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Alley November 2020

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EPIC news | East Phillips Improvement Coalition

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The Tree of Peace, Tree of Life, Tree for the Future Ceremony

BY NIBI WALK, PANGEA WORLD THEATER, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TASK FORCE [1335 E 23RD ST., PHILLIPS COMMUNITY– VENTURA VILLAGE, MINNAPOLIS] IN COLLABORATION WITH SHARON DAY, ON THE MINNESOTA STATE CAPITOL STEPS SUNDAY OCTOBER 11, 2020, WAS AN INCREDIBLE PREFACE TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY 2020 THE NEXT DAY. 

The Tree of Peace, Tree of Life, Tree for the Future Ceremony 

BY NIBI WALK, PANGEA WORLD THEATER, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TASK FORCE [1335 E 23RD ST., PHILLIPS COMMUNITY– VENTURA VILLAGE, MINNAPOLIS] IN COLLABORATION WITH SHARON DAY, 

ON THE MINNESOTA STATE CAPITOL STEPS SUNDAY OCTOBER 11, 2020, WAS AN INCREDIBLE PREFACE TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY 2020 THE NEXT DAY. 

Sunday October 11, 2020 one day before Indigenous Day 2020. 

Over the last few months, many people have responded to Sharon Day’s invitation to send their messages to future generations. From a place of deep love, the purest truth, and with hope, people created leaves with their messages to be part of the Tree of Peace, Tree of Life, Tree for the Future. People from all over Turtle Island contributed to this large scale sculpture. The tree was raised with the wish that our leaders enact policies that reflect our prayers that everyone be able to live a good life. 

Singers, dancers, and speakers were 

● MN Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Band of Ojibwe 

● Meena Natarajan and Dipankar Mukherjee, Pangea World Theater 

● Sharon Day, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, a second degree M’dewin, Indigenous Peoples Task Force Executive Director, artist, musician, and writer. 

● One Voice Mixed Chorus 

● MN Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein 

● Barb Tilsen, singer, songwriter, poet, performer 

● Tom LeBlanc, Strong Buffalo, (Tatanka Ohitika) Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, decorated Vietnam veteran, poet; and Ben Weaver, singer, songwriter, poet 

● Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble 

● MN Senator Patricia Torres Ray 

● Oshki Gishiik Women Singers 

● Sara Thomsen, singer, songwriter, composer 

The messages were presented to the people because “we love our children, we wish for our children’s children to live a life where they can smell the flowers, put their feet into clean rivers, breathe air that is life giving, and live each day without fear of the police, pandemics, and government’s run amuck.” 

Sharon Day begins attaching the first leaves with other Ceremony attendees near the Minnesota Capitol Steps 
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Looking Forward

Peace House Community–A Place to Belong 

By MARTI MALTBY 

A recent email from HousingLink, a local nonprofit that works on low income housing issues, contained links to news articles with depressing titles like: 

● “Elderly and homeless: America’s next housing crisis” 

● “New report shows Minnesota LGBTQ teens and adults overrepresented in homeless population” 

● “Homeless and facing winter in Minneapolis” 

● “Homeless families struggle with impossible choices as school closures continue” 

● “Homeless advocates blame Minneapolis’ continued lack of affordable housing for ‘Wall of Forgotten Natives’ resurgence” 

● “Neighbors object to Ramsey County plan to convert St. Paul hospital into a homeless shelter” 

While I try to find positive things to pass on to others, especially during this convergence or homelessness, covid, increasing mental health challenges, and an impending end to the eviction moratorium (a news story that didn’t even make HousingLink’s email), at some point I need to face the fact that life sucks for a lot of people, and it is about to get worse. Some of you reading this know this far better than me because the headlines are speaking about you, or about your friends and neighbors. 

The United States has had a homeless crisis since at least the 1980s. By itself, homelessness is bad enough. It robs people of their identities, destroying physical and emotional health, removing security and flaunting the nation’s wealth in their faces. Combined with Covid, it is catastrophic. 

