ACTION GUIDE: Community-based Donations and Support

Updated Friday afternoon June 5

scene from Tuesday’s peaceful protest at the State Capital (photo by Sophia Morrissette)

Policy Action Steps

See this response by the Minneapolis City Council, on June 5, to create a restraining order for the Minneapolis Police Department. The City Council followed up with a pledge to defund, although it is not clear how much right they have to do so.

We will share more when available about reader support options, but these are the action steps requested by the Minnesota Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus in response to the murder of George Floyd.

At a federal level, this is what Rep. Ilhan Omar is recommending as bills that address the need for better accountability for police misuse of force, the violent police response to protests, the President’s use of military action against U.S. citizens, and the need for economic relief for communities impacted.

National Police Misuse of Force Investigation Board Act (co-lead by Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee)– This bill will establish a federal agency responsible for investigating all nationwide deaths occurring in police custody, officer-involved shootings and uses of force that result in severe bodily injury. The agency will conduct unbiased, independent investigations and issue determinations of responsibility and recommendations for reform that will prevent future violence. Those findings will be admissible in court and federal funding for law enforcement activities and equipment will be curtailed if a police department fails to take meaningful action on the Board’s policy and reform recommendations.

Bill to Criminalize Police Violence Against ProtestersThis legislation will allow any officer who kills or causes bodily harm to a civilian during the response to a protest to be charged with a federal crime. We must ensure that the constitutional right to protest is duly protected, not threatened or stifled by law enforcement officers.

Amending the Insurrection Act (co-lead by CPC Co-Chairs Rep. Mark Pocan and Rep. Pramila Jayapal), This legislation will amend the Insurrection Act, curtailing the Trump’s ability to deploy the military domestically without Congressional consent. It will prevent the President from having unilateral power to declare protesters a threat to society and deploying troops against American citizens for no reason other than to enforce his person principles.

Federal Relief Fund –This legislation will create an Emergency Relief Fund specifically for communities trying to rebuild after social and civil rights crises, a fund that cities and businesses can apply to for grants to get them back on their feet. Abandoning those who have faced financial consequences only sets the stage for future conflict.

COVID Testing

The Minnesota Department of Health is encouraging anyone who has participated in community response — protests, rallies, memorials, food drives, clean-up efforts — to get tested at least five days later.

The department’s list of testing sites.

From the Hennepin HealthCare Clinic: If you have symptoms, please pursue testing right away. If you do not have symptoms, the earliest time we would recommend seeking testing is approximately one week after your suspected exposure, given it can take anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to turn positive.

Community Support

photo by Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli

Colleagues and friends of Minnesota Women’s Press are reporting a few things community has done, and can do, to be of assistance especially to residents, BIPOC-owned businesses, and non-profit organizations that will be recovering for quite some time from the reaction to the latest display of systemic racism. As we reported just prior to the killing of George Floyd, women in community-based enterprise often do a huge share of the heavy lifting.

It is the work of our publication to tell those stories as a reminder of how cooperative and collaborative economies is a major pathway to healthier societies.

We will continue to post updates here as we learn them.

photo at Riverview Cafe by Mikki Morrissette

Neighborhood Food Drives

Find a map of updated food/supply drop-off or pickup locations as well as specific items needed.

Food kit needs vary. Here is a sample: 1 loaf of bread, 1 package tortillas, 1 bag rice, 2 cans beans, 2 cans soup, 1 small bag apples, 1 bag baby carrots, 1 box cereal.

Other items needed: Diapers in all sizes, Baby wipes, Menstrual pads/Tampons, Hand soap, Toilet Paper, Laundry detergent, Medications such as Vitamin C. Items should be delivered in paper grocery bags. Ethnic hair products.

A great source for ongoing donation needs in the South area is South Minneapolis Mutual Aid Autonomous Zone.

MPS emergency food boxes available to any child 18 years or younger. Find a map of distribution sites here (open for pick-up but no longer accepting donations). We invite readers to submit other ideas, especially for St. Paul locations we have not yet heard about, in the comments below.

Food Shelf Locations: Minneapolis

First Weekend Responses

A large collection over the weekend in the Longfellow and Seward neighborhoods supported families who are impacted by the loss of stores in the area. It started when mothers recognized the needs of neighbors. The drive for 85 bags turned into thousands.

Mixed Blood Theater was organizing groceries and supplies for the Cedar-Riverside community. Much of this community is elders who depend on the metro transit.

Indigenous Roots and Urban Roots on the east side of Saint Paul were involved early in coordinating food and supply donations. See the map for ongoing needs and pickup sites.

North Minneapolis

Drives for food, medical supplies and medicine, formula, diapers and wipes, likely will be happening daily until grocery stores and pharmacies reopen. Collections have happened at US Bank and Sanctuary Covenant Church on West Broadway.

According to De’Vonna Pittman, after Thursday’s unrest, Felicia Perry and West Broadway Business & Area Coalition coordinated a cleanup effort. Starting Saturday, with Cub Foods and Aldi closed, Ashli Henderson coordinated a resource table for North Minneapolis residents. In addition to food staples, basic needs include hygiene products, soap, toilet paper. REMINDER: ethnic hair products needed. Henderson has since started the Northside Emergency Resource Popup to help fill the need for resources/groceries in the Northside, with a call for volunteers and monetary donations.  

Northside Economic Opportunity Network is working to build wealth for low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs in North Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Donate here.

This is the neighborhood of Minnesota Women’s Press, which is based on West Broadway. Teammates have been involved in efforts in both North and South Minneapolis.

