Minneapolis Public Housing Authority is the 20th largest in the nation – close to 3 million people live in public housing and over 4 million live in housing assisted by the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in the US, around 26,000 in Minneapolis. And yet, the city is in dire need of affordable housing – about half of the city’s renters are cost burdened as they pay a ⅓ or more of their income on housing. Home however, is more than housing. Black scholars have long positioned the home as a site of resistance to mainstream ideals and stereotypes. Most notable among them is Bell hooks’ seminal essay (1990), Homeplace (a site of resistance), which conceived of home as a place of respite, one that offers peace from objectification and as the space where Blacks refine the tools that aid in their resistance, tools necessary for survival and prosperity.

Landscapes of hope – Lake Street – Residential

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

“Ayeeyo” means grandmother in Somali and in times of conflict, the poems and stories they tell become acts of communication that educate the young about emotion and complexity. During the riots however, Suad Hassan credits the wall mural of Ayeeyo Childcare Center and the fact that she stood guard for two weeks for sparing their business. She was only 7 years old when she arrived to the US from Kenya where her family fled to escape the war in Somalia. Reliving this trauma she urges those in pain to, “Tell your story. Speak up.” Million Artist Movement and Don’t You Feel It Too? came together to fill the sidewall of 1837 E Lake St with faces of Somali women and words, like “amor”, “family” and the Arabic word for civilization as a means of building community. East African business owners face language and cultural barriers that make it especially difficult to find loans and navigate bureaucracies during this time. See gofundme.

Landscapes of hope – 1837 E Lake St – Educational

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Between 2005 and 2019, over 33,000 refugees arrived in Minnesota, most from Somalia followed by Burma. CAPI USA was founded in 1982 to help refugees from Southeast Asia in the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict. In the decades that followed, CAPI expanded support for refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Self-determination and social equality are the principles guiding CAPI and my study of refugees points to the stress effects of losing one’s cultural connections and sense of continuity, which describes a relationship to an environment over time and ideas about permanence, stability, and familiarity, carrying forward for generations. As the world’s population is expected to start peaking far sooner than anticipated, and start shrinking before the end of this century, experts point to embracing immigration as the only way the US can remain the world’s most prosperous country.

Landscapes of hope – 3702 E Lake St – Services

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

“I am in America but also in Somalia. I can get anything I want…..we have four Somali malls, it is almost like home!” This is how Karina, whose story is featured in The Right to Home (p.113) explained her decision to move to Minneapolis. Two buildings make-up the Somali Mall near the intersection of Lake St. and Pillsbury Av., the largest collection of Somali businesses in the country. Over 175 shops, restaurants and even a mosque are housed in the mall, and all but 25 are owned by women entrepreneurs. Delegations from Sweden and the mayor of Portland visited Minneapolis to learn about policies that can help their cities better address the needs of Somali immigrants. As Stefanie Chambers of Trinity College argues, in her book Somalis in the Twin Cities & Columbus, this success should not cloud the many Somalis who remain in poverty and struggle with language for jobs and adaptation.

Landscapes of hope – Lake Street – Retail

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

2018 data illustrate the four-year graduation rate gap–all Minnesota students 83.2%, Black 67.4%, Hispanic 66.8%, and American Indian 51.0%. Reading and math proficiency standards also varied. And it is not because of average hours spent on homework or whether parents checked the homework. This is where schools like Minnesota Transitions Charter School come in–this K-12 institution is the largest group of public charter schools in Minnesota. With nine options, each with their own focus, they adapt to each child’s unique set of strengths and needs through learning environments where racial and ethnic diversity is seen, understood, valued and action motivated. The gofundme page details damage such as broken windows and furniture, water damage of technology, as well as the resource room that housed clothing, school supplies, food, and hygiene products. About 250 students go to school in this building.

Landscapes of hope – East Lake Street – Educational

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Protests are not new to 27th Ave. and Lake Street where the Coliseum is located. At the end of World War II, jobless workers from industrial firm Moline went on a two-month strike. From 1917-1975, the Coliseum housed Freeman’s Department Store, which survived the Depression by providing quality products at good prices in this fast growing working class neighborhood. At one time, East Lake had five full-sized department stores but with the growth of national chains and suburban malls, this inner-city location was undesirable to shoppers and only recently a revitalization started to happen. Due to severe damage, Hennepin Healthcare’s East Lake Clinic, which offered women’s care, behavioral health, and diabetes services, helping eliminate health disparities, welcomes in-kind and financial donations to support displaced patients with food and hygiene supplies, transportation, and expanded home healthcare.

Landscapes of hope – East Lake Street – Retail

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Time’s relationship to places can change all of a sudden. Cal Surf has been synonymous with Uptown, both old and new for over 32 years, by helping form a tight-knit, nationally recognized skate and snowboard scene. Garage-type security doors or bars over all store windows can help protect buildings and property.

Landscapes of hope – 1715 W Lake St – Retail

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: CalSurf

The difference between resilience and disrepair, as Daniel P. Aldrich argues in Building Resilience, lies in the depth of communities’ social capital, which is critical in withstanding disaster and rebuilding both the infrastructure and the ties that are at the foundation of any community through providing emotional support, information and collective action. Hundreds of volunteers took to the streets to clean up after the looting and the fires, including Women for Political Change (WFPC). With courage and a willingness to “clean-up” oppressive systems, such as transphobia and xenophobia, WFPC cultivates the political power of young women and trans & non-binary individuals throughout Minnesota. Since 1992, Longfellow Community Council (LCC) coordinated efforts to strengthen and reinvigorate greater Longfellow, representing over 21,000 residents and more than 400 businesses. You can donate here. 

Landscapes of hope – East Lake Street – Advocacy

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Abdishakur Elmi emigrated from Somalia to the Twin Cities in 1996. Little did he know that in May 2020, the unrest would bring back memories of his childhood in Somalia. Elmi looked on in horror as flames raged from the roof of the brick building next to his restaurant. He founded Hamdi Restaurant and has been at 818 East Lake St for 15 years, specializing in Somali and Middle Eastern cuisine, using the freshest ingredients and handmade spices. The restaurant offers a banquet room for large events and has a makeshift mosque where community members can pray and study the Koran. The Gofundme page speaks to Abdishakur as “someone who would go above and beyond for his customers and community,” as demonstrated by his eagerness to partner with others in creating a thriving East Lake Street and in initiatives such as the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership program to improve energy efficiency.

Landscapes of hope – 818 E Lake St – Restaurants

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

7 Mile Fashion’s mission is to be the “One stop shop for all your ethnic beauty care needs,” from hair extensions to make-up, head scarves, wigs, jewelry, supplies, and clothing for men and women. Two of their three locations sustained damage during the uprising. On May 28th, their  2116 East Lake Street store was completely burned down. On the same day, their North Minneapolis location on 611 W Broadway Ave, was looted over two days and a fire ruined anything that was left. Founded in 1989, the store grew little by little to employ about 30 employees, mostly immigrants and BIPOC. Their goal is to rebuild, bringing back their employees’ jobs and livelihoods. Being under-insured, this gofundme will help rebuild both stores and allow them to restock with needed materials and the merchandise they are known for.

Landscapes of hope – East Lake Street – Retail

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni