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Amen Corner gets people "off the couch and in the streets" at Peavey Park in Minneapolis
When Linda Hooker’s son DJ told her he was going to the corner, she worried that he might be getting into trouble. Last week she went with him for the first time and found herself at Peavey Park’s Thrones Plaza with other members of the surrounding community. It was the Amen Corner, and Hooker was very impressed by the people involved and the opportunity for youth to connect with adults. “More young people need to see this,” she said. Hooker returned on August 9, for the first day of the Amen Corner one year anniversary celebration.
The Amen Corner started on July 22 of last year as a way to connect with community members and help reduce crime in the area. At that time crime in Peavey Park had increased 36 percent. Every Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., residents have the opportunity to enjoy food and beverages and speak on a microphone to tell stories, share resources, and talk about the topics that are on their minds.
DJ Hooker, a champion chess player, likes to share his knowledge of the game by teaching others how to play chess. He has come to the Amen Corner since February. Another participant, Chris Jenkins, said that he has been involved from the beginning. “They have a real positive effect on the neighborhood,” Jenkins said about the events. He added, “Everyone knows it’s going to be peaceful.”
Maurice Doniphan, who regularly moderates on Thursdays said that he appreciates taking part in curbing crime as opposed to just responding to tragedy. He began last year as a volunteer during the events before becoming a moderator. Regarding his dedication to the Amen Corner, Doniphan said, “I am just a concerned individual who decided to be concerned off the couch and in the streets.” Simply talking to people can make a difference in their lives, he said. The Amen Corner, Doniphan said, has served as a positive force in the community.
Featured in the video are (in order): Dee Henry Williams, with the Ventura Village Neighborhood Association and lead moderator; Tony Walker; Jill Barnes from Amicus with Maurice Doniphan, moderator; and Jay Webb.
©2012 Andrea Parrott