An Update on Our Beacon Residents
Written By Lee Blons, CEO/President
To Our Collaborative:
I want to let you know that our residents are safe. A number of our buildings are located along corridors that have been impacted by looting and fire. As chaotic as it was over the last few weeks, no residential buildings have directly targeted, including ours. We are grateful to our service providers and property management staff who showed up despite the unrest at night. Mary Wheeler, our Director of Service Partnerships and Shelter, and I went to check on these apartment buildings. We also had an opportunity to talk with a few residents and staff and could feel their resiliency. I thought you might like to hear what we learned…
At Kimball Court…
Located on Snelling Avenue near University Avenue, there were businesses that were looted nearby and one that was burned down. I stopped to talk to the African business owner next door who was putting up plywood and I asked if he had been looted. And he said, “No, thanks to the Kimball residents who stood outside to protect their homes.” They also protected his business from people trying to break in.
We talked with Lloyd, a property management staff, who was going to stay the night because the cut off of phone lines disabled the fire alarm system so he would be there to sound the alarm if needed.
At Nicollet Square…
We had one window that was broken on Thursday night so we made the decision to board all of the first floor windows on Friday. It was with heavy heart that I saw Butter Bakery being boarded and closed for the weekend. As you may know from the news, there was destruction nearby with the auto repair shop being burnt to the ground.
YouthLink and CommonBond staff stayed into the early morning. I’ve heard that the residents and staff felt like they were in this together.
At the Families Moving Forward Program Center…
We had gotten a call from our security alarm system recently. Rebekah learned that Juxtaposition Arts which is a tenant in our building, had accidentally set off the alarm because they were putting plywood up on our windows to protect them 😊.
At Prior Crossing on University Avenue…
We talked with Sterling, one of the new YMCA case managers, who shared in general that it had been very quiet with residents going about their business. He shared about one young man who has been politically active in the peaceful protests every day while holding down a full-time job. He said when we create our resident council, this is a young man we will want to serve.
It is sad that violence drowned out for some the peaceful protests calling for justice for George Floyd and to right the wrongs of an unjust system. I was personally inspired by a recent press conference two Saturdays ago that lifted up the voices of leaders from many faith traditions and community leaders in the Native, African-American, Somali, and Asian communities calling for action now in dismantling the racist systems and for peace in the streets.
I know that some of you have been involved in the peaceful protests calling for change. From my faith tradition, I hold you in the light as you take action for justice.