Beth Hawkins

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10-9-13 TruthToTell: Community Connections VIII- Who runs Minneapolis, Who should?

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, October 14, 2013

 

It’s week one of KFAI’s Fall Pledge Drive! Call in on Monday morning to pledge your support at 612-341-9030 or donate now online.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With all the media attention the upcoming, highly-contested Minneapolis Mayoral Race is getting, isn’t it about time we all ask ourselves, how important is the mayoral office in implementing change? TTT’s Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi discuss the key people, institution, and otherwise that are making things happen in Minnesota’s biggest city. More importantly, we discuss with our panelists and audience members ‘Who should run Minneapolis?’ We consider what all of our roles are as citizens, voters, tax-payers, parents, students, and the like. How do we make Minneapolis a city that truly works for everyone? Join us for this important pre-election discussion.

TTT partners with the Community Development Club and the Center for Civic Engagement at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College to present this one-of-a-kind public forum.

The telecast of this forum will air Monday, October 14 at 8pm on SPNN St. Paul Cable Channel 19 and MTN Minneapolis Cable Channel 16Subsequent broadcasts will also be available to northern metro suburban cable subscribers and online.

TruthToTell: Community Connections is made possible by a generous grant from the Bush Foundation, which has enabled TruthToTell to partner with KFAI Fresh Air Radio, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), and selected community partners to present these discussions and dialogues on important issues like education, the environment, health care, politics and elections, transportation, Native concerns, youth issues and more, into the key communities affected by these respective topics for radio, television and online distribution.

PANELISTS: 

CAM GORDON- Minneapolis Ward 2 City Councilmember

CAT SALONEK- Community Organizer, OccupyHomesMN

LENA JONES- MCTC Political Science Instructor

BETH HAWKINS- Freelance Twin Cities Journalist/Blogger


MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, October 7, 2013

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is it about mental illness that makes people turn a blind eye to the realities around them – yes, most probably in their families or themselves? Why have we as a species come to see behavioral health as something to run away from, not only as a blot on the rest of our families, but somehow raising questions that some sort of inherited mental illness will get us locked up or killed – as too many Americans with mental illness have been?

A crisis? Absolutely, and the tougher the times, the worse the crises. And we’ve criminalized mental illness such that those acting out are too often shot down by police officers.

But those are just a few of the issues facing us when, according to research from the Wilder Foundation, “the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)estimated that 45.1 million adults, or nearly 20 percent of the population, had a mental illness in the past year; 11 million adults had a serious mental illness in the past year. Additionally, nearly 9 million adults had a substance use disorder in the previous year.”

Applying SAMHSA’s estimates to the number of adults in Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington Counties, Wilder reports, it is estimated that 245,800 adults living in the East Metro alone had a mental illness in the past year with an estimated 59,300 adults having a serious mental illness, and 49,170 had a substance abuse problem in the past year.

(Serious mental illnesses are diagnosable mental disorders that interfere with or limit one or more major life activities for adults. Conditions include bipolar disorder, dual diagnosis, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia.)

Now, on this beginning day of Mental Health Awareness Week, we talk with those dealing with mental health crises, urgent care for mental health, and even mental illness itself to get us thinking about how we can stop this business of adding stigma upon stigma to a society so wracked by some form of mental illness. And just what IS emotional CPR?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI try to make sense of an sickness that takes such a back seat to all other human ailments.

GUESTS:

ROGER MEYER – Project Director, Mental Health Crisis Alliance, Ramsey County

ADRIENNE PREHATNEY - Peer Support Specialist, Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health

 

 


PATTI BITNEY STARKE – Executive Director, Mental Health Consumer Survivor Network of MN

 


TruthToTell, Monday 10-14-13-9AM ENCORE- TruthToTell: Community Connections VIII- Who Runs Minneapolis? Who Should? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/streaming @ KFAI.org

On-air date: 
Mon, 10/14/2013

 

It’s week one of KFAI’s Fall Pledge Drive! Call in on Monday morning to pledge your support at 612-341-9030 or donate now online.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With all the media attention the upcoming, highly-contested Minneapolis Mayoral Race is getting, isn’t it about time we all ask ourselves, how important is the mayoral office in implementing change? TTT’s Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi discuss the key people, institution, and otherwise that are making things happen in Minnesota’s biggest city. More importantly, we discuss with our panelists and audience members ‘Who should run Minneapolis?’ We consider what all of our roles are as citizens, voters, tax-payers, parents, students, and the like. How do we make Minneapolis a city that truly works for everyone? Join us for this important pre-election discussion.

