Hundreds of Cedar Riverside residents and community leaders braved 20 degree temps and snow flurries on Sunday, March 12 to celebrate the grand opening of the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center.
Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame welcomed the crowd to the outdoor program. He praised the years of collaboration among many partners sharing a vision for the Opportunity Center that led up to the grand opening day.
"So much hard work, the vision of our elders, and the dreams of our youth have led us to create one of the most beautiful places in our neighborhood," Warsame said.
Council Member Warsame noted that two of the rooms in the Center had been named for elders Adam Jilo and Ahmed Keynan.
Noting that "we are living in a difficult moment of U.S. history," Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin observed that all of us can make choices.
"Here in Minneapolis, here in Hennepin County, we are choosing with our better angels to welcome immigrants," Commissioner McLaughlin declared. "We are choosing to open the doors into our economy for the next generation of Americans."
Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow, Chair of the Cedar Riverside Partnership, congratulated Council Member Warsame and Commissioner McLaughlin for their inspirational partnership as the leading advocates for the Opportunity Center. He recalled that the Cedar Riverside Partnership initiated the vision for the Center in November of 2014. President Pribbenow traced two and a half years of work of many community members, private sector partners, and government entities that came together to realize this vision.
“Augsburg College has long held a covenant tobe present at the table with our neighbors,” President Pribbenow noted. “And we pledge to stay at this table, investing to create pathways for our young residents to thrive.”
Mohamed Ali, of EMERGE and Associate Director of the Opportunity Center, thanked the community and all of the partners who helped bring the Center into existence and who remain invested its ongoing work. He reported that eleven employers are already scheduled to conduct recruiting interviews at the Center.