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Frank Reflections: How much more death and destruction will we endure?

by Frank Erickson

“Military interventions” are murder! They can never be trusted! How can they be trusted when the factor that puts them into motion is a smaller country’s lack of relative defense?

There is talk of United States “military intervention” into Venezuela. Here’s an idea: the world powers come together and attack Washington D.C. by a “military intervention” to stop the U.S. from doing all their “military interventions!”

Representative Ilhan Omar is strongly opposed to “military interventions” upon smaller defenseless countries. This is very encouraging. Rep. Omar’s first months in office have been rough. How does a Black Muslim Congresswoman illicit more trouble than two White Christian male politicians who started the Iraq War murdering over 200,000 Muslims? White supremacy runs Washington D.C. and Minneapolis! The Iraq War and those that started it are no different than a war started by Isis! Please, let us give thought to these words:

“We, the members of the Black Alliance for Peace, uphold our political stance in the face of aggressions waged by the United States. Two of BAP’s core principles are an unwavering commitment to self-determination for peoples and nations alike and opposition to imperialism in all its varied and brutal forms.Therefore, unlike so many who are confused about Venezuela, we say without equivocation that we oppose the illegal and immoral attempts by the United States and their Organization of American States (OAS) allies to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela. No objective right has been bestowed upon the United States to impose its will on any sovereign people or nation. 

…We pose the question to progressive forces in the United States: How much more war, how much more death and destruction will you endure before you break with the capitalist duopoly of your government and say no more war, no more subversion, no more killings in my name by a state that by every definition has become a rogue state and threat to global humanity?”

See full statement at https://blackallianceforpeace.com/bapstatements/defendvenezuela

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The Rand Report 2020 plan: ‘Do what I say not what I do’ applies to city

By Rand Retterath

Rand Retterrath

The stated mission of Neighborhoods 2020 is “an opportunity to further develop and improve upon the city of Minneapolis’ neighborhood-based engagement structure…by the people, for the people.” However, neighborhoods all over the city are opposed to this document.

Here are my concerns:

1.  The goals are laudable, however, execution is completely contrary to the stated goals. Neighborhoods are held to a standard that is completely disregarded within the city. The proverbial “do what I say, not what I do” applies, and is a mandate with funding as the hostage.

2.  The stated goals of “public purpose” require neighborhoods to be inclusive, responsive and informative. Regrettably, there is no mechanism in place to hold the council and other decision makers accountable in the same way. 

3.  Pooling resources and forcing neighborhoods into a co-operative purchasing will restrict options and diminish localized spending.

4.  Funding requirements reduce the neighborhood decision-making process.  At various times MPNAI has elected to do without staff or used part time/volunteer staff in favor of additional community spending.  The 2020 plan would mandate our actions in this regard by requiring staff.

5.  Community organization funding will be a mechanism to create “group think” across all neighborhoods. It will hold us hostage to a limited set of options.

6.  The potential exists for uniformity across all neighborhoods in the bylaw process, as well. The “minimum requirement” clause concerns many. These mandated points must be included or risk losing funding. 

7. It states, “Not all residents can attend an annual meeting but may have interest in participating in the election process. Therefore, an alternate method to vote will be provided.” Is any neighborhood set up to address the complexities this requirement mandates?

8. The document states, “Have no more than 25% of the board membership serve more than 6 years. Require board officer term limits.” What does the first sentence mean?  If it is good for us, it should be even better for the council.

9. Neighborhoods are “required to develop a robust engagement outreach plan that includes some form of direct resident contact. Neighborhood organizations should submit a measurable outreach plan that provides residents, including under-represented residents, with multiple opportunities to engage…”   This one is the most upsetting to me. Residents are routinely blocked from communicating with our elected representative. There MUST be some accountability within this document for shared responsibility between us and council members and their staff. Mechanisms for mutual accountability must be contained within 2020. 

10. This document is overwhelmingly one-sided in favor of consolidating power at the city level reducing the efforts of community groups.  

11. It keeps us busy with accountabilities at the expense of community effort and accomplishment.

The following are points gleaned from other neighborhoods in opposition to this proposal. My comments are in parentheses.

