Minneapolis Connects: June 2016

Minneapolis Connects: News and information from Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations

June, 2016

June is Pride Month

Trans Equity
Twin Cities Pride logo

Minneapolis celebrates Gay Pride for more than a full week each June (June 19 to June 26 in 2016), in part to honor a seminal moment in the history of lesbian and gay rights, New York City's Stonewall Riots.  In the Twin Cities, Pride celebrations center around a series of events held around the last week of June, culminating with two major events, the Pride Festival, and the Pride Parade. 

In 1975, Minneapolis became the first city in the country to pass an ordinance preventing discrimination based on gender identity. Despite this, disparities still exist in virtually all areas including employment, health care, safety, housing and access to public spaces.

In 2014, the City of Minneapolis Transgender Issues Work Group was established to look at transgender disparities, engage the broader community and make policy recommendations for the City to improve the lives of transgender residents. It is now managed by the City Coordinator’s Office.

The Minneapolis City Council took the next step and approved a resolution on May 27th supporting efforts to further transgender equity in Minneapolis. This includes supporting efforts in other cities, as well as at the state level and nationally.

Minneapolis now joins cities including Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Miami; New York; San Francisco and Seattle in support of transgender equity. 

Abdirashid Ahmed, NCR’s East African community specialist, presents Minneapolis’ strategies in Swedish cities

Abdirashid Ahmed

The U.S. Embassy in Sweden invited and paid for NCR’s East African community specialist to meet with City leaders and community representatives in four Swedish cities – Malmo, Eslov, Lund and Vaxjo – in May. Ahmed shared Minneapolis’ successful engagement model with Swedish city officials and Somali community leaders. Swedish officials invited the City to share its best practices around community engagement in order to learn how it positively engages immigrant communities in their new country.

At the conference and meetings in Sweden, Ahmed described how NCR works to connect with the Somali community. Some of the tactics include community dialogues where Somali community leaders meet and learn directly about specific issues from City staff. The Somali leaders then share this information with their communities. For a large or complex issue, Ahmed meets first with Somali community leaders to make sure they understand the issue, and then invites the larger Somali community to learn directly from City staff while he acts as a liaison. Ahmed also invites community leaders to City Hall and government offices to see how the City works and to meet with department heads and elected officials.

Somalis are integrating well in Minneapolis and have their own shopping malls, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, transportation companies, real estate, local banks, charter and private schools, and mosques.

Minnesota has the second highest Somali population in the world after Somalia, and Sweden has the third. The highest concentration of Minnesota’s Somali population is in Minneapolis. Somalis in Minnesota have significant political, economic and cultural presence with $500 million in buying power and pay $75 million in local and state taxes annually. Other U.S. cities with high Somali populations include Columbus, Ohio; Houston; Phoenix; San Diego and Seattle.

In 2015, Ahmed participated in a panel discussion at the American Swedish Institute that compared and contrasted the experience of Somalis in Sweden and Minnesota.

Community Story: Hmong Special Forces Veterans Memorial

Hmong SGU May 15 2016

On May 15th community members gathered at the State Capitol to pay tribute to the Hmong Special Guerrilla Units (SGU) and to honor to the military service of the Hmong SGU veterans - both deceased and alive - as America’s Secret Army in Laos during the Vietnam War. 

The Hmong SGU were recruited, trained, paid for, supplied, and directed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to collect intelligence, cut off communist military supplies to fight American troops in South Vietnam, rescue downed American pilots behind enemy lines, and protect U.S. radar installations for air operations against communist movements in Southeast Asia. More than 35,000 Hmong lost their lives and many more were seriously injured, disabled, or continue to be missing in action in the defense of America’s interests in Southeast Asia.  The U.S. pulled of out of Laos in May 1975.

A video of the day's song and dance dedicated to General Vang Pao and all Hmong veterans is available from Hmong TV.

Neighborhood Story: Islam in Bottineau

Islam in Bottineau 05-24-16

On May 24, the Bottineau neighborhood Association (BNA) hosted a community discussion with Dr. Hamdy El-Sawaf, local mosque leader and U of MN professor, and Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the MN Council on American-Islamic Relations (MN-CAIR). This discussion was an attempt to foster better understanding of local Muslim residents, their culture and religion.

Dr. El-Sawaf presented a short primer on Islam, followed by an hour of questions and answers. Questions ranged from how to acquire an English-language copy of the Qur’an (free copies are available through CAIR’s Share the Qur’an website), to the history behind certain customs to the best way to show support and camaraderie to Muslim neighbors. A transcript including all of the evening’s questions and answers is available on BNA’s website.

