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.
On May 24 at East Side Neighborhood Services, Dr. Hamdy El-Sawaf and Jaylani Hussein spoke and answered questions at the “Islam in Bottineau” forum sponsored by Bottineau Neighborhood Association.
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.
Do you or someone you know need some basic computer training? As usual, East Side Neighborhood Services (1700 Second Street NE) has a program for that, and it’s FREE. Class schedules are listed below but, to participate, you need to sign up in advance. Interested? Contact Ellen Stavreff at 612-787-4095 to RSVP.
FREE Computer Basics Training (English language)
February 1: 10:30-12:30, Basic computer
February 2: 10:30-12:30, Microsoft Word
February 3: 10:30-12:30, Internet
February 4: 11:30-1:30, Gmail
February 5: 9:30-10:30 Computer Practice/Review, 10:30-12:30 Northstar Certification Exam.
FREE Computer Basics Training (Spanish language)
February 22: 10:30-12:30, Basic computer
February 23: 10:30-12:30, Microsoft Word
February 24: 10:30-12:30, Internet
February 25: 11:30-1:30, Gmail
February 26: 9:30-10:30 Computer Practice/Review, 10:30-12:30 Northstar Certification Exam.
Again, please contact Ellen Stavreff at 612-787-4095 to RSVP.
FREE Financial Empowerment Sessions at East Side
Budgeting to Create Emergency Savings January 14, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Learn how to use your current budget to build a realistic savings for life’s unexpected but sure-to-happen emergencies. Call Camri (612) 787-4068 to register.
Prepare and Prosper FREE Tax Preparation Tuesday evenings, Thursday evenings, Saturday mornings January 23 – April 18 at East Side
Prepare and Prosper will provide free tax preparation to low-income individuals and families. There is no need to sign up – service is walk-in only. The order in which clients are served will be determined randomly. Everyone present at the sign-in time, which is 5:15 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and 8:15 am on Saturday, has an equal chance to be served and to be seen first. Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes before the sign-in time. Those arriving after the sign in time will be served if there is time.
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance Mondays and Wednesdays January 25 to April 13 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM at East Side
12 week class to reduce risk of falls by improving balance, muscle strength, flexibility, and mobility through coordinated movements in a slow, circular, flowing motion. $10 suggested donation pays for 24 classes. Contact Brenna Horn to register: 612-787-4055 or [email protected]. Tai Ji Quan: Moving For Better Balance is sponsored by the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging in the 7 county metro area.
FREE Tax Assistance for Seniors – February 1 to April 13 Monday afternoons and Wednesday evenings beginning February 1 through April 13
AARP will be providing free tax assistance to low-income senior and disabled individuals at East Side. Assistance is by appointment only and may be made in person or by calling the front desk. Volunteer tax preparers will be here Monday afternoons and Wednesday evenings beginning February 1 through April 13. Appointment times fill up fast, so if you know anyone that could benefit, encourage them to call early. (612) 781-6011
Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle Saturday – February 6 – 9:30 AM
The biggest snowshoe race in Minnesota! Participants come from around the country to participate in this fun and challenging winter race. All proceeds benefit Camp Bovey, a summer youth program of East Side. For more information, visit www.snowshoeshuffle.org
40th Annual Senior Appreciation Valentine Luncheon Thursday, February 11, 2016 – 11:30 AM seating Admission by ticket only – Cost $4.00 Community members 55+ welcome. Tickets can be purchased at: the Senior Food Shelf (1801 Central Avenue NE) or at East Side Neighborhood Services (1700 Second Street NE). Call 612-781-6011 with questions.
FREE Financial Empowerment Sessions at East Side Strategies for Paying off Debt February 11, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Learn the shortcuts that lenders and debt collectors don’t want you to know and begin your journey to financial freedom! Call Camri (612) 787-4068 to register.
Living Well with Chronic Conditions – Six week workshop February 16 to March 22 – Tuesdays – 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Contact Brenna Horn to register: (612) 787-4055 or [email protected]
Join Council Member Jacob Frey for his 2nd Annual State of the Ward Address and Third aWards–annual awards presented to Third Ward residents in the categories of Leader, Local Business, Neighborhood Project/Initiative, and Youth Leader.
“The Third aWards are a chance to acknowledge our amazing residents and small business owners that help make the Third Ward a dynamic place,” said Council Member Jacob Frey.
Individuals interested in making a nomination should write a brief description of the accomplishments that deserve recognition. Please submit Third aWards nominations via email ([email protected]), fax (612-673-3940) or by mail to Council Member Jacob Frey, 350 South 5th Street, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415 by Wednesday, January 27, 2016.
The State of the Ward and Third aWards will take place Wednesday, February 3, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Event Center, 212 2nd Street SE. Please R.S.V.P. early by calling 612-673-3126 or emailing [email protected].
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.
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