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Oromo Community Engagement: Bridging Social Capital in the Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood.

Blevins, Jennifer.

The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis is located adjacent to the University of Minnesota on the west bank of the Mississippi River. It has served as a settlement for new immigrants for over two centuries, starting with the influx of families from Scandinavian countries during the 1800's. One of the newest immigrant groups to enter the scene of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood is the Oromo, the largest cultural group within the Horn of Africa, centered in Ethiopia. The Oromo have increased their presence in Cedar-Riverside during a time of growing dissent around community development prospects, exacerbated by circumstances surrounding the destruction of Dania Hall in 2000. Consequently, Cedar-Riverside has lacked a unified community voice for many years. The lack of unity is ultimately disempowering and makes the neighborhood vulnerable to future development without community regard or input. In response, the West Bank Community Development Corporation (WBCDC) has made it a priority to unite new immigrants as well as longer term residents in revitalizing the neighborhood. Within this context, the WBCDC initiated the Oromo Community Engagement Project out of a sense of disconnection with their new Oromo neighbors and colleagues. The Oromo have been less engaged in collaborative planning processes, and for the most part, absent from the creation of a common vision for neighborhood revitalization. The report outlines a community process taken by WBCDC to engage the Oromo community and makes recommendations.

Publication date: 
Conducted on behalf of the West Bank Community Development Corporation. Supported by Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization (NPCR), a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
37 pp.
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