Adequate and equitable resource distribution is proven as one of the best forms of violence prevention—crime goes down in neighborhoods where vacant lots are transformed, community organizations are funded and supported, and resources are made available(1). Seeing the need for greater safety in our community during the heat of the pandemic and the 2020 Minneapolis Uprising, Urban Homeworks decided to partner with Brothers EMpowered—a community-based peacekeeping organization started by one of our very own residents, Charles Caine—to provide free meals and peacekeeping in and around the corner of Broadway and Emerson.
Noting the positive impact on the Northside community in 2020, Urban Homeworks decided to take the work to the Southside, partnering with Centro de Tyrone Guzman, Chase Bank, Norway House, Project for Pride in Living, and Ventura Village Neighborhood Association to create the Southside Peacekeeping Coalition (SPC). Coalition members recognized the frustrations of the thousands of residents, commuters, and businesses that are impacted by disinvestment in our neighborhoods and put together the funds to pay Brothers EMpowered to begin addressing community safety in and around the corner of Franklin and Chicago Avenues.
Promoting peace in our streets, Brothers EMpowered did incredible work to connect with residents and build trust as both a community resource and positive presence. Their system understands how conflict happens—when employed in an area, they canvas the community, talking with residents, local businesses, and institutions to understand the flow and conflicts happening in that community. As a result, they are able to bring together key stakeholders in neighborhoods to deescalate situations and promote peace.
Hearing positive feedback from area residents and staff and noticing the significant impact on the community throughout 2021, SPC decided to continue this peacekeeping work into 2022, hiring Brothers EMpowered to patrol during the most active months of the year, March through November, weather-informed. In addition to their peacekeeping work, Brothers EMpowered worked in partnership with SPC to put on community events for neighbors to engage with each other in fun activities, access free resources and services, and enjoy outdoor areas that typically feel unsafe to visit.
As a community-driven coalition, the work and the way SPC does it is ever evolving and changing to best match the communities’ requests, needs, and responses. We are excited to continue this work in 2023, ensuring that individuals, families, and children feel safe and secure in the neighborhoods where they have chosen to live, while also beginning to help other local organizations understand how they can replicate this work in their own neighborhoods to help reimagine what community safety in the Twin Cities looks like.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 8). Violence Prevention: Prevention Strategies.