Posts Tagged ‘ FRAN ’

Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

On Saturday, October 23, residents and volunteers gathered at the Rondo Victoria Peace Garden, located at Concordia Avenue and Victoria Street, to celebrate the hard work they did this summer on the new community garden. There were pumpkins to be carved, cider to be sipped, and plans to be discussed on this quiet fall day.

In June, the garden first opened with a peace pole dedication as the kick-off to Aurora/St. Anthony NDC’s Summer of Peace celebrations. On Saturday, the garden was put to bed as folks cleaned, raked and prepared for the future. This ending also was a beginning as the group planted garlic sent to St. Paul from AfroEco — a group out of Detroit, Mich., focusing on urban community gardens. The bulbs that had traveled all the way from the Motor City were aptly named Motown Garlic.

All summer long, the owners of the lot had asked residents the question, “How would you use the space?” The top answers were revealed at the Harvest Festival and included:

  • Meditating/thinking
  • Vegetable garden
  • Flower garden
  • Neighborhood events

Future conceptual plans were also shared for the garden, with landscape design ideas including mixed planting beds, apple, cherry and plum trees, plus a sitting area with benches.

With the burst in popularity of community gardens — a wonderful way to bring residents together — the Rondo Victoria Peace Garden is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. It will be very exciting to see what the future holds.

Check out the other photos from the Harvest Festival in our Flickr photostream here:


Brotherhood Inc.


Nekima Levy-Pounds at Brotherhood Inc. gathering

The hustle and bustle on University Ave. on a Friday afternoon this summer was nothing compared to the buzz going on inside the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. The office was hosting University of St. Thomas associate law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds and the new local anti-gang initiative she is spearheading in the community.

Levy-Pounds, along with four University of St. Thomas law students and law clinic fellow Artika Tyner, is proposing a center in St. Paul devoted to serving African-American youth. The facility would act as a one-stop shop for social services and business enterprises that keep young people out of gangs. They are calling the initiative, Brotherhood Inc., and are targeting youth who have been involved in gangs or criminal activity who want to make positive changes in their lives.

The project is modeled after Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries. The St. Paul initiative has named the project Brotherhood, Inc. with “Creating Change, Transforming Lives” as its tagline. Their mission statement is just as enterprising, setting forth the goal “To enable African-American youth and young adults to envision and achieve successful futures.”
Behind the press releases, community meetings and mission statement is a real energy to get things done. UST Law’s Community Justice Project, led by Levy-Pounds, is taking a leading role in making Brotherhood Inc. a reality. Tyner and Levy-Pounds have been moved by the gang activity, educational achievement gap and high incarceration rates that plague African-Americans in St. Paul.

“It has been an awakening for me, and I now have to bring the students along,” Tyner explains. She puts stock in the unique family feel that Brotherhood Inc. is designed to create. After learning about the commitment and connection among the people at Homeboy Industries, Tyner knew the same model could make a huge impact in St. Paul.
Levy-Pounds visited Homeboy Industries in 2007, and came back with a vision of starting something similar in St. Paul. Tyner said Levy-Pounds’s enthusiasm was infectious and got her to start looking at issues in the St. Paul community.

Getting dedicated students from the CJES program was an important part of creating the momentum this project needs to get off the ground.

“We don’t teach students just to ‘think like lawyers,’” Levy-Pounds emphasizes. “I think that is a shallow definition of legal education.”

Tyner and Levy-Pounds use the classroom to get to the bottom of race and class issues that affect disenfranchised youth.

Tyner explains that instead of being overwhelmed into inaction by these large social questions, “with these students, we can change the world.”

ASANDC has been an outspoken supporter of the Brotherhood Inc. project. Executive Director Nieeta Presley says that with focused action from diverse members of the St. Paul community, Brotherhood Inc. can be a reality sooner rather than later.

Help Wanted

LISC’s AmeriCorps program seeks to attract talented individuals to serve for one year to help build organizational capacity. LISC is seeking an AmeriCorps member to work with the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. ASANDC, established in 1980, aims to address neighborhood quality of life issues, advocacy, organizing and community economic and housing development in St. Paul’s Ward One neighborhoods of Aurora St. Anthony, Summit-University and Frogtown.

The AmeriCorps member working with the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC) will serve as a Program Assistant and will work on a variety of initiatives and projects, including:

  • Developing resident leaders through ASANDC’s Power of One Plus One Program (PO1+1), a program that aims to increase the level of engagement of community residents. The program provides training to residents and helps them develop the necessary skills, knowledge, ability and power to decide the direction of their neighborhood.
  • Assisting with the project management of the Frogtown Rondo Action Network, a collaborative of 10 non-profit organizations working to ensure that community residents in the Old Rondo and Frogtown neighborhoods achieve long-term stability and well-being. In this role, the AmeriCorps member will support the development and implementation of specific strategies identified by FRAN; participate in community meetings, events and other public forums; and maintain cooperation and participation with collaborating groups.
  • Other duties as assigned.

