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Noche de Paz Night of Peace Celebrating community! Hosted by Latina leaders and friends

By Kathleen Sullivan and Mary Laurel True, Powderhorn neighbors

What brought neighbors to come together in warmth and light on a cold February evening?

Inspired by the Peace in Powderhorn event on December 1, Powderhorn neighbors kept the bonfires burning, and came together to enjoy a Noche de Paz or Night of Peace. It was an evening of fire and ice-lanterns, love of community, and warmth of togetherness on February 13, 2011 in Powderhorn Park.

The idea was spearheaded by a group of women who shared a vision. This vision was to extend the community spirit that came out of the December gathering, in pro-active ways that would continue throughout the year, with a goal of further developing a peaceful and united community. The fruit of their effort became Noche de Paz.

Bonfires, melty ice lanterns, and a painting of a peace dove transformed the outdoor space, while twinkling lights and homemade peace signs adorned the cozy space indoors. Park staff generously opened their doors to the community on their day off. Participants were treated to music by young D.J. Andres, drummer Tomas, and West African drummers Onayemi and friends. An appreciative audience huddled around the bonfires for warmth, and the wind seemed part of the show, as puppeteers Laura and John brought their story of the “Wintermaker” to life.

Everyone enjoyed delicious homemade soups from Sara and Senora Maria at La Poblanita. “It’s like the loaves and fishes!” Mary Laurel said of the bottomless soup pot from La Poblanita. Speaking of loaves, the New French Bakery shared an abundance of bread, while New York Plaza Produce donated cookies. Aliina, Nicolas, and Eat 4 Equity provided silverware and Powderhorn Park provided dishes for a zero-waste event. Several volunteers graciously worked behind the scenes to keep a steady supply of clean dishes.

People who never thought of themselves as learders came forward and were suddenly holding a microphone, or were being interviewed on Univision, the local Spanish TV station! (See Youtube for the video from Univision as well as one from the Minneapolis Mirror.) The entire event was in held in Spanish and in English. Josefina and Doug invited everyone to take part in the neighborhood Safety Committee, Dara invited involvement in Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association. Young Netem and younger Emmet spoke about what they love about Powderhorn.

Hosted by Mujeres en Accion y Poder (Women in Action and Power) at Corcoran Neighborhood Association, several women came together to plan this event: Silvia, Fabiola, Teresa, Josefina, Francesca, Lina, Khusaba, Fernanda, Jessica, Amada, Vienna, Kathleen, and Mary Laurel. New leaders came forward, and many neighbors became involved, forming connections with each other and furthering the goal to increase unity and peace in our community.

To all in the Powderhorn area who love their neighborhood, we invite you to a proposed Peacemakers Gathering to discuss future events and plans. To participate, contact Silvia at Mujeres en accion y poder 612-724-7457 spthalia1103@gmail.com or Lina at Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, 612-722-4817 lina@ppna.com.

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