2014 SPA Community Editors

Yunisa Abdi loves Chipotle so much that she’ll love you if you buy it for her. It’s just that easy. She’s a book fanatic, especially when it comes to romance. She’s a hopeless romantic, and she loves her family and friends.

Yonis Ali says, “This is the first time I have been a community editor. I have always enjoyed reading articles on different subjects. I became familiar with different styles of writing community stories while I was a community editor with the Saint Paul Almanac. I also like reading biographies and world histories. I am currently taking land surveying courses at the Saint Paul College, and I expect to graduate in the spring of 2014.”

Nina Hernandez Beithon is a Chicana sister, daughter, housemate, artist, dreamer, and womyn.

Norita Dittberner-Jax was born in Frogtown and has lived in Saint Paul all of her life. She thinks the city is beautiful, with its hills and flatlands congregating around the Mississippi River. Her widely published poetry collections include The Watch, Longing for Home, and What They Always Were.

Shaunté “Dr3amCh8sr” Douglas is a new spoken word artist and writer who lives in Saint Paul, and works at the Mall of America and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. She is an admitted art addict and certified shopaholic who hopes to do more work with the Saint Paul Almanac.

Elizabeth Ellis worked for both the county government and the federal government, raised three children, and graduated college.

Pamela R. Fletcher Bush serves as a writer, an editor, and an educator—all three roles, having words at their core, collaborate to make meaning of an astounding, outrageous world. She’s tried to leave words, but they wouldn’t give her a divorce. Although it’s a contrary relationship, they make it work.

Shaquan Foster: Community editor. Board member. Assistant editor. Writer. Designer. College student. Bookseller.

Kevin Hershey is a product of the intricate Catholic school system in Saint Paul. He writes as an activist trying to better understand the world he wishes to change.

Farha Ibrahim writes, “I am a high school senior. I love writing and art that connect to me to the point that I’ll always remember it. Life is a beautiful thing, and I love people who acknowledge that fact in writing, art, music, or any other artistic form.”

Kemet Egypt Imhotep was conceived in Oklahoma and born in Saint Paul. Kemet was left under the care of his great uncle and aunt through marriage. His aunt, Willia Mae Johnson, who was born on a plantation in Arkansas in 1918, was a strong believer in faith and trust in the Creator. Kemet says the school system failed him. He was in the class of 1990 at Central High School, and finished at the Area Learning Center located in the Uni-Dale mall. At present he says he is a lost troubled soul, still finding his way through the quicksand.

Richard Merlin Johnson Jr. was born on May 20, 1972, on the Yankton Sioux Nation. His father, Richard Sr., and mother, Suzanne, met in Los Angeles, California, during the ’60s. Richard Sr. was the then-director of the L. A. Indian Center and was the organizer for the Alcatraz Occupation. Richard Jr.’s life is greatly influenced by his parents’ activism. He is Santee Sioux Dakota, Californian Chumash, and Chicano. Richard is an Artist, Poet, Writer, Painter, and Actor.

IBé Kaba likes to write. Since he doesn’t have the time or desire to follow rules, he writes free verse. He likes the word free, as in free to bend the rules of language any which way he wants. IBé likes to read poems out loud, especially to his children. But they don’t seem to like it, at least not as much as strangers do. And speaking of strangers, they call him a spoken word poet. IBé likes this—having people listen to him read his poems. But he also wants you to read his poetry… for yourself. IBé likes that you like him; however, if you visited AtlanticRock.com and spent more than fifteen minutes, he’d consider you a stalker, and probably would not want you to have his phone number.

Patricia Kirkpatrick received the first Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for her book Odessa, published by Milkweed Editions, and awarded the 2013 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. She has taught writing in many academic and community settings.

Abe (pronounced “uhhhh-beee”) Levine was told when he was a kid that he had special genes, being of Chinese and Jewish heritage. Really he felt kind of ordinary and out of place at the same time, like many kids. Abe is now a grown-up and still finding his groove and place. Abe enjoys talking, writing, eating, dancing, rapping, bopping, teaching, and editing. You may say that he is a renaissance man, but he might say, “What?”

Gozong Lor graduated from Central Senior High School and will be ­attending Macalester College in the fall of 2013. She is a student by day and masked crime-fighter by night. Her greatest weakness is a good book.

Jamila Mame was born in Ethiopia. She loves to write poems and watch documentaries. In the future she would like to enroll at Princeton University and major in neurology.

Hafsa Mohamud is someone who is always looking for meaning, whether it be the meaning of a literary piece, a picture, or life in general. She is a junior in high school and plans to be a part of next year’s Almanac.

Kathryn Pulley has been a teacher for almost ten years and recently received her MA in English. If her life were a poem, it would be an epic: a sweeping narrative of heroic mental battles and fascinating characters, with a driving, thriving rhythm. She would be ready to write the next ­stanza.

Simone Schneider grew up in Saint Paul, aka “Saint Small.” Though she loves to travel, she’s always happy to return to her sweet city. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in education at St. Kate’s, Simone is passionate about reading, writing, learning, and teaching. As a teacher she looks forward to helping her students appreciate the joys that words can bring to their lives.

Lisa Steinmann is a Saint Paul–based freelance writer, editor, and laundress who specializes in sorting, soaking, and scrubbing before hanging things on the line. She loves sunny mornings spent standing in the yard watching clothing flutter in the breeze. Each sock, tee shirt, and pair of blue jeans tells a story shaped by the wearer. At the end of the afternoon, it is a pleasure to gather and fold each piece, starchy-stiff and fragrant, into her arms.

Parthenia Swyningan is a candidate for a master’s degree in gerontology at Bethel University in Saint Paul. Through her lengthy career in the “helping profession,” she ­enhances, illuminates, and empowers the elderly.

Muriel Tate is a mother who is always giving love mixed with counsel.

Ka Zoua Vang is a senior at Johnson High School and a community editor for the 2014 Saint Paul Almanac. During her free time, she enjoys writing fictional pieces and poems and drawing anime cartoons.

Diego Vázquez Jr. is proud that his lineage is from people who were not afraid to cross invisible lines. They are commonly known as illegals. Yet Vázquez has never met an illegal human. This is Diego’s last year serving as a community editor.


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