The first billboard for this new project, Public Comment, coming out of the shop that Sam and Jonathan Herrera are working on went up outside of the offices of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) and CANDO, the Central neighborhood organization. The goal is to gather common, if not always complimentary in association, questions from around the neighborhood and to distill these gathered questions into a series of uniformly designed billboards, translated into the predominant languages spoken in the neighborhood. If you live in the Powderhorn, Central, or E. Philips neighborhoods of the 9th Ward and have a broad question concerning how we live with one another or might possibly in the future, call the Public Comment hotline and leave us a message: 1.800.536.0702 (special thanks to Aaron Johnson Ortiz at CTUL for the invitation to house the first billboard and to Rachel Hiltsley for her labor and insight into the project and its future). Also, if you are a commercial or residential property owner in the neighborhood and would like to host a billboard please get in touch. We’d love to collaborate with you as the project moves forward.
The May Day Parade, started by Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, has been going strong and bringing the neighborhood out for more than 40yrs. For this May Day we felt it necessary to take stock of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we could go from here.
Obviously, shits been tough. MPLS winters are never easy. While mild, this one was bad. Many of us cloistering ourselves and wondering, not only “what can I do,” but also, “what’s next?!” This horror show of a country, and the various ways it has seeped into the everyday social landscape of the 9th Ward is no joke.
A means to engage the past in the present as a vehicle to consider our shared futures we created a series of socially and conceptually inter-connected masks (over 2000+) to be distributed around the neighborhood during the May Day celebration.
Joyous, while simultaneously informative, the masks featured the likenesses of, among others, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, Ornette Coleman, Caetano Veloso, and Ursula K. le Guin.
Our hope was that, on this day in South MPLS, where everyone feels freed from the bonds and solitude of winter, where we come out and celebrate the good weather and our renewed closeness to one another, that we could, in a fun and celebratory way, also add a moment of reflection and sense of renewal and possibility to the proceedings.
“As to whether Marcos is gay: Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal,… a Jew in Germany, a Gypsy in Poland, a Mohawk in Quebec, a pacifist in Bosnia, a single woman on the Metro at 10pm, a peasant without land, a gang member in the slums, an unemployed worker, an unhappy student and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains.” – Subcomandante Marcos
“People can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. Show me any country and there’ll be people in it just trying to take their humanity back into the center of the ring. Follow that for a time. Y’know, think on that. Without people you’re nothing.” – Joe Strummer
“The task of teachers, those obscure soldiers of civilization, is to give to the people the intellectual means to revolt.” – Louise Michel
“Justice is not a flexible tool. Unless we all do our part to ensure that justice is applied equally to all human beings, we are a party to its abuse. We must stand together to protect the rights of others.” – Leonard Peltier