Interview of Alika & Ralph Galloway

Interviewer: 00:01 May I have your first and last name with spelling, please?

Alika: 00:07 Alika Galloway. A-L-I-K-A is the first name. Galloway G-A-L-L-O-W-A-Y is the last.
Ralph: 00:13 And Ralph Galloway. First name R-A-L-P-H and second name G-A-L-L-O-W-A-Y.

Interviewer: 00:25 So in referencing this map that we have, do you currently live in any of these areas or have you ever lived in any of these areas and if you have, how long did you live here or how long do you… Have you lived there if you still there?
Ralph: 00:40 Okay, since we live in the same household, I’ll just speak for us both.

Alika: 00:48 Great.

Ralph: 00:49 We lived in the area near UROC, as I see this kind of is one of the points of reference. I actually at 1623 Washburn, Avenue North. And we’ve been at that location for probably about 24 years now.

Interviewer: 01:17 Thinking back from when you first came to this area to today what change have you seen, positive and negative?

Ralph: 01:37 Well some things that I’ve seen that I think are positive is there seems to be an effort to garner more input from the community, from the citizens of the community. There seems to be more structure to be able to do that. I was looking at the … Oh I forget… North Side, I think, Urban Development, I can’t remember the part of the name of the organization, but I was pretty impressed with the … I looked at the website with the purpose, getting input from the people that live in the neighborhood, and to be able to get suggestions to inform proposals that would be written, to be able to get resources that will really make a difference in terms of impacting lives in North Minneapolis.

Ralph: 02:58 Part of my concern, so this is on the other end of the question of what hasn’t happened or what have you seen that hasn’t happened and is a concern I have, is that those instruments might be … And I’m talking about the people that make up the committees and that, might be stacked with people that aren’t enough people or rooted in the community. So thereby the outcomes might be a little skewed because it might not represent the citizenry of the North Side.

Alika: 03:49 I would ditto that. I think that the … Well two things I would say as I think about it is Pastor Ralph and our son and both of our daughters attended North High School and I’m not originally from Minneapolis, so when they prepared to close North Minneapolis when that was grounds for to close it, I was very grateful to see the community in action. And so for me that was really positive to see this organic ground swell of people so invested in this, the symbol and the power of North High School. And so ’cause often times I haven’t seen that kinda action and activity and I was very impressed with how smart people were about it and how strategic they were and how they owned the heritage of North Minneapolis and North High School, like how they identified so heavily.

Alika: 05:03 So that was one of the reasons why we wanted to do thisproject with ReCAST was because North Minneapolis and North High School was so invested.

Alika: 05:14 And then I, along with my husband, would say the re-gentrification like on our block now… So we are 16th and Washburn but 17th is primarily white, and we call that the White Lane. And the people don’t speak to … Like when they walk ’cause … So we’re so Washburn [inaudible 00:05:36] in the parkway so they’ve got to walk down our street, they walk down in order to get to the parkway to walk their dogs, and we rarely see them without an animal. And the animals are trained as if they’re threatened. So it’s like they’ve come to possess the land, repossess the land. They didn’t come to join a community. They came to get good housing stock. And I know that …So part of what Pastor Ralph’s role has been in terms of community is trying to be a community organizer. I look at things often through his lens, so they’re not there to develop community, they’re there for tax breaks and that kind of thing. And I feel like that’s unfortunate because with regard to the community, the community took the action, those that were invested with both heart and mind around North High School. They’re just invested in getting good land stock, good housing stock.

Interviewer 06:47 So what do you feel then caused the changes that you’re talking about over the years?
Ralph: 06:57 You know, I think part of what caused changes in terms of input are the turbulence, and the resistance that has come out of the community in terms of getting more input and more info as to how the resources would be spent. I think it has to do with people just raising hell, saying that they’re not represented. I don’t think it was something that came out of the hearts of the politicians. And although, I know there was some good, great hearted people there, but I think it had to do with people pushing and pushing. You know kind of indicative or represented of seeing, demonstrated in the revolts, you know, 1968 and continuing with more of that kind of process. Not necessarily the damage of property but people voicing themselves. And it pushed a dial towards something positive.

Ralph: 08:06 I think with the re-gentrification process, it has to do with pressure on the cities to get the pack space up, get people in that have money to make for a whole general investment and … the word alludes me now but return. I rely on city property in general, getting more wealthy and so it makes sense to encourage people to come in that have a good middle class or upper-middle class income. So pressure on the city to do that.

Alika: 09:01 I’m good, I’m good.

Interviewer: 09:03 The city of Minneapolis is gathering information to try to understand how these government policies such as the war on drugs, housing and employment discrimination has affected you?
Ralph: 09:18 Can you repeat it again?

