In the South Minneapolis neighborhood of East Phillips, on Dakota territory, there is a building known as the "Roof Depot." The city of Minneapolis wants to demolish it, to build a highly polluting truck yard and diesel fueling station.
The community has already resisted the demolition plan fiercely, and on many fronts. An Indigenous-led group of community members occupied the site from sunrise to sunset on February 21st, turning it into Nenoocaasi Camp. Minneapolis police destroyed it that night.
Demolition was scheduled to begin on Monday, February 27th, 2023. However, on Friday, February 24th, the court granted an in injunction (temporary restraining order) against the demolition, which means no demolition will happen until the court of appeals schedules a hearing for the East Phillips Neighborhood Institution (EPNI, the plaintiff in the case). This could take anywhere from a month to a year.
While the fight is far from over, this is a major win, which would not have been possible without ALL the incredible organizing and leadership shown by the East Phillips and Little Earth communities, in solidarity with communities far beyond!
We will not allow this demolition to happen, ever. We must keep organizing and fighting to keep it from happening.
Because the Roof Depot is located next door to the old grounds of a pesticide factory that operated from 1938-1963, it sits upon soil with dangerously high levels of arsenic, would put residents at risk of exposure if the building were demolished. The East Phillips neighborhood--which is home to predominantly Black, Brown, and Indigenous residents--already has egregiously high levels of air pollution, and its residents suffer disproportionately from asthma. Community members, public health officials, and environmental activists alike have resoundingly rejected the city's demolition plan and called for it to be cancelled. The demolition plan is environmental racism in action, and we must not allow the city of Minneapolis to continue jeopardizing our neighbors' health for their own extractive, profit-making schemes.
Luckily, an alternative vision for the building and site exists (one that City Council members themselves agreed was a wonderful proposal, until Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed it): Turn the Roof Depot into a community hub and mutual aid center, complete with a year-round indoor farm that creates good jobs and runs on green energy. Despite nearly a decade of passionate advocacy to convince the city to support this community-led vision, on January 26th, Minneapolis City Council members voted 7-6 to demolish the Roof Depot.
It is now up to us (and up to you) to...
1. Stop the Roof Depot from being demolished, now or ever. We must respect the community's wish to prevent demolition, and we must protect the community's health by keeping the arsenic in the ground, and keeping the city’s polluting truck yard expansion project away from this already overburdened neighborhood.
2. Work to actualize the community's vision of the Roof Depot as a joyful site of aid and urban agriculture, for the Little Earth and East Phillips communities and beyond.
Urban Farm, Not Toxic Harm!