– The document is regulatory focused, punitive vs. empowering or supportive.

– The document promotes services from NCR which suggests that the program is about growing NCR, not neighborhoods.

– All neighborhood board elections and annual meetings should be held simultaneously. (How is this possible given the complexities of alternative absentee voting measures?)

– NCR will review bylaws of our organizations and require changes for funding eligibility (another opportunity to reduce individual community identity and efforts in favor of group think).

– While cultural organizations are to be funded, they are not required to include bylaw mandates.  Yet another double standard. Furthermore, there are no mandates on outcomes nor financial reviews.

– The funding formula requires 50% to go to administration.  Absolutely laughable with the expectations for neighborhoods represented. (For us to spend 50% of our budget on administration… think about that and how much our efforts will be curtailed.)

– It promotes segregated organizing under the rhetoric of inclusion and equity. Neighborhoods are about providing a form for differing points of view on issues or on ideas to develop, not – community organizing.  

– Citywide universal election day mandate for all non-profits that are receiving money illustrates the lack of understanding as to capacity building, engagement, partnership and celebration of victories and accomplishments. Such a suggestion reflects the lack of understanding in creating a ‘Sense of Place.’

– The new program will include a minimum set of requirements that funded neighborhood groups must include in their bylaws.  This is over reach. We are Independent 501c3s with nonprofit directors are legally responsible for fiduciary accountability to neighborhoods.

– Neighborhood organizations give feedback to, not respond to the city. The model requires groups to go thru NCR – NCEC – NRP Policy Board to access city council. (Community groups should have direct access to council members and city department no one should be excluded from direct communication with elected representatives. Remember “taxation without representation.”)

– We need to reject this document.  It was written by city staff, and not based on feedback obtained and documented. Grassroots empowerment is NOT a top-down model which this reflects. 

– The proposed public comment period and timeline are flawed, ineffective and appear only to benefit the department. 

– Remove NCR from acting as lead on this restructure. They have created deep mistrust with the communities over the last four years by disregarding most, if not all, the feedback the community has already given. 

Clearly, this summary (and it doesn’t reflect all of the comments floating in the city) should raise an alarm to all residents reading this.  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CITY HALL AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  Absolutely no one is listening to anyone.  When we persist, we are blocked from electronic communication, sent to junk mail, and phone calls go unanswered/returned.  This should be a concern to anyone who values a democratic republic. I may not like what you have to say, BUT as a veteran, I pledged to defend your right to say it with my life.  Please pay attention to this dangerous trend. Call your Council member Alondra Cano, 612-673-2209, email Alondra.Cano@minneapolismn.gov or write to her at 350 South 5th Street, Room 307 Minneapolis, MN 55415 to voice not only your opposition but your expectation of accountability.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)

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Backyard Community Health Hub April 2019 calendar

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April 2019 edition of The Alley

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EVERYBODY INTO THE POOLS

Looking back at first year of Phillips Aquatics Center 

Submitted by MPRB staff

Lifegaurds take a MPRB certification class at Phillips Aquatic Center

Lifegaurds take a MPRB certification class at Phillips Aquatic Center

MPRB lifegaurds hold youth swim lessons at the Phillips Aquatic Center

MPRB lifegaurds hold youth swim lessons at the Phillips Aquatic Center

Swimmers participate in the first ever Thanks-Swimming, a 5K swim at Phillips Aquatic Center

Swimmers participate in the first ever Thanks-Swimming, a 5K swim at Phillips Aquatic Center

MPRB lifegaurds hold youth swim lessons at the Phillips Aquatic Center

MPRB lifegaurds hold youth swim lessons at the Phillips Aquatic Center

“Friday night is a great time to be at the Phillips Aquatics Center: It’s really bustling with young people,” says Sarah Chillo, Aquatics Manager for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB).

 “Some of them are at the weekly free lifeguard clinic, working their way toward becoming a certified lifeguard, and some are enjoying teen night in the other pool.” 

