Uptown Begins Cleaning Up, Even As Protests Continue

16June 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a fluid situation as activists from several justice groups and some who came on their own continue to hold vigil outside the parking garage where Winston Smith was killed and the road where Deona Knajdek was killed.

But unlike Tuesday, the street is now open, and so are some businesses.

After scrubbing the sidewalks and painting the walls, the pain will never go away — but much of the graffiti is now gone.

“I get the protesting but I just don’t get the looting and the destruction of property,” Marvin Applewhite of Blueline Cleaning said. “I don’t think that’s peaceful protesting.”

Applewhite is leading a team of volunteers working to restore the look of a damaged neighborhood.

“It makes the neighborhood look unwelcoming with all the graffiti everywhere and stuff like that,” he said. “That’s just my opinion.”

After weeks of protests, officers reopened the area Tuesday. Protesters resisted, but eventually traffic resumed.

“Bring more of the community out to fight back, they push, we push,” Applewhite said.

About a dozen protesters are holding vigil around the clock, telling WCCO they are staying put. It’s making some neighbors uneasy.

“It’s very angering, it makes me sad,” Nancy Carlson said. “And then, at night when we go to bed, we don’t know if it’s gonna blow up. So there’s a lot of fear and anxiety throughout all this.”

Carlson has lived in this neighborhood for 30 years.

“I have a lot of support for the values and the movement but the tactics are wrong,” she said. “The target of their passion and commitment and wrath – this neighborhood – is misdirected.”

Some sense of familiarity returned during the day Wednesday, as several businesses reopened feet away from where the grieving continues.

“My hope in this movement is they probably could peacefully protest without being destructive of property and without stopping the visitors from coming to spend their money,” Applewhite said.

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Author: WCCO | CBS Minnesota

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