Clean-Up & ReDevelopment

This list represents the businesses that will need help to recover from damages caused by those who were bent on destruction. We will post more sustained efforts as we learn about them.

Hennepin County economic development agents collecting funds

Longfellow Community Council Report and Plan

Longfellow Community Council reports that its initial assessment finds that 15 buildings have been completely destroyed, including 3 major grocery stores, and at least 51 other businesses have been significantly damaged. Numerous other buildings have been vandalized. Most are locally and/or minority-owned.

The Longfellow Community Council is the neighborhood organization for the Greater Longfellow community. It is raising money for short- and long-term food security, safety and security, and business restoration. It plans to develop a Small Business Assessment & Stabilization Plan to survey the damage and provide a roadmap for businesses to rebuild. Secondly, a Small Area Development Plan will help residents take an active role in future development as things are rebuilt.

Donations can be made at Share Your Love for Greater Longfellow on Go Fund Me.

First Weekend Response

People quickly arrived over the weekend with brooms and pails and trash bags to begin clean-up in Lake Street, North Minneapolis, and St. Paul Midway.

Minnesota Rapid Response Coalition consists of African American Leadership Forum, Bourne Strategies, Just Law LLC, Sigma Charitable Foundation, The Sanneh Foundation, Ujamaa Place and community members. They started with businesses along the Lake Street, Midway and East Saint Paul business corridors. #WeAreMRRC

The Hub Bike Co-Op and Twin Cities Restaurant Coalition Community Outreach led clean-up efforts as well.

Micro-Investment & Donations

Several months ago we started a list about women-owned restaurants that we can support. To that we are adding this list started by City Pages about Black-owned restaurants in the Twin Cities.

Other options for support that are being led or recommended by a variety of people we know and trust, for short-term and long-term needs and change:

NorthStar Health Collective: Provides medical support to activists during protests as trained street medics. REQUESTS NO MORE DONATION

Support Lake Street Rebuild: The Lake Street Council (501c3) will donate 100% of donations directly to small businesses and nonprofits in the Lake Street community to help them rebuild stores and continue to serve the neighborhood. MORE THAN $4 MILLION RAISED SO FAR

West Broad Business and Area Coalition: In partnership with Northside Funders Group — funds raised go to small businesses on the Northside.

Twin Cities Mutual Aid Society: To compile supplies and support for the cycle of COVID-19 that is expected in the coming weeks

Black Visions Collective: Black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence

Reclaim the Block: Coalition that advocates for & invests in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis

Masjid An-Nur and Al-Maa’uun Organization: Providing food and essentials for North Minneapolis residents.

Campaign Zero: Online platform and organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America 

Unicorn Riot: Nonprofit dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social & environmental issues 

Another woman we trust is compiling a list of the BIPOC-owned businesses that have been damaged or destroyed and we will share when ready.

Strong Community in Action: Migizi

According to Native Business Magazine on May 29, among the casualties of the escalating protests Thursday was the home base of MIGIZI, because of its location near the heart of the violence. 

As they reported from a Facebook post by Rosy Simas: “MIGIZI Communications is gone. My family and many others build this Native organization that has served the Native community for over 40 years. Yes, it is just a building. But to the Native community this is territory, a home we still had here. We built this place for all people and many communities were loved, educated and thrived at MIGIZI. I’m heartbroken. My sister has worked there for about 40 years. My mother is a founder. Countless other Native and non Native people worked there. I’m just heartbroken.” 

The nonprofit organization was founded in Minneapolis in 1977 with the goal of countering the misrepresentations and inaccuracies about Native people in the media. 

According to Melissa Olson, friends of Migizi moved its Legacy Radio Archive out of the building on May 29. “We safeguard Migizi’s stories because they are the stories of resistance, hope, and justice. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

The community-based economy at work: Within a day, a Facebook fundraiser set up by Rhiana Yazzi to raise money to rebuild MIGIZI surpassed its $100,000 goal.

MIGIZI shared on Facebook: “Despite the flames, we as a community burn brighter. Thank you all for the support we’ve been receiving. We look forward to showing our resilience once again.” 

From Rhiana Yazzi on Friday evening: “All day, I have watched as donations from friends and family and strangers all over Minnesota and across the country came pouring in to help the Minneapolis American Indian community. Wow!”

Gandhi Mahal: Business Philosophy

From editor Mikki Morrissette: Gandhi Mahal has been a favorite community-based restaurant for personal and professional events. I had a tour of its basement aquaponics set-up, which we intend to write about after it is rebuilt, post-fire damage, as part of our “Doulas to the New Economy” series.

It is an example of a community-based enterprise that we support as the best of who we are and what our possibilities can be. Owner Ruhel Islam’s daughter posted this on Facebook:

The official fundraiser on GoFundMe, set up by Lucy Kegley, is here (others set up on GoFundMe were fake). A Facebook fundraiser has thus far raised more than $37,000, set up by Rachael Joseph.

Outside Agitators

In one of Saturday’s news conferences (around minute 15), it was noted that many of the people arrested in St. Paul on Friday night — where it was relatively peaceful compared to Minneapolis — were from out of state, coming in to Minnesota to take advantage of this time in order to agitate and disrupt community. Later, other reports seemed to downplay that view, indicating that many protestors, and those arrested in general, were from various areas of Minnesota.

Suspicion grew of concentrated efforts to hit certain stores to loot supplies that can be made for explosives, and people were wary of groups of out-of-state men and vehicles without license plates.

Please share other ways community can be of service to impacted businesses and residents that traditionally have limited access to capital.