She says a lot of them go back and forth, which is not just OK, but encouraged. As Chillo sees it, that shows the aquatic center’s mission in action: expanding both water safety and recreational swim opportunities for the neighborhood and the broader city.

Another group the Phillips Aquatic Center (PAC) serves is student athletes, as a site for swim meets and for regular practice times for girls’ and boys’ teams from Minneapolis Public Schools. Whether they’re athletes, aspiring lifeguards or simply having a fun night out, youth have developed a sense of pride and ownership in this new community asset. 

“The swim teams finally have a home, where they can build their team identity together instead renting time at pools all over town, and teen night is one of the ways PAC makes it easier for anybody to work swimming into their daily or weekly routine,” said Chillo.

Indeed, PAC is meant to attract anybody and everybody who wants to get in the water: toddlers taking their first dip; masters-level adults arriving at 6 a.m. to refine their strokes; seniors staying flexible with water walking; swim times for women and girls only. 

It was designed and programmed to be welcoming and inclusive for all ages and abilities – which has resulted in a calendar packed with lessons, community and recreational activities; team practices and club rentals; competitions and special events.

Partners, supporters and collaborators have been essential to helping fill that calendar. 

“They have helped ensure that the right swim opportunities are available to meet everyone’s needs,” says Chillo, “and they’ve also helped us cultivate a workforce that represents the community – including multilingual staff.” 

It’s all part of integrating into the Phillips community, and being responsive to its diverse immigrant and cultural communities. For instance, in working to expand culturally sensitive swim times for women and girls, MPRB has partnered with Hennepin County Public Health and B.R.A.V.E., an organization serving young women in the Somali diaspora community.

Al Bangoura, who became the MPRB Superintendent in January, sees PAC as a symbol of the organization reinvigorating its commitment to recreation. 

“I am thrilled to be working with the Board of Commissioners to meet the recreation needs of everyone in the city, including the Phillips and Ventura Village communities. I am proud of park staff and their work with partners, which made the Phillips Aquatic Center’s first year a success. We look forward to building on those accomplishments in year two!”

Contributors include MPRB staff Sarah Chilo, Angela Doheny, Mimi Kalb, Robin Smothers and Dawn Sommers. 

 

Fast facts

10,384 visitors (during PAC’s first 11 months)

713 Participants in youth and adult swim lessons

360 Hours of practice time for Minneapolis Public Schools’ girls’ and boys’ swim teams

130 Swim lesson scholarship recipients (18% of all swim lesson participants)

96 Lifeguards completed American Red Cross certification

74 Masters, Jr. Swim Club members

35 Swimmers enjoyed PAC’s inaugural “Happy Thanks-Swimming 5K” event on Thanksgiving Day

5 Days per week offering water fitness, water walking and senior programming 

 

Underwater hockey?! 

Groups and 

organizations that call PAC home 

• Augsburg University women’s swim team

• Minneapolis Public Schools swim teams

• Twin Cities Aquatics Cooperative

• USMS learn-to-swim adult masters club

• Minnesota Loons – underwater hockey club

• Subversive Sirens – Women’s synchronized swim team; queer- and women-of-color inclusive

• Minnesota Nice – Twin Cities’ first LGBTQ+ adult masters swim club

• Piranhas Swim Club – competitive club for Minneapolis and metro-area youth

• Southside Charter School – students swim weekly at PAC

• Hope Academy – physical education curriculum includes swim lessons at PAC

• East Phillips and Phillips Youthline groups –  Friday night open swim, school-release-day trips

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Residents fighting for future entrepreneurs

Indoor urban farm supporters question why city is ignoring engaged community members who don’t want public works at Roof Depot

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) members (left to right) Steve Sandberg, Dean Dovolis and Karen Clark discuss the way their proposed indoor urban farm site will benefit local residents.

by Tesha M. Christensen

You don’t get a second chance after a building is torn down, and that’s why the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) says it is working so hard to save the 230,000-square-foot Roof Depot structure from the wrecking ball.

Architect Dean Dovolis doesn’t want to look back and say, “It could have been a community development.”

Instead, he firmly believes, “This is the right place to provide a future for the community.”

