Vitality in Community Journalism (+TOC)

Guest editor Cirien Saadeh. Photo by Sarah Whiting

I am a long-time community-trained journalist, organizer, and educator. I think a lot about how we can build transformative change. I talk with my students at Prescott College about the ways in which we make community organizing more accessible. With my staff at The UpTake, a Twin Cities community news organization, I discuss how we make journalism more equitable, sustainable, and resilient. As an invited guest editor of this magazine, I combined those ideas together.

What do we really mean when we talk about transforming justice? For this issue, I had more than a dozen one-on-one discussions with community members about how they define the concept, the practice, and the actions needed. For me, I see it as a way to respond to the ‘isms in our society without replicating systems of oppression. I see transformative justice as the interpersonal connections we create at the community level as we do this work. You will see restorative justice in these pages as well — work within the system to seek healing and reintegration.

We dig deep into systems work, making sense of the structures we are up against and talking about the ways in which our communities respond to those structures.

This theme looks at the complexity of the work ahead of us and does not break those movements and narratives down to the most basic understanding. Our writers, many of them new to journalism and trained from pitch to promotion, were able to explore complicated stories around policing, prison, and educational inequity.

Minnesota Women’s Press asks local leaders about the issues that have their attention, which enables us to ground our reporting and storytelling in the actual work of our communities. That is powerful.

A point of privilege: I was quite ill with COVID-19 as we produced this issue. I am so grateful for the resiliency that is built into the work of this publication and team. Please support it and other forms of alternative media in Minnesota. We all benefit from being able to collaborate and communicate in unique platforms about community-based transformation.

Welcome to this issue. There is joy to be shared, and sorrow as well. This is an incredibly important discussion in our state. I am glad you are part of it.

Minnesota Women’s Press is grateful to be recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association for our award-winning website and photography.

From the Publisher

Mikki Morrissette. Photo by Sarah Whiting

The extensive reporting of this issue, in print and online, would not have been possible without a generous grant from The Minneapolis Foundation. Next month’s focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives also will be enhanced thanks to the reporting budget from this grant.

In this time of belt-tightening due to the pandemic, we are very grateful for this funding, loyal advertisers, and nearly $10,000 in donations, new print subscriptions, and “35 Years of Minnesota Women” book purchases from you, our community of engaged readers.

In solidarity, we care about transforming justice, healing, equitable economies, and regenerative ecosystems. It is you and our advertisers that enable us to bring voice to the many important progressive values our freelance reporters and columnists are writing about today.

March 2021 Table of Contents

Immigration: Reducing the Risk of Deportation

Greater Minnesota: The Statewide Push for Police Reform

Bookshelf: Poet Mary Moore Easter

Tapestry: How Do You Define Transforming Justice?

Art of Living: Visions of Justice

In Conversation: Valerie Castile & Deneal Trueblood

Politics & Policy: Public Safety Voices in Minneapolis

Family & Home: Creating True Safety and Healing

Ages & Stages: Life After Prison

Education: Teaching in Trauma-Informed Schools

Action: When Data is Misused

Kids: Rebuilding Education

Equity: The Anatomy of Mutual Aid

Spirituality: Putting Faith Into Heart Health

GoSeeDo: Regina Marie Williams, Xenophobia, ERA

In The News: Trauma-to-Prison Pipeline, Reparations, Protests

Elders: At My Age