Contributing to this post: Nancy Cassutt, Executive Director, MPR News & Programming; Kate Moos, Director, News Content Development; Lauren Dee, Project Manager; and Jen Hanlon Ash, Director of HR.

“It’s a powerful experience to give voice to people who aren’t heard on their terms, sitting in their neighborhood and from their point of view on ways they are moving forward following this story.” – Kate Moos, Director, News Content Development


Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, was killed during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, MN on July 6th, 2016. Minnesotans, especially the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul where Castile grew up and worked, were deeply impacted by his death. 

Left to right: Tom Weber, Anthony Galloway, and Don Eubanks

MPR’s Counter Stories team paired with Tom Weber to take their regular conversation “by people of color, for people of color” to the neighborhood most deeply affected by Mr. Castille’s death. On August 10 they broadcast a live show from the Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe, in the center of the Rondo neighborhood.

Members of St. Paul’s African-American community and their allies joined Tom Weber and Counter Stories co-hosts Anthony Galloway, Luz Maria Frias, Don Eubanks and Hlee Lee for a conversation about whether and how events like the Philando Castile shooting move Minnesota toward racial awareness and change.

Community elders like Macalester College professor Mahmoud el-Kati and leaders like St. Paul Central High School principal Mary Mackbee joined with Rondo community members in a the discussion.


Audience members listen to the live broadcast of Counter Stories in St. Paul on August 10, 2016

Nancy Cassutt began her role as Executive Director of MPR News earlier this year. She stepped in to lead a successful, well-established newsroom at a time when disruptive technology is a daily challenge for journalists. But while the media landscape constantly shifting, Cassutt knows one thing for sure: our communities must see and hear themselves reflected in our programming or we’re not carrying out the mission of public radio.

“These relationships and connections are critical as we build more content around community-centered needs and voices,” says Cassutt. “[MPR] dropped an ISDN line at the Golden Thyme for future use. We will definitely be back!”


Golden Thyme Coffee and Cafe, St. Paul, MN
The event was live-blogged by Stephanie Curtis. Produced by Julie Siple and Jo Erickson, with support from Kate Moos and Lauren Dee.