Beyond Contempt: Abhorrent Behaviour Towards Local Residents
This weekend was the Grand Opening for the greenway. It was advertised to the community as “Enjoy music, food, and fun with your community”, and “Come share your thoughts on the temporary greenway, and hear what your neighbors think”. Further along that same flyer – that was mailed to residents by the City of Minneapolis Health Department – stated “A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at Folwell Park at 5pm (food provided).
At the bottom, the flyer stated “This project is funded in part by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the City of Minneapolis.
With all this talk of “community” and “food provided” and health, we were shocked and horrified when a (pregnant) neighbourhood resident came up to our booth, visibly upset. She told us that she had just been over by the food stations, and was asked what she thought of the greenway. She said that she had replied that she wasn’t overly happy about it, but was there to enjoy an afternoon outside with her young son.
|At that point, Vish Vasani (Vish.Vasani@minneapolismn.gov) told her that the food and water was only for supporters of the greenway, and denied it to the woman and her 2 year old son. She did this in front of many witnesses, and left that poor woman feeling humiliated. After letting us know what happened, she left the event visibly shaken, and on the verge of tears.
We later found out that this woman was feeling the effects of heatsickness when she went up for some water.
Which indicated that it wasn’t an isolated event. In that thread, the poster further stated that “All she did was argue and snap at people. She was horrible and I guess from the health department. What a miserable,nasty women”, which mirrored a lot of the comments we were receiving at our booth.
Further, in the comments for the thread:
I would like to reiterate that NO WHERE on the flyer did it state that you have to be a supporter to partake in this event, or that the provided food – which was apparently at least partially taxpayer funded – came on the condition of support. This was supposed to be an event for community engagement.
Instead of “engagement” (which one would assume to have been meant in the positive sense of the word), we get more of the same contempt for residents. You are actively driving a wedge through this community.
Greenway council and supporters: This is beyond shameful. The fact that you have people with such contempt for the residents that are negatively impacted by your actions is exactly why you are seeing this uprising against the Greenway.
City of Minneapolis Health Department, Blue Cross Blue Shield: How healthy is it to deny a pregnant woman food and water on a hot day, exactly? Or are you only concerned about the health of the cycling lobbyists that are taking a salary from this project, and those along the route who lack empathy for others? Because those are your supporters. Those are the ones you deemed exclusively entitled to the food and water at this public event.
You turned away people who live on the very street you completely shut down for this greenway.
I am beyond disgusted. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Editing to add: Apparently once residents complained about this behaviour to another member of the greenway council, they started allowing non-supporter residents to partake. At least someone was smart enough to see the negative impact their discrimination would have.