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Visiting the Scenes of Minneapolis Protests

On Monday evening my men’s prayer group and I visited the heart of the Lake Street protests, led by member John Cuningham who lives in the neighborhood, one block from the protests. This is an extremely diverse neighborhood, very peaceful with no crime.

At the start of our tour we walked past the boarded-up buildings on Lake St. The sidewalks & streets were cleaned, thanks to hundreds of people who came to clean up that first Saturday.

Boarded up buildings on Lake Street

Our 1st stop was at Urban Ventures food bank, co-located in the Jesuit school’s gym, which is providing free food & supplies to local residents.

Inside of Urban Ventures

Here’s a great article on their work: http://strib.mn/2YIHaBT. Urban Ventures had previously created detailed catalog of 170 businesses in the immediate area. Since many were looted or damaged during the protests, Urban Ventures is raising funds to give them – no questions asked or forms to be filled out – to help them get back in business immediately with merchandise, repairs, etc.

We walked around the Auto Zone store set on fire by professional arsonists & burned to the ground with temps > 1500 degrees F., reducing it to a pile of rubble.

Auto Zone ruins

Next we saw the burned down post office – a favorite with local residents – with only its brick walls remaining.

Burned out post office

Then we passed by the new 5th precinct station, completely undamaged because local police previously established such good relationships with neighbors, who frequently use the station for community meetings.

5th precinct building

Finally, we came to the burned out Wells Fargo branch office.

Wells Fargo branch

Cuningham, one of the nation’s leading architects, lives in the renovated Victorian house built by his great-grandfather in 1898.

Architect John Cuningham in front of his home

He assured us the locals all protested peacefully until the arsonists arrived with 8 black SUVs with no license plates & dropped incendiaries in trash cans as well as buildings.

It was a moving experience, tragic, yet hopeful due to attitudes of local residents and merchants to rebuild their community.