Dovolis designed the first rendition of the East Phillips Indoor Urban Farm (EPIUF) in 2014 that would have used all 7.5 acres at the Roof Depot site (1860 E 28th St.). 

Childhood
Elevated Blood Lead, Arsenic, and Per Capita Income

And then he designed the 3-acre proposal, the 2-acre proposal and the 1-acre proposal as supporters sought a compromise with the city who purchased the property out from under them in 2016 after threatening to acquire it through eminent domain if necessary. 

Dovolis has been working in the Phillips neighborhood since starting DJR Architecture in 1985, and has designed multiple affordable housing and other projects, including the Phillips Aquatic Center, and East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center. 

This indoor urban farm is yet another  community-driven venture that would address racial disparity, provide economic development and fit within the city’s own plan for development along the Hiawatha lightrail line and Midtown Greenway, Dovolis pointed out. Little Earth Resident Association (LERA) is partnering in project, which would offer job training and employment to local residents, as well as a local food source. Other supporters in this diverse neighborhood include Tamales y Bicicletas, a grass-roots Latino-led neighborhood organization; South East Homes, the first East African specialized chemical health treatment program in North America; the Sierra Club, the Green Team, Women’s Environmental Institute, East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC), and Seward Co-Op.

The neighborhood vision for the site includes the renewal of the Roof Depot building into an agribusiness powered by an immense solar array on the roof. The year-round, indoor urban agricultural space would be based on a collaborative farming model and support small, culturally specific businesses owned by local entrepreneurs. 

Growing food locally in a manner similar to that of Holland would cut down on what’s being shipped to Minnesota from California, and keep that money in the local community, pointed out Dovolis. If you introduce fresh fruits and vegetables into people’s diets, the number of disease and health issues go down significantly. This benefits society as a whole.

The indoor urban farm would offer jobs that local residents can fill, thereby cutting down on traffic while offering employment within the neighborhood. A bike shop could be situated right on the Greenway. The site would also provide very affordable mixed-use housing.

This would completely alter the area currently known by residents as “the intersection of death” for its toxic fumes and high rate of traffic accidents.

“You have a wide range of young entrepreneurs that want to be a part of this and create a future,” stated Dovolis. “It’s very hard to make that figure through a water works job. For that reason, we can’t give up.”

PLACE TO PUT HYDRANTS OR OFFER AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND FOOD?

“The city says we want a place to put our snow, sand, hydrants,  manhole covers and records. They just want a storage place,” stated Karen Clark, who recently retired as the neighborhood’s state representative. She’s lived in the area for 40 years. “How can you turn down this gift of incredible community involvement?”

The city’s water maintenance facility, known as the East Water Yard, is currently located on 2.4 acres in Ward 3 at Hennepin Ave. E. and 5th Ave. N. It dates back 120 years and is the hub for maintaining the city’s 1,000 miles of water mains, 16,000 valves, and manholes covers, and 8,000 hydrants.

Replacing the maintenance yard is the last major unfinished piece of a 25-year-old master plan for updating the city’s Department of Public Works facilities – but the East Phillips neighborhood group wasn’t informed about this until after it had fashioned an innovative plan for the Roof Depot site and started asking city officials for support, pointed out EPNI supporters. They were shocked to learn the plan was made without consulting local residents, and they scoff at the request now to help pick out plants for the site as being true community engagement.

The Water Distribution’s 100 maintenance staff at the East Phillips location (corner of Hiawatha and 26th St.) perform valve operations, greasing and packing of hydrants, street manhole repairs, main water repairs, and leak detection. The city expects 68 heavy equipment vehicles to go in and out several times each day from the Roof Depot site. 

Steve Sandberg has been told by city representatives that they will gain efficiencies by locating public works operations at one site. “You don’t gain anything by consolidating fire hydrants and manhole covers in a sand lot,” he remarked. 

Brad Pass also questions whether this is a big need. “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 50 years and I’ve never seen them replace a fire hydrant,” he observed. 

