Saturday, September 27, 2008

For All That We Have Achieved (The Speech Of Executive Director Laban Ohito

Photo By Pam Patrek

At the Annual Meeting our new Executive Director, Laban Ohito, delivered his speech in formal attire, of course! But the photo above shows him as we so often see him...digging into the messy details, pitching in, not afraid to get his hands dirty. This photo was taken by Pam Patrek during a "Rebuilding Together" event in the Eco-Village.

Here is the text of Director Ohito's prepared remarks delivered September 25.

I want to welcome you all to our Annual Dinner for the year 2008. This is a time for us to celebrate the achievements we have made for the last one year.

For all that we have achieved, we are indebted to all those individuals who dedicated themselves to improving the lives of people who reside in our neighborhood and bettering our community.

They deserve recognition and our lasting thanks for the contribution they made toward improving life for all of us right from the day of our organization's inception. Our special gratitude goes to:

* The City of Minneapolis for funding us through NRP.

* General Mills for continuous assistance.

* Home Depot.

* The McKnight Foundation.

It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to let you know that we have a plan to unveil a new strategy for developing the Hawthorne community. The four major goals identified by our Board include:

Affordable Housing--Maintain and expand the supply of safe, affordable housing throughout the community.

Business Development--Help businesses grow in ways which create employment opportunities for lower income persons.

Environmental Conservation.

Safety and Security of the Neighborhood--Help law enforcement agencies in their spirited fight to reduce crime.

Strengthening the Hawthorne Neighborhood is our ultimate objective. We want to continue to expand opportunities that promote neighborhood cohesion, stability, and sustainable development.

Our community development strategy has five inter-related core elements:

* Redevelopment of pivotal properties in target areas within the neighborhood.

* Increasing home ownership: Investing in first time home buyers.

* Strengthening neighborhood organizations. Developing leadership and empowering the neighborhood residents.

* Forging strategic partnerships.

* Making the neighborhood green. Developing pathways and bicycle routes to ensure the safety of our road users.

To achieve these objectives we need to restructure our organization to respond to the current community needs. We are in the process of making the necessary structural changes in the organization.

We have advertised the job of Assistant Director of Community Affairs. Specific Duties and Responsibilities will include:

* Assessing and evaluating community assets and strengths.

* Designing and developing community participation processes.

We want a qualified individual who understands community organizing as a bigger picture, i.e. as a practice that refers to the entire process of organizing relationships, identifying issues, mobilizing around those issues, and maintaining an enduring organization.

Enforcing the law is a tedious process. But enforcing the law in North Minneapolis is a daunting task. In this community, we are lucky to have Inspector Martin who not only loves what he does in the community but is also very passionate about his duties and responsibilities.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming our guest speaker tonight: Inspector Martin.

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