This week’s edition covers stories
from May 11th to May 17th, 2023.
Today’s issue is 1200 words, a 9.2–minute read.
In today’s edition: Isabella and Helene talk Sudan’s crisis, WGA strike, Art-A-Whirl, Justice for George two-day event
Bon giorno fellow readers,
It’s May and full of bouquets! Last weekend I celebrated my graduation from the University of Minnesota, while we also celebrated Helene’s graduation from McGill University (in Canada) and her return to the office – yay! It was also Mother’s day last Sunday, so I hope you celebrated yourselves as well as your mothers.
As we move through the weeks, Minnesota opens its doors to Spring and the beautiful events that come with the season, such as Art-A-Whirl this weekend (read Helene’s section for more). We also focus on bigger topics such as the crisis in Sudan, which has hit close to home for one of our team members, Nyabang. Writers are tired of writing in exchange for a lack of proper compensation and protections from studios. Last but not least, Squirrel Haus Arts is hosting the Justice for George: Breaking Barriers Building Bonds open house to focus on how youth is overcoming these barriers.
A complex current situation – but not an incomprehensible one – is the crisis in Sudan. Since April 15th, Sudanese people and foreigners have fled from Khartoum in order to guard their safety. The lack of electricity, food and water have put many families in distressful, painful and concerning situations. According to the New York Times and U.N agencies, more than 160,000 people have fled the country, while more than 700,000 have been “internally displaced.” Conflict arose between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, and the Sudanese Army that has put Sudan and South Sudan at great risk. With over 600 deaths and more than 5,000 injured, fighting has not ceased in Khartoum and will seem to continue longer.
Rivals Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Lt. Gen. Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Hamdan (RSF), had collaborated to succeed in a military coup in October 2021, but had begun to fall out and use violent tactics against one another.
Elections began in South Sudan in December 2023, but the country is considered to not be sufficiently equipped for the “civil space and security arrangements required or an independent electoral commission”. Receiving the large quantity of South Sudanese exiles will be a devastating challenge since the “halt in cross-border trade” has increased food prices to an unaffordable amount.
“The series of events in Sudan reveals the limits of US influence.”– Jonathan Guyer, Vox News
Why is the US not highly involved? Well, they are… to an extent. Due to the power that both generals have in Sudan and South Sudan, Hemedti’s non-traditional assets, and the “lack of US leverage”, it became difficult to intervene on behalf of the civil society versus the generals. The next step for the US and other ally countries is to assess the problem regionally. Neighboring countries need to look at Sudan’s surroundings, where thousands of Sudanese people are fleeing to, and understand external interests to cooperate. Despite the foreign involvement in the crisis in Sudan, what is important is the voice of Sudanese who are seeking to fulfill a “democratic, civilian-led government.”
What’s going on in L.A.? The Writers Guild of America is on strike. Due to the immense halt on production, the strike might end up costing more than the $429 million per year in comparison to how much they have requested in their proposals. Shows have announced suspended production, or have found other ways to continue without their writers. Negotiations are in process with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the SAG-AFTRA. Besides your favorite TV shows being put on pause, why does this matter? The writer’s pay and working conditions have diminished over the years, while the industry’s revenues and profits have only increased. 11,500 writers in TV and film have been on strike since May 1st. Streaming networks have gained momentum and while many of us enjoy the wide array of options, writer’s are struggling to keep up with the high demand while receiving low compensation. Studios argue that now isn’t a good time for a negotiation like this, where the advertising market has raised difficulties together with the decline in cable and broadcast networks.
Goooood morning, friends! Helene here.
Art-a-Whirl is this weekend. If you’re a Minnesota local, you likely already know everything there is to know about this weekend. But, if not, here’s your run down: from their website, “Art-a-Whirl is the largest open studio tour in the country, which happens annually throughout Northeast Minneapolis the third weekend of May”. Art-a-Whirl got its start in 1995 when a group of artists began working and establishing studios in neglected factory buildings in Northeast Minneapolis and wanted to share those spaces with the public. The initiative was hugely popular, and grew year after year into what it is today.
There’s really no lack of things to do during the weekend and you can get a full list of activities here. I’ve always been super interested in glass blowing, and have yet to give it a try, so you’ll find me at the glass blowing demos offered by Stone Arch Glass Studio. If glassblowing isn’t your thing, not to worry. There’s everything from painting to sculpting to flower arranging, and much, much more this weekend.
We’re excited about visiting our friends at Bee’s pottery, which is open through the weekend. Bee’s Pottery is an exhibition space that’s the current home of three artists: Janelle, the cofounder; Nicholas Kosack of NK Clay, and Tsu Mua, a Hmong American potter based in Minneapolis. Between the three artists, there’s a huge variety of styles and techniques, which makes the space an exciting one to visit! The NewPrensa team is looking forward to checking out all of their new work.
Justice for George is back this year with a focus on Breaking Barriers, Building Bonds. This year’s event is “being reimagined as a public retreat with a goal to activate the murals as a vessel to spark conversation around mental health and holistic healing practices within Black and Brown communities from the effects of the 2020 uprising and the COVID-19 global pandemic.” That’s a bit different than the past two years, which have focused more on providing a space of healing and creativity for BIPOC communities. This year’s event will still be focused on murals, and will happen over two days with numerous artist talks and interactive workshops. If you’re interested in attending the event, which takes place on May 27th and 28th, you can reserve a spot for free on eventbrite.
That’s it for us this week. Come find us at Art-a-Whirl! We hope to see you all out there.
Isabella and Helene