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February 26, 2011

2011 Morrill Hall/Rachel Tilsen social justice awards

The Morrill Hall and Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund was created to acknowledge and honor the work of the Afro American Action Committee (AAAC) and Rachel Tilsen. By acknowledging the 1969 Morrill Hall Take-Over at the University of Minnesota Campus (see the award-winning film at www.vimeo.com/6608437) and Rachel Tilsen, we recognize the importance of personal sacrifices as well as organizational efforts in the struggle for social justice. The Afro American Action Committee (AAAC) emerged from a rich tradition of protest, revolt, and resistance to the spirit of racism and ruthless domination. AAAC embraced the "incarnate spirit of justice, hatred of a lie, that willingness to sacrifice money, reputation, education and life itself on the Alter of right." AAAC stood on the shoulders of the NAACP and the Niagara Movement. The members of AAAC believed, they stood, and they spoke. In fact, the tenacity of the AAAC members transformed the University of Minnesota to become more inclusive, more tolerant, and less separated from the dynamics of the entire community.

Rachel Tilsen epitomized the term Social Justice. Rachel was more than just a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, and wife. She was a fierce freedom fighter and lover of life. In many respects her legacy lies in her courage and the attributes she instilled in every woman that had the opportunity to meet her. She was not only a freedom fighter, she was also a teacher. Rachel taught others to have respect for self, family, culture, and history. She was a morale lifter who believed that you had to let your voice be heard, and that you had to follow your words with action. She championed what she believed. Rachel insisted that we have a responsibility to stand up for the people who do not have the strength or the will to stand for themselves. Rachel fought for social justice regardless of race, color, religion, or creed.

The Morrill Hall and Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund is intended to continue and promote the activism AAAC and Rachel subscribed to: equality and justice for all people, with all people equally valued; and vigilant struggle in the fight for justice.

Grants up to $5000 will be awarded to individuals or organizations for projects addressing social justice.

Applications and criteria are available for downloading. Email questions to mhrtjfquestions@gmail.com

Applications will be accepted up to midnight March 1, 2011.

Awards will be presented on April 30, 2011 at the second annual Morrill Hall/Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund Gala Event.

February 16, 2011

New Beginnings: The Story of Liberians in Minnesota

Minnesota has been a refuge for immigrant communities displaced from their countries due to a variety of circumstances. One of these communities is the Liberian community, which grew rapidly in the aftermath of a series of civil wars that ravished their homeland. However, the story of Liberians in Minnesota does not begin with these civil wars but stretches back more than 50 years. The radio documentary "New Beginnings: The Story of Liberians in Minnesota" looks at this history, along with the growth and development of the community. The documentary is produced by Liberian-American artist e.g. bailey, and his partner Sha Cage. The three-part documentary will air on KFAI Fresh Air Radio (90.3fm Minneapolis/106.7fm St. Paul) on February 16, 21, and 23 at 7:30 p.m. It can also be streamed online at www.kfai.org.

NOMMO African American authors series

On Thursday, February 24, the NOMMO African American Authors series continues its 2010-2011 season. Professor Alexs Pate hosts poets Gary Jackson and Yusef Komunyakaa at 7:00 PM in Cowles Auditorium (located in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center.) Gary Jackson is the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his manuscript Missing you, Metropolis. His poems have appeared in Inscape, Magma, The Literary Bohemian and local chapbooks. Yusef Komunyakaa is the critically acclaimed author of 14 books of poetry, including Copacetic and Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize.

February 1, 2011

African American history from the MN Daily archive

February is Black History Month. The University of Minnesota's student newspaper &mdash The Minnesota Daily &mdash has selected 28 items about African American history from its archive, including news articles, columns, reader's quizzes, and opinion pieces. Visit http://www.mndaily.com/archives/featured each day in February for a look at the history of African Americans at the University of Minnesota.