Resending October 23 Newsletter with Updated Photos

Minneapolis Ward 6 Council Member Robert Lilligren

October 23, 2012

Latino Heritage Month

A few nights ago – on Tuesday October 16 – the City of Minneapolis through the Neighborhood & Community Relations Department cohosted a very special and high profile community event to honor and celebrate Latino Heritage Month in our city. As some of you may recall, on September 21 the full City Council voted to pass a resolution honoring Latino Heritage Month in the city to recognize and uplift the Latino community’s many contributions to our neighborhoods. Over 400 people packed the gym of the East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center to listen to the life and voice of internationally acclaimed vocalist, Minnesota-raised Mexican artist Lila Downs.


As Council Vice President and an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, I was invited by the event’s organizing committee to welcome the crowd and highlight the strong Native American presence in the area. It was through the visibility of the American Indian Movement and the many Native American professors at the University of Minnesota (where Downs went to college) that helped Lila to reconnect to her Mexican-Indigenous identity – a part of her life that she now proudly highlights through her music and art.


The well-organized program also involved an opening ceremony by Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, a welcome by Ojibwe elder Sharon Day (Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force), an insight into the “Mascaras y Milagros: Mexican Arts in Minnesota” series by Patricia Mitchell (the Ordway’s President) and Mary Anne Quiroz (the Mascaras y Milagros Coordinator). The main component of the evening was an intimate conversation with the artist anchored by José Luis Villaseñor, the Executive Director of Tamales y Bicicletas which is an afterschool program for Latino youth focusing on environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and youth leadership. Lila Downs then favored the crowd with two songs in her strong personal style that incorporates traditional Indigenous musical elements with blues and jazz. At the end of the evening, Latino youth from Tamales y Bicicletas presented Ms. Lila Downs with an “I am a DREAM Voter” button and a dream catcher to symbolize the thousands of young people who are undocumented in this country and are mobilizing to “catch” their dreams of a college education. A video of Ms. Down’s delightful acoustic live performance at the event can be found here.


I am proud to say that our 6th Ward Staff, Alondra Cano, was invited to play a leading role in the “Mascaras y Milagros” Advisory Council to help leverage key partnerships. This event demonstrates what can be done when community, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, artists, and government come together. We send a big thank you to all of our partners in this including the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, Tamales y Bicicletas, Minneapolis Public School’s Multilingual Department, the Mexican Consulate, and the following Neighborhood Associations: East Phillips, Midtown, Central, Bancroft and  Powderhorn Park. 

Again, thanks to all who worked so hard to make this Latino Heritage Month a huge success.

Robert Lilligren

Mondays with Robert

Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for people like you and me to have access to government. Robert remains committed to that value today. For that reason, Council Member Lilligren makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.

You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.

First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am

Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, 2400 Park Ave.
Center for Changing Lives
9:30am - 11:30am

Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am

Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 2323 11th Ave. S.
2nd Floor of Phillips Community Center
9:30am - 11:30am


Council Vice President Robert Lilligren, a member of the White Earth Nation, welcomes the community to the Lila Downs event. Photo courtesy of Jorge Amerigo.


From left to right, President of the Ordway Patricia Mitchell and Mary Anne Quiroz share a few words about the Mascaras y Milagros (Masks and Miracles) Mexican Arts series in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of the Ordway.


From left to right, Nestor a youth organizer with Tamales y Bicicletas asks Lila Downs a question during the event while Jose Luis Villasenor, Executive Director of Tamales y Bicicletas and the event's anchor looks on. Photo courtesy of the Ordway.

From the Office of City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren
350 South 5th Street, City Hall, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415 · Ward 6 website · (612) 673-2206

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