Throughout this past year, restaurant owner Abdiwahab Mohamed has received anxious phone calls from family members back in Somalia who are worried about the civil unrest in Minneapolis.

After a night of protests following the death of George Floyd last spring, volunteers clean up debris from Minneapolis’ Lake Street. Photo Courtesy of Uche Iroegbu/Lake Street Council.

Staying Afloat in Minneapolis

Recovering Small Businesses Hope Civil Unrest, COVID-19 Are Behind Them


April 2021

BY ESPERANZA LEE

On the first night following George Floyd’s death last May, Abdiwahab Mohamed was with his family at home after a typically long day at his Minneapolis, Minnesota restaurant. As word spread that peaceful protests were turning into civil unrest near his establishment, Mohamed checked his restaurant’s security cameras and discovered a crisis unfolding.

Mohamed is the owner of Hufan Restaurant and Deli, a restaurant that serves Somali fare. Located on Minneapolis’ Lake Street, Hufan sits just one mile from the police precinct headquarters where all four former officers currently charged in Floyd’s death were stationed.

“People went to the police station, burned it down, then came down Lake Street,” Mohamed explains. It was late at night and Hufan had already closed its doors. No one was inside the restaurant when the crowd arrived.

Mohamed watched in fear as his security cameras showed a group of people smashing Hufan’s windows. Two people entered the restaurant, threw the restaurant’s cash register onto the ground, and stole the cash inside. Along with his eldest son, a college student, Mohamed rushed to Lake Street to protect his business from further damage.

“We were scared because we could have lost our business in one day,” Mohamed says. “We saw that a lot of buildings (more…)

Andrew “DHop” Hopkins, the Director of Youth and Family Engagement at the nonprofit Hope Community, is determined to keep kids reading, learning and growing during the pandemic.

Pandemic Literacy

Advocates Innovate to Keep Kids Learning


March 2021

BY ESPERANZA LEE

Like parents everywhere, L. Wright, a mother of four living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, quickly discovered frustrating obstacles while helping her fifth-grader navigate online school during the pandemic.

When COVID-19 forced schools to close, Wright’s daughter received an outdated electronic tablet from her school district. The device’s tiny screen, compounded by the family’s spotty at-home internet connection, made attending Zoom classes and completing online school work difficult.

Wright also tried to access free public Wi-Fi through the city of Minneapolis but encountered problems because too many people were trying to log on at the same time.

Wright’s daughter’s situation soon improved, however, after a local nonprofit was able to support her with better technology. “My child now has a device that allows her to participate fully, and with a strong enough internet connection,” Wright says.

Franklin Library in Minneapolis, Minnesota developed a “pen pal” program to keep kids, stuck at home, reading and writing during the pandemic. Photo Courtesy of Gwen Wasmund  (more…)