One year ago, North Minneapolis was hit by a tornado that was pretty devastating to the community. North is probably one of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in our city that could have been hit and I had the great honor of taking on this assignment to document the people and neighborhoods of devastation, one year after the tornado. I understand that North gets a bad wrap. Because of our media, everyone thinks that North is all about poverty, drugs and shootings. However, I experienced a completely different side of the people here. I highly, highly encourage you all to go out and pick up an issue of Metro, if not for any other reason thank to read this article. It’s solid and it’s real. In fact, I’m pretty proud of the writers and Metro for publishing something a little controversial. The feature hits all of the key points, different perspectives on the clean-up of North and how it has effected the community. Yet, the fact still stands that one year later, there are still families in shelters, blue tarps on the roofs and uprooted trees that haven’t been dealt with.
On a personal note, while shooting this story, I took one of my all-time-favorite pictures…ever. I wandered into the old Broadway Liquors one day, not thinking that anyone was inside, but I found a little boy, probably about 10 years old, who was devoting his spring break to cleaning up the store. In fact, there were several children lending their support to clean up their community on this day and it was quite inspirational. Not only did the people of North open up their homes to me, but they also shared their perspective and thoughts on how much of a struggle the last year has been. I think one of my subjects, Jeriland Spence said it best, ” There’s no calvary coming to the Northside. The thing that has to be done here needs to come from within.”
Photographing this story definitely changed my entire view of the people and community of North Minneapolis. My hope is that for every terrible news story you hear about this neighborhood, that you remember and realize how many good people are working to rebuild the Northside into a positive place.
If you are interested in helping the people of North Minneapolis re-build, here’s a link to donate to: The Northside Home Fund