Pass mentioned that he and supporters of the urban farm project are accused of being against clean water. “That’s absurd. We absolutely favor clean water,” he said. “We would also like to breath clean air, which will be further compromised by the additional diesel trucks and commuting workers at an industrial storage facility in our residential neighborhood.” 

He continued, “There will be no water treated at the Hiawatha site and the city should be able to find a nonresidential site to store their sewer pipes, sand-salt mix and manhole covers, or at least allocate 19% of their 16+ acres at the Hiawatha site to something positive and good for this traumatized community.” 

POLLUTION AGAINST LAW

These city-operated diesel trucks concern neighborhood residents, who have already been fighting the traffic and pollution for years at the Bituminous Roadways asphalt plant and Smith foundry across 26th St. from the Roof Depot.

This low-income neighborhood has one of the highest levels of asthma and arsenic poisoning in children in the state. For every 10,000 people, over 200 are hospitalized because of asthma.  Of the 7,000 children who live in Phillips, about 40% live in poverty and 80% fall into various ethnic groups, pointed out Clark.

That amount of pollution is not allowable in the area, according to Clark, who co-wrote the Clark/Berglin Environmental Justice Law that was enacted by the state legislature in 2008. It requires that any project in this neighborhood be reviewed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to analyze the cumulative pollution effects — not only what will be caused by the new or expanded project. 

Over the years, the law has been applied to projects by the Metropolitan Council, city of Minneapolis, and Abbott Northwestern Hospital, among others.

During a city GAC (Guidance Advisory Committee) meeting last fall, Clark stood up to explain this bill as it relates to the city public works project, and recalls being yelled at by Minneapolis Director of Facilities Design and Construction Bob Friddle, a tall man who rushed at her diminutive figure waving his arms. She walked out of the meeting, along with the rest of the community contingent, in protest after being told she couldn’t speak, said Clark. “It was pretty unacceptable.”

WHY ARE STAFF RUNNING CITY INSTEAD OF ELECTED OFFICIALS?

Indoor urban farm supporters want the city to respond to the big questions they’re posing. 

The city has a policy encouraging community participation. Why aren’t they supporting this community-birthed project? Why haven’t they paid attention to the 400 people who signed a petition in support of the community’s plan or the many people who packed community meetings to support the indoor urban farm? Why haven’t they allowed EPNI to present before the entire city council?

The neighborhood group, in the interest of meeting community needs and those of Public Works, has offered smaller, revised plans, but they don’t see the city doing the same. “There was a lot of compromising on the part of the community,” observed Clark.

Indoor urban farm supporters also want to know why the staff directive written by neighborhood Ward 9 City Council Member Alondra Cano and approved by the entire city council in December 2018 is being ignored and misinterpreted by city staff.

Just who is driving the decisions made at city hall? Members of EPNI don’t think it is the community or even city council members. 

“We’ve started to evolve into a staff-driven city,” stated Dovolis, but that’s not what he wants to see happen. “You can’t let the staff run the political process.”

THEY’RE NOT GIVING UP

In East Phillips, members of EPIC, the community, and EPNI remain determined to fight this level of pollution. After all, they’ve been at this for years.

They staved off the Hennepin County Garbage Transfer Station at Cedar and 28th in the mid 1990s; kept out the Midtown Eco-burner (Cogenerating Plant) in 2007; and convinced Xcel Energy to bury high voltage power lines along the Midtown Greenway in 2009.

In 2010, they celebrated the grand opening of the East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center which they fought for, funded and designed; and in 2018, after a six-year battle, they came together with other Phillips organizations to save the existing swimming pool and build another in the new Phillips Aquatic Center. 

They say they’re not giving up on the Roof Depot site. The stakes are too high.

“You have one chance to make this work,” stated Dovolis. “When this [building and 7.5-acres at the Roof Depot site] is gone, there will never again be this kind of aggregate land to make this work.”

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ADDICTED NO MORE

Augsburg Fairview Academy students hear real life stories from  Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge participants

LUCY PREYSZ
Teens shared their stories with other students during a Know the Truth presentation at Augsburg Fairview Academy. Left to right: Anthony, Troy and Casey. We hope that if you are ever faced with a situation where drugs are involved that you remember our stories,” said Anthony.

by Lucy Preysz

Two years ago, Anthony was 40 pounds lighter and had overdosed three times in one month.

