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Hennepin Healthcare Has a Blackface Problem

Plus a third-party cipher, North High students remember a friend, and why NE Mpls is full of Ukrainians in today's Flyover.

Chad Davis via Flickr

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Blackface: For the Millionth Fucking Time, Don’t Do It 

Fellow white people: Blackface is never okay. No, not even on Halloween. A few staffers at Hennepin Healthcare don’t (or refuse to) understand this rule, as an undated picture of three employees in blackface, including EMS deputy chief Amber Brown, has surfaced. This comes on the heels of Hennepin Healthcare announcing that it would be taking steps to eradicate “systemic racism” within its hospital. The trio appear to be dressed as… the Supremes? (Honestly? They just look racist.) And the image, which was shared on Facebook, also got a “like” from EMS deputy chief Mike LeVake. The photo can be seen in this excellent Star Tribune story, which goes into other recent incidents at HCMC. The list includes the Hennepin doctor who continued to train Minneapolis police on a fake/racist condition known as “excited delirium” even after such training was banned, a prominently displayed a statue of a bear dressed as a Confederate soldier, and the disappearance of a “Justice for Daunte Wright” poster. “Hennepin County’s a hot mess right now,” a hospital employee told the Strib. No shit.

A Hepola Hoopla

Always good when a campaign ad leaves you with more questions than you had going into it. Take the baffling two-minute video from former WCCO Radio host Cory Hepola, who announced his third-party candidacy for MN governor on Tuesday. What’s his platform? We can’t tell from this clip, except that he thinks Minnesota isn’t red or blue, but purple. What would he do in office? Impossible to say—this thing is basically a state tourism board promo, beginning with talk of “water, lots of water” and eventually going on to list Minnesota celebrities. (Prince is From Here, you know.) Why is he qualified? *Crickets.* And what’s that big bridge spanning a forest below, the one that definitely does not look like it’s from here?

Hepola will be backed by the Andrew Yang-founded Forward Party, which recently set up operations in Minnesota. The DFL has already decried Hepola as a “spoiler” candidate, with party chairman Ken Martin saying, “A vote for Cory Hepola is a vote to help the GOP cut taxes for the rich, defund public schools, and force their anti-choice agenda on Minnesotans.” We’ll add: Do you think it’s a good idea to vote for a guy with “daddy” in his Twitter bio?

North High Students Remember Classmate Deshaun Hill

When a young person dies, especially from gun violence, a lot of adults say a lot of things. But those aren’t always the voices we need to hear most. After Deshaun Hill, a 15-year-old North High School quarterback, was shot dead at a bus stop on February 8, his classmates worked through their grief by writing and making art about the friend they knew as D-Hill. North News published an important selection of these tributes today, many from students who knew Hill since kindergarten. Some look back at small, lighthearted moments. “In fourth grade, whenever the teacher would ask him a question, he would shrug. His answer would always be ‘I don’t know’ and that would be the funniest thing,” says 10th grader Taylor Butler. Others let it all out. “I wanna cry but I hold it in because I know you wouldn’t want to see me like this. I got to hug your older sister. She was wearing your jacket,” writes Samiah-Sy’mone Sims.

Spotlight on NE Mpls Ukrainians

With Ukraine on everyone’s mind, MinnPost explored the roots of the Ukrainian community of Northeast Minneapolis. “If you think about the way the Ukrainian community here formed, it’s all because of wars,” one resident says. The piece covers how the arrival of displaced Ukrainians accelerated during World War II as well as how Ukrainian immigration into Northeast continues today. There are also reflections on the current war, and the story is filled, of course, with all the historical data, family anecdotes, and archival photos you’d expect from MinnPost. Pyrohy for lunch, anyone?