Hundreds of Cedar Riverside residents turned out to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center.
Council Member Abdi Warsame served as Master of Ceremonies and welcomed everyone in English and Somali. Members of the Cedar Riverside Partnership praised the community collaboration in creating the vision of this Center, and the hard work to make this vision a reality.
Commitment to Community
Partners recalled the years of collaboration that led up to the momentous Groundbreaking. Council Member Warsame spoke in English and Somali about the community vision behind the Opportunity Center and the commitment that helped turn the vision into a reality.
“For two and a half years, we have been dreaming and working on this project," said Council Member Abdi Warsame.
"The greatest challenge we face in Cedar Riverside is that, while Minnesota generally has an unemployment rate of 3-4%, in our East African community the unemployment rate is 17-23%. We need every resident here to have a good job with a livable wage, and this Opportunity Center will help us to get there.”
Connecting to the Workforce
“This Opportunity Center is part of the story of how our City is changing," noted Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.
"We must welcome every new member of our community with opportunity. We are committed to providing the same resources to the East African immigrants in the Cedar Riverside community that we have provided for generations of immigrants before them.”
Mayor Betsy Hodges spoke about Minneapolis' long-time support for the Opportunity Center.
“I have been pleased to support the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center in our Minneapolis budget," she said. "This is an important commitment to providing pathways to opportunity. This is one example of our work to tackle disparities and achieve equity. This is Minneapolis.”
State Senator Kari Dziedzic applauded the focus on education in the planning that took place for the Opportunity Center.
“This project shows that the City, County, and State can work together, that government works," said Senator Dziedzic. "The Opportunity Center will be a place where members of this community can come to fulfill their hopes and dreams.”
Strength in Partners
Augsburg President and Cedar Riverside Partnership Chair Paul Pribbenow introduced the role of the Cedar Riverside Partnership, which came together to explore ways to leverage their collectively significant assets in Cedar Riverside.
“This Center is the neighborhood’s vision, the vision for a good life, a just life," said President Pribbenow. "We’re so excited to be with you here today as your neighbor, and we are grateful to all of the organizations and individuals who saw this vision and wanted to make it a reality.”
A Groundbreaking Center for Cedar Riverside
EMERGE President Mike Wynne and Associate Director Mohamed Ali noted the impact that the Opportunity Center will have in Cedar Riverside.
“As someone with deep roots in this neighborhood, I’m really excited about the promise of this Center," said Mike Wynne. "We’re going to have a great impact here.”
“This place will be the place for workforce development and education resources in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood," said Mohamed Ali. "This center is your center. This center is our center.”
Sharing in the Vision
“MCTC shares so much in common with Cedar Riverside," reflected MCTC President Sharon Pierce. "We are proud of our diversity, and we are committed to creating opportunities for everyone by improving access to the transformative power of education."