“I couldn’t stop getting high,” he explained. “By the time I was in eighth grade I had used every prescription pill I could get my hands on. I was addicted to painkillers and took pain medication every day of eighth-grade.”

Anthony was one of three presenters who shared their stories with students at Augsburg Fairview Academy on March 13, 2019 as part of Know the Truth™, the substance-use prevention program of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. Using a peer-to-peer format, presenters close in age to the students share their personal stories and struggles with substance use, stripping away any glamour or myths and providing students with the facts.

“We don’t tell you what to do; our experiences speak for themselves,” Anthony said.

Sadie Holland, the prevention education manager for Know the Truth, added, “Having presenters close in age to the students really helps them connect. It’s not unusual to have presenters speaking at their old high schools just a year or two after graduating.”

In many cases, the Know the Truth presentations are included in health classes, embedded into the drug and alcohol unit. Since 2006, the program has hosted more than 12,000 presentations and connected with more than 400,000 students. Last year alone, presenters spoke in more than 160 high schools and middle schools.

With no question off-limits, the presenters, Troy, Casey, and Anthony, spoke genuinely about their experiences and highlighted resources for additional support, including reaching out to @knowthetruthmn on Twitter, and through the text hotline at 612-440-3967.  

Troy started drinking in middle school to disassociate from his homelife. By ninth grade, he was smoking marijuana every day, and that was the year that he failed his first class. Smoking eventually developed into using LSD, mushrooms, Xanax, DMT and MDMA. Then, when he tore his ACL in high school, he began using oxycodone that was prescribed to him for pain management. He overdosed twice. 

While still in high school, Troy was arrested for being involved in a drug deal, but, through the recovery program at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, he learned his self-worth, explaining to students, “You are way too valuable to waste your days getting wasted.” 

Similarly to Troy, Casey began using marijuana in middle school to cope with the death of two of her friends. By high school, she had turned to drinking alcohol and using other substances, including meth and heroin. 

“When I woke up in the hospital after my first overdose, my mom told me I had the choice to go into treatment, otherwise she couldn’t watch me do this to myself anymore,” said Casey.

She chose heroin over treatment.

“All that mattered at that point was making sure heroin was my top priority,” Casey explained.

After her overdose, she spent almost two years moving between homeless shelters before she eventually came through the doors of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge where, for the first time in her life, she wanted to make a change.

“After stepping into the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge recovery program, I saw people were changing their lives, and I really wanted that.” 

The Know the Truth Program has proven as life-changing for the presenters as it can be for the students. Presenters often view the program as a way to give back and help ensure that people can learn from their journeys. Students meanwhile, find the program to be an effective deterrent for substance use. The numbers speak for themselves.

At the end of 2018, an outside research evaluator from the University of Minnesota validated the success of Know the Truth. This study showed that nearly one in four students who experienced the Know the Truth program reported an overall increase in healthy attitudes toward substance use and the risks associated with it, compared to only one in 12 who participated in only the standard health curriculum.

Like Troy and Casey, the final straw for Anthony came at a young age when he was in jail again for trying to return a stolen vacuum. His mom told him she wouldn’t bail him out unless he went to treatment. 

At the end of the presentation, Anthony shared a final take away: “Life is stressful. Life’s not gonna change, but when you use a substance to escape from it, it doesn’t actually solve those problems for you, it just pushes them away. We hope that if you are ever faced with a situation where drugs are involved that you remember our stories.”

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Grant supports Native homelessness

By Lee Egerstrom

THE CIRCLe
An experimental homeless shelter along Franklin and Hiawatha avenues, known as the “navigation center,” soon after construction in December 2018.

Editor’s note: The article was reprinted courtesy of The Circle.

