Protests call for more resources

A march through Cedar-Riverside last week attracted about 50 people protesting against terrorism, Islamophobia and a lack of community resources.

For the past several months, the neighborhood has been under investigation because a few of its residents have left the United States to join foreign terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State, or ISIS, and al-Shabaab. Now, some residents worry that these investigations have cast their community in a negative light.

As the protests continued last Tuesday, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, joined and addressed the crowd outside the Brian Coyle Center. She and many of the protesters argued that a lack of resources hinders the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood from developing positive community programs to help local youth feel valued and included.

Apparently sharing the same concerns, the U.S. Department of Justice recently selected the Twin Cities to participate in a pilot program designed to decrease terror recruitment by fostering community support for young people. The program brings together local law enforcement agents, religious leaders and prosecutors to develop a cooperative strategy to prevent foreign terror recruitment.

As part of the program, local leaders can  contact Washington to ask for whatever resources they need to help them be successful.

We support the cause behind the rallies in Cedar-Riverside, and we hope that the new federal program will be successful in providing more resources to the community. Additionally, we encourage Kahn, along with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, to help Cedar-Riverside community leaders develop after-school initiatives and community outreach programs to benefit youth who may be targeted.