Northside Business Spotlight
Paper Maker of the Northside
What’s your connection to the Northside?
“I’m originally from Kankakee, Illinois. I moved to Minneapolis at 6 years old and the Northside close to being 9 years old. My connection is it’s where I live, it’s where I have worked for over 17 years and I now own a company here, it’s where I socialize, I went to school here, and I have a family here. I also have lots of friendships, memories, and networks here from the hood sector, to community, which I think are different things, to the political to now the business realms of the Northside.”
connection to the Northside?
How are the hood and community different things?
“The hood is the element where poverty and unbearable economic struggle exists, it is the core of where hustle, cliques, violence of all sorts, homelessness, unemployment, mental health, unaffordable housing, low wages, hunger and so much more intersect in intimate ways. It’s also the space where folks make something out of nothing to create the best realities we can for our families: there are many fun, happy, real and defining moments in hood life. Basically, folks find ways to function through the unnatural constant trauma that is normalized which deeply restricts some of our basic human development and economic opportunities. Things are not just happening around you, they are happening to you, in your house, and to your family and friends. Defense, caution and grief is the common mode. We matter to each other in many ways, we understand one another, and we have our own operating codes, language and culture."
"The community is sort of a professional realm that focuses on servicing or exploiting the needs of the people through businesses or organizations and yes, it’s also a place where some of the people who grew up in the neighborhood sort of graduate to as part of how they are giving back to improving their hood or community. Both titles are appropriate and reflect the layers of the populations of people who live here. In that, it seems that a large majority of the community employees are not residents of the Northside: they go home after work while the rest of us are still here. I have the privilege and honor of being able to exist, live, work and build in both worlds. But by no means was being involved in community life easy to do either, it took awhile for me to find my grounding.”