On Friday March 1st 2019, over 50 community members came together to have a conversation about the future of North End organizations, services and institutions. The event was in partnership with a number of community organizations (including meet me at the Bell Tower), and we bussed many of our Bell Tower family members over to Ma Mawi Chi Itata’s space on King Street so that they could participate in this important conversation. I want to start by saying thank you to North End Community Renewal Corporation for purchasing food from Eddie’s, Mama Wi for hosting, bear clan for reporting on the state of the Indian and Metis friendship Center, Jim the former executive director for attending, and of course to the young people and residence of the North End, thank you for bringing yourself and your vision.
The event began with a summary of challenges we have faced as a community in the last number of years, including the closure of the North End Family Center, Indian & Metis friendship Center, as well as near closures and current difficulties for a host of North End organizations and groups. We then learned about a request for proposals that was released that day by the Manitoba Association of friendship centres , calling for ideas from organizations to establish a Winnipeg-based friendship Center. This is really important as the Winnipeg friendship Center was the very first one over 60 years ago and welcomed Indigenous people from the reserve and Rural communities into the city . These services are still desperately needed today in 2019 . After our initial conversation , We then made two lists, one of the services we missed in the community, and one of things that were going well. Find below the two lists:
What we miss?
What is going well?
Once all of that was done and the food was eaten, everyone agreed that further planning was necessary and that this group would reconvene again in 2 weeks. Part of why I am writing this and sharing it with all of you, is because I would like to see a larger diversity of North and voices participate in our next conversation, and I would also like to see even more concrete steps planned out so that we can facilitate the dreams and desires of our community members. The group decided we would call ourselves I Heart North End and I hope that anyone reading this who also hearts the North End will join us on Friday March 15th from 6-8pm at the Merchant’s Corner (541 Selkirk Ave) to keep the momentum going. Thank you again to all of the helpers who made this possible, if you get a message from me in the next couple days asking you to attend this, it just means you are loved and that I believe you are a valuable part of the fabric that makes the North End so awesome.