Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jordan Area Community Garden: Still a Shining Corner Seven Years After Riots

Contributed Photo

by Jordan Neighbor
JNS Guest Blogger

On August 22, 2002, dozens of people gathered on the corner of 26th and Knox in North Minneapolis. There was anger, disrespect and lots of resentment in the air. They yelled, they screamed, they ran around and threw rocks, glass bottles, punches, and angry words. Yet the newborn community garden survived the chaos with relatively little to no damage.

On August 22, 2009, dozens of people gathered on the corner of 26th and Knox in North Minneapolis. There was joy, respect and lots of fellowship in the air. They yelled in celebration, they praised the artists responsible for artwork at the garden, some of the children ran around catching bumble bees in plastic cups. People mingled and smiled, hugged, and offered congratulations and admiration for the artwork.

The contrast from seven years ago yesterday was very prominent in the minds of neighbors. The Big Stop store is gone, the open air drug market on 26th Ave is (mostly) gone. The neighborhood kids are running, playing, biking, chasing bumble bees and butterflies. Neighbors walked down to the garden from all points in the Jordan neighborhood without crossing through gang territory and passing through drug dealers' general storefronts.

The Pohlad Family Foundation, Treetrust and Chicago Ave Fire Arts Center teamed up with Jordan Area Community Council to complete a garden makeover, create some new art for the garden and hold a re-dedication ceremony. The ringleaders shared a few words about their accomplishments. The young artists spoke of their work. A couple of spoken word performers shared their skills. Kids clapped and screamed in joy and celebration. Neighbors admired the beautiful garden gate adorned with symbols and words of Hope and Equality. And newborn babies were tickled and ogled.

It was a fabulous day to celebrate in the Jordan neighborhood and many neighbors gathered to do just that. What a perfect Saturday afternoon. Thank you to all the folks involved in this project that worked hard to pull it off and add to the community garden, both tangible and intangible contributions that will ripple through the universe.

(Do not click "Read More" but Do go to 26th/Knox to see for yourself!)

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