Interviewer: 09:19 The city of Minneapolis is gathering newer information to try to understand how these government policies such as the war on drugs and housing and employment discrimination has affected you?
Ralph: 09:35 Okay, so that’s a question?

Interviewer: 09:38 Yeah.

Ralph: 09:39 Okay.

Interviewer: 09:41 You can kind of like split it up and talk about the war on
drugs or housing and employment discrimination or …

Ralph: 09:50 Yeah.

Interviewer: 09:51 So kind of like how has the historic discriminatory government policies affected the community and then just a couple of examples are like housing, transportation, economic development, the war on drugs, things like that; so how has that affected the community you’ve been living in for the past 24 years?

Ralph: 10:11 Okay, you wanna take that on?

Alika: 10:16 Yeah. Do you wanna go too?

Ralph: 10:18 Yeah, and then I’ll dove tail. I need to think about that a little bit.

Alika: 10:20 Okay, so, I would say part of what we do at Liberty is we are liberation theologians and we are Christians ’cause people hear that and say, “Oh no, you’re not a Christian.” Yes, we are. But we really uniquely believe that God is on the side of the poor, and the oppressed and that God is really concerned about discriminatory practices, so the work that we do out of this church is to really bind up and systems of oppression that hurt people and hurt communities at large such as housing discrimination.

Alika: 11:03 A lot of the work … So our church, while we have a worshiping community. We also have a large community engagement such as 21st Century Academy in Northside Healing zone, and the number one issue in terms of the opportunity gap that we see with our children is housing discrimination They’re un-sustainably housed. So they’re couch hopping. They’re moving from one dwelling to another dwelling to another dwelling. And that just decreases they’re opportunity in school because they’re unstable. So if you have not had a place to live, a place tosleep, you’re not secure, you’re not going to do well in school. It is just a question of survival. So the disparities around housing in North Minneapolis, the rents, the ghetto, landlords, all of that has a direct impact. And we believe that God is very concerned about that, that God isn’t just concerned about us going to heaven but is in fact concerned about us and our call is to usher into the kingdom of God here.

Ralph: 12:25 And I have just some concerns related to the housing comment that Pastor Alika just made. When they raised the housing projects, they’re on Lindell and that area, it was supposed to be able to create mixed income housing and give opportunity to those of low income as well. But with what we see here with so many people without housing, you kind of wonder how effective that has been by taking those units down and raising new housing, you know, heritage homes etc. but we just question whether the low income side of that really got it’s just do. We’ve seen it in other cities too. I used to do duty organizing in Atlanta and in Atlanta many of those housing projects were raised, and I returned a couple of times and asked the government, some of the leadership, “Where did those people go?” The lower income people and nobody has really good answers for that. Many went to the suburbs, and the suburbs were really tooled to handle them, didn’t have the services, the wrap arounds. So people were on buses all over the place. So part of my concern is for our people here too.

Ralph: 13:55 You know, that we have opportunities, further out but not the accommodations to make that work. And related to the drug conditions, we just … It seems like at some points in this area the amount of drug trafficking that’s gone down, but we’re not sure if it’s gone down or if it’s just gone under.

Interviewer: 14:28 Like it’s hiding itself.
Ralph: 14:29 Yeah, like it’s hiding. That it’s more cloaked, it’s more disguised now. So we have some concerns. We see that there’s a sustainable period of time where it seems peaceful, a bit more placid then we maybe getting to think maybe there’s an effect from law enforcement strategies to community cooperation to help cartel some of that.

Interviewer: 15:04 So in reference to affordable housing and the drugs, do you think the new minimum wage policy, with minimum wage gonna be 15 dollars an hour soon, do you think that will help benefit the community in any sort of way? Or housing or maybe it might help deal with some of the drug problems or something like that if people are making mor money?
Ralph: 15:24 Definitely.

Interviewer: 15:24 Okay.
Ralph: 15:26 Definitely a correlation between more money and more opportunities. I think 15 dollars an hour minimum wage is a great thing. It’s a good start, and I don’t think that’s where we should plateau. But it’s a good start ’cause our people, people we serve are just suffering from lack of adequate income. And so to get that income up would do a number of things. It will mean that perhaps some of our parents will have to … Would be able to work less rather than three jobs maybe they can do two jobs and make ends meet, have more time for their children. To not have to then have their children under latch key or have one of the older child watch the younger children. So I think it would make for a more secure environment for our parents. And then they can begin to look at other opportunities in the good that economic base up a little bit more. I definitely think it would make a difference and probably have some residual effects to on drug trafficking, sex trafficking because all of that has so much to do with low income levels. I definitely think it would impact.

Alika: 16:58 Me too.