TTT partners with the Community Development Club and the Center for Civic Engagement at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College to present this one-of-a-kind public forum.

The telecast of this forum will air Monday, October 14 at 8pm on SPNN St. Paul Cable Channel 19 and MTN Minneapolis Cable Channel 16Subsequent broadcasts will also be available to northern metro suburban cable subscribers and online.

TruthToTell: Community Connections is made possible by a generous grant from the Bush Foundation, which has enabled TruthToTell to partner with KFAI Fresh Air Radio, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), and selected community partners to present these discussions and dialogues on important issues like education, the environment, health care, politics and elections, transportation, Native concerns, youth issues and more, into the key communities affected by these respective topics for radio, television and online distribution.

PANELISTS: 

CAM GORDON- Minneapolis Ward 2 City Councilmember

CAT SALONEK- Community Organizer, OccupyHomesMN

LENA JONES- MCTC Political Science Instructor

BETH HAWKINS- Freelance Twin Cities Journalist/Blogger

10-9-13 TruthToTell: Community Connections VIII- Who runs Minneapolis, Who should?

Who are the key people, or institutions that are making things happen in Minnesota's biggest city? More importantly, we'll discuss with our panelists and audience members 'Who should run Minneapolis?' We'll consider what all of our roles are as citizen, voters, tax-payers, parents, students, and the like. How do we make Minneapolis a city that truly works for everyone?

Wednesday October 9, Who Runs Minneapolis? Who Should?, from TruthToTell: Community Connections

 

TruthToTell's Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi get perspective on municipal power in Minneapolis from a community organizer, city official, independent journalist, and an academic in the 8th forum of the Community Connections series. Wedneday, October 9 at 7pm at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Join us at Minneapolis Community and Technical College on Wednesday, October 9, 6:30-7:30pm. 

With all the media attention the upcoming, highly-contested Minneapolis Mayoral Race is getting, isn’t it about time we all ask ourselves, how important is the mayoral office in implementing change? Who are the key people or institutions that are making things happen in Minnesota’s biggest city? More importantly, we’ll discuss with our panelists and audience members thoughts on ‘Who should run Minneapolis?’ We’ll consider what all of our roles are as citizens, voters, tax-payers, parents, students, and the like.  How do we make Minneapolis a city that truly works for everyone? Join us for this important pre-election discussion.

TTT partners with the Community Development Club and the Center for Civic Engagement at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College to present this one-of-a-kind televised public forum. This event is free and open to the public to attend and participate. Light refreshments will be served.  

Show audio will be streamed live from 7:00-8:30PM October 9. Interested stations and individuals should inquire with Andy or Michelle for information on streaming. Additional distribution will come on TruthToTell’s regular air slot at 9:00 AM on October 14 on KFAI, and on television at 8:00 PM on October 14 on SPNN St. Paul Cable Channel 19, and MTN Minneapolis Cable Channel 16. Subsequent broadcasts will also be available to northern metro suburban cable subscribers and online.

RSVP for this event.

TruthToTell: Community Connections is made possible by a generous grant from the Bush Foundation, which has enabled TruthToTell to partner with KFAI Fresh Air Radio, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), and selected community partners to present these discussions and dialogues on important issues like education, the environment, health care, politics and elections, transportation, Native concerns, youth issues and more, into the key communities affected by these respective topics for radio, television and online distribution.

On-air guests: 

CAM GORDON- Minneapolis Ward 2 City Councilmember

CAT SALONEK- Community Organizer, OccupyHomesMN

LENA JONES- MCTC Political Science Instructor

BETH HAWKINS- Freelance Twin Cities Journalist/Blogger

TruthToTell, Monday, Nov 19 - 9AM: OVERCOMING RACISM: Historical and Current Struggles; TruthToTell, NOV 12: THE BILLION-DOLLAR ELECTION: The Media Got Rich-Again

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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As this is written, the this year’s sold-out 4th Annual Overcoming Racism Conferencewas under way Friday and Saturday at Metropolitan State University’s East Side St. Paul campus. Titled Decolonizing Minnesota & Beyond: Historical & Current Struggles, the lineup of keynoters & workshops for the conference include several from Greater Minnesota and take on more Native perspectives in this 150th year commemorating theDakota War of 1862.....
...

