February 22, 2013
University of Minnesota Day of Activism
On Tuesday, February 12th I participated as a
panel member as part of the “Day of Activism” at the Global Studies Department
at the University of Minnesota. With the theme to “bring the global to the
local”, the Day of Activism was a full day of panel discussions, workshops,
film screenings, and other activities for Global Studies students to help them
learn more about different movements going on in the Twin Cities. Session
topics ranged from local food production to building community through art.
I was a panelist on the topic of Neighborhood Development
along with Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon, Seward Redesign Senior Project Manager Eddie Landenberger, and
the Director of Waite House Francisco Segovia.
Council Member Gordon spoke of his involvement in community
building through projects; both actual buildings and policy developments. Eddie
Landenberger gave the history of Seward Redesign and the community development
corporation movement (CDC), with an emphasis on community building and
empowerment. He used a number of Redesign projects as examples. Francisco
Segovia talked engaging and empowering new arrival communities at the economic,
cultural, political and all levels – specifically the growing Latino community.
As requested by the organizers, I spoke from my experience
and history as a grassroots neighborhood activist and small-scale housing
developer, the community development
components of a major project I worked on – the Midtown Exchange, and my
current work focusing on economic and community development focusing on the
American Indian Community as chair of the board of directors of the Native
American Community Development Institute.
My community activism began at my front door in the early
1980’s, when the street in front of my recently purchased home in the Phillips
area became violent and dangerous because of a deeply engrained crack and
prostitution trade. I felt this was unfair to the residents, especially the
children in my area. I created a mission statement that I still use today, “to
help build a community where children feel safe to play and grow”. My work and
investment in the neighborhood has helped bring partners together to make our
community safer and stronger, full of thriving young families.
The focus of my first term on the City Council was the then
vacant and boarded Sears building at Chicago Ave and Lake St, now the up and
running Midtown Exchange. After seeing other proposals for this then city owned
property, I knew that for this project to be successful the surrounding
community would need to see direct benefits. The resulting redevelopment
provides affordable home ownership and rental as well as market rate housing.
Local entrepreneurs have opportunity to open and grow businesses at the Midtown
Global Market, a piece of the project that I drafted directly into the City’s request for
proposal (RFP) for the project. The Midtown Exchange project set record high
workforce participation goals for women and minority skilled and unskilled
workers, and women and minority contractors. As the area Council Member at the
time I convened the stakeholders – construction trade unions, skilled training
providers, advocacy groups, developers and City departmental staff – to not
only establish these goals, but to set successful strategies to meet them.
These goals are still used as the standard on large, City sponsored
construction projects and they continue to benefit traditionally
Some of the community development work I am most satisfied
with is the work of the Native American Community Development Institute, where I am a
volunteer and the chair of NACDI’s board. NACDI is an intermediary
organization that takes an asset-based approach to building economic vitality
within the Native community. This young organization has an impressive history
of successes. NACDI has also convened the community to express the vision for
an American Indian Cultural Corridor on Franklin Avenue from the Hiawatha LRT
Station to 12th Avenue.
The Day of Activism was a great opportunity to connect with students
and to share ways to be involved in the community.
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 Gerardo at 673-2206 or Gerardo.Bonilla@minneapolismn.gov 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
STEP-UP Is Looking For Applicants
STEP-UP is a summer job program for Minneapolis youth ages 14-21. Youth must complete a competitive application process and work readiness training to be considered for a position with the STEP-UP program. Youth ages 14-21 are offered a paid internship experience and matched with positions at local businesses.
Tax Season Is Here!
Tax season is here and the filing date, April 15, is quickly approaching. Luckily the non-profit group AccountAbility Minnesota is providing free tax preparation and financial services for those who qualify. IRS-certified volunteers will be on hand at the Hope Community Center Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays to help individuals, families, and self-employed individuals with their tax preparation. Clinics operate on a first-come, first-served basis so it is a good idea to arrive when the clinic starts, or even 15 minutes earlier, to get in line. Please allow at least two hours or more for tax preparation. Also, make sure to bring a picture id, social security card, and your W-2s when you come in. Find a clinic near you.
Grant Development Workshop
Greetings, we would like to remind you to join
us at our two-day grant development workshop at the University of
Minnesota. Minneapolis, Minnesota. March 4 - 5, 2013. Learn from
Professional Grant Writers how to prepare, write and secure grants from various
funding agencies. We are finalizing the attendee list as we speak, if
interested please visit our website or
contact us at 1.877.414.8991 to register/ reserve seating.
Additional discounts are available for groups
that would like to participate in this interactive workshop.
Make It Pop Art Gallery
Make it Pop, at the All My Relations Gallery features the collective works of eleven Native Artists who strive to use the influence of pop culture in every one of their pieces, either through reaction to or conjunction with it. Make it pop will utilize the individual talents of these artist to convey both the tremendous history and culture of the Native people, as it applies to the current trends of pop culture. These artists express their message through a variety of mediums from metalwork, to ceramics, painting and printmaking; in addition to covering a range of tribes, spanning across the country. The gallery will be on display form February 15th - May 4th 2013 and is completely FREE to the public.