The Bush Foundation has awarded the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) a two-year, $207,000 grant to explore community-based solutions to the chronic homelessness problems for Native Americans in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis-based NACDI is leading the effort but is working in tandem with the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID) umbrella organization for Native groups. It also has enlisted outside consultants on the project, the Lakewood, Colo.-based Indigenous Collaboration Inc.

This came about late in the past year when Native groups in Minneapolis, working with the city and with various state and local agencies and nonprofits, struggled with finding emergency shelter and services for the Minneapolis homeless encampment in the Franklin and Hiawatha Avenues area of south Minneapolis.

That encampment was known as The Wall of Forgotten Natives. But the 300 to 400 mostly Native people who were living in tents and sleeping bags are not being forgotten, said Robert Lilligren, president and chief executive of NACDI who this year also serves as chair of MUID.

The outdoor encampment was closed in December and 140 people from the camp were moved indoors in tents at what is called the Navigation Center. It is in property owned by the Red Lake Nation that is scheduled for development as affordable housing, beginning next year.

“Bush was watching what we were doing,” Lilligren said. “It was a strange moment in philanthropy for us. They came to us and two weeks later we had a grant.”

The grant is from the St. Paul-based Bush Foundation’s Community Innovation Program that assists community efforts to find problem solving solutions for the betterment of the entire region. The Bush Foundation was created by a 3M Company executive, Archibald Bush, and his wife Edith. Their philanthropic works have provided more than $1 billion to organizations and individuals in the Upper Midwest.

“At the Bush Foundation, we believe NACDI’s ability to collaborate and engage the community can result in shared ownership of solutions to conditions causing homelessness in the Native community, said Rudy Guglielmo, manager of the Community Innovation program for the foundation.

The mechanism for NACDI’s project is newly-formed WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag, or “They Help Each Other” in Ojibwe, that is shortened for convenience to THEO.

Initial work is reaching out to people who are among the homeless. “We want to hear the thoughts from the people most impacted,” Lilligren said.

That is a far greater number than the people who were living in the encampment.

By various measures, Native Americans are over represented in homelessness.

Sometimes lumped together with other population groups as “people of color,” and sometimes alone, statistical analysis shows Native Americans are from eight times, to 17 times, and as much as 27 times more likely than other Minnesotans – either in the state or in Minneapolis – to be counted among the homeless.

Regardless of measures used, there is no disagreement that the Native population is over represented. That’s where “out of sight, out of mind” problems often hurt the Native population, said Lilligren.

“Spring is coming,” he said. “What happens when the Navigation Center closes?”

MUID organizations and leaders came together last fall to address immediate needs for shelter and services, especially with winter approaching. They continue to look at what services will be needed when spring arrives and the Navigation Center is closed.

Longer term, however, THEO and its partners and allies are looking for ways to tackle the historic and ongoing problems of homelessness for the Native community, Lilligren said.

Bush’s Guglielmo said NACDI’s history and “depth of relationships” makes it ideal for lead the effort.

The grant was for $200,000 and an additional $7,000 was provided for special “engagement” needs, he said.

Lilligren said NACDI did a nationwide search for guidance when the grant came through. That brought Indigenous Collaborations into the picture as a partner.

The leadership team for WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag/ THEO includes Lilligren (White Earth Ojibwe), consultant Carrie Day Aspinwall (Leech Lake Ojibwe), and from Indigenous Collaborations, Lesley Kabotie (Crow Tribe of Montana) and Paul Kabotie (Hopi Tribe of Arizona and Santa Clara Pueblo from New Mexico). The Kaboties are president and vice president of Indigenous Collaboration.

While still in early stages of the project, the THEO partners have had two gatherings with impacted people to begin the process, Lilligren said. One was a feast at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, with a spiritual leader, that Lilligren described as a “healing session.”

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What’s Up at the Franklin Community Library | April 2019

By ERIN THOMASSON

All Ages
Learn Together: Connect and Play
Tuesdays, 6-6:30pm
Connect with your child during this drop-in program exploring early literacy activities. Join your neighbors each week for a different theme including music, art, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), reading and creative play.

Poetry Read-In
Saturday, April 27, 3-4:30pm
For children of all ages and their caregivers. Talk, sing, read, write and play together in a format appropriate for young children. Share books, stories, rhymes, music and movement.

