Seward neighbors donate $30,000 for Somali-owned businesses damaged by vandalism

More than 54,000 round-up transactions at Seward co-op helped

Sloane Martin
November 15, 2019 - 4:51 pm

An uplifting story of community from the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Residents have come together to donate $30,000 to the Somali-owned businesses along East Franklin Avenue that were damaged by vandalism in September.

Munya Bana, owner of the Rochester Home Care, says he's thankful for the community.

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"For small businesses going through the loss is a lot," he said. "What's even worse is the mental anguish you're facing."

Harlin St. John, 36, was charged with several counts including property damage because of bias for allegedly throwing rocks through the windows of several businesses on East Franklin Sept. 18.

Tiger Worku lives above one of the properties and said the broken glass woke him up.

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"This campaign wasn't only a campaign of charity; it was a campaign of solidarity," he said. "These are members of our community. I always say, not only do newly-immigrated communities become members of Seward, but Seward becomes them."

$6,000 came from a Go Fund Me page; the rest was from more than 54,000 round-up transactions at the Seward co-op locations.

CAIR Minnesota officials are urging the city to match to cover repair and loss-of-business costs.

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