It’s that time of year to block off your street, cook up some hotdogs and introduce yourself to all your neighbors. Minneapolis participated in the 29th year of National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7, with over 1,360 registered events. St. Paul also participated in NNO, while Ramsey County, outside St. Paul, chose to go with the third annual “Night to Unite.”
“It takes a village, it starts with our block,” was this year’s NNO theme in Minneapolis, an event aimed to help prevent crime through the grassroots approach of meeting your neighbors and forming tighter communities. While some Minneapolis communities used the event to show their resilience to gun violence, other organizations used the night in other ways.
Jewish Community Action used the night as a way to open up conversation about discrimination. JCA sent representatives to different block parties on Tuesday to talk about both the upcoming vote on a Photo ID Amendment, which opponents believe marginalizes minorities and the elderly, and the Marriage Amendment, which would deny gay couples the right to marry in Minnesota.
While NNO is a serious tool to help further safety in our communities, it’s also a great way to have a good time and remember just what makes our communities great: the people. We wanted to know what people thought of their neighborhoods, so we visited four block parties in three communities asking their residents, “What’s the favorite thing about your neighborhood?”
August 2: National Night Out rolls around again on August 7. This annual front-porch-and-block-party event has people turning on their porchlights, sharing potluck dinners, barbecuing, and generally enjoying their neighbors.
Started 29 years ago as a way to fight crime by showing solidarity, NNO has grown to a gigantic national organization with accompanying controversy over how much its national officers are paid. But, putting all that aside, Tara Davenport has some great tips on how to keep it simple and have fun — she recommends root beer floats and music as key ingredients.
Minneapolis has a list of neighborhood NNO celebrations (also attached at the bottom of this article as a pdf document.) St. Paul’s list will be published later this week — but the preliminary list, as of Monday, July 30, also is attached below as a pdf document.
Tell us about about YOUR National Night Out — past and present:
• What did you and your neighbors do for NNO?
• If you didn’t participate in NNO, why not?