying what has now been confirmed as the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. “I was just waking up and getting ready to start my shift,” Felder, a contract worker for Shell energy and petrochemical companies explained, “when I heard the big boom and went out on the deck to see what the big noise was - like everyone else.”
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