The SUN Group is writing because
we need your support to sustain the valuable
work of neighborhood associations.
Dear Residents & Businesses of South Minneapolis,
We are the Southside United Neighborhoods, a coalition of southside neighborhoods. Our members include the Longfellow Community Council (LCC), Standish Ericsson Neighborhood Association (SENA), Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA), Elliot Park Neighborhood (EPNI), Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO), and the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA). Together, our executive directors have a collective 38 years of experience in neighborhood organization management. We represent the interests of over 65,000 residents.
For decades, neighborhood associations have been the connective tissue between residents, businesses, and local government. We keep our communities informed and provide accessible opportunities to ensure the voices of Minneapolis residents and businesses are heard and considered by elected officials and employees. The Minneapolis City Government, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Metropolitan Council, and county, state, and federal agencies have limited community engagement capacity and often rely on neighborhood organizations to keep residents and businesses involved in their decision-making processes. Our services to inform the community are in danger of elimination.
The SUN Group is writing because we need your support to sustain the valuable work of neighborhood associations. Now more than ever, it is the residents of Minneapolis who must exercise their right to make important decisions about the future of our communities. This fall, the Minneapolis City Council will be considering major funding cuts for neighborhood associations. We need your help by contacting your City Council Member and other elected and government officials.
The murder of George Floyd and the civil uprising laid bare the history of systemic racism and the continued state-sponsored violence perpetrated against Minneapolis residents. Many of our neighborhoods are devastated by property damage, loss of revenue for businesses, homelessness, food insecurity, racial inequity and discrimination, and the immense challenges of rebuilding. These impacts are felt by all South Minneapolis neighborhoods.
For decades, neighborhood associations have been
the connective tissue between residents,
businesses, and local government.
Neighborhood associations were on the frontline during the uprising by supporting our residents and businesses. We are here now connecting residents and businesses to resources, providing funding, distributing food and supplies, providing sanctuary, and informing decision-makers of our communities’ needs. The fallout of the decisions made today will linger for generations. Neighborhood organizations have a hyper-local focus and advocate on behalf of our communities, which is even more critical today.
We hear your calls for justice. We share in the pain of our immigrant, Black, indigenous, and neighbors of color who were hardest hit. Local businesses, nonprofits, and creative entrepreneurs face very real threats, such as permanently losing their spaces, limited access to government and nonprofit rebuilding programs, the COVID-19 pandemic, and opportunistic developers bent on purchasing cheap land and reshaping the look and feel of our commercial corridors. For example, Lake Street has always been a place where everyone was welcome. Estimates for rebuilding these areas and supporting small businesses, many of which are owned and operated by people of color, range from 100 million to a billion dollars.
Neighborhood organizations keep residents and businesses up to date on the ever-changing landscape. We must not only be informed, but we must be able to participate in the process of re-visioning our communities. Our opinions and concerns must be represented by elected officials and government agencies.
We must not only be informed, but we must
be able to participate in the process of
re-visioning our communities.
In addressing all of these issues, neighborhood organizations play an integral role in informing and organizing citizens. Unfortunately, there are members of the City Council supporting a significant reduction in funding that has solely been allocated for the work of neighborhood associations.
Through the series of recent and ongoing crises, residents and neighborhood organizations continue to work tirelessly to help residents obtain resources, funding, and other assistance.
Neighborhoods 2020 And Your Help
Minneapolis has changed dramatically in the few months since the Neighborhoods 2020 (N2020) plan was released for public comment in February. Issues of public safety, equity, and systemic change are permeating every aspect of our lives. Broad citizen engagement must drive the City process for creating sustained equity across all sectors of civic life.
The most direct route to mobilizing residents is through neighborhood associations. The proposed plan is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2021, and will result in a 40% cut in funding for the southside neighborhoods for next year and up to an 80% cut in funding by 2023. The implementation and new restrictions on funding in the N2020 plan will prevent a majority of neighborhood organizations across the City from being able to achieve the stated goals outlined in the plan resulting in an unfunded mandate. We need your advocacy to enable every resident in the City to access a viable neighborhood association.
By way of support for neighborhood associations, we ask our residents and stakeholders to contact your City Council Member with the following demands:
- Demand the City Council continue to invest in neighborhood associations at a level sufficient to provide program and administration support – a minimum annual allocation of $25,000 per neighborhood per year for each neighborhood.
- Demand official statements from City representatives, or departments, to avoid perpetuating a narrative that neighborhood associations do not take steps to engage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities or renters. There are numerous examples of actions across various neighborhood organizations who prioritize these efforts. The vast number of neighborhood organizations have also acknowledged room to grow and strengthen our efforts to effectively engage culturally diverse communities, and other often under-represented groups.
In addition, to benefit the community in the wake of the civil uprising, we ask you to:
- Demand the City Council engage all communities in re-visioning the Minneapolis Police Department and in the rebuilding of our communities.
- Demand the City Council ensure that buildings damaged during the uprising are not taken over by developers causing continued displacement of marginalized groups without community engagement and broad resident support.
Neighborhood organizations are not political. Our work is to serve the residents in the community, engage them in decision-making. and use funding and organizing to assist residents in the improvement and sustainability of their neighborhoods. Without them, the voices of at least 65,000 in our shared communities will be lost.
We thank you for your consideration of our request for support. The deadline for public feedback is September 30, 2020. For your convenience we have provided a list of all the City Council Members who represent our south Minneapolis neighborhoods along with the members of the N2020 Steering Committee with contact information and links.
N2020 Steering Committee Membership:
Additional City Council Contacts