Monday morning, both keynote speakers are with us live, as well as a founding co-chair of the Facilitating Racial Equity Forum (FREC), Dr. Herb Perkins, Co-founder and Co-director, Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles, or ASDIC Metamorphosis. FREC has sponsored these annual conferences.

Those keynoters are two of this region’s, nay, the country’s most eloquent speakers on issues of lingering colonialism and racial inequity. From the conference program:

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the development of liberation strategies that will support the recovery of Indigenous ways of being, the reclamation of Indigenous homelands, and the eradication of colonial institutions. She is the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair of the Indigenous Governance Program at University of Victoria. Waziyatawin is also author of What Does Justice Look Like?

Dr. Rose Brewer is professor of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota and co-author of The Color of Wealth

This excellent conference may be sold out, but, perhaps our show is one way to visit the conference without the ability to be there in person. At least some important highlights can be revisited with our guests, and TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADIwelcome these three racial justice heavyweights to the program.

  WAZIYATAWIN – Dakota writer, teacher, and activist; author of What Does Justice Look Like.


 DR. ROSE BREWER – professor of African American and African Studies,  University of Minnesota; co-author of The Color of Wealth




 DR. HERB PERKINS, Co-founder-Co-director, Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles, or ASDIC Metamorphosis; founding Co-chair of the Facilitating Racial Equity Forum (FREC)


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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, November 12, 2012

 

This week, it’s the community-based media’s turn to react to the billions spent in campaign bucks and in PAC money, freed from all constraints by Citizens United, which was merely the crown on top of a series of rulings removing limits on how much campaigns and outside groups could raise and spend on electing people to office – not to mention the millions thrown into the ring on behalf of the now-failed amendment proposals to theMinnesota state constitution.

The presidential campaign and those amendments really sucked most of the air out of the room – so much so that, yet again this year, as in 2010, the all-important legislative majority switched parties – from Republican to DFL control. And again, the surprise was theMinnesota House of Representatives, which now sports a 12-vote majority of DFLers headed by newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Erin Murphy (my rep).

The Senate was less a surprise, since those with political ears to the ground were predicting a majority turnover there. Sure as hell – it came – and for the first time in 20-odd years, DFLers are driving all three governing entities – both houses and the Governor’s office.

Some attention was given to the heavy races in the 6th and 8th Congressional Districts, but the other incumbents generally sailed through and were ignored. We do that. We pay little attention to races with token or no opposition, many of the local races and a ballot question or two, and almost none of the judicial races, including the state Supreme Court, and certainly the most invisible of all – Watershed District Commissioners. What’s that? Watershed District what?

What about the St. Paul Schools Levy Referendum? It passed, 2 to 1, even though voters could have confused it with yet another Amendment and voted NO.

We try to get a handle on all this and examine the entire commercial nature of political campaigns and why this commerciality represents a conflict of interest for media who cover those campaigns with one penciled hand while taking the massive campaign dollars with the other. What happened in this country to turn campaigns for public office into just another advertising scheme for used cars and detergent?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI toss these questions and more to a panel of local and community-based media outlets rarely heard from in the campaign cacophony consuming our airwaves and the printed page for over two years running.

GUESTS:

 BETH HAWKINS – Reporter, MinnPost.com, covering primarily the Constitutional Amendments and Education this year

 MARY TURCK – Editor, Twin Cities Daily Planet

 

 


 CHARLES HALLMAN – Reporter, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

 PAUL DEMKO – Reporter, Dolan Media Company (Politics in Minnesota and the Legal Ledger, etc.)

 MILA KOUMPILOVA – Education Writer, St. Paul Pioneer Press

 

 

 


TruthToTell, Monday, NOV 12 − 9AM: THE BILLION-DOLLAR ELECTION: The Media Got Rich-Again; TruthToTell, Nov 5: HANDICAPPING ELECTIONS: What to Do to VOTE/Who might Win?

