Brooklyn Park is one of the most culturally rich areas in the Midwest with more than one-fifth of its residents having been born in other countries. The unexpected cultural richness is what makes Brooklyn Park a vibrant city.
One of our Brooklyn Park 2025 goals is United Community. Through this goal, we are striving to connect neighbors to understand and celebrate our unique cultures. We will also ensure our community’s activities, events and services are inclusive, multi-cultural and accessible.
Throughout the year, we will share different events with you, whether it’s through our Recreation and Parks department’s “Celebrate Brooklyn Park” series or through other avenues, to embrace our diverse community.
We want to learn more about your cultural community celebrations! If you’d like to share information about your favorite holidays or are hosting a community event, please send an email to email@example.com.
Please keep in mind the information/activities shared with you are from our research and personal experiences. This information should not substitute your own research. We encourage you to lean into any discomfort you may experience or questions you may have with the information shared – “there is no growth in the zone of comfort”.
21st Century Activism
Activism and non-violent protest are a couple of ways for people to build awareness around important causes. We will highlight different types of activism that show the Beauty of Blackness. Please prepare to revisit, learn and witness the Beauty of Blackness throughout the month of February as we update this article.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist. His essays, collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in the Western society of the United States during the mid-twentieth-century.
“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.” – Amanda Gorman
Amanda S. C. Gorman is an American poet and activist. Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. In 2015, she published the poetry book, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough.
“One in every eight African Americans in St. Paul lost a home to I-94. Many businesses never re-opened.” –
Activism often serves as a pathway forward to restore historic environmental and economical injustices. One local example of this can be seen in the Rondo neighborhood. The community was divided to accommodate the development of I-94 in the 1950s. The Rondo neighborhood was the largest black community in the Twin Cities. It was a thriving cultural center that supported homeownership and local businesses. Despite the viability of the neighborhood, racial and socioeconomic biases deemed the community as the path of least resistance for the freeway project. Community leaders such as Reverend Floyd Massey Jr. and Timothy Howard successfully advocated for the freeway to be constructed below-grade, but the epicenter of the community was devastatingly altered. The highway not only impacted the interconnectivity of the environment, but led to racial disparities in health and economic outcomes.
The impacts of I-94 are still being felt today in the 21st century; however, the Rondo neighborhood did not perish. Community activists are actively working to revitalize the neighborhood. A non-profit group called Reconnect Rondo is part of a larger movement calling for the development of a land bridge to catalyze community-driven, sustainable, and equitable development. A land bridge will serve as a “lid” over I-94 and recreate lost land for several blocks between Chatsworth Street and Grotto Street. Other community activists (Melvin Giles speaks at 37:35) are calling for the land bridge to be anchored by solar greenhouses for community gardening and food security. Proceeding with the land bridge will be an opportunity for black American leadership and ownership to continue to grow as well as a significant start in the movement for restorative justice in the Twin Cities.
“We know the problems, we now need to leap forward.”
Food, hunger and agriculture; like most things in this country, are profoundly interwoven with our nation’s recognized history of slavery and institutional racism. Black communities suffer disproportionately from illness related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. FoodPrint states the dominant food system, with its cheap, empty calories and ubiquitous fast food joints, leaves many Americans undernourished and unhealthy — and the brunt of those results are borne by low-income communities of color. Nationally, the rate of food insecurity for African-American households is more than double that of white households.
One of the early players in the Food Justice movement was the Black Panther Party (BPP) by providing food for the school-aged children at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Oakland, California. Although the BPP was plagued in controversies, they were seen by the community as a necessity for survival during a time in history when many Black communities were under fire from racism, hunger, sickness and unemployment. From 1969 through the early 1970s, the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast for School Children Program fed tens of thousands of hungry kids in cities across the nation. It was just one facet of a wealth of social programs created by the party—and it helped contribute to the existence of federal free breakfast programs today.
Today, there are many in the Food Justice movement in the Twin Cities like LaDonna Redmond who previously worked to rebuild the urban food system in her Chicago neighborhood. Locally, grown activists like Appetite for Change and their new President LaTasha Powell believe food is the key ingredient to nourishing wellbeing. Systemic barriers make accessing fresh food in North Minneapolis a challenge for many. Through youth and workforce development programs, social enterprises, and policy initiatives, they build community capacity to engage with the food system in a fresh and sustainable way.
“We can be joyful while we’re trying to change the world. As long as we’re also aware that you can’t get away with things just by doing the easy stuff. You actually have to challenge certain things and put yourself in uncomfortable positions, often risking things in order to achieve real change.”
–a community gardener residing in the Bronx, New York.
Activities and Resources
We have put together several activities and resources guides to help you celebrate, learn and engage during Black History Month. Use click the images below to download PDF versions of files.
Activities and Resources
More Things to do
- Subscribe to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder; the oldest Black-owned newspaper in the state of Minnesota and one of the longest-standing, family-owned newspapers in the country.
- Livestream: Robert Robinson Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. & Black History Month – Feb 21
- Check out our Black-Owned Businesses story map.
- Join Cities United for its 6th annual Black History Month event on February 26
- For the kids: