Tag Archives: Inc.

Infinite hope kindles revival of St. Paul’s Rondo Neighborhood

 

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

These words of Dr. King ring true as preparations move into high gear for Rondo Days, the week of celebration that fills St. Paul’s Rondo Neighborhood with music, dance, great food, sports and, most of all, stories of a community that never lost infinite hope. One has to be “of an age” to remember the pain and “finite disappointment” wrought by flagrant racism that paved the way for Interstate 94. Since that 1960’s travesty that would have destroyed a lesser community I have never traveled that strip of concrete without feeling the pain.

“Back in the day, my high school rose to its sandstone glory on the fringe of Rondo – we took the bus and got to know the neighbor kids as we walked the last few blocks; we traipsed down to Hallie Q. for mandatory gym class. Though we may have thought of ourselves and our school as part of the friendly neighborhood, local residents must have viewed us as uniformed interlopers with no sense of style… Still, those high school years helped me know a neighborhood of which I was not a part but which I experienced as home to loving parents who went to work early, children who hopped, skipped and jumped with joy as they played sidewalk games, a neighborhood overflowing with clubs and playgrounds, schools, countless churches, hairdressers, tailors and corner groceries that met the daily needs of a vibrant and resilient neighborhood that happened to be, in the language of the day, “Negro.”

Then came the bullies and the bulldozers. Rondo was decimated. Homes were leveled, many residents were forced to move, social and commercial life paused….but only paused. Though the strong people of Rondo “accepted finite disappointment” they never lost “infinite hope.”

That was then, this is now. Today the Rondo community is gearing up for Rondo Days, a celebration of the triumph of “infinite hope!”   Rondo Days 2016, set for July 12-16, marks the thirty-third year that neighbors, former residents and Minnesotans who know very little about the history will gather for the celebration sponsored by Rondo Avenue Inc. to revel in the music, dance, food and camaraderie that reflect the triumph of hope. The event is just one of several initiatives fueled by the creativity, energy, and vision of community leaders. http://www.rondoavenueinc.org

Rondo Days visitors will enjoy the event more if you can appreciate the roots and reasons the for grand celebration!!! And if you can’t make it to Rondo Days, the virtual visit will inform you about the history Minnesotans share, but may not know. The story of Rondo challenges all of us to “accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

So many stories, so many resources – following are just a few learning options:

To get a geographic fix on the Rondo neighborhood, click on this City Pages link: http://www.citypages.com/news/st-paul-map-shows-how-i-94-cut-through-heart-of-citys-african-american-neighborhood-6541556

To get a “feel” for the original Rondo you might want to start here:

  • Read Evelyn Fairbanks’ Days of Rondo, published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 1990 — ebook and audio book versions are readily accessible
  • View the video of Evelyn Fairbanks strolling and sharing her memories of the neighborhood with historian Hy Berman – though both Fairbanks and Berman have died since the video was produced their lively discussion and keen memories bring Rondo to life! http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/customPlaylist2.php?id=16134&select_index=4&popup=yes — the Rondo piece is just 27 mins long but you’ll want to watch the entire River, Railroads and Rondo video, a delightful historic overview of highlights of the Capitol City.

 To dig deeper into the stories of Rondo explore some of the many options including, but definitely not limited, to these:

  • Walk the neighborhood with MHS staffers to discover the secrets of Rondo. Though a last minute post indicates that “Neighborhood Secrets Walking Tour” is sold out, you might want to check just in case – http://www.mnhs.org/event/1349
  • Keep up with the latest on Rondo Days 2016 by faithfully checking the official website – rondoavenueinc.org

Earlier this month the St Paul Pioneer Press posted an informative – and supportive – editorial reviewing the past and offering a glimpse into what’s next for Rondo. It’s a must read: http://www.twincities.com/2016/06/01/editorial-rebuilding-around-rondo-values/ The editorial, based on an interview with community leader Marvin Anderson, cites several ideas; some fall under the “infinite hope” categpru while others are works-in-progress. The design is on the boards and a July groundbreaking is set for a commemorative plaza at Concordia/Old Rondo Avenue and Fisk Street. http://rondoavenueinc.org — (scroll to “commemorative plaza). Co-founder of the Rondo renaissance, Anderson, who retired Minnesota State Law Librarian in 2002, is just one of the leaders and lifetime residents who waste no time on “finite disappointment.” Instead, they harness their collective strength to get up and do what needs to be as they share emulate MLK’s vision of “infinite hope” for their vibrant neighborhood and for the Capitol City.

* * * *

Personal note: Many of us who learned or taught in the Rondo community “back in the day” were painfully aware of what was happening to our neighbors. Though some of us may be post-peak for the revelry, we celebrate Rondo Days in our memories and in our hearts. We want to learn more about the Rondo neighborhood as it was – and as it will be.   We rejoice as character, health, knowledge and good judgment – fueled by infinite hope – honor the past and shape the new Rondo community! My sincere hope is that the spirit of the historic building at 355 Marshall will bolster the rebirth of Rondo. Though the school closed decades ago there’s residual gumption behind that stern façade.

Native prairie plantings thrive in Northeast Minneapolis

Decades ago Lady Bird Johnson transformed the highways of the nation with her intrepid support of wildflowers, the perky blooms that continue to beautify the terrain and eliminate costly grooming of the land.  The spirit of Lady Bird lives on in Northeast Minneapolis.

Wednesday, June 26, marked a major event in development of the Blooming Prairie on Central, installation of a prairie landscaping project on the Central Avenue medium.  City Council member Kevin Reich who has spearheaded the project was on hand, along with representatives of the partners including the City, Parks and Rec, neighborhood greenthumbers, the Green Council at Edison High School and Prairie Restoration, Inc., source of the prairie plantings.    Though this busy stretch of Minnesota Highway 65 may be an unexpected site for prairie plantings, the collaboration and the possibilities hold great promise for the community.

The original planted islands were installed in 2004 as part of the Central Avenue reconstruction project.  These first plantings weren’t prepared to stand up to the harsh environment of the street and failed to prosper.  Funds were allocated in 2011 to replace the plantings with a more durable landscape design.

During the fall of 2011 a steering committee from surrounding neighborhoods met to weigh options and select a prairie style landscape for the replacement.  Prairie Restoration began installing the new landscaping in the arid summer of 2012.

Rob Brown of Prairie Restorations is quick to remind the novice that prairie-style plantings need to be established in stages for an optimal final result.   Still, the result is a sturdy landscape that requires minimal care and tending on an ongoing basis.  The 15,000 native plantings of Indian Grass, Golden Alexander and Yellow Coneflower being planted this summer are hyper local plants grown within 200 miles of their new home, becoming what Brown refers to enthusiastically as “remnant prairie.”  Preservation of the urban prairie will involve some controlled burning during the months to come.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has also planted trees along stretches of Central as part of the overall landscaping upgrade.

No Hunger November – the Walk to End Hunger

Walk to End Hunger –  few simple steps:

Sometimes a problem is too big – sometimes it’s the process.  Hunger is a topic that’s so monumental – and so complex – it may seem to be too much to tackle.  The same might be said of the forthcoming Walk to End Hunger scheduled for Thanksgiving morning at the Mall of America.

(Parenthetically, my opinion is that the MOA fits the definition of too much to tackle, but that’s another story…)

Some time ago I posted a couple of pieces on the blog about hunger issues and my intent to walk to support Neighbors, Inc.  Since then I’ve come up with a simpler step-by-step guide to the complexities of the Walk to End Hunger mega-project.   It’s targeted to Neighbors, Inc.   I thought it might be useful to potential supporters who may be overwhelmed as I am by the process itself.

If you’re interested you may also check my page on the Walk site where you will also find a one minute video – that’s not Katie Couric….

The goal is to keep the focus on the need, not the process.  I hope this helps.

Support the Walk to End Hunger

Support Neighbors, Inc!

The Walk to End Hunger is a collaboration of hunger-related organizations of which Neighbors, Inc. is a member.   On Thanksgiving morning, November 22, from 7 to 10 am thousands of Minnesotans will walk the Mall of America to raise awareness and funds to end hunger in the Twin Cities metro area.

There are several ways you and your family can support the Walk and Neighbors, Inc.

  • Join us in the Walk. Do this by visiting our website (www.neighborsmn.org).  That will start you off with basic background resources and lead you to the Walk to End Hunger website (www.walkendhunger.org). Your $25 registration will go directly to support the Neighbors Inc. food shelf.  We hope that, as a member of the Neighbors Inc. Hunger Fighters Team you will encourage friends and family to match your contribution so that each member of the Neighbors, Inc. Hunger Fighters Team generates $100 to Neighbors.
  • Ask friends and neighbors to designate Neighbors, Inc. if they are making a contribution to the Walk.  Remember that all   funds go directly to Neighbors to support programs in the Northern Dakota County community.
  • Can’t make it?  You can make a financial contribution directly to Neighbors, Inc. by just contacting Neighbors directly with your designated contribution.   We will add it to the Neighbors fund as part of the Walk.
  • Cheer us on at the MOA!  No charge for spectators – family fun for supporters.  If you change your mind you can register on site to join the Neighbors, Inc. Hunger Fighters Team!