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVE TO THE MAX DAY IS COMING NOV. 15TH!

ARE YOU READY TO GIVE TO THE MAX FOR CIVICMEDIA and our Community coverage work?

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE ON NOVEMBER 15th: Give to the Max Day. Put us on Top of the Small Nonprofits Pile! THANK YOU!!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week, it’s the community-based media’s turn to react to the billions spent in campaign bucks and in PAC money, freed from all constraints by Citizens United, which was merely the crown on top of a series of rulings removing limits on how much campaigns and outside groups could raise and spend on electing people to office – not to mention the millions thrown into the ring on behalf of the now-failed amendment proposals to theMinnesota state constitution.

The presidential campaign and those amendments really sucked most of the air out of the room – so much so that, yet again this year, as in 2010, the all-important legislative majority switched parties – from Republican to DFL control. And again, the surprise was theMinnesota House of Representatives, which now sports a 12-vote majority of DFLers headed by newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Erin Murphy (my rep).

The Senate was less a surprise, since those with political ears to the ground were predicting a majority turnover there. Sure as hell – it came – and for the first time in 20-odd years, DFLers are driving all three governing entities – both houses and the Governor’s office.

Some attention was given to the heavy races in the 6th and 8th Congressional Districts, but the other incumbents generally sailed through and were ignored. We do that. We pay little attention to races with token or no opposition, many of the local races and a ballot question or two, and almost none of the judicial races, including the state Supreme Court, and certainly the most invisible of all – Watershed District Commissioners. What’s that? Watershed District what?

What about the St. Paul Schools Levy Referendum? It passed, 2 to 1, even though voters could have confused it with yet another Amendment and voted NO.

We’ll try to get a handle on all this and examine the entire commercial nature of political campaigns and why this commerciality represents a conflict of interest for media who cover those campaigns with one penciled hand while taking the massive campaign dollars with the other. What happened in this country to turn campaigns for public office into just another advertising scheme for used cars and detergent?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI toss these questions and more to a panel of local and community-based media outlets rarely heard from in the campaign cacophony consuming our airwaves and the printed page for over two years running.

GUESTS:

 BETH HAWKINS – Reporter, MinnPost.com, covering primarily the Constitutional Amendments and Education this year

 MARY TURCK – Editor, Twin Cities Daily Planet

 


 CHARLES HALLMAN – Reporter, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder


 PAUL DEMKO – Reporter, Dolan Media Company (Politics in Minnesota and the Legal Ledger, etc.)

 MILA KOUMPILOVA – Education Writer, St. Paul Pioneer Press

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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Night, I was privileged to anchor a great team of reporters and analysts at KFAI under News Director Dale Connelly that brought you election results, analysis and conversation from the moment polls closed at 8:00PM until Midnight. Look for an audio podcast of that four hours of conversation elsewhere on this site soon. We'll try to highlight some of the good stuff from that evening's conversations and post those tidbits later as well.

But, before that came Monday’s TruthToTell…

TruthToTell covered a number of the election issues voters confronted last Tuesday.

Minnesota voters, thank god, turned out in record numbers once again – and in almost every precinct in the state - to the tune of some 79% of the eligible electorate. Now, if we could only repeat those numbers for local races, next year and thereafter – perhaps we can really claim that our local governments represent a majority of the whole city or county or school district.

Elected officials respond to the constituents who put them in office, but even more to those who show up beyond Election Day and insist that the public interest is served by that official’s work in office.

An important function of the Minnesota Secretary of State is to provide Voter Information – and that website is loaded with it.

And, thanks to the defeat of the Voter ID Amendment, you will still need only walk in to your precinct polling place and vote, if pre-registered, or to register right there if you’re not by simply showing something with your current address on it and voting then and there. 

In addition to the much-discussed and critical State Constitutional Amendments proposed, all of Minnesota’s Legislative offices and three State Supreme Court Justices were up for election this year, along with all Federal offices.

While most major cities and school districts elect their board and council members in odd-numbered years, some Minneapolis and suburban Metro cities and school board races and a St. Paul Schools Levy Referendum are on the ballot in this even-numbered year. So some, not all, of you will elect local officials in 2013.

