Monthly Archives: April 2021

Comments Off on Dakota County Attorney Backstrom has Retired – Goodbye and Good Riddance

Alright – so, as I have mentioned many times the state of Minnesota has become and has been for generations a place that is very difficult for black and brown folks. I am not going to go over why and what we can do about it as I have already done in this blog many many times.

The good news is Dakota County attorney who has been there for decades stepped down from his post. I am no fan of him or any county’s justice system for that matter. Because he left during his tenure, the board commissioners have to select the next county attorney until the next election in a couple of years. Who applied? more of the same who have the same bias policies that created this racial disparity, to begin with.

Kathryn Keena served under Backstrom and if you can believe is worse than him. You see she has indifference attitude towards justice whereas Backstrom was rude and arrogant. She is the wrong person for this and I hope the board does not appoint her. Minnesota is at a crossroads and at a gut-wrenching moment in racial inequalities. If this state is to make any progress in this, people like Ms. Keena are all wrong. They are about the past, not the future.

Elizabeth Lamin – she is from Ramsey county attorney which is the only county that has a minority as the head. My bet is she is probably better than Ms. Keena for sure.

Tom Pugh – a democrat who is a retired judge. He may also be better than Ms. Keena.

Dakota county has a lot of diverse communities including a lot of autism families. As you can see no one looks like us on the board; not yet anyway.

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on Running to be Judges – Why is that Important to Racial Equity and eliminating Disparities

Alright – so, the state of Minnesota has become the poster child for racial injustice and disparities of the country. Black and Brown folks in Minnesota are at the bottom of the pit in almost every category from education to health to employment to wealth to the justice system. Why, Why, and Why?

Three reasons:

  1. We do not know and have not thus far learned how to use our votes to get what we need. What do we need? Better policies, to appoint people from our communities to be judges, commissioners, board members, etc. For example, Judge Peter Cahill was appointed by the Gov of Minnesota in 2007 then he won two elections which he probably did not even have anyone running against him. Judge Cahill was selected to oversee the trial of the century and will decide the sentencing time by the first black judge to be chief in Hennepin County. Guess who appointed him in 2006? No, not a liberal governor; Gov Pawlenty – the irony of this is interesting Who appointed him you ask? Well – I have written about how we need to run against judges in every category in Minnesota. Sadly, we never do. Imagine if this judge was someone who reflected us. How amazing would that have been.
  2. To run for office – I mean by black and brown folks who have a backbone and not butt kissers. Sadly, majority (not all) black and brown legislators brownnose to whatever party they belong to. They forget who elected them and who they are supposed to represent. After black and brown legislators are in office, they need to write policies and laws that hold racists accountable, change and amend policies/laws that are hurting our communities, etc. This includes protecting not teachers’ unions who fail and kick our kids from their educational environments, voting no to giving twenty million dollars to a white life in Mpls while giving cents to black lives taken by Mpls police. This simply means representing your voters – period.
  3. Sue everyone and anyone who discriminates against you even if you lose or think you will lose. The goal being make them uncomfortable as they have made you feel.
  4. I do not honestly think if we do above three well with a laser-like focus we do not need the fourth one which is demonstrations. This is time-consuming and is basically begging someone else to give you the power you already have.

Think about this: What if the few black attorneys I can think of run to be judges or county district attorneys. For example, we (all Minnesotans) have heard of Nekima Levy; clearly, she is an eloquent speaker who has a legal sound mind. Imagine instead of marching in the streets of Hugo, MN, she ran the halls of Hennepin county by running against attorney Mike Freeman and defeating him.

Another example, imagine if black attorney Cedric Frazier instead of pandering to the teacher’s unions run to be a judge where he oversaw families suing schools for discrimination and disparities.

Imagine if Athena H (And I do not even like her) instead of saying useless words in a public safety committee in MN House of Reps run for a county attorney where she can make an actual difference instead of just talking. I blogged about this before, back then out of Minnesota’s 87 counties – there was one minority county attorney. Think about that. How insane is that? We cannot just march. We need to also become those that make the law, run agencies, run courtroom, etc., etc.

Alice Walker said, “The most common way for people to lose power is by thinking they don’t have any”. You see we assume we do not have the power to be judges, lawmakers, district, and county attorneys, etc., etc., etc. But we do. We should not always ask someone else to give us a seat at their table. We need to create our own tables, get our own chairs, and fill with diversity, equality, and fairness for all. That is the true American idealism and dream.

What makes America great is the idea that anyone from nothing can make it and be whatever their heart desires as long as their mind works towards that. I remember I once went on vacation to Paris, (no not Paris, Texas), France. And I remember being so excited to be the city of love and life. To my surprise, every French person, I have met wanted me to tell them about America and how great it is. There was a McDonald’s restaurant near our hotel, and it was always busy; I remember thinking why anyone would want to eat a big mac when there is French food everywhere. You see Mcdonald’s represented this great nation that promises justice, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to everyone.

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Advocate

Comments Off on CBS’ Gayle King to Walz – You’re The Governor; Do Something About Systemic Racism in MN

Alright – so, Minnesota is arguably one of the racist states in the country. No, this not my opinion; it is a fact and based on data. While Minnesota has exceptional education and health care system; black and brown people are failing in schools and have one of the highest racial health disparities in the nation.

