REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Youth violence in Powderhorn Park


Shootings at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Powderhorn Park on May 9 raised questions in the neighborhood about youth, violence, and community. According to KSTP, two teens were shot at the Cinco de Mayo celebration, two people were shot later at 28th and Portland in apparent retaliation, and two people were arrested in connection with the shootings. Neighbors reported another shooting on the same day, “in an alley off 32nd street and 14th Avenue,” which was not covered in news reports. Do you have information to share? Email

What’s at stake?

The E-Democracy forum for Powderhorn Park has provided one place for community members to discuss what is happening and say what they think should happen next. Here are excerpts from three of the 30+ comments:

Megan Moylan … As a neighborhood, we are feeling many things: Vulnerable, angry, and frustrated at the violence we live with here. We’re also feeling scared, particularly because of the violence increasingly happening during the daytime. We’re scared for ourselves, for our kids, and for our quality of life. …
I would like to propose that we start a conversation about how we can harness the incredibly progressive, creative energy of this neighborhood into a vehicle by which we can:

1) Work through our collective feelings of trauma and anger; and
2) Simultaneously claim our common neighborhood space as places of peace.


Ed Felien … We have, what I called, a disconnect in our community.  On the one hand there are the artists and activists.  They are generally white and organized in block clubs.  On the other hand there are the communities of color –African-American, Latino, Hmong and Somali, that are disaffected and alienated, and they are generally not organized into block clubs.  Their kids join gangs as a form of social networking, for protection and because they have little else to do with their time.

Normal block club organizing is not going to reach these kids.  Social welfare agencies are not going to reach these kids because the kids are not going to walk in and knock on their doors.  We need to go to them.  We need to show them options for education, public health, recreation and employment that they probably are not aware of.


Alexandra Ellison … only a few weeks ago, many of us witnessed ten young men (later ID’d by police as gang members) jump, viciously beat and rob and young teen in broad daylight at the intersection of 33rd and 15th. There was a significant police response – 4 or 5 squads total – who rounded-up and arrested about 9 suspects. …

A police officer on the scene told us that the victim was jumped because he “did not look right” which the officer explained was gang-speak…it could be that one is not wearing the right colors/insignia…it could be attempted coercion to join or affiliate with a gang…

I am concerned for the young people and families in our neighborhood who live closer to the coercive threats of local gangs. As a 40something white mom who lives in proximity to these acts of violence, I do not feel particularly threatened. If I were a parent of a young teen from a family of color and/or a family coming from a different socio-economic strata, the level of threat I’d feel may be considerably different. How, as a community, do we identify and address the needs of families who are feeling the pressures and threats from local thugs and gangs?


Tell us more

Brandi Stillings is writing about these issues for the TC Daily Planet. You can contact Brandi with information at

You can also add your information as a comment to this article. And, as always, you can write your own article or opinion – It’s very easy to write an article for the TC Daily Planet. The first step is to register as a TC Daily Planet user.  After registering, you log in, and then click on “Write an article” in the blue box in column 1. If you run into any technical difficulties, just email

And keep watching the Powderhorn Park neighborhood page for more stories on this and other news from Powderhorn Park.

Getting in the game

Four community meetings this week, with details below:

  • Talking Circle – Sunday, May 16
  • PPNA monthly meeting – Tuesday, May 18
  • Organizing meeting at PPNA – Wednesday, May 19
  • Community forum – Thursday, May 20


Talking Circle
Sunday, May 16th at 6:45 pm picnic table in the Northeast corner of Powderhorn Park, near the intersection of Powderhorn Terrace and 14th Avenue South.

“Please join the Powderhorn Community for our first of several talking circles to discuss violence in the community, to brainstorm ideas for peace, and to begin the process of healing the secondary trauma experienced by our exposure to community violence.

“What: The purpose of a talking circle is to provide space for us to support one another, to share hopes and ideas, and to provide unity and comfort to the community. This will be a safe, nonjudgemental place to share concerns. Please come prepared to support and receive support from your neighbors.”

PPNA’s Monthly Community Gathering
Tuesday, May 18, 6-8 p.m., 821 E. 35th Street

We will have light refreshments, time for community announcements, a space to talk about your feelings regarding recent violence in Powderhorn, and breakouts.

Organizational Meeting
Wednesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m. at 821 E. 35th Street

To determine permanent structure for Powderhorn Community Block Club Coalition; Open discussion of where to go from here

Community Forum

Thursday, May 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, 2924 Fourth Ave. S.
A collaboration of the City of Minneapolis, The Council on Crime and Justice, and  Hennepin County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCCR) Juvenile Services. Topics include:

Blueprint for violence prevention – City of MinneapolisJuvenile justice reform/ Juvenile Detention Alternatives  Initiative (JDAI) – DOCCR
Juvenile records – The Council on Crime and Justice 
Open forum: How can the community and government agencies  support our youth?    Please RSVP to Carol Wandersee, JDAI:  612-596-851

Here are some of the people/groups who are involved in these issues: