In the early morning of Wednesday, September 18, several businesses along Franklin Ave. were vandalized. Two weeks later, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged a 36 year old man with bias in connection to this vandalism. A principle core to our cooperative identity is concern for community. This violence has triggered fear and anxiety in our community. Seward Co-op stands in solidarity with Seward business owners and the East African community that has been targeted more broadly and believe it is important that we all stand up in unison and say that hate has no business here.
Community groups are asking Minnesotans to join in helping to rebuild and show solidarity with the impacted businesses—Capitol Cafe, Lakes Pharmacy, Seward Market and Halal Meat, Barber and Braiding, and $5 Pizza and Tobacco Plus. One way the co-op can rally community support is through the SEED program. For the month of October, all SEED funds will benefit our neighbors whose businesses were vandalized. Funds raised will go to CAIR-MN, who will distribute the grant equitably among the affected businesses. Seward Co-op will match up to $1,000 in SEED donations.
The vandalism has caused ripples of fear and financial stress for the businesses that are on the hook for repairing the damage and who have seen a decrease in customers. These businesses are a valuable part of our community and they need our love and support. Please stop in and let them know how much you value their contributions to our community.
Here are additional ways Minnesotans can help:
- Contribute directly to the Go Fund Me page: Proceeds will be used to make repairs to damaged storefronts when they aren’t covered by insurance. They will then be used to help provide security cameras, lighting, and other improvements that can deter crime. Any funds beyond that will be used to help with loss of business and other needs.
- Make a point of shopping at one of these businesses. Stop by the Capitol Cafe, Lakes Pharmacy, Seward Market and Halal Meat, Barber and Braiding, $5 Pizza and Tobacco Plus and enjoy their many products and services. Show them that our neighborhood is welcoming and supportive by actually supporting them.
- Business owners can show support by putting up a Hate Has No Business Here, All Are Welcome Here signs in their windows. Get one here.