The University Community Parade took place in St. Paul on August 21 to show community unity as Central Corridor plans move forward. While the development of the light rail line promises to bring growth along the corridor, many participants in the University Community Parade were concerned that the development will cause gentrification, raise property taxes and rent, and will displace the existing businesses and community.
Grant Abbott, executive director of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches, explained the “purpose is to bring equity and to try to amplify the voices of the Asian-American, African-American community that already exists and bring their voices to the table to make sure that when the rail comes, all can benefit. We want to make sure enough resources are available to fight displacement and keep the diversity along University Avenue, which is a strength of the corridor.”
The following groups that helped to organize the parade are: The Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, Sibley Bike Depot, Frogtown Neighborhood Association (District 7), Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee, Save Our Homes, and the Black Widows.
The parade ended at Western Sculpture Park, where the 9th Annual Hmong Arts and Music Festival took place. This festival is sponsored by CHAT, and this year’s theme was “A Hmong Us.” Artists were asked to create works that represented their perspectives on being Hmong in America, and members of the greater community were invited to come “a Hmong us” to learn and enjoy.