Interview of Tanya Wooten
Interviewer: 00:02 And, who are we interviewing?
Tanya Wooten: 00:06 You’re interviewing Tanya Wooten.
Interviewer: 00:08 We are interviewing Tanya Wooten. Tanya, do we have permission to capture your story on behalf of the city of Minneapolis?
Tanya Wooten: 00:17 Yes.
Interviewer: 00:23 Well, thank you for being a part of this moment so we can capture your story. And so, can we please start with your first, last name and the spelling please? Your first and last name and the spelling.
Tanya Wooten: 00:39 First name is Tanya, T-A-N-Y-A. Last name is Wooten, W-O-O-TE-N.
Interviewer: 00:46 Appreciate that. Appreciate that. We have this map for you. And, it’s a reference map for us of the area that we are collecting the stories for, on the north side of Minneapolis. Can you please identify any area on this map that you have lived, or are currently living in?
Tanya Wooten: 01:26 Well, I grew up over on 12th, 12th over here. But, I find Will Park over there. But, I lived more over here. I used to live right over here.
Interviewer: 01:42 Sounds good, in the College Park area. Yes, 15th Avenue, 14th Avenue, with Morgan. Okay. In that area?
Tanya Wooten: 01:50 Well, no, it’s more like on 20, well, where North Commons is. It’s more like by 21st-
Interviewer: 01:56 21st?
Tanya Wooten: 01:57 So, as you can see, so it’s really not on there. See, I grew up on 12th, so. That’s where my Mom lives. But, that … I grew up over there.
Interviewer: 02:30 Okay. Sounds good. Well, thinking back, from when you first came to this area, to today, what changes have you seen, positive and negative?
Tanya Wooten: 02:39 What do you want first? The positives or the negatives? Which way you … what direction … well, let me start negative and then we end on a good note, I guess.
Interviewer: 02:49 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 02:51 Negative, for me, that we still seem to have a lot of people that like to come in and cause problems in the area that they’re really not from. Or don’t live, you know? Don’t live, don’t really care, they just seem to wander. And, you know they’re probably not from here when they start … when there’s issues in the neighborhood.
Interviewer: 03:14 Okay. Is there a specific story you have surrounding that? Or an experience that you experienced?
Tanya Wooten: 03:27 Bad, yeah. Being li-
Interviewer: 03:28 Would you, would you mind sharing-
Tanya Wooten: 03:31 Well, sure I can. Just living, being, growing up over on the North. I’ve been actually over at North side all my life-
Tanya Wooten: 03:37 … until recently I had to … behind me. Finally leave. But, having issues where I was staying, in the area where I was staying at. Having my house getting shot at with a gun from somebody shooting from across the way and injuring, messing up cars. And then, people hitting the car, going down the street. I’ve had issues like that. Somebody shot through the house and luckily that I had happened to, a couple minutes before that go into the kitchen and get ice water. But, it came through … went straight through the TV.
Interviewer: 04:12 Wow.
Tanya Wooten: 04:15 So, that’s not a good thing, of course. And, just like I said, cars getting hit. You know? And, just being parked and they get hit. And, you go out, bam. What?
Interviewer: 04:26 Wow.
Tanya Wooten: 04:27 And, that happened a couple different times, you know? Being over here, unfortunately.
Interviewer: 04:32 Yeah. Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 04:32 You know, they have good moments. Good moments that they’re trying. Things seem to be getting a little better. I mean it’s been a long process. Being over here and seeing it. And, people are still, you’re on the North side? What are you doing? You know what I mean?
Interviewer: 04:46 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 04:47 It’s getting better. It’s getting better but, the process is so slow. That’s all.
Interviewer: 04:51 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 04:51 That’s the only sad thing.
Interviewer: 04:53 The process is slow.
Tanya Wooten: 04:54 It’s getting … but, yeah. I’m getting up there now and then being from back in the day, I could walk down the street with no problems. Now, you’ve got somebody, you want to buy something? What? You need anything? No. I mean, you know to that type of thinking.
Interviewer: 05:18 Anything else you’d like to add? As far as the changes positive or negative?
Tanya Wooten: 05:22 Well, yeah, just positive would be that they are doing a lot more things. That they’re trying to do different things for people to get involved in, to help the neighborhood, to be a part of, to support. Like the different businesses you have, that I’m reading. When I read, like I said, I’m not overhearing more. But I don’t stay on this side of town now.
