The Rondo Healing Ceremony was held on July 17, 2015 DSC_0964at the corner of Concordia and Fisk Streets. At the time, this was a vacant lot. Now the site is equipped with garden beds, on its way to becoming the Rondo Commemorative Plaza. Serving as a transition from ruins of destruction to renewal for the future, the Rondo Healing Ceremony gave the Rondo community and greater Saint Paul community an opportunity to remember, reconcile, and restore.
Ceremony participants reflected on the trauma endured during the construction of the I-94 freeway – the decision-making process that led to the elimination of Rondo Avenue. They reconciled by claiming and letting go of the pain suffered from the dislocation and asset loss in the community. Finally, the ceremony gave participants a chance to restore themselves by celebrating their resilience and culture.
Speakers atDSC_0865 the ceremony included Ron Buford, president of Rondo Avenue, Inc., Artika Tyner, professor at the University of Saint Thomas, Toni Carter, commissioner of Ramsey County, Jeff Martin, president of the St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who delivered the first ever formal apology to Rondo for the destruction it experienced as a direct result of I-94 planning and construction. Additionally, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton presented Rondo with a State of Minnesota Proclamation in which he declared July 17, 2015 Rondo Healing Ceremony Day.DSC_0896
Minnesota Public Radio published an article and photos from the event which can be found here.