Of course, Covid and homelessness are not the only issues out there. Sex trafficking, racism, and any number of other issues have put Americans in perilous positions for decades or longer. Solving these problems is never simple, but it is necessary. 

Coming out of the election, politicians will be one of the groups we look to for solutions. I am writing this in mid-October, but by the time you read this the election will have passed (although we may still be waiting to find out who won the presidency and various other positions). I hope that whoever winds up in the White House and all of those who are moving into elected offices at any level of government realize that their goal should never have been to win the election. Keeping the other candidate out of office won’t help the people represented by those headlines. Political power is meant to make society “better”, which doesn’t include increasing the number of people without housing, allowing predators to prey on the vulnerable, or maintaining any of our other problems. Regardless of one’s political position, political power has to be used to solve these problems. 

My prayer is that anyone who holds office does so recognizing their responsibility to find solutions to the threats their constituents face. They must move past preventing other politicians from taking action to taking positive action themselves. 

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Coronavirus Update

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Midtown Global Market November 2020

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RETURNING CHAPTER 4: A Split Decision

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL 

We hope that when two people “cling to each other and become one flesh” their journeys flow together into one tender, complicated and true story. But we know that life doesn’t work that way often. In order for Luz and Angel to be truly together in their life now, both of them must undergo journeys that the other may never know, let alone understand. 

Angel fell back asleep next to his sleeping son. Luz entered a dark space in the bookshop with a strange man named Harald. The wonders that Luz saw made her ask herself over and over if she was dreaming. What Angel saw in his dream was all too real. 

Luz’ darkness was not darkness at all. The small door at the back of the store led to a space full of tiny lights, in multiple colors, that illuminated beautiful carvings on the wall. As she walked into the space, the carvings—of lions, eagles, gigantic trees and humans of all shapes and colors— seemed to speak to her. Not in words, but inside her, in the universe of her brain and soul where there were no limits. 

She turned and said to Harald, “This is so beautiful! What is this place?” 

“Ah, child of light,” Harald smiled. “This is not a place at all. It is more time than place. Although to be exact, it’s not really a time either.” 

Normally, Luz would have thought that the man who spoke these words was nuts. But in the warmth and light of that space, it didn’t seem strange. She had started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to Angelito before bed. Although, to be honest, she was more thrilled with the adventures of the four seekers than her son was. 

“You said that you’ve been waiting for me?” Luz asked Harald. “What did you mean?” 

“Well, to be honest,” Harald laughed. “It’s more like this that has been waiting for you.” 

And with those words, he spread his arms wide towards the whole gallery of beauty. 

“Take all the time you want, although time doesn’t really matter,” he said. “I will call you back when you are ready.” 

Meanwhile, Angel’s dream unfolded. He was walking down Lake Street, but instead of it being a cold, slushy winter day, it was a hot, muggy evening in summer. Salsa, hip-hop and Norteño music poured from a few cars that drove by. He could smell the sweet smoke of barbecues rising from neighbors on 18th and 17th. It smelled so good, he could almost taste it.

But then the smoke turned. It wasn’t the smell of hamburger fat dripping onto the coals, but the smell of wood burning, of garbage, of tires on fire. The music was louder and louder: people screaming, with sirens racing by, gunshots ringing out, the sound of breaking glass. Men with shaved heads leaned out of cars with no license plates and cursed. He started to run in the dream, run and yell for Luz, for Angelito and Lupita, for his mother and father, but the only faces he saw were hidden in hideous masks. The street was on fire! 

The worst thing for Angel was that he did not wake up, and so couldn’t tell himself that it was only a dream. He fell into a deep sleep, dreamless and weighed down. 

The best thing for Luz was that she totally forgot about school, about her part-time job at the arts center, about money worries and family worries and any worry at all. It was, as Harald had said, as if time really didn’t matter. 

