In Minneapolis, environmental justice advocates are appealing to Minnesota’s state Legislature and Supreme Court for relief, after city counselors voted 7 to 6 to demolish a warehouse on a former Superfund site in south Minneapolis. Residents of the East Phillips neighborhood and surrounding communities fear the demolition of the Roof Depot site would stir up toxic chemicals from an area known as “the arsenic triangle,” and have proposed turning the building into an indoor urban farm and community business hub. Last month, over 100 Minneapolis police swarmed the site and arrested eight activists who had occupied the space to prevent its demolition. This is Cassie Holmes, a resident of the nearby Little Earth housing complex, which is home to many Native Americans.
Cassie Holmes: “The way I found out about this site was that I had lost my oldest son, who was 16, to a heart condition he wasn’t born with. My best friend lost a child at an early age of 20, after her second child, to a heart disease she wasn’t born with. We lost friends to asthma attacks. And we start learning about how toxic the air is in our community. And then, so we wanted to create a green space with green living, green jobs, green training, and it was going to be at this site right here. But the city threatened eminent domain. They got the site. And what they want to do is break down, demolish this building, which is encapsulated arsenic. And everything that they want to bring in is just going to create a lot more toxic pollution for our already overtoxic community.”