See the full job description for more details. Applications are due August 8, 2010.

Creating Successful Businesses with LRT

University Avenue

University Avenue

Small businesses that can change and adapt to the challenges and opportunities of light rail transit will be more successful than those that can’t. They will survive light rail construction and make more money if they know how to prepare. How do small businesses and entrepreneurs adapt? What are the challenges? How do you prepare and increase your revenue?

Workshops to be held this week will teach small businesses and entrepreneurs how they may benefit from light rail transit. You will learn:

  • What you can do to prepare for LRT construction
  • What you can do to keep revenues up during construction
  • What you can do to bring in new customers when the light rail is running

When: Thursday, March 18, 2010
2:30- 4:30 PM (Vietnamese interpretation available)
6:00-8:00 PM (Hmong interpretation available)

Where: Lao Family Community, 320 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN

Lunch and dinner will be provided. Free and open to the public. For more information call 651-222-7798 or email

The “Creating Successful Businesses with LRT” workshops are led by Mr. Tran T. Nhon, MBA. Mr. Tran is a nationally noted expert on supplier diversity and an advocate for minority owned businesses.  He is chair of the Ramsey County Small Business Enterprises Advisory Board and a board member of the State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

These workshops are supported by a grant from National CAPACD. AEDA is supported by the B.C. Gamble and P.W. Skogmo Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation, Twin Cities LISC FRAN Project, and The Saint Paul Foundation.

More information:

Asian Economic Development Association
712 University Ave W Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55104
651-222-7798 |

Capturing the Corridor

Wing Young Huie

Wing Young Huie

Surrounded by a panorama of black and white photographs in his Franklin Avenue studio, Wing Young Huie is the portrait of a photographer. Cameras and lenses cover his desk, a large wooden work table has countless pictures, open photography books and quotes written on small pieces of paper arranged in a kind of ordered chaos that is the early soup of Huie’s University Avenue Project.

The internationally renowned photographer is scheduled to debut his work in May of 2010, along the Central Corridor. Huie is working in collaboration with Public Art Saint Paul to create a 6-mile public art gallery along University Avenue. Photographs will be displayed in shop windows, on the sides of buildings and projected on an outdoor screen. More than 500 photographs will be on display, transforming the Central Corridor into an exploratory visual experience that plumbs the depths of University Avenue’s complex cultural and socioeconomic diversity.

Among the community organizations that support this project are University United and the University Avenue Business Association. The exhibit will run for six months, from May through October of this year.

To read more about Wing Young Huie and the University Avenue Project, pick up the spring edition of the Aurora/St. Anthony newsletter.

Photo collage

FRAN Partner Profile: Social Justice in Action

Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director of Jewish Community Action, knows how beneficial it is to partner with other organizations to meet a common goal. That is why he and other dedicated, passionate people at JCA are collaborating with Frogtown Rondo Action Network, not only during the upcoming construction on the Central Corridor Light Rail project, but also well beyond that for the health of a multicultural community a long way down the road.

Vic Rosenthal

Vic Rosenthal of JCA

JCA is one of 10 community-based organizations working together as FRAN. With a heart and passion all their own, JCA makes up a key element to this group. JCA’s members have strategically placed themselves inside and outside of synagogues for all Jews who are interested in social justice, no matter where they are. The door is open to everyone, Rosenthal said. The hope was, when they started 14 years ago to be a “Jewish voice for social and economic justice in the community … to be able to put their values and religion into action,” said Rosenthal. “There were a lot of other religious voices in the community and this seemed to be missing.”

JCA’s very mission plays perfectly into what they have begun doing with FRAN, building power within Frogtown and Rondo by forming alliances or collaborations with other organizations and government. By creating and being a part of these alliances, “people who think alike and care about the same issues, are able to work together to advance a common agenda,” Rosenthal said.

To read more about Rosenthal and the JCA, pick up the Aurora/St. Anthony spring newsletter, which should hit the streets in about a week.

Human Rights Day

Don’t miss the human rights event of the year — the 2009  Human Rights Day Conference & Forum on Dec. 4 at Saint Paul River Centre, sponsored by the state Department of Human Rights and League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions.

The conference will feature a keynote address by author and Wayne State University Law School Dean Dr. Frank Wu. Wu is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, and co-author of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and The Japanese American Internment.

The conference theme, “Where Do We Go From Here?” is inspired from Dr. Martin Luther King’s final book written in 1967, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? The Minnesota Department of Human Rights 26th annual Human Rights Day Conference will feature more than 20 workshops on some of today’s most important human rights issues.

For information, click here.