Community Resilience – One Year since the North Minneapolis Tornado

On May 22, 2011, North Minneapolis was hit by tornados, which damaged about 3,700 buildings and killed two people, and left the community devastated. The Northside Community Response Team (NCRT), created by local organizations for coordinated disaster recovery effort, was immediately activated to provide resources, partnerships, and other support for residents in the area. Partnering with Urban Homeworks, they focused on housing rebuilding efforts. Since the disaster, out of the 206 worst-hit structures, 149 have been repaired or are under repair, 48 have been demolished, and 9 still remain damaged. Although progress on rebuilding efforts has been significant, the community is still recovering from the psychological scar. The residents still have a difficult time coming to terms with fear and anxiety associated with Tornado warning. Moreover, the newly built houses are different from the old houses where residents have their fond memories.

On May 21 2012, the North Minneapolis community and the city officials celebrated their one year anniversary commemorating the community’s resilience. A new tree was planted to honor a hero who was killed while he was saving others during the disaster and balloons that symbolize hope, healing, and resilience, were released.[1]  In an art class, students at the Lucy Craft Laney Elementary School drew their recollections  on the disaster. They drew big dark spirals of the tornado and damaged houses, but also pictures of rebuilding, which signifies the community’s future potential.[2]

The practice of remembrance signifies an individual’s sense of belonging to a community[3], which ultimately increases solidarity of the community to stay strong and to keep moving forward. Maintaining community resilience is challenging especially when recovery is still in-progress.

What are other practices of healing that foster community resilience?

[3] Cohen, S.  and Hoberman, H.M. (1983). “Positive Events and Social Support as Buffers of Life Change Stress,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 13, 99-125.


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