Teen Programs
Urban 4-H Club
Tuesdays, 5–7pm
We do everything from urban gardening to digital photo/video to theater. Partner: University of Minnesota.

Teen Tech Workshop
Wednesdays, 5-6:30pm
Get creative and make music, videos, animation and other projects using both high- and low-tech tools, everything from iPads and 3D printers to synthesizers and sewing machines. Led by the library’s Teen Tech Squad.

Dhalinta Horumar sare rabta / Young Achievers
Wednesdays, 4:30-6pm 
U dabaaldag Dhaqanka Soomalida, sameyso saaxiibo cusub iyo in aad isticmaasho hab nololeed cafimaad leh. Lamaane: WellShare International. Celebrate Somali culture, make new friends and practice healthy lifestyles. Partner: WellShare International.

Teen Anime Club
Saturday, April 6, 3-4:30 pm
Discuss manga and share artwork. Something different every time!

Adult Programs
Open Crafting
Monday, April 1, 1-3pm
Looking for a space to sew, knit or work on other crafts? Bring your current project and materials and join us! Sewing machines, knitting needles and other equipment will be available for your use.

Franklin Technology Hour
Thursdays, 12-1pm
Do you want to explore new technology, practice using a computer program, or learn more about the library’s electronic resources? Then come to Franklin Technology Hour! Bring your questions or come and explore a spotlighted resource.

OLLI Nonfiction Book Club
Friday, April 12, 1-3pm
Enjoy reading a variety of nonfiction topics including biography, science, technology, politics and more. Partner: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). April 12: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. May 10 & June 14: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Cards and Board Games
Saturday, April 13, 2:30-4:30pm
Chess, Scrabble®, backgammon, cribbage, Mahjong and more! Come play a variety of games with new or old friends. Games are provided, or bring a favorite from home.

Franklin Learning Center:
612-543-6934 flc@hclib.org
The Franklin Learning Center offers free, one-to-one tutoring for adults who are learning English and math, preparing for the GED and citizenship exams, and gaining life skills. We are always looking for community volunteers! No experience necessary; we provide training and materials. Contact us at 952-847-2934 or flc@hclib.org.

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Transit: Adopting bus stops

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Hopefully, when this is published, winter will be gone for the next seven months. However, since ideas take time to implement, this may be the ideal time to write about it: One of the worst things about riding buses is waiting at snow-filled bus stops. You have four choices, none of which are really safe:

1.You can wait on the (possibly icy or unshoveled) sidewalk, and climb over the snowbank when the bus comes, assuming the driver actually stops for you. Sometimes the snowbank isn’t as solid as it looks and you sink as much as two or three feet deep into it and then have to try to get on a bus quickly! Not fun!

2.You can stand on top of the snowbank, which is risky because you don’t know how sturdy the snowbank is, and you might fall in, or worse, fall into the street, just as the bus is coming! Yikes!

3.You can walk to the (hopefully shoveled) corner, then walk back on the edge of the street outside the snowbank, and stand there even with the bus stop sign. This sends the message most clearly to the bus driver that you are waiting for the bus, but can be risky if the street is slippery. Some bus drivers don’t like you to do that, though, because they are afraid of slipping and running into you.

4.You can walk to the (hopefully shoveled) corner, and wait where there is an opening in the snowbank, even if it’s not by the bus stop sign. Some bus drivers prefer you do this, and it is probably the safest way. However, you run the risk of a driver not realizing you are waiting for the bus.

Currently, Metro has an “Adopt-A-Shelter” program where volunteers clean up litter around their bus shelter, report damage to Metro so their crews can fix it. What if Metro Transit had an “Adopt-A-Stop” program where people could volunteer to shovel an opening through the snowbanks by their local bus stop sign, and clean off any snow-covered benches to make waiting safer and more convenient in the wintertime? Perhaps a small reward such as a free ride coupon after each snow could be given as an incentive. Any Metro Transit officials reading this? There’s plenty of time to implement this for next winter!

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