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Wednesday August 23rd 2017

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Phillips West Winter Social Honored Muriel Simmons

By Robert Lilligren

The Phillips West 16th Annual Winter Social was celebrated Thursday evening February 7th.  The Winter Social was started by legendary Phillips West activist Muriel Simmons and her family in 1997.  The first Winter Socials were held in her home on the corner of 27th Street & Park Avenue.  Muriel’s intent for starting the Winter Social was to give neighbors an opportunity to “come together and enjoy each other’s company away from the daily fight” of reclaiming and improving our neighborhood.  The Social grew from a few dozen people in the Simmons’ home to several hundred today.  It has changed venues several times before landing at the Lutheran Social Service Center for Changing Lives, 2400 Park Avenue four years ago.

Sadly, we missed Muriel this year because she died on January 15th this year;  but the Winter Social lives on in her honor.

Neighbors young and old, of all colors, shapes, sizes and abilities enjoyed an array of different cultures’ foods from Qboda Mexican Grill, Children’s Hospital & the Midtown Sheraton Hotel.

Speakers during the festivity  included:

  • Our new Minneapolis Chief of Police Janee’ Harteau, who shared tales of her early days as a patrol officer on Franklin Avenue around Park and Chicago Avenues.
  • The new 3rd Precinct Inspector Mike Sullivan, who is also very familiar with the neighborhood from his days as the Phillips Sector Lieutenant.
  • I was honored to address the crowd and tell a bit of the Phillips West Winter Social history, having attended every once since the beginning.
  • Our very creative neighbor Dallas Johnson shared a multi-media tribute to Muriel Simmons and her work which added much to the evening.

21 different neighborhood organizations had tables offering a wide range of resources and support to our Community.

A Special Thanks to all the 2013 Phillips West Winter Social Sponsors including: Abbot Northwestern Hospital, Accountability MN, Allina Corporate Headquarters, Augsburg Fairview Academy for Health Careers, Bridging Minneapolis, Center Point Energy, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics, Community Action of Mpls., Ebenezer, Kaleidoscope Kids Place, Legal Aide of MN, Local Food Resource Hub, Lutheran Social Service of MN, Mad Dads Mpls. Chapter, Messiah Lutheran Church, Midtown Safety Center, Midtown Greenway, Midtown Sheraton Hotel, MN Adult & Teen Challenge, New Hope Baptist, Open Eye Figure Theatre, Phillips West, PICA Headstart, Saint Mary’s University, Sixth Ward City Council, The American Swedish Institute, Waite House, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Xcel Energy!

Robert Lilligren is City of Minneapolis City Council Member Representing the 6th Ward.

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