Neighbors Inc. serves individuals and families in northern Dakota County.  The demand for our food shelf is up 60% from just two years ago.  Neighbors will distribute 600 pounds of food this year alone.  Clients receive a package of one week’s worth of food for each member of the family.  In October we served 445 families through our recently expanded food shelf.

Neighbors is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization.  Any donation you make to support this event is fully tax deductible.

If you have questions or want to contribute, visit my page and/or contact me at mtreacy@onvoymail.com

Walking the Walk to End Hunger – With a Little Help from My Friends

In just five years, the Walk to End Hunger has become a Thanksgiving morning tradition.  During those same years hungry Minnesota families have had to depend more on the generosity of others to supplement their nutritional needs.

The Walk to End Hunger has evolved as an exemplary collaboration among nonprofit organizations that share the mission not just to provide nutritious food but to end hunger.  Some walkers get going before dawn, lace up their walking shoes, and meet at the MOA at 7:00 a.m.   Others join the marathoners at their own pace – the walk continues till 10:00 a.m.  Each walker or team is backed by a host of sponsors, friends and family who pledge to support the walker, the walker’s preferred nonprofit organization, and the imperative to end hunger.

In order to tilt the age distribution of the walking throng I have signed up to walk in support of Neighbors, Inc.   For the past months I have volunteered at Neighbors where I have come to know, respect and truly admire the organization that is now in its fortieth year serving Northern Dakota County residents who are in need of food, clothing, transportation and other support.

The idea of “giving back before giving thanks” inspires to me to think about those who will not be sitting down to a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast – even more, it makes me reflect on the difficult truth that we need a concerted effort to effect systemic change. Ours is a nation in which wasted food and hungry families are separated not by geography but by the collaborative joining of forces that the Walk typifies.

This is the ultimate family-friendly event.  There will be rides and other activities for young folks while some of the MOA shops will be open.   Walkers will have given it their all by 9:00 which leaves plenty of time to get home to baste the turkey, to head out to Grandma’s, or to see how the TC’s chef de jour tempts the Minnesota palate.

If you are touched by the need, inspired by the collaborative approach, seized by the challenge to end hunger, or just amazed that this Little Old Lady has the temerity to think she can keep pace, please consider sponsoring me with a contribution earmarked for Neighbors, Inc.    If you’re my vintage you can hum “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as you sign the check or try to read the numbers of your credit card.

ü  To learn more about the Walk to End Hunger, click here. To sign up as a sponsor check on “Visitor” then “Sponsor Participant.”

ü  To learn more about Neighbors, Inc. – click here.

ü  To hear a hard-sell personal pitch, call or email me.  612 781 4234 or mtreacy@onvoymail.com

Thank you very much for your commitment to end hunger.  We hope this walk will set the pace for what must to a sustained collaborative effort.

Help others first. Then help yourself to seconds.

Support the Walk to End Hunger – Thanksgiving Day at the MOA

Would a cup of latte taste good right now?  Or a scone?  Maybe one of those one-baked cookies the generous co-walker brought in this morning.   If you’re at home, the kids are gone, you’ve read the paper and now it’s break time.  Forget the diet and go for it.  Because you can.

As you munch and sip spend a minute thinking not so much about your waistline or your gut but about the millions of Americans – the people you know from work or church or child care drop off – are hungry – really hungry.  Consider that their kids, having missed a healthy breakfast, are struggling to stay awake, much less to learn.  Then think for just a minute about how much food goes  waste – not waist –each day in our community.

October 16 is World Food Day, a day to commemorate the founding of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  The global observance aims to raise levels of nutrition around the world, focusing on improved food production, changing agricultural policy, appropriate technology and
“a neutral environment to discuss issues around food production.”

Closer to home a host of food-related organizations are joining forces to prepare for the national feast of Thanksgiving by urging local advocates to join the Walk to End Hunger.  The goal of the Walk is to “give back before giving Thanks.”    Minnesotans may participate by walking at the Mall on Thanksgiving morning (7:00-10:00), by donating money, or by sponsoring a walker and/or designating a specific program.  Walkers may form or join a team to support the cause or a specific food shelf.   The common goal is to walk together and in the same direction.

So, enjoy your break – you deserve it.   And so do those in our communities whose health and learning skills depend on others.   The theme of the Walk says it all

Help others first. Then help yourself to seconds.