Interviewer: 16:59 So my last question on the topic then is so the economic development part that has a direct correlation to a lot of the community problems, right?
Ralph: 17:10 Yes.

Interviewer: 17:11 Okay, so then what changes have you seen in this community that raise your level of stress or concern about the future and then the second part is what part does the city of Minneapolis need to play to help relieve some of that stress?
Ralph: 17:29 It seems like that’s connected to the other questions in a sense.
Alika: 17:41 Can you repeat it for me?

Interviewer: 17:43 Yes, you want me to do the first on first and then…
Alika: 17:45 You’ve just do both of them together.

Interviewer: 17:47 Okay, what changes have you seen in this community that raise your level of stress or concern about it’s future? And then the second part is, and what part can Minneapolis play in relieving some of that stress?
Alika: 17:59 Okay, so there are higher levels of trauma in this community and they continue to be untreated and unmitigated and so part of what we are doing at Liberty is opening a hearing center directly related to trauma healing at 2100 Emerson. And I think that the curve in terms of people recognizing that we are under high levels of trauma very much similar to the questions that Pastor Ralph answered in terms of discrimination and economic disparities and housing and all of that, all that is traumatic. And it embodies us, it gets into our bodies and we’re hearing that on a daily basis and then passing that on from generation to generation. And, so when we’ve been in contact and conversation with ReCAST, one of the things that we have said collectively and as a church community is that we’re hoping that the city will continue to work on its trauma issues and raise that up in terms of the health disparity and then our big, there used to be something called our big, hairy audacious… Audacious goal?

Interviewer: 19:30 Yes. Big, hairy audacious goal.
Alika: 19:33 Yes, is that Minneapolis will be known as a city that treats and heals and recognizes trauma. And so that when they talk about Minneapolis so whatever it is that they call it, and I’m proud. I’m very grateful to be a part of the Minneapolis community. Even though this is not my community of origin, I’ve adopted it but I would like to see Minneapolis be known with, besides prints and the lakes and, you know, 10 000 lakes and good wildlife that we would be known as a city who treats trauma and takes trauma seriously.

Ralph: 20:18 And I know what brings stress … Another aspect, if I could just make a point somewhat related to the point Pastor Alika made is the … And it goes back to the re-gentrification question, we’ve seen on our corners here to the east, we’ve seen probably three families moved in and out in each of those houses there. And they’ve had to move under duress and part our concern is that then the landlords because they haven’t owned homes, they rented them, will flip it and sell it to re-gentrifiers. Which we don’t have an issue with people but we have a concern of diversity, we have a concern with what’s gonna happen to those families. And so it brings a lot of stress and we’ve had for those families, a few of them that were members of the church, but they’ve had to move far out and we’ve lost touch, the location is broken. So we’re concerned about the degree of isolation that takes place, you know, with family members that have to move under duress.

Interviewer: 21:37 Re-gentrification?
Ralph: 21:38 Re-gentrification. The pressure to get people in that will bring up the tax base and then maybe the lack of resources or a lack of consciousness to deal with those families that have been misplaced that they live in isolation and then are prone to all the negative stuff that can happen when you’re under stress or experiencing trauma. Concern.

Interviewer: 22:06 What gives you hope for the future of this community?
Alika: 22:09 Can I answer that real quick ’cause Yanis keeps walking back and forth.

Ralph: 22:13 She’s wanting[inaudible 00:22:14]

Alika: 22:14 Yeah, and then I’m gonna come out. So I thank you guys very much for this time. Y’all give me hope. Our young people, our next generation gives me a lot of hope that you will see things differently and that you guys will have your visionaries and that you’ll be able to establish your vision of a just and hope filled community. Y’all give me hope.

Alika: 22:45 Alright, go check on your daughter.

Ralph: 22:47 Okay, yeah, that’s the same with me. ReCAST what you’re doing, input, the mechanisms that are developed as I said earlier to garner input from the community. I think that’s always to me a great thing when they’re balanced. I’ve seen community groups that are formed that the power structure seems to resemble the power structure of the nation when you look at who’s calling the shots. But it seems like … And what I mean by that is middle class white people kind of assuming control of community groups without enough diversity in them. But it seems like there’s an effort to get a full mix of representation in our community structures. That gives me hope for a better tomorrow. The input channels and groups of communication.

Interviewer: 23:44 So how can Minneapolis play a part to create that?
Ralph: 23:49 Well, I think that by what it’s doing now with these effort to get input to really hear from different groups within the community from different geographical locales, to hear, and then to put income behind it, to fund it, you know, to fund these efforts. When I read about the North Side Redevelopment Corporation, I think is the name, and then actually having the money set aside to fund projects in the city gives me hope. To hear that North Commons got some of the … The North Commons YWCA got some of the money from the NCAA being here to redo … That gives me hope to see where there are large projects that come into the city be able to get some of that profit to the communities in the area when those events have long since gone. That gives me hope. So I think in that regard Minneapolis is progressive. So I guess a couple of words: keep the dollars flowing to everyone and it seems like we’re working harder to have that happen in the city of Minneapolis.