And the strangest thing is that neither one of them remembered to pick up Lupita from day care… 

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Ani-Meals Brings Meals on Wheels to Furry Family Members

By DWIGHT HOBBES 

In the best of times folk who have trouble making ends meet have enough of a challenge feeding themselves, much less Fido and Kitty. These are far from the best of times. Accordingly, Ani-Meals is more than ever a pet owner’s godsend, spun-off from Meals on Wheels through a Meals On Wheels America grant to PetSmart Charities in 2015. Soon as word got out about the supply, demand grew. Melanie La Pointe, Ani-Meals director at the Community Emergency Service location, recalls, “It exploded pretty fast. At first, we had about ten animals, then, it went up to about 70.” That number is now 163 pets belonging to 90 clients of MOW. 

For confirmed animal lover La Pointe, the program is a heartfelt undertaking. “It’s really important for people to be able to keep their pets. Pets are family. A lot of our [MOW] clients don’t have any family. They’re basically isolated.” A condition the corona crisis hardly helps. “Their dog or cat is their family and it’s important to keep [pets] healthy. A study said that being lonely was equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.” Accordingly, having that pet to care for as a reason to get up each day can be vital. “Somebody that needs them. It’s a mutual arrangement that makes them both healthier and happier.” 

As shown by the explosion in demand right off the bat, there’s a steadily increasing demand for Ani-Meals’ services. There is not a correlating increase in resources. Asked what she’d do with more funding, La Pointe answers, “I’d make arrangements so we could provide more veterinarian care [which is] really expensive. When you’re on a fixed income, you can’t spend $800 on a cat.” Generally, you don’t even have it to spend on yourself. She underscores, “You just don’t have the money.” Meals On Wheels America is looking into that, but, she sees any help from that quarter as being a year away. Meanwhile, the program has an excellent relationship with 3 Pound Cats. “Dr. Marie Louderback makes house calls for basic exams and vaccines. That makes it possible for people in apartments to keep their animals.” 

Ani-Meals provides monthly, weekend deliveries of some purchased, but mainly donated pet food. This includes some specialized foods, such as canned-only or grain-free for animals with more specific dietary needs. All said, an invaluable community resource, especially these days. To volunteer, donate or otherwise support Ani-Meals: mlapointe@cesmn.org or 612.870.1125 x128. Located at 1900 11th Avenue, South Minneapolis. And you can look on Facebook. 

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Random alley News

Cathy and Mark Welna were named WCCO Radio Good Neighbors for donating 160 meals to St. Theresa’s Home Workers. Congratulations to Cathy and Mark, owners of Welna Hardware in Phillips on 24th and Bloomington Av. and in Robinsdale on 41st and West Broadway. 

This is the link to the digitized alley archives at the Hennepin County Library: (you might need to log in with a library card to access) https://digitalcollections.hclib.org/digital/ collection/p17208coll7/ search/searchterm/alley/ field/publis/mode/all/ conn/and Or you can access by going to hclib. org, clicking on “browse” then “digital collection,” then “browse by collection” and scroll down to “Minneapolis Community Newspapers” to see the other community newspapers that are in the digital archive. 

The City Council approved nearly $2 million dollars of CARES Act funding to help build 100 tiny homes for unsheltered residents by December 31st, 2020 in a partnership with HN County, the State of MN, Avivo, Simpson Housing Services, and Special Treatment Services. 

To connect unsheltered residents to available shelter: Sgl. Adults 612- 248-2350; Families, 612- 348-9410. 

In the Heart of the Beast Theatre has announced all Staff being furloughed for three months (beginning October 12th) due to a significant and unexpected loss in funding in addition to the impacts of Covid-19 as it still pursues “building a new path forward.” 

Norway House will begin construction of their $15M, 15,000 square foot Event Center at Elliott Av. and East Franklin Av. in March 2021 to be completed early in 2022. 

The Southwest Journal will cease publication on 12/31/2020, unless a buyer can be found. 

