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Celebrating a Milestone: COPAL Begins Transformation of Future Latino Center for Community Engagement! 

COPAL kicked off the transformation of the future Latino Center for Community Engagement (LCCE) with an event at the site where the former O’Reilly Auto Parts site at 2905 E Lake Street will soon be demolished. 

Local residents and COPAL members gathered to celebrate this significant step forward, marking the beginning of a journey toward realizing a vibrant hub of unity, celebration, and cultural exchange. The demolition symbolizes more than just physical transformation; it signifies the restoration of local ownership and the reaffirmation of the rich historical presence of Latines along Lake Street. 

In May 2020, Minneapolis witnessed the tragic murder of George Floyd, sparking weeks of unrest globally in response to state-sanctioned violence. Four years later, scars remain visible in the vandalized properties of Lake Street, including an abandoned O’Reilly Auto Parts, symbolizing the ongoing pain and divestment in communities of color. However, COPAL is now transforming this site into the Latino Center for Community Engagement, a hub for unity, celebration, and cultural exchange. 

Community members congregated to commemorate the occasion, enjoying music from DJ Low, dance performances and copal burning by Mexica Yolotl, as well as engaging in the tradition of huevos chimbos. Participants were also given the opportunity to use a sledgehammer, symbolically contributing to the deconstruction of the former structure and paving the way for the birth of the LCCE. 

As construction gears up for the LCCE, COPAL is actively working to secure the necessary funding to make this vision a reality. With a diverse range of community spaces planned, including an art gallery, resource center, cafe, and more, the LCCE promises to be a dynamic cornerstone for community and cultural celebration. 

“We are already feeling the change from the previous out-of-state owners. It is refreshing and calming to know that there is a local organization, connected to and invested in our community now occupying this space,” said Katie Zobro Daniels, a neighbor of the LCCE. “Being such a tight-knit community here, we are excited about how the future LCCE will add to our block and neighborhood. We are eager to see more green space and a cheerful building. Having a community center that young families in our neighborhood can participate in will continue to promote healing along the Lake Street corridor.” 

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of the LCCE construction and join us as we embark on this exciting journey towards building a brighter, more inclusive future for all!

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