My name is Shemeka, and I work as a Legislative Assistant for the Minnesota Senate under Senator Bobby Joe Champion and our district is made up of multiple areas in Minneapolis, including the community of North Minneapolis. I have lived in, worked in and served the North Minneapolis community at large for a number of years and right now my community is in a pretty tough space. This is an urban area that was already dealing with a lot of economic disparities before the riots started. So the looting, vandalism, graffiti, and fires have put us in an even more fragile and stressful predicament.
We have lost most of our businesses and the main arteries of the community have been taken away. We don’t even have a major grocery store or pharmacy that is accessible to the community at the moment.
Volunteering to help put our city back together is key right now. I have been working with a group of community leaders to find resources and to host a daily food and supply drive. My job has been to help organize those efforts, serve, and mobilize volunteers. We are collecting, sorting, and giving out hundreds of donations daily to people in the community and to anyone who comes by needing assistance.
We’ve also been coordinating drop-offs to multiple senior centers around North Minneapolis and have also set up a food distribution center at a neighborhood association center.
People ask me why I am doing all of this. I tell them that Minneapolis is my community and when there is a need it is my responsibility to figure out how to meet that need. These past few days there have been people walking up and down the main street looking for supplies and resources and it is truly a rewarding feeling to be able to help them.
As everyone knows, this has been a tough time for our city. We are tired of seeing the injustice that remains in our community especially as it comes to police brutality and violence. We are happy the world took a stand with us and want to get to a point of total confidence that law enforcement will protect and serve us all, and that our basic human rights will be protected.
This is a time to stand together as a community and bring the needed awareness surrounding this topic. Volunteering to clean up, help those in need and to peacefully protest are just a few of the ways I can help.
Silence speaks louder than action or words. It’s not comfortable or pretty to talk about these issues…but it is the reality. In order for injustice to be exposed, confronted, and stopped I believe we have to speak up, speak out, and be bold regarding these issues.
Share some ideas below of how you are getting involved and helping out in your community.
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