Minnesota Governor was being interviewed by Gayle King from CBS regarding yesterday’s verdict and he kept on preaching as though he was running for office. Walz stated Minnesota is a good place to live and raise a family except for black and brown people including education, health, homeownership, etc. At one point Gayle K told him “You are the governor, do something about it”. This coming from Gov Walz is ridiculous given he is the mother and father of systemic racism. Gov Walz has been here for years now and we are still struggling with disparities in every corner. Department of Human Services under him has discriminated against more black and brown employees than the past several governors combined. His health dept commissioner refused to hire a Somali Ph.D. public health professional from Mayo even though she wasted his time and interviewed him kazillion times. Note this is the health agency that hires clueless hillbilies as asst commissioners and/or in leadership positions. Under Gov Walz, teachers (protected by teacher’s union which he unapologetically supports) fail our kids while he helps the adults and screws with students.

The audacity of him preaching equality would be Jay Leno funny if it weren’t true. He needs to take a look at the mirror because he will see systemic racism. He needs to be a one-term governor. We (Black and Brown) folks need to stop voting for politicians like Walz who dismiss, disregard, and discriminate with impunity.

Something is rotten in Minnesota.

How did Minnesota become one of the most inequitable states?

Racial inequality in Minneapolis is among the worst in the nation. 

How Minneapolis, one of the most liberal cities struggles with racism.

Minnesota 2nd worst for inequalities for blacks in the nation. 

Minnesota among the worst in education gap.


The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom

Comments Off on Will the State of Minnesota Legislatures Stand Up for Kids This Year?

Alright – so, Minnesota’s legislative session starts in January or so and winds down by early May. Around March, all of the bills for the session have been introduced and have had hearings if they are to end up in the final omnibus bill which is what becomes a law.

I have been following the education bills from the state house and senate. Minnesota is the only state in the country that has a divided legislature – interesting, hunh? At any rate, I testified yesterday in the senate omnibus walkthrough. Below is my testimony. I must say I find the chair Sen. Chamberlain welcoming, inclusive, charming and charismatic. He knows his stuff, but keeps it light-hearted and allows everyone in the public to be heard.

Minnesota Senate Education Finance & Policy Committee

Chair – Sen. Chamberlain

April 6th, 2021

Re: Education Omnibus bill, SF-960

Dear Mr. Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to testify today for my son and other students like him. Many of you are parents, uncles, aunts, etc., we all send our children to school to learn not just math and science, but also social and life skills.

Research has repeatedly told us that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended. Many including my son who has nonverbal autism do not understand suspension; yet schools kick these kids out of their educational environment. We all want safe schools; we also want our children to learn and stay in school.

Administrators and teachers need support, training, and resources to teach, but they should also be held accountable for their actions. I ask that you add the suspension bill from Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and the governor’s language of trying non-exclusionary methods first before suspending a kid to the senate portion of the education omnibus bill.

You have all heard the horrible and shameful record Minnesota has in education disparity. You also know that Minnesota is the only state in the country with a divided legislature. What the voters have told you is to work together in bipartisan manner that ensures everyone’s voice is heard and valued. I ask you all to please keep our children in school, increase teachers of color and protect students with disabilities for being punished for their disability.

As always, I thank you for your time and hope this legislative session produces more fruitful laws than before for all students.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.


Comments Off on Suspension Bill is Heard in Minnesota Senate Education Committee Chaired by Sen. Chamberlain

Alright – so, Sen. Torres-Ray authored a bill to ban suspending students from kindergarten to grade three in the senate and it had its first hearing; it was laid over for possible inclusion into the final omnibus education finance and policy bill. The house version is authored by Rep. Richardson.

I had to testify for this and you are not going to believe who came and was supporting suspending kids? seriously guess? I certainly could not have guessed. None other than the chair of Bloomington Public Schools (BPS). Yep. I am still in shock. BPS supporting any legislation that keeps kids in the school – what?. At any rate, I had my testimony written and submitted for the record. I was just going to read it and call it a day. Then, when I saw her face; I got emotional and what I wrote went out of the window. I told her how BPS affected our family’s life. Suspension is hurtful and heart-breaking to the kid and the whole family. Sen. Chamberlain was kind as usual and understood my perspective as a parent. Sen Isaacson was rude and dismissive as usual. And we minorities vote for democrats, come on people. By the way, BPS which has a shameful and horrible education gap and suspension disparity is controlled fully by democrats. How do you like them apples.

Minnesota State Senate

Education Finance & Policy Committee

Chair – Sen. Chamberlain

March 10, 2021

My son who has nonverbal autism was suspended by teacher Kelly Morris and principal Jaysen Anderson on Thursday, May 3rd, 5:18pm in 2018. The teacher neglected to give him his communication device, disrupted his routine then called the principal and security on my kid. I never took him back. My son now goes to a charter school which has been simply wonderful. They understand he has a disability and does not comprehend suspension nor cause/effect.

I will never forget that day.

 Re: SF 1048

Mr. Chair and Members, thanks much for the opportunity to testify today. I support this bill that bans kicking kids out of their educational environment. My own kid was suspended by a union-protected teacher and a lobbyist-protected principal.

We know that one of the main factors in education gap is the result of discipline disparities (Pearman et al., 2019) If students are not in school; they are not learning; if they are not learning; they are failing.

To those that say, what do I do with a child that brings a weapon to school that is a whole another kind of action. If a child in third grade or younger has access to any kind of a weapon, there must be different type of consequences and questions. This bill does not address that and yes, we want safe schools, but we also want schools that teach children by keeping them in their educational environment.

Additionally, to those that preach we understand, we know, and we care about disparities, yet their school districts have been cited for the very thing (discipline disparities) they supposedly care about; please stop preaching sugar while practicing salt. If whatever you are doing was working, we would not be here. Opposing this bill while bringing no alternative solutions to the table is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated.

Please take a read in below research to further understand how discipline disparities and education gap are very much connected. This is why Minnesota has a horrible and shameful education gap. We must keep kids in school and teach them; suspending students has zero educational value.

As always, I thank you for your time.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or, committee.