Spike Moss slams R.T. Rybak, racism during CeaseFire meeting [VIDEO]
North Minneapolis activist Spike Moss leveled accusations of racism at Mayor R.T. Rybak's office yesterday, furious at what he called the mayor's disrespect for local volunteers working day and night trying to curb the rising violence across the city. At issue: Project CeaseFire. At stake: a $2.2 million U.S. Department of Justice grant.
Rybak, who wasn't at the meeting, had invited representatives of the Chicago-based, anti-violence group to Urban Ventures to speak about their work.
The program deploys "violence interrupters" to mediate conflicts between gangs and stem the cycle of retaliatory violence that threatens to break out following a shooting. Outreach workers counsel young clients and connect them to a range of services. The goal is to target the behavior of a small number of carefully selected members of the community with a high chance of either "being shot or being a shooter" in the immediate future.
But Moss said that kind of work is already being done in Minneapolis, and it could be expanded, and would be more effective, if the city would free up resources and money.
"Black men, who have the responsibility to stand up for black children, can't get a dime," he said, before walking out of the meeting, followed by supporters.
Independent Business News Network was there shooting video, which was posted to YouTube. Moss speaks in the first video. Another community activist, Al Samuels, speaks in the second. Bill English speaks in the third, urging local activists to put aside their mistrust of the mayor's office and give it a chance to change.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.