Photo ID Project: "Do You Know Who I Am?"

John Glanton Collection 3

The Hennepin County Library recently acquired hundreds of photographs (negatives) taken by a Minneapolis photographer, John Glanton. These photos date from the late 1940s and principally concern the African-American community in Minneapolis and (occasionally) St. Paul.

HCL is asking for help in identifying the people, locales and events depicted in these photos. The photos have been loaded them on to a Google drive site. You can add information about each photo using the "Comment" function. Instructions are included with each series of photos.

Any questions should be directed to Ted Hathaway, HCL Manager of Special Collections, Preservation & Digitization, at 612-543-8203. 

2016 Resident Survey getting underway

The Minneapolis Resident Satisfaction Survey is a key way the City engages people in City government. The City conducts surveys of its residents on a regular basis to get their perspectives about the quality of service the City provides.

This year Wilder Research will conduct the survey. While only a very small number of randomly selected households will receive the survey, it will produce statistically representative data about Minneapolis residents at the City and community planning district levels. Special care is being taken to ensure that the opinions of selected cultural and geographic communities are included. 

Watch for survey results this fall.

Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission elections set for June 16 

Boards and Commissions

This year, Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) seats from neighborhood districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 are up for election through the neighborhood election process. Elections will be held Thursday, June 16. Neighborhoods should notify NCR of their electors by Wednesday, June 8.

Visit the website for additional details, including the election process and voter guide. 

Meet a Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commissioner: Ishmael Israel

Ishmael Israel

Mayoral Appointee (Hodges and Rybak)  

Term: 2nd - Not seeking reappointment due to being appointed to Metropolitan Council’s Equity Advisory Committee April 2016

Ward: 5

Neighborhood: Willard-Hay

Sub-committees: One Minneapolis Fund Committee, Community Innovation Fund Committee, City Department Engagement Committee 

How long have you been active in your community and what made you get involved in community work? 

I got involved with my neighborhood board around the year 2000. My first development project was a new construction on a city owned vacant lot which required that the plans receive neighborhood approval.  The process was frustrating, unaccommodating and did not seem to welcome my desire to improve my community. I had recently moved from the Longfellow neighborhood to north Minneapolis to live amongst African Americans. The neighborhood board did not seem to reflect the ethnic composition of the community so I made my mind up to get involved and learn why African Americans were not participating in these decision-making processes. Years later I became the board chair and later part of the management team.

What do you like most about your neighborhood or community?

Both the history and the potential of building a more livable community are attractive.  Coupled with the vast number of African American professionals and elders who remain members of the community and are always supportive of initiatives that move the community forward.

Are there other boards and committees you are or have been on? 

I’ve served in numerous capacities.  My neighborhood board was my first opportunity to serve on a board. Since then I’ve worked to unify community members through organizational involvement.  Northside Transportation Network; Northside Neighborhoods Council; Penn Avenue Implementation Committee; Blue Line Coalition; Community Engagement Steering Committee and most recently I was appointed by Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck to serve on its Equity Advisory Committee.  It is bittersweet news that this new appointment requires that I tender my resignation from the NCEC.

Do you have any tips for residents interested in running for neighborhood boards and/or City boards and commissions? 

Follow your passions and don’t let naysayers distract you from rolling up your sleeves and getting involved. Nothing worthy of accomplishing has been easy for me, resident engagement and advocacy is no different.  It is frustrating, hard work but rewarding if you stay committed and stay focused on the goal.  Change begins with us one person at a time.


The “Meet a Commissioner” series of the monthly Minneapolis Connects newsletter is intended for readers to get to know representatives of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC). The NCEC is a 16 member board that advises the Mayor and City Council on a wide range of community engagement issues.

The NCEC is responsible for developing guidelines for the City’s principal neighborhood funding program, the Community Participation Program, as well as the One Minneapolis Fund and the Community Innovation Fund. The Commission also works to broaden participation on advisory boards and commissions and develops recommendations for improving the City’s public participation process.

The Commission meets every 4th Tuesday of the month at 5:00p.m. Learn more about the Commission

Position openings with neighborhood organizations

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association logo

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association is seeking an Executive Director. The Executive Director reports to the board of directors, and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission, to improve and enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, and its annual programmatic and financial objectives. The association has 600+ members and is a 501(c)3.

