(photo by John Hoff)
If you live in the Fourth Precinct and pay attention to neighborhood issues, odds are you’ve seen the “We Watch, We Call” signs popping up in the yards of good citizens.
The signs are available at the Folwell Neighborhood Association, located at 1206 37th Ave. N. There is no charge for the signs.
The signs got started when one man–Roy Johnson–posted a homemade message near his residence at Penn and Dowling. Roy’s sign said simply, “I Watch. I Call.” This blog has previously documented other instances of homemade signs which say things like, “The neighbors are watching.”
For years, even decades, this may have been perceived as a bold, risky statement to make in North Minneapolis. However, the culture of this place is changing rapidly. Thug crime is on the run, slumlords are on the defensive, and pro-revitalization candidates like Barb Johnson and Don Samuels just got re-elected for FOUR MORE YEARS. Revitalization is massive and unstoppable.
Anyway, Roy’s one-man statement caught the attention of neighborhood movers and shakers, who took Roy’s slogan and modified it to WE Watch. WE call. The slogan has been put on signs and the signs are popping up all over, but more important than the signs is the promise behind the placard. Neighbors WILL watch. Neighbors WILL call. Trouble makers should drastically re-think their action.
I spoke to Roberta Englund today at the Folwell Neighborhood Association, and this was the message she wanted to get out: The fate of the neighborhood is in the hands of the people who live there. She emphasized the signs were a collective grassroots movement, not the work of any particular organization or individual.
Like soldiers in formation closing ranks, the signs show collective strength and collective will. I put one of the signs up in my yard and right now it’s the only one for blocks around, but I don’t think that will be the case for long. In the photo above, a citizen in Jordan places the sign in a window box RIGHT WHERE A DON SAMUELS SIGN USED TO BE.
If you want to read more about the signs and the intent behind them, go to this website.