Minneapolis Project Explained

 

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Minneapolis Interview Project

Motivation:

My motivations are complex. These factors are all part of the reason I am doing this:

  • I lived in thirteen different places in four states by the time I was twelve.
  • As a child the story of my Dad’s family’s escape from Nazi Germany came with a lesson: nationalism is bigotry. Love humanity and principles, not places.
  • After my trip around the perimeter of the United States on a bicycle in 2011-12 (story told in my forth-coming book Turtle Road) I concluded that attachment to place (even places we hate) might be innate for humans.

All of these factors made me want to interrogate the place I have called home since I arrived here, on my own, at the age of seventeen.

  • My motivation at this moment — to crawl out of my introverted shell and get out there and talk to people — is a response to the passing of Kirk Washington Jr. in April of 2016. There are so many questions I wanted to ask him. He embodied the philosophy of building social justice through personal connections. His interactions were always on the profound level. I don’t want to miss chances to connect anymore.

Parameters:

  • 100 interviews from May 28 2016- May 28 2017.
  • Interviewees have lived and/or worked in Minneapolis.
  • By interviewing people of different ages, races, genders, economic classes, migration experiences, who live in different parts of this city, I hope to see as much of the elephant that is Minneapolis as possible.

Questions:

  • How do places define us?
  • How we build communities that celebrate place and culture without building walls/ gates?
  • How we create borders for corporations and developers and tear down walls and regulations for working people. On the national level we combat a free trade economy. On a local level, gentrification is basically the same process.
  • How do we combat bigotry couched in nationalism or local pride?
  • Can we love local places and enjoy their evolution as newcomers arrive?
  • What does a focus on place tell us about how to advance social justice?

HOWEVER….letting people tell the stories they need to tell is more important than my questions.

Methods

  • I use a tape recorder and a notebook.
  • I am creating an essay based primarily on the interviewees in their own words, rearranged to tell full stories, with occasional words changes for clarification.
  • Interviewees may edit the final version before publication.
  • I am sensitive to telling only the story of the interviewee. If the stories of others are told I will most likely omit or curtail them so the focus is on the interviewee.
  • I do not check stories for verification except for known facts like dates, places, and names.
  • Each essay is accompanied by at least one photograph.

Final Project
The final finished project will include the compiled interviews and an analytical essay. A book.

5 thoughts on “Minneapolis Project Explained”

  1. How interesting! Just a question, because I have after wondered how to integrate everyone to develop more harmony. Are you interveiwing any drug addicts or those who have served time in prison? As part of the 100?

    1. Yes. I want as many perspectives as possible. Do you know someone I should interview? As long as they lived or worked in Minneapolis they qualify. I would like to reach people who are or have struggles with addiction and/or time in prison.

  2. I am so impressed with the work of Ann and David and would like to be a part of it somehow. I think they might be interested in interviewing my ex-son-ion-law, Peter Franck who lives in Bennewitz, Germany, who is a believer in non-violence – gerdpeterfranck@gmail.com
    telephone 49(0)3425857793

    1. Great to hear from you Polly! This is my project, though Dave must put up with it. I would like to interview you! My focus in on people who work/live int Minneapolis. I am looking at scheduling interviews after September 19 ( I am speaking at the East Side Freedom Library about my book on the bike trip on the 19th if you can come..) So if you are available sometime between the 19th and October 6 –let me know. Otherwise later in October.

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