If young black at-risk students do not have summer jobs to look forward to, downtown Minneapolis will become the mecca of hanging out, which leads to nothing but bad things. Come on, we have seen this too many years in a row.
By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News
In the career long tradition of former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, the city of Minneapolis police chief, mayor and city council want residents, visitors and business people to know downtown Minneapolis is safe. This announcement published in the Star Tribune earlier this week is only a metaphor from city officials who do not have a clue as to what it is that keeps the shootings, stabbings and robberies in downtown Minneapolis a focal point of concern.
If Minneapolis is so safe, then why the need to make a public spectacle of the area? I’ll tell you, Minneapolis is far from being the sanctified grail of fun and excitement it used to be. As someone who is very interested in restaurants, shows and people watching, it is very clear, when in downtown Minneapolis, especially at night, you do not walk into crowds of youth and expect not to be disrespected, asked for money or called an Uncle Tom or sell out because you’re wearing a suit that you worked very hard to buy and these thugs and thugette’s (black and white) wouldn’t know the first thing about doing something meaningful in terms of pulling up their bootstraps and applying a little sweat equity to get what they need.
Minneapolis’ mayor Betsy Hodges has failed to focus on programs like the very successful Neighborhood Youth Corps, employing youth 14-21 in meaningful roles in Minneapolis. From building cement trash cans for Nicollet Mall, cutting the grass for Minneapolis’ senior citizen population, or making wood chip trails down by the banks of the Mississippi River, the creativity of employing Minneapolis’ most critical population to deter crime is met with more police. A challenge that will bite the mayor and police chief right in the behind once the Aquatennial and city block parties start to happen.
We all have heard the news reports. Shootings at Target Field, robberies in downtown Minneapolis and many deals gone bad that never get reported to the police, its only a matter of time before that wife, child or visitor to downtown Minneapolis becomes a statistic and city, including its Department of Civil Rights will be forced to deal head-on with what they do not want to happen…the successful and part-time gainful employment of Minneapolis at-risk youth.
With less than $1 million, the city of Minneapolis could hire 500 youth from north and south Minneapolis at minimum wage to work at least 25-30 hours per week in programs connected with leadership from the public school system, police department and Minneapolis’ health department. The work could range from door-to-door lit drops, to beatification projects in Minneapolis Parks. However, this takes creative planning and I feel the city has run its course of creativity, intention and ethical behavior in this matter.
Personally, when I go downtown – it’s in and out…anyone reading this should plan your trips accordingly. #willnotbeaDTmplsvictimofviolence