Saving North High School, Preserving a Community Stalwart

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Click on Photo to Watch Video About Campaign to Save North High School

Click on Photo to Watch Video About Campaign to Save North High School

When administrators revealed a plan last spring to shut down North High School — one of only two public schools on Minneapolis’ embattled north side — MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) and other activists answered the call. They launched a door-knocking campaign, held public meetings, and successfully pressured administrators to keep the school open.

NOC Executive Director Steve Fletcher spoke to The UpTake about the campaign to save North High, the role the nonprofit played following the May 22 tornado that made thousands of northside residents homeless, and why — in the Internet age — door knocking is still the most effective method of community organizing.

North Minneapolis is a place in need of solutions. Poverty, lack of jobs, and a housing crisis are longstanding systemic problems that were only magnified by the tornado that swept through the area on May 22, 2011. And yet, amid these serious needs we’re seeing creativity and innovation from solution-makers taking action. Immediate disaster relief came from individuals such as Peter Kerre from, non-profits like Urban Homeworks, and coalitions like the Northside Community Response Team. These solution-makers are learning to remedy what some Northsiders call the “storm before the storm.”

The UpTake’s Northside Project is seeking out those making inspired, positive change in North Minneapolis. We encourage donations to the many non-profits making a positive impact in North Minneapolis: Produced by The UpTake with support from the Bush Foundation.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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