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MPNAI ANNUAL MEETING
February 23, 2021
VIA ZOOM 6-8pm
on Supportive Housing and Solutions to Homelessness
—Michael A Goze, CEO, American Indian Community Development
—Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Al Bangoura
• Get the annual report of MPNAIs activities & projects during 2020
• Learn about our partner organizations & upcoming initiatives
• Join the Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Assoc. board!
• Hear inspirational stories from neighbors
• Celebrate Midtown Phillips pride with fellow community members
A Letter/Manifesto to our Leadership
This letter is one composed of many voices. We are affordable housing advocates, (many for 30 years), Lake Street business owners, and cyclists. All are neighborhood activists, (many for up to 40 years) who live or work in the Midtown or East Phillips Neighborhoods. Because of our collective years of activism we see three areas of concern for our city/county/state that need to be the priority of these bodies of government.
1. Homelessness, and the encampments cropping up in our city.
2. The increased level of violent crime citywide.
3. The need for jobs and economic development, along with the rebuilding of East Lake Street’s small, minority, and immigrant businesses
Nothing will be resolved in Minneapolis, if these three issues are not made our priority. For example, will Minneapolis be able to attract convention business or any businesses that employ its citizens if violent crime has over-run it and tent cities continue to crop up? We don’t want to become another Detroit and that is what’s happening. To address these issues lawmakers need to come together under holistic plans, like the heading home plans already created, crime reduction strategies, put in place in the 1990s, under the federally funded program, Weed and Seed and comprehensive plans for job creation, especially for minority youth. They need to listen to the experts, whose voices on homelessness, crime and job creation were once heard, when plans were implemented and we were on our way to solving these problems. New voices need to be heard like those coming from directors of shelters, those who do outreach, work with law-enforcement to create equal justice for all in order to reduce crime, and develop opportunities for youth and our neighbors in need of good-paying jobs. Many past and present strategies have been disregarded by those who govern. We have been told they can’t be implemented due to regulations, funding or other reasons.
If these three issues are addressed and funded many of society’s ills will be lessened if not alleviated with much less work, for much less money. Funding for them should be a top priority. Presently it is not. For example, many members of the Phillips Neighborhoods were the drivers for the creation of the Midtown Greenway. Many residents of these neighborhoods are avid cyclists, and have enjoyed its benefits and its connection to all the other trails in the Metro area. It took thousands upon thousands of hours of volunteer work and millions of dollars to create and today all that work and all those funds have gone down the drain, because of the encampments. Yet today the Minneapolis City Council, Hennepin County and the Minneapolis Park Board have moved forward with the construction of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of new trails that cyclists are afraid to use, because of the encampments that continue to grow and attract crime, drug dealing, car racing, and fires. Cyclist (some on this letter) will say that they don’t need any more trails until homelessness has been addressed! “Nothing good comes of encampments,” said a former outreach worker in our neighborhood with years of experience.
We have been affordable housing activists for more than 30 years:
• advocating for funding and bonding on the state level, educating, adding input to Heading Home Hennepin, advocating for ordinance changes, and most importantly leveraging millions of dollars of neighborhood funding in order to build affordable rental units, houses, and rehab our housing stock.
The contributors of this letter have been residents of East/Midtown Phillips from ten to forty years and have collectively:
• contributed hundreds of years’ worth of volunteer organizing in this community, from block club leaders, NNO, Phillips Community Clean Sweep, and annual festivals. We were the spark for the creation of the Midtown Greenway, saved the former Sears building to be transformed into the Midtown Exchange, lobbied the state for bonding and fund-raised for the building of the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center, among many other accomplishments.
Through Weed and Seed, we leveraged funding:
• for the implementation of strategies and the creation of programs for fighting crime in order to keep our neighborhood safe. We funded youth programs, cameras on Bloomington Ave, ShotSpotter, and community policing. We worked with law enforcement to identify hot spots, and created restorative justice, among many other strategies and crime–fighting programs. It is sad to see so many of them go by the wayside.
For forty years the great organizers of Phillips worked to:
• bring in minority and immigrant businesses, especially the Latinx Community, worked with many organizations, like MADDADS, The Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, neighborhood youth organizations, churches, and mosques to make our neighborhood welcoming and livable for all.
The encampments that have endangered our community along with the racism that has been allowed to systemically grow and fester in all departments of our city, including law-enforcement, causing violence and even death to some of our citizens, and the riots that were allowed to run rampant through our immigrant and minority owned businesses, a district serving a neighborhood populated with vulnerable, low-income families and the elderly who relied on those businesses, has set us back. We saw forty years of work and funding go down the drain. We feel like the sacrificial lamb.
Many of the businesses in the Midtown and East Phillips community including those on Lake Street were thriving prior to this year’s events. These businesses are a testament to the inclusive principles and practices that make our city so special! From our Latino bakery to our Somali café; we’ve been the benefactor of economic growth through inclusive policies. It’s imperative that the city employs strategies that will protect those businesses and those who frequent them. There have been many things lost this year; please don’t let these business owners and patrons lose their trust in our city. We had promised to protect them.
