Community event blocks off West Broadway in hopes to unite 

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The Minneapolis Police Department blocked off West Broadway to vehicle traffic Saturday afternoon so that the street could fill with more than 200 booths with various vendors, community groups, and small businesses.

“We have the most participants than we have at any ‘Open Streets’ event,” said Ember Rasmussen, an event coordinator. “So this community really cares about coming together and making space to celebrate what’s good and lively.”

A celebration Saturday on West Broadway took place after the neighborhood was dealing with tragedy just days ago.

On Thursday night, four people were shot nearby at the corner of West Broadway and North Lyndale Avenues.

That same night, officers said a 16-year-old boy died after a shooting on Plymouth Avenue between Knox and James in North Minneapolis.

“Everybody who is out here today needs to be out here every day pushing the problem we have in the community aside, saying this is our community,” said Lisa Clemons, a community activist.

Clemons, a former MPD sergeant, runs A Mother’s Love Initiative. She said she wants to see more in the community step up against crime.

The event brought a tear to Derek Armstrong’s eye, thinking about how important the event is for his children to see the many local entrepreneurs working to create new opportunities in the community.

“I hope they do get some insight on how do we come together,” Armstrong said. “We need the true essence of this community…which is love…we need this to vibrate during this time of this chaos that we’re in.”

Open Streets events take place in neighborhoods across Minneapolis to break down barriers — to bring residents together, expose people who live elsewhere to a chance to learn more and allow businesses to reach new faces.