South Minneapolis is full of talented artists, wise elders, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, gifted storytellers, and visionary organizers. Our volunteers check in with some of these Southside gems twice each month to record a message for their community. You’ll hear everything from thoughts on the news of the day to guided meditations, poetry and storytelling to relationship advice. Check in with your neighbors below.
Junauda is a creative activist, writer, playwright, and multi-dimensional performance artist who is Minneapolis-born, West-Indian descended, and African-sourced. Her work centers around Black wildness, Afro-futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle, and shimmer. As one half of the Free Black Dirt collective, Junauda has introduced us to work like Queen: A Puppet Play, The Sweetness of Wild, and There Are Other Worlds. She has led the Wild Seed portion of the May Day parade for the past several years, and her poem “Can We Please Give The Police Departments To The Grandmothers?” was one of the first recordings that KRSM shared.
Ricardo is an artist, gallery owner, printmaker, mentor, and a self-described “healer and trickster organizer”. He was born in Puerto Rico and raised by the community organizers and radicals of late 1960’s Chicago. Ricardo is probably best known locally for his instantly recognizable posters, but he stays busy with many projects including his work as a co-founder of MPD150 – a group dedicated to understanding the history of the Minneapolis police department, in order to better understand it and eventually dissolve it.
Adja Gildersleve is a filmmaker and co-director of Free Truth– a media company using art as a tool for liberation. Adja’s dream is to work with Issa Rae on a film where two Black women travel back in time to save the world from the zombie apocalypse aka colonization. Adja believes that media is a powerful tool to imagine, internalize, and empower.
Marcie is a citizen of the White Earth Nation. Her award-winning debut novel, Murder on the Red River (Cinco Puntos Press) is currently available with the second in the series soon to follow; Girl Gone Missing. Two nonfiction children’s books are Pow Wow Summer (MN Historical Press) and Farmer’s Market: Families Working Together (CarolRhoda). With four published plays she is the creative mind behind Raving Native Theater. She is a recipient of the Loft’s 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship with poet Diego Vazquez. Additionally, her poem Wiigwaasabak was awarded a place in the St. Paul Almanac’s Impressions Project Summer 2017.
Jake is the lead organizer for the Parks & Power campaign at Hope Community Inc. In partnership with the community, Parks & Power has helped to shine a spotlight on racial inequities and the need for new leadership at the Hennepin Country parks system. He is also a talented hip hop artist, the co-founder of Off-Ten Publications, and an instructor for community organizing work through the SPEAC program.
Lena K. Gardner hails from Golden Valley, MN and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and also of United Theological Seminary with her masters in Justice and Peace studies. She is the Executive Director of the newly formed Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, a faith-based racial justice organization and spiritual community. She lives in Robbinsdale with her three cats, Merlin, Sam and Soukie. At the core of all of her work are the questions how do we live out and into our privately held values in the public arena? What does justice mean collectively and individually? What can each of us do in order to be more loving and just in the world?
Veronica Mendez Moore
Veronica Mendez Moore is Co-Director at Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL; Center of Workers United in Struggle), a workers center in the Twin Cities. For 11 years, she has organized and developed leadership with low-wage workers to fight against corporate giants for fair wages, working conditions, and a voice on the job. CTUL plays a crucial role by creating innovative models of organizing that re-organize the economy to build more power for workers.
Irna is a full-time campaigner with Daily KOS, a progressive website that is at once a news organization, community, and activist hub. She has led several digital campaigns on a range of issues, from voter suppression efforts to legislation targeting the transgender community. She also played a key role in the creation of Daily Kos’s Liberation League, which focuses on educating and moving the organization’s members to take action on racial and gender justice issues.