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Wildly Racist Student Videos Spark Protests in Prior Lake

Plus Minneapolis redistricting, new jerky, and businesses concerned about homelessness—but not in the way you'd hope.

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Protests in Prior Lake

Earlier this week, a disturbing video began circulating on social media. In it, a Prior Lake High School student can be seen beating up a pillow with the n-word written on it, yelling slurs as another person off camera occasionally chimes in. When freshman student Nya Sigin and her sister Elizabeth—who are Black—brought attention to the video, the students in question responded by making more videos, this time specifically targeting Nya and encouraging her to kill herself. “I’m at a loss of words for what they’ve done,” she told Fox 9. Both Sigin sisters tell KSTP they want the girls behind these videos held accountable for their actions, and a youth-led protest is being held at Prior Lake High School at 2 p.m. today.

Businesses: Homelessness is Bad For Business

Winter is coming, bringing with it dangerously low temperatures for people trying to survive homelessness. To combat the cold, the city of St. Paul is expanding its services, adding smaller day spaces in business districts where people can use the restroom, eat, shower, and rest from the elements. But not everyone is cool with the plan. Several businesses on West Seventh—including Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, Art Farm Advertising, and 262 Fort Road—filed a lawsuit against the city days before the proposal passed through City Council. They’re seeking damages for business lost, claiming the nearby Freedom House has brought an uptick in crime.

St. Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson isn’t too concerned. “The law is clear that experiencing homelessness is not a crime,” she said in a statement. “As we have throughout this pandemic, we’ll continue connecting individuals to support and services, while working with residents, workers, businesses, emergency responders and visitors to support our downtown as we rebuild.” Minneapolis is also growing its homeless support services; late last month, Simpson Housing on First Avenue and 28th Street announced that it would be undergoing a major renovation that would add three additional floors to the two-story building.

A Ward of Caution

The redistricting of Minneapolis has officially begun, and MinnPost’s Greta Kaul has the lowdown on last night’s Redistricting Group meeting. The process happens every 10 years after the census data comes back—wards have to be within 5 percent of the average ward population, which means two Minneapolis wards are now too big, while five are too small. MinnPost reports that there was just one dicey moment Wednesday, when Charter Commission member Andrew Kozak noted that the lines as they’d redrawn them would have redistricted Council Member-elect LaTrisha Vetaw right out of her own Fourth Ward.

Jerky, Southern Africa-Style

Racket is a pro-jerky newspaper, so don’t think for a second you’ll see feigned, J-school-approved jerky agnosticism in these pages. So imagine our non-objective delight when MPR’s “Appetites” segment featured Zambezi Biltong, the Minnesota-based purveyor of the African treat known as biltong—a marinated, air-dried beef snack similar to jerky. “[The flavors] are more linked to Southern African cuisine, also known as the rainbow cuisine,” Zambia native Mwila Kapungulya tells MPR. “They have that earthiness that, you know, coriander, rosemary, black pepper, salt. … And then we also have the moto moto, which in Bantu language means ‘fire fire.’ That’s the literal translation.” Kapungulya, along with his biz partners Ranga Chinongoza and Henry Muchineripi (both from Zimbabwe), currently sell bags of Zambezi Biltong for $8 via their website. A third flavor is reportedly in the works.