SEIU Healthcare MN members went on a two-day Unfair Labor Practices strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on October 5 and 6. Striking Radiology Technologists at Abbott have been bargaining with Allina Health since May. Among other issues, SEIU members are fighting for the same COVID-19 quarantine pay and benefits as other workers at Allina. 

628 E Franklin Av apartment building once again defies renovation completion, now by the by the sixth developer. Who will be next to attempt bringing this structure back to use when housing is so needed? 

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A Good Time to Be Born

Tales from Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery 

By SUE HUNTER WEIR 

182th in a Series

John Wesley and Elinor Lockwood lost three children between 1881 and 1889. Five-year-old Lottie died from typhoid in 1881. Eight-month old Harry died from cholera infantum in 1885, and seven-month-old Lawrence died from pneumonia in 1889. Each of those diseases is treatable or preventable today. It’s a good time to be born. 

Photo: Tim McCall

Despite being bombarded daily with alarming news stories about the novel coronavirus, there is good news about health. In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Perri Klass declared this to be a good time to be born. Children born in the United States today are likely to live longer than their parents and the diseases that killed so many children in the past are very much relics of the past. It is, she wrote, “A good time to be born.” 

In the early 20th century, that was not the case. As many as 20% of American children did not live until their fifth birthdays. And those who did were still vulnerable. There are 227 children who died at the age of five buried in the cemetery. How did these children who were seemingly healthy and who had survived many of the diseases that took younger children die? 

There were a small number, about ten, accidental deaths but most deaths were caused by diseases or infections that are preventable or treatable in our day. Common causes of death were membrane croup, spinal meningitis, scarlet fever and typhoid. But perhaps the biggest threat posed to children was diphtheria. It claimed the lives of 71 of the 227 children—31% of them. Young children and adults over the age 40 were the hardest hit by the disease. 

There are many superficial similarities between typhoid and novel coronavirus. In their early stages, they look much like colds—fever, sore throat, and loss of appetite—but those early symptoms eventually lead to greater respiratory distress. Both diseases are spread through air-borne droplets broadcast by someone who is already infected. The incubation period is about two to three weeks for diphtheria and approximately five to 14 days for coronavirus. 

What’s different is that diphtheria can be prevented. A vaccine was discovered in the 1920s. The number of cases plummeted and diphtheria is no longer a cause of death in the United States although it remains a factor in other parts of the world. 

A curious feature of the English language is that we have words for adults who have lost their spouses (widow or widower) and words for children who have lost one or both of their parents (orphan, motherless or fatherless child) but we don’t have a word for parents who have lost a child. There is no single word that captures their grief and sense of loss. And many of the parents of the 

children who died at the age of five suffered more than a single loss. It was not uncommon for families to lose a second child within days, weeks, or months of the first and often from the same disease. Other families lost children over a period of years from a number of different causes. 

The Madison family lost five-year-old Martin in February 1864, and ten-week-old Albert four months later; both died from diphtheria. The following year a three-week-old baby, also named Martin died from diphtheria. In 1880 the Hendrickson family lost five-year-old Julia on December 31st, less than two months after they had lost 11-year-old Andrew. These are just two of the hundreds of families whose heartbreak was magnified by the loss of more than one child. 

Where is the good news in all of this? If those children were born today, the vast majority of them would have survived to adulthood. We know how and have the means to prevent the diseases that took so many lives. Vaccination, antibiotics, and public health education all save lives. And simple things—wearing a mask to avoid coming into contact or spreading air-borne diseases, avoiding crowds, and handwashing—are among the most effective. It is, as Dr. Klass noted, a good time for a child to be born. 

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Unfair Labor Practices strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on October 5 and 6.

SEIU Healthcare MN members went on a two-day Unfair Labor Practices strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on October 5 and 6. Striking Radiology Technologists at Abbott have been bargaining with Allina Health since May. Among other issues, SEIU members are fighting for the same COVID-19 quarantine pay and benefits as other workers at Allina. 

Photo Courtesy of SEIU Healthcare MN

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