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 Levins Morales
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.
Patina Park is Mnicoujou Lakota and is the President/CEO of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC), a 35-year-old nonprofit agency dedicated to providing holistic, multi-service programming grounded in traditional teachings that helps to heal, preserve, and strengthen Native American women and their families from the multi-generational trauma impact of settler colonization. Upon graduating from Hamline Law School in 2001, Ms. Park focused her early legal career on advocating for Native American families involved in child protection and private custody cases throughout Minnesota. She previously served as an appellate court judge for the Prairie Island Sioux Community and taught at the Hamline University School of Law. She is married to a 25-year veteran of the St. Paul Police Department and has two children, who like her, are on the autism spectrum.
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.
Photo: Jon Collins
Susan Raffo (she/her) is a bodyworker, cultural worker, and writer. For the last 15 years she has focused her work through the lens of healing justice with a particular interest in supporting collective practices of safety and wellness. She maintains an individual practice and also focuses part of her work on supporting community-based and grassroots organizations around sustainability and relationship as a core part of organizational work that is grounded in racial, economic, and gender justice. For the last ten years she’s been part of a small national team building a project focused on the history of the medical industrial complex and its impact on how we are cared for and how we care for each other. She has lived in south Minneapolis for 30 years and these days lives with her awesome partner, Rocki, and their daughter, Luca. To find out more about her work, go to www.susanraffo.com.
Mike Hoyt was born in Northfield, MN and resides in South Minneapolis. He is an independent artist and arts administrator. Hoyt’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and abroad. His creative practice includes drawing, painting, graphic storytelling, network technology, public participation, and community land stewardship. He believes that art and creativity can serve as a critical catalyst for social and political change by; engaging people in deliberative dialogue, illuminating concealed stories, building cross-sector platforms, and advancing agency and equity.
A queer Puerto Rican native of South Minneapolis, Candida Gonzalez spent 15 years doing arts education work in Minneapolis, most recently as Arts Coordinator at Roosevelt High School. There, they worked on building art programs that focused on equitable arts opportunities, inclusivity of underserved populations, and deeper, culturally relevant arts experiences for youth and communities of color. They are deeply invested in the concept of using art and community design as tools to wage love and healing. Gonzalez facilitates nationwide the Making it Public workshop series for Forecast Public Art and creates jewelry under the name Las Ranas Jewelry. Their jewelry embodies the tropical energy of the Caribbean and aims to bring empowerment, strength, magic, and healing to the gente that wear it.
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Dorothy Srun
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.
Kieran was born and raised in Minneapolis and has been active in revolutionary working-class politics for decades. He is a dad, union steward, soccer coach, anarchist, and storyteller.