Hello Commissioners, City staff and Minneapolis residents,
My name is Amanda Winterer and I represent the Bottineau Neighborhood Association. I am the group’s treasurer. Thank you for this opportunity to make this statement. Bottineau Neighborhood Association requests that the funding structure and levels of funding remain the same for all neighborhood groups for the foreseeable future. The Citizen Participation Program has worked well for the past 8 years.
For example, Bottineau has established Neighborhood Priority Plans. One such NPP is the Homework Helper at Bottineau Park. After a few Somali parents asked for this help, at a community meeting, our neighborhood group got busy and set up the coordination of volunteer tutors to help all children get STEM help at our park. Another NPP implemented is Crime Solutions that works with the police to track crime trends and react with organized volunteers when shots are fired in the community or other crimes are committed. We have many examples of this type of outreach conducted at community request.
BNA also requests that the Community Innovation Funds, CIF, be expanded and used more. BNA was a recipient of one such CIF grant and put it to use studying air pollution around the Lowry Bridge that leveraged an additional 500,000 dollars in MPCA air monitoring that is currently being conducted on the Mississippi Water Management Organization roof top near Lowry Bridge.
As a matter of neighborhood tradition, a pumpkin carving is held at the Park every fall and a Bottineau Neighborhood and Mississippi River clean-up is held every April in honor of Earth Day. This year, as part of the Green Zones in Minneapolis, we will be able to offer 25 free trees to the community to help remediate air pollution and improve the tree canopy in Bottineau.
Thanks again for listening to our request. Copies of this testimony are at the sign in table.
Dr. El-Sawaf is a local psychoanalyst, University of Minnesota professor and Imam at Masjid Al-Iman Islamic community center in Sheridan Neighborhood. Jaylani Hussein is executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Minnesota (CAIR-MN).
At the forum, Dr. El-Sawaf presented a short primer on Islam, followed by a 60 minute question and answer session. Below is a transcript of the Q&A session:
Q 1: If the Koran gives clear instructions, [how is it] that so many people can distort those teachings, i.e. why do you think young people–even in our community–become radicalized?
A1: Many profess to be believers in Islam yet but they fail to act upon the actual teaching of Islam. A2: Youth are especially susceptible to predators. For instance, there are sexual predators that target youth, there are religious predators as well, and they exploit youth and deceive them.
Q 2: How does one acquire the book (Qur’an) with English translation?
A1: CAIR has English translations to order for free on their website called “Share the Qur’an campaign” but you must pay shipping and handling. A2: A copy of the Qur’an in English was given to the Bottineau Neighborhood with the advice that the Qur’an is poetry written in Arabic and the meanings are somewhat lost or distorted in English just like French poetry when translated into English loses some of the meaning.
Q 3: Why do some (Muslim) people not shake hands?
A1: Some scholars teach that it is totally forbidden to touch hands. Muslims will put their hand to their chest to indicate that handshakes are not allowed. Also eye contact in the Muslim culture can be offensive so if a Muslim person is not making eye contact that does not mean they are not listening or being disrespectful. Eye contact varies from culture to culture. A2: Let the Muslim lead the introduction exchange and you will know if a handshake is welcome.
Q 4: What is the best way to show support and camaraderie, say hello to neighbors who are still strangers to us?
A1: The Minnesota Council of Churches has a sign for people to order that says: “To Our Muslim Neighbors BLESSED RAMADAN blessedramadan.org” A2: Also you can order a sign from CAIR that says: “We Stand with our Muslim Neighbors.”
Q 5: Do you have any ideas about how to reach out to the Somali community in our neighborhood and work together with them to improve our community?
A1: This is a newer community to Minneapolis and more transient. Most of the households are woman led. It is an oral society so you need to have conversations as written material will be ignored. Go to the Halal store on 19th and University Ave NE and stand outside and make contact with the women who go in and out of the store. See if you can find a younger woman to bridge your contacts with the older women; that would be best. [Note: This has already been done by Bottineau volunteers and staff, resulting in a long list of phone numbers of many women in the Somali community. Many volunteers have worked with Somali youth in a reading program. For the past 2 years, there has been a co-sponsored National Night Out block party with the women and their children.]
Q 6: Why do they not have pets/touch dogs?
A1: In Somalia, when a dog runs at you it means it is rabid so there is great fear of dogs that run up to a person. In the U.S. dogs run up to people and are not rabid but the reaction is the same. Some Somali families owned dogs in Somalia; dogs were kept outside of the home and dogs are not allowed to lick people in Somalia. [One of the speakers shared a story of a family dog in Somali protecting him as a toddler.]
Q 7: Is it disrespectful to say “salaam alleykum” (Peace of God be with you) or is that a religious sentiment only?
A1: Anytime you greet someone in their own language they will be happy. It would be wonderful.
Q 8: I am having my Somali neighbors over for dinner. What should I serve?
A1: No pork or pork products.
Q 8A: How about milk and cheese.
A2: Yes, definitely those are good things to serve.
Q 8B: Does it have to be Halal meat.
A3: It depends on the individual. Some are very strict and the meat should come from a Halal grocery but others are fine with a regular grocery store product.
Q 9: Why do young girls wear headscarves?
