To those who are pessimistic: This is Minneapolis in a different light
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It’s hard to read front-page stories like “A Chaotic Night of ‘Idiot Behavior'” (July 6) and not believe the city is going to hell. Fortunately, there is another, more beautiful reality.
Let’s start by acknowledging the ugly and horrific madness that took place on the streets of downtown Minneapolis on July 4th. We in no way condone or condone the heartless violence that has taken place, and we fully support efforts to strengthen law enforcement and punish perpetrators of crimes. Rather, our goal is to portray Minneapolis in a different light.
We walk around the City of Lakes frequently, and here are some of the things we encountered on the first few days of July. On the evening of July 1, we met Lonnie, a teacher at Burroughs Elementary School who, on his own initiative and without pay, quietly chose to spend his Friday evening watering young sprouts on the school grounds. in the hope that future generations of students will one day sit and play under the oaks and maples he nurtured.
On Saturday, we spotted Keith, a middle-aged man, who ran tirelessly around Bde Maka Ska for years, selflessly picking up trash. The next day we saw Mary diligently cleaning the storm drains in our area to keep debris out of Minnehaha Creek and Lake Harriet and, in doing so, help those waters stay a little cleaner for humans, fish and wildlife.
What we know less about but are sure is happening all around Minneapolis is that thousands of other similar actions are taking place. North Minneapolis grandmothers read and tutor kids in their neighborhood. Elderly neighbors voluntarily watch other people’s children so that their parents can go to work to put a roof over their family’s heads. Other working parents use what little free time they have to voluntarily coach young boys and girls not only in the nuances of their particular sport, but also in what it means to be respectful, play fair and be a good sport. . Still others humbly lead the city streets at night to deliver meals – and a little hope – to the abandoned and homeless.
Countless Minneapolis business owners and entrepreneurs are also playing their part. In addition to paying a living wage, many mentor employees so that one day soon, they too will have the means and skills to start their own small business.
Other entrepreneurs go even further. Emily Hunt Turner, for example, left a career in law to start All Square – a restaurant designed to give those affected by the justice system access to housing, and Cathy Heying gave up a career in finance to create Lift Garage, a non-profit organization. aimed to lift people out of poverty and homelessness by offering low-cost car repairs.
What is remarkable is that none of these people want, expect or need our recognition, appreciation or gratitude. They are simply called to make our city – and our world – a little better and more beautiful place.
So, yes, a myriad of young hooligans ruined Minneapolis on July 4th night, but every day thousands more Minneapolitans are working to make our city a more livable and caring place.
We cannot speak to the individual motivations of all these people who serve their fellow citizens, but we suspect that if we could search their hearts, we would find love — love of nature, love of neighbors, love strangers, love for the oppressed and love for our community.
To anyone who is pessimistic about the future of Minneapolis, we say two things: one, take a closer look at Minneapolis – there are so many inspiring things quietly happening all around. Second, and more importantly, search your own heart and strive to love our community and its citizens in a way that nourishes your own soul, for that is where you will also find the soul of this great city you we call home.
Jack and Cindy Uldrich live in Minneapolis. On Twitter: @JackUldrich; on LinkedIn: Jack Uldrich.