Walker Church, hub of Mpls activist community, burns after lightning strike
Organizations including Communities United Against Police Brutality, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) and the Welfare Rights Committee likely suffered severe if not total losses to their offices. This post will be updated as information becomes available. Our heart goes out to that church that had the biggest heart, that always had space and welcome for activists since the 1960s.
UPDATE MIDNIGHT: The pastor onsite told TCIMC community dinner will be served at the site of the church at the usual time, 5:30PM tomorrow (Mon). // Community Meeting Monday, 1PM Waite House (11th Ave & 24th St)
UPDATE 6:30PM 5/28: Possibly contradicting rumor of arson related to yellow truck, someone familiar with the IWW event immediately before the fire said several people were present when lightning struck the church, but no one was in the structure when the fire was strong enough to be noticed. Also about four bikes were destroyed.
// [pics by Brad Sigal & unknown via Facebook]. New Facebook page for community coordination // More coverage: TC Daily Planet at Community meeting // Recording of MFD emergency radio transmissions // Star Tribune, aftermath story, firefighter story // MPR // RawStory // WCCO [VIDEO] // KSTP [VIDEO] // History of Walker Church // Pics: Powderhorn365 - more //BELOW THE FOLD: Notes from community meeting, pictures from witnesses, please share your memories of this amazing, incomparable space below. //
UPDATE 1AM 5/28: "EMERGENCY MEETING RE: WALKER CHURCH FIRE
Monday, May 28 at 1 p.m. - Waite House, 2323 11th Ave S, Minneapolis
A number of community organizations including CUAPB, Welfare Rights Committee, MIRAC and others lost our offices, computers, records, etc. in a devastating fire that destroyed Walker Church. We are all now left scrambling for meeting space and other resources so that we can continue our important work. We also want to help the Walker Church family--who does so much for the community--get back on their feet. Please attend this community meeting to be together and help us figure out how to start to move forward."
Photos by: Steff Yorek, Minneapolis American Indian Movement, WCCO, Instagram/Bikewrecked, Ryan, Janell Lynch/WCCO CBS, Gillette West, Danielle. Click for full version.
Additionally, lightning strikes were reported to cause likely at least three home fires in the Twin Cities. However the Star Tribune reported multiple neighbors saw two people leave the church and get in a yellow truck. (10:03AM updated version, not print version)
But several people who live across from the church , which is at the corner of 16th Avenue S. and E. 31st Street, said they saw two men run out of the church and jump into a yellow pickup about 15 minutes before the blaze erupted.
"They came running out the front door and they kept looking back," said Michael Stewart, who lives in a duplex kitty corner to the church. "A few minutes later, I saw smoke coming out of the top of the church."
Loutongia Adkins, who also lives at the duplex, said she got a call from Stewart telling her about the two men running out. As she sat down on her porch, she said she noticed the smoke and flames at the western top portion of the church.
"He said that that didn't look right," Adkins said as she watched the futile effort to save the church. "It couldn't have been no lightning strike."
Emergency Community Meeting
( Abridged & public notes )
please circulate to persons not using Facebook and groups that were not represented at this meeting.
An emergency community meeting took place after Walker Church fire, hosted at by the Waite House, on May 28th, 2012.
About 85 person attended the meeting, contact addresses were collected, the Welfare Right Committee is managing that list.
The meeting started with people sharing reflections on Walker Church and what the fire means to the community.
#Upcoming Events & Available Spaces
Lists have been made of the upcoming events planned at the Walker Church and the space available.
Contact information for those spaces are available on demand for the groups
# Ongoing Needs of Walker Tenants
• Occupy needs space with a kitchen, meeting space for Wednesday night
• MIRAc needs meeting space (Saturdays 11-1), office space, office supplies
• Welfare Rights Committee needs meeting space with child care area (Saturdays), office space, computer, file cabinets, toys, videos and TV/player
• CUAPB needs a consistent place to have meetings each Saturday (1:30 to 4:30), office space, computers, a scanner, a phone, furniture, file cabinets, copwatch cameras and vests. Needs help recovering data.
• CSFR needs place to meet and hold dinners
• Groups with offices in Walker lost articles, pictures and other memorabilia of our work. Call has been made for people having such documents.
# Other Ideas
• creating website for resource sharing => http://www.facebook.com/WalkerChurchCommunity will be that space for now, a listserv should be set up too
• Joint fundraisers
• Work to help Walker get rebuilt
Welfare Rights Committee info: If you would like to donate to WRC you could make checks or money orders out to WRC and send them to welfare rights committee PO Box 7266, Mpls. Mn. 55407.