A1: When a girl reaches puberty she is telling men, “I am not for everyone, I am for the one who will pick me out of the millions of women.” It is an honor to wear the scarf. It is beautiful to show this modesty and respect. But not only the scarf is worn; the whole body is required to be dressed modestly. Muslim cultures around the world have differing definitions of “modest dress” but tight jeans with a head scarf are not modest. The term for this scarf and dress is Hajib.
Q 10: How can we help the (Muslim) community move from renters to homeowners?
A1: Islam does not allow interest to be charged on loans as all interest is considered usury. Some scholars in Islamic law have determined it is okay to use U.S. banks to buy a house as long as the Muslim owns the house, not the bank, and therefore monthly payments can be made. It costs more to make this arrangement than a conventional loan non-Muslims can use. There is also an Islamic Finance group in Europe that will finance houses for Muslims in the U.S. This group does not break Islamic law.
Attn: Bottineau Neighborhood
On February 9, 2016, the Board of Directors for Bottineau Neighborhood Association (BNA) voted to move $2062.41 of program income funds from the NRP II housing loan program administered by the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) to the Environmental Contract of Eastside Environmental Quality of Life (EEQL) for studies and research–Contract C-26748.
If you have questions please send an email to [email protected] or call 612-367-7262 and leave a message. We will get back to you promptly.
Good news, Bottineau: Some unused NRP funds designated by the City for Bottineau Neighborhood have unexpectedly turned up and we, as a community, need to vote on how we are going to use that money. And you will have that opportunity at our first community meeting of the new year at East Side Neighborhood Services (1700 2nd St. NE) on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m.
At our December meeting, the BNA board discussed funding priorities in the Neighborhood and voted to recommend that we reassign this money—$46,340.85 from an old commercial loan program—to the current housing grant program that benefits Bottineau property owners and helps keep our neighborhood’s housing stock in good shape. If that sounds familiar it’s because you’ve read about it in the Gazette before—it’s the Bottineau Matching Grant program that provides up to $2000 for home improvement projects.
To reassign this money from an old NRP strategy to a current neighborhood priority, we need the community—a.k.a. you—to ratify the board’s recommendation.
But that’s not the only NRP money available to be reassigned: another $9000 in uncontracted funds from an NRP I bike path strategy has also turned up and the Board has voted to recommend using these funds to engage neighborhood residents in other meaningful ways. One thing the Board wants to do is again fund the family reading program we piloted in 2014. A popular and effective program, it worked with immigrant families to better prepare their children’s reading skills and, thus, their ability to succeed in school. Volunteers read books to children and every week each child was given a book to take home.
Other potential uses for these funds include translation services at meetings; youth arts programming via Juxtaposition Art, or via workshops organized in conjunction with resident artists at the California Building; and Movies in the Park—something we can all enjoy.
But, again, this is something for our community to vote on, and other ideas—for how to use this money to engage neighborhood residents—are certainly welcome. To propose an idea, though, you need to show up. In fact, the world is run by people who show up.
Join us and help make Bottineau beautiful.
Win Two Tickets to Paradise!
Be a big winner at the California Dreamin’ art crawl on November 13 (5-10 PM) and November 14 (Noon to 8 PM). How? By winning a raffle for two round trip tickets to California.
Raffle tickets will be sold only at the event. Bottineau Neighborhood Association (BNA), the raffle’s sponsor, will also be selling beer and wine in the California Building lobby during the California Dreamin’ open studio event with proceeds benefiting Eastside Environmental Quality of Life (EEQL) and BNA. Beer & Wine sales are sponsored by Fulton Brewery, River Liquor Store and The Sample Room.
- One prize of a $1000.00 gift certificate for Sun Country Airlines will be awarded to the winner
- Drawing will be held on Saturday November 14, 2015 at 8:15 PM at 2205 California St NE Minneapolis MN 55418
- You must be 18 or older to purchase a ticket or win prize
Saturday April 18, 9am – Noon
Gluek Park (2000 Marshall St. NE)
Free breakfast, bags & gloves provided
Three ways to volunteer or get bags for alley clean-up:
- Call 612-367-7262 and leave a message for BNA staff
- Click here to fill out an online volunteer form
- Send an email to [email protected]
Phase 1: River Clean-up starting at Gluek Park and ending at Edgewater Park where we’ll load refuse for disposal
Phase 2: Alley Clean-up, Volunteers load refuse placed in alleys for removal
Click here for a printable flyer and invite your neighbors!
- River Liquor Store
- Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
- Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
- Three Rivers Park District
- The Northeast Riverkeepers
- National Park Service
- Mississippi River Fund
Bottineau Neighborhood Association (BNA) and Concerned Citizens of Marshall Terrace (CCMP) are working in tandem to maintain community pressure on GAF to clean up its emissions.
On Thursday, October 23 at 7pm, all concerned neighborhood residents are encouraged to attend CCMP’s next community meeting dedicated to this issue, located at the RiverVillage Community Room, 2919 Randolph St. NE.
MPCA Air Monitoring Supervisor, Rick Strassman has said he would like to attend. If so, he will explain how air monitoring is currently being conducted on the Mississippi River near GAF. As supervisor for a pilot project that is currently being conducted in Minneapolis at other asphalt operations, he will also discuss the presence of carcinogens that are in these types of emissions but are not currently regulated at GAF or elsewhere.
If this is an issue you care about, mark your calendar and plan on attending.