By Ann Luce
Member of the Rotary Club of North Minneapolis
The Rotary Club of North Minneapolis is known as the Little Club that Can.
Founded in 2012, the club works to both promote North Minneapolis and to make it a better, more harmonious place to live. While much of North Minneapolis has vibrant, lively and diverse neighborhoods, the club acknowledges that parts of the area have higher than desired crime rates and gang violence. Members of the club believe positive activities often displace negative activity as people take back their streets and neighborhoods.
In 2015, Rotary Club of North Minneapolis received a grant to promote peace and justice in the neighborhoods of North Minneapolis. In partnership with Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social-Disorder (MADDADS) an international organization bringing conflict resolution and peace advocacy to troubled areas, our Rotary Club organized a variety of activities to spotlight peace and justice.
After the killing of Northsider Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Police Officers in the fall of 2015, Rotary Club of North Minneapolis responded to sponsor a peace forum bringing all factions of the issue together with the goal of engaging in a respectful and positive manner. One of the initiatives resulting from the forum is the designation of four “peace blocks” in North Minneapolis, the addition of two “peace benches” purchased by the Club, and having more than 4,000 people take a “peace pledge,” with the purpose of working individually toward creating a more peaceful environment in the community. Community members also agreed to place “I Stand Up for Peace” signs in their yards.
In addition to peace blocks there is the Rotary Club of North Minneapolis Peace Garden at 18th Avenue North and Emerson Avenue North.