 The position is part-time, with a minimum of 28 hours per week. The office staff includes a half-time coordinator in addition to the Executive Director, and MHNA contracts with a bookkeeper for its financial tracking and reporting.

 Applications are due no later than June 10, and should include a full resume and a cover letter addressing how your background and experience relate to the position qualifications.

CANDO logo

The Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO) is seeking an Economic Development Organizer. The Central neighborhood is one of the most diverse, historic neighborhoods in Minneapolis. CANDO is looking for an individual who wants to be involved in the developmental rethinking and implementation of sustainable homeownership and preservation ideas and programs, as well as helping economic development and a strengthening of businesses along the Central neighborhood’s business corridors. CANDO wants to help safeguard some of the heritage of the city by preserving some of the architectural, cultural and historic aspects of the neighborhood.

The ability to communicate in Spanish is desirable but not required; skills in other languages are also desirable, including Somali and Hmong. This full-time position is open until filled.

Cleveland logo

The Cleveland Neighborhood Association (CNA) is hiring an Executive Director. The Executive Director provides leadership, vision, direction, and administration for CNA in fulfilling its mission. The Executive Director is the primary representative of the agency in the community and is directly responsible for its success. This is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the Board of Directors. This position is open until filled.

The Heritage Park Neighborhood Association is hiring a Director. Responsibilities include directing finance and fundraising, providing leadership that mobilizes the neighborhood, supporting the board of directors, managing the organization and coordinating stakeholder relationships. This part time position is open until filled. 

HPNA logo

45-Day Review and Comment Period on Draft 2017-19 CPP Guidelines open through June 20

The Neighborhood and Community Relations Department (NCR) invites you to comment on the draft 2017-19 Community Participation Program (CPP) Guidelines for review and comment. These guidelines will direct how at least $3,000,000 each year will be allocated to recognized Minneapolis neighborhood organizations for community participation activities.

Written comments must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 20, 2016. Please submit comments in an electronic format if possible to ncr@minneapolismn.gov. Comments should be in text format (such as a Word document, a readable pdf, or via email) so that NCR can provide ADA accessible documents. If it is not possible to submit comments electronically, mail written comments to:

Neighborhood and Community Relations
Crown Roller Mill, Suite 425
105 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Help Residents Avoid Code Violations

All Together Now sample vehicle violation

Regulatory Services will be out this summer, and specifically in 10 Neighborhoods for “All Together Now”, citing residents for long grass, trash, branches in the alley and more. A list of useful resources is also available to help residents avoid violations and get a jump on their clean-up efforts.

The City of Minneapolis invites and encourages participation by every resident to each program, service and event within our city. Should you require an accommodation in order for you to fully participate, or should you require this document in an alternative format, please let us know by contacting 612-673-3737.

Upcoming events

June is: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

6/1: Race and Class: Neighborhood Revitalization in Harrison

6/1 – and every Wednesday in June: Stevens Square’s Cinema and Civics

6/3: Pratt Ice Cream Social

6/3-6/4: Creative CityMaking Minneapolis Community Forum

6:4: Victory Garage Sale

6/4: Heritage Park Yard Sale

6/4: ECCO Super Sale

6/4: CARAG Plant Swap & Pollinator event

6/4: The Wedge "Paint the Pavement" event

6/5: Open Streets Lyndale

6/9: Live on the Drive

6/10-6/11: Longfellow Neighborhood Garage Sale

6/11: Standish, Ericsson & Corcoran Neighborhood Garage Sale

6/11: Linden Hills Little Homes Tour

6/11: Loring Park Acoustic Music Festival

6/11: Armatage Organics Recycling Workshop

6/15: Powderhorn 365 Storytelling Social

6/15: CIDNA Game Night

6/17-6/18: NEighbors Garage Sale Weekend

6/18: Nokomis East Neighborhood Garage Sale Day

6/18: Juneteenth

6/18: Southeast Asian Soccer Connection

6/21: Celebrate Northeast Parade

6/25: Prospect Park Yard Sale Days and Garden Walk

6/25: Beltrami Summer Festival

6/25-6/26: Twin Cities Pride Festival & Parade

6/28: Longfellow Annual Summer Celebration

6/26: CANDO Plant Grow Share Community Bonfire 

Additional events and details can be found online: www.minneapolismn.gov/ncr/calendar

Neighborhood and Community Relations Department

Director, David Rubedor 
Crown Roller Mill, Room 425
105 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 673-3737