St. Paul parade calling attention to diversity on Universityby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Several St. Paul groups are walking in the first annual University Avenue Community Parade today.
Organizer John Slade says groups taking part in the event want to send the message that light rail should benefit all members of the area's diverse community.
A coalition of St. Paul neighborhood groups have filed a federal lawsuit over the Central Corridor light rail line, alleging transit agencies didn't fully analyze the project's effects on poor people and minorities.
Light rail planners say the project will revitalize some of St. Paul's most challenged neighborhoods.
Slade says today's parade is not a march.
"Calling it a march really puts it into an oppositional political context and we wanted to have something that was open for people who just really like their community," Slade said. "This is the community that is here now, we want to document that, we want to have people raise their banners, whatever those might be."
The parade route runs south on Virginia Street to University Avenue, then east on University to Galtier Street. The parade ends with a turn south to the Western Sculpture Garden, where speakers will address the crowd.
"We would like people along University to recognize the strengths of their diverse community," Slade said. "We would like folks downtown and at the Capitol to realize the strength and vitality of University. We want to celebrate our community and celebrate our pride."
The parade was organized by Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing and Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation.
Organizations taking part in the parade include the Hmong Student Association, the University Avenue Business Association, and the St. Paul Council of Churches.