University Avenue experienced even slower traffic between Grotto Street and Galtier Street last Saturday, August 20, but not because of the light rail construction. The St. Paul University Avenue community came together for a second year to hold their annual “Unify University Parade,” which aimed to spread awareness of the community’s concern over gentrification and small business displacement, now that Central Corridor has entered its “heavy construction phase.” (Slide show after jump.)
“It’s about strength for the neighborhood, pride for the neighborhood” explained John Slade, a community outreach associate for the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. “It’s about claiming our diversity as a strength.”
This year, the primary parade supporters and sponsors included Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, St. Paul Area Council of Churches, Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing, the planning councils of St. Paul’s district 7 and 8, Sibley Bike Depot and the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation.
The parade once again collaborated with the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, ending in the Western Sculpture Garden, where CHAT held their 10th annual Hmong Art and Music Festival. Despite the obstacles, the community remains optimistic and the turnout to this year’s parade doubled, if not tripled, according to Slade — the theme this year: WE ARE FAMILY — ALONG UNIVERSITY!
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.