Tanya Wooten: 05:46 Just because I had to go. But, just that they’re putting it out there of things that people can get involved in, who are still here, who have been here for a lot of years.
Interviewer: 05:58 Thank you for sharing.
Tanya Wooten: 05:59 It’s good.
Interviewer: 06:00 Yeah. What do you feel caused the changes you’ve seen in the area over the years?
Tanya Wooten: 06:06 Just people who, elders, and just people … that have a strong feeling for community. That they feel community is a good thing, And if you’re over here, you need to support your community to see that it can get better. It doesn’t have to fall through, you know?
Interviewer: 06:22 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 06:22 We don’t have to be like some of the other places like Chicago and Steel town and we can stand up, give a name for our … you know, for our … for North Minneapolis.
Tanya Wooten: 06:34 Just in general Minneapolis.
Interviewer 06:35 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 06:36 You known what I mean? Just, yeah. I guess.
Interviewer: 06:40 Yeah. I appreciate that. Appreciate that. Yeah. Okay. So, we are gathering stories to increase understanding between city of Minneapolis and the community, and the impact of historical discriminatory government policies, and practices in areas like housing, transportation, economic development, and more. Examples include housing and employment discrimination in the early 20th century, the war on drugs in the 1990’s, and others. What impact, after saying all that, what impact have these policies or others have had on the community in general? And, what impact have they had on you or your family,personally?
Tanya Wooten: 07:29 Some of it’s been a help. Some of it hasn’t.
Interviewer: 07:34 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 07:37 As far as, I’ll put it … I’ll just comment on a couple of them. Employment, being able to have the employment center that was on Plymouth there. But, I don’t remember where it moved to now. You know what I’m talking about. The one that used to be on Emerson and Plymouth. The workforce center. That was a big impact for me when I was going through job change. That did help.
Interviewer: 08:09 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 08:10 That helped-
Interviewer: 08:11 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 08:11 … having that there helped-
Interviewer: 08:14 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 08:14 … at the time. Years back now, it’s been a little while. Its been, what? Ten years, or eight years, whatever it was. Can’t remember now and I had to really use it. But, it was a good thing. And, I think it’s still. I don’t know where it’s located now. But, I know it’s not in that building anymore. But, that has been a good thing. And, I hear still about different, like emerging and they had a couple different spots. And, I still read about that too. And, that’s been a good thing. And, let’s see, what else can I touch on? What did you say?
Interviewer: 08:55 So, there’s the housing, employment discrimination in the early 20th century. And, then there’s the war on drugs in 1990’s. How did that affect the area, the war on drugs? Did that affect it at all, from your personal experience?
Tanya Wooten: 09:10 Well, that wasn’t a role that I really had to deal with. And, I was… that’s a hard thing.
Interviewer 09:21 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 09:21 Just seeing a lot of people who had to deal with that.
Interviewer: 09:24 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 09:24 That kind of thing, and just seeing how peoples reaction. Because, I mean, I had just, neighbors who were strung out on drugs and its just like, watching the craziness of all that.
Interviewer: 09:34 Yeah. Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 09:34 See their life’s change when they did the drugs. But, the good thing about that, a couple of them, they’re clear from the drugs. And, it took them to go rock bottom to get, to pull their self back up. And, that’s a good thing to see.
Interviewer: 09:50 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 09:51 It took them three or four years for that to happen and a lot of bad things to happen to them. But, it made them grow in the end and seeing that’s been a good thing.
Interviewer: 10:01 That’s good.
Tanya Wooten: 10:02 But, for me personally, having to see friends like that. And, I personally, I haven’t had to deal with that kind of thing.
Interviewer: 10:16 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 10:16 Because that … you know?
Tanya Wooten: 10:16 Good enough?
Interviewer: 10:16 Yeah. I appreciate it. I appreciate you taking your time.
Tanya Wooten: 10:16 I don’t know what I’m supposed to be saying. But, I mean that’s-
Interviewer: 10:16 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 10:16 … one of my experience, you know?
Interviewer: 10:16 Oh, yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 10:21 That I’ve had someone have to deal with that. They went down that road and unfortunately, got picked their self back up. Fell, and got back up, so-
Interviewer: 10:27 Right. Amen.
Tanya Wooten: 10:28 So, you know?
Interviewer: 10:32 On that note, how would you describe the relationship between the city of Minneapolis and the community over the years?
Tanya Wooten: 10:41 Now, my issue, when you’re saying city of Minneapolis, that’s a broad … are you talking …when you’re saying that I’m like, wait a minute. Am I going in a different direction than he wants me to be?
Interviewer: 10:51 Oh, no.
Tanya Wooten: 10:52 When you say city of Minneapolis are you talking about as a whole Minneapolis scene, the whole big picture with all the different elements? Or what are you meaning?
Interviewer: 11:01 I mean, I’m going to guide the question with the policy makers-
Tanya Wooten: 11:06 Okay
Interviewer: 11:07 … still stay policy focused still.
Tanya Wooten: 11:11 Okay.
Interviewer: 11:12 Those who are making the policies. Those who are kind of anchoring certain laws that affect the community. Those that are kind of behind the programs that affect the community. So, what is the relationship between the members of the community and the members of those that are creating the policies? The structure that-
Tanya Wooten: 11:34 Okay.
Interviewer: 11:34 … we call the city of Minneapolis.
Tanya Wooten: 11:34 Well, my … okay, if you’re putting it like that. I think some of the … some of them I have a problem with. The one basically I found … okay, when you have your home in the city of Minneapolis, it seems like you’re not an owner of your home. There’s always an issue. You know?
Interviewer: 11:54 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 11:54 You’re supposed to be paying on your home but, then they about to tell you what to do if your grass is an inch high. They’re sending you a letter, “Oh, you’ve got to cut your grass.” Or, if you’ve got a tree a little in the alley, they go, “Oh, you’ve got to cut that down or else were going to have somebody come. You only have x amount of days to do it.” In that instance it doesn’t make you feel like you own your home really because they want to tell you what to do. They want to tell you how to do it. I mean-
Interviewer: 12:22 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 12:23 … sometimes, yeah, that happens and I know that’s still maintenance. But, they made it seem … because I have friends now. It’s like my mom. It’s always something. Oh, they’re telling me that I’ve got to do this or this bush is higher than it should be. And this … I’m like, okay Mom. You know what I mean? That’s … I think it comes to that type of thing that’s the only thing that
Tanya Wooten: 12:47 … that’s my issue with the city. I think they’re doing some positive things. I guess. Because we have all these different projects going on. You’ve got the line going through, which that I’m like, what?
Interviewer: 12:58 What’s your opinion on the line? What is your thoughts on the
Tanya Wooten: 13:02 I don’t think its needed over here-… because I think it’s going to get taken advantage of.
Interviewer: 13:08 Okay. Speak more to that. What do you mean by taken advantage of?
Tanya Wooten: 13:11 Well, if you have a line just like you have the train going down.
Now, I’m a little confused. Is it an actual train? Or is it a busline? You know what I’m saying? I’m still kind of confused-
Interviewer: 13:22 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 13:22 … as to what kind of line was it? I really haven’t read enough to really be speaking on that. So, I don’t know. I really shouldn’t speak on it.
Interviewer: 13:32 Okay. Let’s say it was a train. Like in St. Paul, instead of-
Tanya Wooten: 13:36 Like the blue line or the green line-
Interviewer: 13:38 Then again it’s-
Tanya Wooten: 13:38 Yeah. I think that’s going to be taken advantage of. And, I think that’s a big thing to have on North side because I know a lot of people, some people can’t afford that. And they’re going to jump on it like they do it downtown now. To get a free ride, they jump on the train.
Interviewer: 13:53 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 13:53 Over here, I think they can go somewhere and do something and jump right on the little train and they ain’t going to get caught.
Interviewer: 13:59 Wow. Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 14:00 That’s my … I mean, just being where the route, the line, the way that it’s going.
Tanya Wooten: 14:07 That’s my only concern. I hope that it’s going to be beneficial. But, I just … being the area that it’s in, unfortunately, I don’t want to make it as a bad thing. Its just, I don’t know that a lot of people will use it, and use it honestly like it should be used. You know what I mean?
Interviewer: 14:26 Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 14:26 Because that’s the money that people have put in to make it happen.
Tanya Wooten: 14:31 And the support. So, that’s my only downfall. But, I mean it’s a good thing if it works. I hope it does. I hope it’s beneficial and-
Tanya Wooten: 14:38 … I mean, I really do. Like the regular buses were for some people. But, I just … that just seems like, okay. That route though?
Interviewer: 14:49 Right. Okay.
Tanya Wooten: 14:50 That’s my only concern. I don’t know.
Interviewer: 14:54 I appreciate your honesty. So, one final question. For a hopeful future, how do you see the relationship between the city of Minneapolis and the community coming together to produce such a hopeful future? So, let’s say there’s hope for the future. What would be the steps needed? Or, a step needed from your perspective, to create a hopeful future? Or, to push the north side forward in a positive way?
Tanya Wooten: 15:25 That they listen to the community more because I think that they hear it but they don’t respond on it. They’ll respond on what they want to respond on. And, they don’t really respond on some of the issues that people have put forth. Because you hear, over the years you’ve seen that. I read things that people talked about. And, that was talked about ten years ago and then now, they want to implement it. Or, they didn’t want to give it shot before. I understand maybe it could have been money issues or something. But, it got put on the back burner. And, now we have the train, now we have the line going through. I mean, You know what I mean? Oh, but, you want to do a new line to keep up with the other cities. I mean, to me that was a tactic, to try to be like the other cities, for me. I mean that’s just me speaking.
Tanya Wooten: 16:26 I just feel that they don’t hear you sometimes. They don’t hear enough of what they should. And, act upon it, and figure out a way. They don’t really give the community … they can go out and say really. I mean, they can send a flyer. Okay. We can have a meeting or two. You only have four people show up. I mean, I understand that’s probably what the problem is.
Interviewer: 16:50 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 16:50 But, I think there’s … I don’t know how to implement that. But, they need to hear more from the community. I don’t think a lot of … enough is being done to get people to support the community and step up for it and say, heres what I want. You know what I mean?
Tanya Wooten: 17:11 And, I understand you only have so many community meetings. You know what I’m saying?
Interviewer: 17:15 Yeah.
Tanya Wooten: 17:16 I don’t know how to put it, you know?
Interviewer: 17:17 No, I appreciate-
Tanya Wooten: 17:21 I’m sorry. I know got long winded, a little attitude. I know.
Interviewer: 17:23 No, that’s what this is, this is about we want your honest truth-
Tanya Wooten: 17:30 I just really don’t feel that they-
Interviewer: 17:31 … and your honest perspective.
Tanya Wooten: 17:32 … are really giving the community a chance. I mean a lot of them … that’s why a lot of people have a need from the area. Just because their voices haven’t been heard. I have friends that have done that. And, I have some right now that are strong leaders right now that are starting to do big things. Things are happening for them, you know?
Interviewer: 17:53 That’s good.
Tanya Wooten: 17:54 A couple of my people that I went to school with are doing big things and making big changes for the community. I’m just so happy for them and proud that they are taking the initiative to do what they have to do. You know Bobby Joe, you know him?
Interviewer: 18:06 Yeah, that’s good.
Tanya Wooten: 18:07 That’s my guy. I went to school with him. Graduated with him and my girl, Lisa. And I’m like, what?
Tanya Wooten: 18:13 So, yeah, I mean, I have-… friends out there who are doing big things and really wanted to back the community up. And, I feel so happy for them that they are.
Tanya Wooten: 18:21 We need a push-… more people to do some pushing.
Tanya Wooten: 18:26 Instead of complaining like Tanya. But, I’m not complaining. It’s just been a long time. I’ve tried to … I’ve been in some discussions and meetings over the years too. So, maybe I haven’t just because I had to make some changes in my life too. But-
Interviewer: 18:44 Like we all do.
Tanya Wooten: 18:46 Not out of the area, but I still support the North side. But, anyway. Okay.
Interviewer: 18:52 I appreciate you taking your time just to tell your story. That’s what this is about.
Tanya Wooten: 18:55 Okay.
Interviewer: 18:55 Just questions that just provoke, what is your honest experience? I really want you to know that I appreciate hearing your story, from your vantage point. So, blessing to your journey.
Tanya Wooten: 19:13 Yeah, thank you.