Over the course of the horrendously fatiguing campaign season, we heard and saw almost too much about the Presidential candidates, a bit less about the US Senate race, even less about our Congressional races unless there are battles royal under way – such as that for the 6th(Bachmann/Graves) and 8th (Nolan/Cravaack) Districts – and almost nothing about some very important contests, especially about your state and local judges and justices – truly important people who determine the application of the law and its impact on our lives. So buried are these elections, it’s a wonder that anyone bothers to make them elected – until someone tries to take that power away.

TTT’S ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI consult four elections and political experts and analysts to generate some enlightened interest in some of the more obscure races and handicap the Legislative make-up to come. Now we know who will be in charge after last Tuesday? It will be you, and me - US.

GUESTS:

DR. JOSIE R. JOHNSON – former University of Minnesota Regent; retired University of Minnesota Associate Vice President for Minority Student Affairs; Founder, UofM Office of Diversity & Equity and Honoree - Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award; Principal, Josie Robinson Johnson & Associates Consulting


TOM HORNER – former Independence Party Candidate for Governor; former GOP Spokesperson; Founding Principal, NextMinnesota Public Policy Advocacy nonprofit.

 


BOB MEEK – Founder & Executive Secretary, Sweet Reason Discussions; DFL Communications Operative and Analyst; Founder/consultantNewsBridge Connections/Tunheim Associates, Public Relations;


ELISE CHAMBERS – Election Protection Organizer, Common Cause Minnesota

 

 

TruthToTell, NOV 12: THE BILLION-DOLLAR ELECTION: The Media Got Rich-Again - AUDIO PODCAST HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 11/12/2012
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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Just a few hours left to GIVE TO THE MAX for TruthToTell and CivicMedia/MN!

PLEASE DONATE HERE before Midnight Thursday! Help keep CivicMedia bringing you TruthToTell all next year! And THANK YOU!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week, it’s the community-based media’s turn to react to the billions spent in campaign bucks and in PAC money, freed from all constraints by Citizens United, which was merely the crown on top of a series of rulings removing limits on how much campaigns and outside groups could raise and spend on electing people to office – not to mention the millions thrown into the ring on behalf of the now-failed amendment proposals to the Minnesota state constitution.

The presidential campaign and those amendments really sucked most of the air out of the room – so much so that, yet again this year, as in 2010, the all-important legislative majority switched parties – from Republican to DFL control. And again, the surprise was the Minnesota House of Representatives, which now sports a 12-vote majority of DFLers headed by newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Erin Murphy (my rep).

The Senate was less a surprise, since those with political ears to the ground were predicting a majority turnover there. Sure as hell – it came – and for the first time in 20-odd years, DFLers are driving all three governing entities – both houses and the Governor’s office.

Some attention was given to the heavy races in the 6th and 8th Congressional Districts, but the other incumbents generally sailed through and were ignored. We do that. We pay little attention to races with token or no opposition, many of the local races and a ballot question or two, and almost none of the judicial races, including the state Supreme Court, and certainly the most invisible of all – Watershed District Commissioners. What’s that? Watershed District what?

What about the St. Paul Schools Levy Referendum? It passed, 2 to 1, even though voters could have confused it with yet another Amendment and voted NO.

We try to get a handle on all this and examine the entire commercial nature of political campaigns and why this commerciality represents a conflict of interest for media who cover those campaigns with one penciled hand while taking the massive campaign dollars with the other. What happened in this country to turn campaigns for public office into just another advertising scheme for used cars and detergent?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI toss these questions and more to a panel of local and community-based media outlets rarely heard from in the campaign cacophony consuming our airwaves and the printed page for over two years running.

GUESTS:

 BETH HAWKINS – Reporter, MinnPost.com, covering primarily the Constitutional Amendments and Education this year

 MARY TURCK – Editor, Twin Cities Daily Planet

 CHARLES HALLMAN – Reporter, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder


 PAUL DEMKO – Reporter, Dolan Media Company (Politics in Minnesota and the Legal Ledger, etc.)

