NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
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Ventura Village June ’22

Phillips Community Listening Session Focused on Encampments

By JANA METGE, JAMES TRICE and DONNA PUSUSTA NESTE On March 30, a meeting entitled “A Listening Session About Encampments in Phillips and Minneapolis” organized by a Phillips Neighborhood group calling themselves Phillips Neighborhood Safety Coalition took place at the East Phillips Park Community and Cultural Center. Facilitator James Trice, a resident of Phillips for 25 years, welcomed all and went over the ground rules for a respectful meeting, which it was. 78 people signed in, however there were an estimated 100 in attendance. AIM Patrol members mingled with the crowd to let everyone know they were welcome and that their presence was important. Attendees were invited to add printed materials to an information table in which various perspectives were represented, from a harm reduction model for safe injection sites to a draft on policy and procedure for encampments. Five community members gave testimony on their experiences with encampments. Mike Forcia, a leader in the AIM Patrol, spoke on healing the Native community and the Dakota land we are on, and on the need for jobs, culturally specific programs for youth, as well as culturally specific treatment centers for addiction, mental health, and historical trauma. He said that we can build a hundred little houses, but his people won’t leave the camps unless their opioid addictions are addressed. Joani Essenburg, resident of Phillips and founder of Banyan Youth Center, related how her anger was initially focused upon those living in encampments, but changed into frustration with the government’s lack of response. She spoke of the need for the government not to ignore what is happening and instead provide for encampment residents’ basic needs. Desmond McCloud, a youth and former resident of the Near North camp, spoke of his struggle with addiction and the need for dignified housing which is safe, healthy, and provides support services for those struggling to get clean. Kent Bakken, a [...]

Midtown Phillips May 22

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