Interviewer 25:21 Last couple of questions, if you could just give us a short quick answers and then we’ll be out of your way.

Ralph: 25:28 Okay, okay.

Interviewer: 25:30 So when you think about this area today, what impacts do you still see from the historic government policies?

Ralph: 25:40 Historic government policies?

Interviewer: 25:42 Yes.
Ralph: 25:43 Like policies of past?

Interviewer: 25:45 Yes.
Ralph: 25:45 Is that kind of the word for…

Interviewer: 25:46 Yes.
Ralph: 25:46 Okay, well, I think one is the re-gentrification piece. You know to me that looks a lot like a new form of discrimination called something different, packaged in a positive way, but I wonder if it’s thought out fully enough to see to it that those who are displaced by that process are fully taken care of. So that I see as maybe still a historic kind of looming residual of white supremacy because those who are re-gentrifying are basically from the European ethnicities.

Interviewer: 26:34 How would you describe the relationship between the city of Minneapolis and this community over the years?
Ralph: 26:42 I think it’s gotten better. I remember a time, you know, I grew up in the housing projects that’s why I referenced them earlier. You know way back and one of the things that we felt was a real hostility between the city and our community and family. I knew my mother would always say, “When somebody with suits on knocks on the door, you don’t answer that door. Don’t answer it, don’t look out the window, make sure that your father’s slippers are hid, put somewhere else,” because we were on welfare. So there seemed to be a we against them sort of mentality. And I think that that has, and there’s still some of that, but I think it’s decreasing. There’s not as much hostility in seeing people who are kind of affiliated, representatives of the city with those who are living in the communities. I think that gap has lessened. And I think a lot of that has a lot to do with having people of color in those systems that the city runs. There’s nothing like being able to see somebody that looks like you affiliated with the city operations.

Ralph: 28:12 Mayor Sayles Belton when she was the mayor, Erin

[inaudible 00:28:20]

, the now police chief, I know this is Saint Paul but mayor Coleman of Saint Paul. Still I think you know it says something about the twin cities. Just seeing people that look like you. Am I still on point with the question? ‘Cause but I forgot what the question …

Interviewer: 28:41 You’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine.

Ralph: 28:45 So you know, I see represented there that there is some traction, and I think as long as we try to keep the communication … Lines of communication open between city residents get some good feedback, allow for positive conflict to take place, constructive differences to be voiced and mitigated. I think the future looks bright.

Interviewer: 29:16 So what are your expectations of the city of Minneapolis? I think you kind of answered this one, so I guess the question is gonna be: what are your expectations of Minneapolis relative to this community? And I think you kind of answered that so I’ll just go to the second question which is to what extent do you trust that they’ll do the things that you expect them to do?
Ralph: 29:41 Well my trust is great as long as there’s input. Real, sincere, just input, communication’s open, representation of various levels of the city government from the citizenry at large. I’m very, very hopeful. Very, very, very hopeful.

Interviewer: 30:08 Okay, so on a scale of one to ten, where do you put them at with the input?
Ralph: 30:15 I’d say about a six. Yeah, I’d say about a six. But looking historically back I would you know … So it’s come from probably in my mind, a one or two to a six. But still a long ways to go.

Interviewer: 30:32 Alright.

Interviewer: 30:35 What part do you feel you could play in creating that more hopeful future?

Ralph: 30:42 That’s a good question. I think that Pastor Alika said it earlier that we are liberation theologians, I think if we continue to do our job here in that the church that will help because our call’s consistently to work towards freedom of the people from abased work, challenging systemic oppression, we’re doing a North Side Healing Space program that we’ll hear of and begin some time in the near future. If we continue to do that, that will contribute to the city becoming a better place to live. And as we continue to tell our people to resist, resist, resist, resist, don’t feel like you don’t have any power. As one community leader told me in the south of Atlanta, female, about the housing projects she said, “Just say it. Whether your verbs line up or not, just say it. Just keep on talking and keep on expressing where your position is.” So if we continue to empowering people to speak out, to continue to reach out, make coalitions, build partnerships for the sake of justice, fairness, inclusion then the city will move in the right direction. But we’ve got to do our part and that is to work towards that end together. It’s not just the city, it’s all of us.

Interviewer: 32:11 That is all of our questions for today, Pastor.
Ralph: 32:14 Okay, great, great. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful work that you’re doing.

Interviewer: 32:18 Thank you.

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