Lastly, the best social program is a job. Employment, training and jobs work to address the root cause of need which leads to crime. Under Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton we applied for and were designated an Empowerment Zone Community. Millions of dollars were awarded to create and train for jobs - Good paying jobs.
• We challenge the City/County/State to create at least 500 jobs with some of the newly approved stimulus dollars; that a Jobs & Employment initiative is prioritized for at risk youth of diverse backgrounds and those living on the margins, in our neighborhoods.
• Support the Urban Farm concept as proposed for the Roof Depot Site and stop the relocating of more pollution oriented services in our Phillips Community. This job-creating example, is East Phillips’ fight for the former Roof Depot site for the creation of an Urban Farm and to save the former Sears Warehouse Building on that site, as opposed to the City of Minneapolis’ acquisition of it for the water department, which would bring hundreds of pollution-causing trucks into a neighborhood already saturated with ground and air pollution. Instead we could have environmental justice and a project that will create an estimated one hundred to two hundred jobs. Saving the former Sears Warehouse would be a good opportunity to house lost restaurants and small shops to the riots, in a building that would need little work toward its restoration. But, a city that lost countless buildings to the riots wants to tear it down!
• We are calling for the implementation of the original plan for a streetcar/trolley on the Greenway as soon as possible. It will provide a time-saving mode for inner city residents, without the need of a car, to reach the airport, educational institutions, and malls. But, more importantly, it will make it possible for our residents to access jobs and economic opportunities outside of the city.
• We support Chief Rondo, a Southside Central High School graduate with extraordinary experience in policing and what is needed for change.
• We support the Mayor’s budget as proposed and pledge to work in partnership with him and the Chief on police reform. We also support the Mayor’s budget with regard to neighborhood organizations. Funding at the neighborhood level allows neighborhood based approaches and solutions to safety and root cause needs.
East and Midtown Phillips residents who live diversity and were the first neighborhood to welcome with open arms the Islamic Center, have generated and benefitted from more bottom up plans, programs, projects, strategies and movements than can be counted. We have been resisted and our visions and goals have often been disregarded by those who govern, but we persist. And though our businesses and residents have experienced continued victimization, negatively affecting our physical health and well-being, we persist. We are Phillips Strong. Like the Phoenix we will rise!
Sincerely, Midtown & East Phillips Neighborhood residents
WHO WE ARE
Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, Inc is a volunteer-driven, community organization that advocates for a vibrant, safe, and healthy neighborhood.
Through regular meetings, outreach, and funding, we bring diverse community members together to celebrate Midtown Phillips and explore ways to make it even better.
Where is Midtown Phillips?
The boundaries of the Midtown Phillips neighborhood are East 24th Street to the north, East Lake Street to the south, Bloomington Avenue to the east, and Chicago Avenue to the west.
Join the board, attend community meetings, volunteer your time at local events.
MPNAIs efforts rely on the time and talents of volunteers.
If you live in Midtown Phillips, you are a also voting member of the neighborhood association.
WHAT WE DO
We currently partner with 8 local Phillips neighborhood non-profits to implement a variety of projects which expand the outreach within the Midtown Phillips neighborhood: Banyan Community, St. Paul's ELCA, Somali TV, Heart of the Beast Mask and Puppet Theater, MN Youth Association, KRSM Radio, New Americans Youth Soccer Club and MadDads of Minneapolis.
Visit "Our Partners" page for more information.
MIDTOWN FESTIVAL AT OPEN STREETS
A multicultural gathering held in July featuring local talent and local food vendors, as well as participation from other community Partner organizations. A strategy to learn about our various neighborhood cultures and build relationships with residents. Neighborhood and city-wide programs and projects set up booths to inform and recruit involvement from the neighborhood. We create a ‘Midtown Phillips Zone’ as a part of Open Streets.
PHILLIPS CLEAN SWEEP
This is an annual event in partnership with Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling and composting to clean up the community. Midtown Phillips partners with three other neighborhoods in order to clean up the Phillips area and instill a sense of community accountability and pride. In 2018, over 750 volunteers came out to help pick up trash and meet neighbors. Local businesses supported this event through donations of food and supplies. City, county and neighborhood non-profits set up project displays during lunch to provide an educational component to this event. We also raise funds to provide 6 garbage trucks in the 4 Phillips neighborhoods to pick up tires, furniture, appliances, electronics, household construction, old carpet Free of Charge to all residents!
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
Occurs nation-wide the first Tuesday of August. MPNAI partners with local community organizations to support block events. A majority of blocks within the Midtown Phillips area participate, raising awareness about neighborliness and creating ties between residents.
MEETING AND DINNER
At this meeting, we highlight speakers from various government entities come to inform residents about changes and projects occurring within the city. We host resource booths with information pertaining to the residents of Midtown Phillips. We also hold our annual board elections and present financial reports for the year, as well as showcase our community partners, who have been working hard to increase and maintain outreach within the Midtown Phillips neighborhood.
“The most common way people give away their power is by thinking they don't have any.”