 MILA KOUMPILOVA – Education Writer, St. Paul Pioneer Press

TruthToTell, June 25: RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Will You Speak Up?-PODCAST is UP HERE

Listen to or download this episode here:
Young Evangelist

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Time was – back in the 1950s – those of us from Catholic grade schools who found ourselves attending public high schools – in my case Central High School from St. Luke’s Parish (now St. Thomas More) in theArchdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis – religious education was continued by way of what were called “Release” classes. Every Wednesday afternoon, the agreement between the schools and the church allowed Catholic students to be “released” from their class(es) early to walk a few blocks to a Catholic Church (in our case, St. Peter Claver – where the “Black Catholics” go. Still do, but very mixed now), sit around talking some catechism and all that for an hour, then woke up and went home. Probably between ten and twelve showed up each week.

This went on for the first year, perhaps another half-year before I gave up on that nonsense.

Meanwhile, in place of the discredited high school fraternity/sorority system that prevailed in Minnesota until thrown out in the early 50s under a somewhat scandalous shadow, came the Hi-Y (boys) and Y-Teens (girls) clubs established under the rubric of the YMCA and YWCA, respectively. About five to seven clubs for each gender and themselves taking on Greek names (Kappa Hi-Y was the one I joined). Of course, we Catholics were theoretically forbidden to belong to one of these because the Y’s are “Christian” – meaning Protestant (horrors!). The Catholic answer to all this were the CYC’s – Catholic Youth Centers – all put together to keep us Catholic and away from all the others. Our school was St. Paul’s true melting pot. About 80% of the city’s Jewish kids attended Central (you’d know many names) and they had their own groups. The boys belonged to AZA, the girls – B’nai B’rith.

All this to say that religion and religion youth groups have forever been part of a teen’s life in Minnesota’s public schools. But, those organizations, while well-attended and active, were off-campus, and, as far as I know, the elementary schools were out of bounds altogether. No religious group claimed the right to use public school resources or spaces for their religious or social activities. Meetings, classes, social events and dances, etc., were all staged elsewhere and the classrooms were free of such intrusion.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has tracked most of this record of court cases and disputes between churches and state institutions. One of their surveys may shock you:

“Federal courts, …civil libertarians point out, have consistently interpreted the First Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of religion to forbid state sponsorship of prayer and most other religious activities in public schools.

“Despite that long series of court decisions, polls show that large numbers of Americans favor looser, not tighter, limits on religion in public schools. According to an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of Americans (69%) agree with the notion that ‘liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of the schools and the government.’ And a clear majority (58%) favor teaching biblical creationism along with evolution in public schools.”

This is shocking news, running counter to Supreme Court rulings dating to 1940 that were clearly designed to separate public schools from intrusive religious credos. Until 2001, when, in a 6-3 decision (Child Evangelism Fellowship [CEF] vs. Milford (NY) Central School), the US Supreme Court threw out a district policy forbidding the use of school property for religious purposes, effectively freezing out CEF from establishing its “Good News Clubs” there. Such a ban violated freedom to promote a viewpoint, said the majority. Outside groups could be banned, but not based on their views. The dissenters rabidly stated that the CEF was using Good News Clubs to proselytize, but the majority said that doesn’t matter. A Minnesota case is pending in the Federal Court of Appeals.

Much of this would no doubt be buried in the arcane business of local school governance and the courts were it not for 1) a series of articles by MinnPost.com’s Education Reporter and Columnist, Beth Hawkins, and 2) a new book by investigative reporter Katherine StewartThe Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. The latter will be in town to appear and sign books and talk about this phenomenon under the auspices of Americans United (for Separation of Church and State). All of this in advance of a Child Evangelism Fellowship strategy conference to be held here in MInneapolis in July.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI will talk with the reporters/authors and an AU representative about the legal history, the political climate and the future of the precedents in the arena of religion on the public schools.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Katherine Stewart presentations and book-signings:

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 7:30 P.M. – MAGERS & QUINN BOOKSELLERS
 - 3038 Hennepin Ave.  Minneapolis

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 7:00 P.M.
– COMMON GOOD BOOKS
 - 38 Snelling Ave. S.
– Saint Paul

On-air guests: 

KATHERINE STEWART  - Free-lance Investigative Reporter (The New York TimesThe Guardian, theDaily BeastBloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches); Author, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.


BETH HAWKINS – Education/Public Policy Reporter/Columnist and Blogger (Learning Curve), MinnPost.com

 


DEREK BIRKELAND – Board Member/Treasurer, Americans United (for Separation of Church and State) – Minnesota