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Born in 1931, Josie Robinson Johnson has played an active role in the civil rights movement since her teenage years, when she and her father canvassed her hometown of Houston to gather signatures on an anti-poll tax petition.

In the early 1960s, Johnson lobbied professionally for passage of bills concerning such issues as fair housing and employment opportunities. In 1964, she traveled from Minneapolis to Mississippi with an integrated group of women to witness and take part in the struggle there. After visiting an open-air freedom school where blacks were organizing, the group learned the school was bombed later that day. Johnson became a community organizer for Project ENABLE, a pioneering effort in developing parenting skills and strengthening family life in 1965. A member of the Minneapolis Urban League, she served as acting director between 1967 and 1968.

Johnson worked with elected officials many times over the years. In 1968, she became a legislative liaison and community liaison as a mayoral aide in Minneapolis during a time of trouble for African Americans in the town. The executive assistant to the lieutenant governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1978, Johnson went back to Texas in 1978 and supervised Judson Robinson’s campaign staff. In 1980, she served as deputy campaign manager for the Jimmy Carter presidential campaign in Tennessee.

Johnson has also had an ongoing relationship with the University of Minnesota. Between 1971 and 1973, she served on the University’s Board of Regents. She earned a B.A. in Sociology at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and an M.A. and Ed.D. at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The University of Minnesota offered her a senior fellowship in 1987. Johnson directed its All-University Forum as diversity director from 1990 to 1992. That year, she became responsible for minority affairs and diversity at the college as the associate vice president for academic affairs. The University of Minnesota established the annual Josie Robinson Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award in her honor.

Don’t miss this important conversation with this African American Icon. Health Notes Airs Mondays, 6:30-7:30pm

Shez Cassim is a Minnesotan who spent most of 2013 in a prison in the United Arab Emirates. His nine-month ordeal began when U.A.E. authorities took offense to a satiric video he posted on You Tube. Cassim’s jailers would not tell him why he was imprisoned. His release came only after he was convicted of defaming the country, sentenced to a year in prison and given credit for time served.
KFAI’s Christina Cerruti talked with Shez Cassim in Minneapolis, and filed this report.

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Each week, KFAI’s Cinema Shanty considers a current film that will screen in the Twin Cities. Join Kathie Smith and John Moret as they discuss the most engaging and provocative cinema being produced today. This week, they talk about a Sebastián Lelio film called “Gloria”.

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The Twin Cities are part of a national effort to eradicate homelessness among veterans sometime during the next two years. Eleven state agencies are working to get to this goal ahead of similar efforts in other participating cities in Ohio and Iowa.
KFAI recently talked with two leaders in Minnesota’s campaign to address this issue – Mikkel Beckmen of Heading Home Hennepin and Cathy ten Broeke, the State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness. ten Broeke talked with KFAI’s Diksha Maurya who asked about the inter-city competition to see to it that our veterans do not live on the street.

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KFAI will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) with a special day of programming on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, featuring the 3rd Annual Black History Month Live Remote Broadcast “SoundStage” to celebrate BHM 2014.

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An overnight musical marathon, protesting drone warfare, took place on the West Bank this past weekend. The effort was inspired by a comment last summer from Alan Sparhawk of the Duluth indie trio Low after his band filled an entire 27-minute set with one song. “Drone, not drones,” was Sparhawk’s explanation.
The Drone Not Drones benefit raised money for Doctors Without Borders and gave musicians a chance to voice their opposition to the Obama Administration’s use of unmanned aircraft to kill terrorism suspects in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
KFAI correspondent Ryan Dawes was on the scene and filed this report.

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Economic indicators suggest that there is a long-awaited recovery underway in key areas around our region, including housing and employment.
Both government and private interests want the recovery to get stronger, but how best to make that happen is often at issue.
One of the less-well-known players in this effort is a nonprofit organization called “Greater MSP”. Mostly funded by private companies, Greater MSP works to create a regional economic development strategy, to focus on job retention and expansion, and to market our region around the world. Michael Langley is the founding CEO of Greater MSP. He talked with KFAI’s Ron Thums.

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MinneCulture: Wed, February 12, 7:30pm
Dora Zaidenweber at Transfer of Memory

Earlier this year, KFAI, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas and Bethel University partnered to present a special community engagement forum around Transfer of Memory photo exhibit of Holocaust survivors by David Sherman.

On January 22, a special reception was held at Bethel, featuring survivor Dora Zaidenweber. Ms. Zaidenweber recounted stories from her family history and discussed translating her father’s memoir, “Sky Tinged Red,” from Yiddish to English.

The event was part of What’s in the Mix—a series of community engagement forums made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. It was recorded and produced for broadcast by Tom Garneau, and airs Wed, February 12, at 7:30pm, on MinneCulture.

Transfer of Memory is a traveling exhibit. It will be on display at the Otter Tail Historical Society in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, from February 18 through March 28.

SPECIAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAMMING
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014
Programming starting at 6am—LIVE broadcast from Golden Thyme Cafe 6pm – 9pm!

Brushy One-String is Jamaica’s—and likely the world’s—foremost self-taught, one-string guitar player. He was invited to perform just last month at the 11th annual globalFEST, New York’s highly-esteemed music festival featuring 12 artists from around the world on three stages in one night. A couple of days before Brushy hit the stage, KFAI’s Minna Zhou sat down with the Jamaican bluesman for an exclusive interview and performance session. Originally aired February 6, 2014 on African Rhythms.

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