BY KAY SCHROVEN
During the week of Nov. 9-13, the first Southside Summit, hosted by the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA) and sponsored by the Graves Foundation, took place (virtually). It was a meeting of the minds from a number of organizations involved in enhancing and improving our communities. As early as spring 2020 a council was formed and began planning and creating the Summit. The council included Carla Goodwin from the Graves Foundation, Julie Guidry from Upstream Arts and Jae Hyun Shim, a community leader with Reclaim the Block.
The goal of the Summit was to present a wide array of community issues for the purpose of highlighting organizations, groups and individuals committed to driving change, and to build a directory of resources over time to live on the Summit website (www.southsidesummit.org).
The Summit consisted of six sessions, each addressing a specific topic, including Housing, Development, Education, Environmental, Livability & Safety, and Self-Care & Wellness with a focus on equity and justice.
Representatives from the following organizations gave spirited presentations and each session was followed by a Q&A opportunity.
• National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
• Pillsbury United Communities
• Climate Generation (a Will Steger Legacy)
• Reclaim the Block
• Midtown Global Market
• Cultural Wellness Center
• Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (United Renters for Justice)
• Take Action MN
• Metro Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD)
• KWST Behavioral Development Group
• Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) Minneapolis Public Schools
The panel members brought a great deal of experience, knowledge and wisdom to the table. Tabitha Montgomery, executive director of PPNA, and her staff, as well as PPNA board members, supported the sessions, hosting, moderating and providing technical assistance. A Spanish interpreter was available as were artists who captured the essence of each session as the sessions took place. The completed art will soon be available on the PPNA/Summit site.
Issues discussed over the six sessions were wide ranging, including renter and housing rights, cooperative employment and housing models, equity and loaning in housing development, education inequities and options, policing and alternatives to policing, health of individuals and communities, cultural context with respect to race, ethnicity and health, redistribution of resources, food justice, generational wealth, criminal justice, neighborhood safety and environmental concerns. Many resources, programs and initiatives were identified with respect to these aspects of community health and wealth (see websites/addresses below).
D.A. Bullock from Pillsbury United Communities participated as a panel member in the Livability & Safety session and treated us to his film “Reimagine Public Safety MN,” which asks the question: “Can the Minneapolis Police be reformed?” Mr. Bullock is a filmmaker, artist and community policy advocate. He is also the recipient of a Bush Fellowship. Mr. Bullock uses film to supplant narratives of hopelessness with ones that promote and inspire collective understanding. His grassroots, documentary style focuses on issues and solutions with a more personal and honest portrayal of communities than is often seen in the mainstream media. His work can be found on Vimeo.
A survey is planned to be released to attendees to determine the value the Summit brought to them, whether they would attend a Summit again in the future, and whether or not they plan to engage with other groups they shared the panels with.
PPNA also plans to use the various notes and creative illustrations from the sessions to help reinforce what already seems to exist as a communitywide platform for key issues.