Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Sad Day for Ward 2

This past weekend, Ward 2 lost two men who worked hard to improve their communities: Hussein Samatar and Clem Engen.

Hussein led the African Development Center (ADC), a lender and financial services company specializing in meeting the needs of African immigrant communities in Minnesota to sustain successful businesses, build wealth, and promote community reinvestment.  Hussein built ADC into a significant force for good, helping immigrants access capital for small business investment and buying homes.  It was due to a great partnership with ADC that the City was able to create a program for Sharia-compliant small business lending, to ensure that immigrant entrepreneurs can start, maintain and expand businesses serving their communities.  In addition to its broader work, ADC has added to the vitality of the West Bank business corridor, creating a beautiful building and open space at the corner of Riverside and 20th Ave S.

Hussein was the first Somali elected to the Minneapolis School Board, and he is rightly being celebrated for breaking that barrier.  He was less well known for the extremely important roles he played as a community leader on the West Bank.  He served as a member of both the West Bank Community Coalition and the West Bank Business Association and participated in the Cedar Riverside Partnership.   Hussein’s work on the WBCC and WBBA made both groups more sensitive to the needs and perspectives of the West Bank’s immigrant residents and entrepreneurs, and the community remains indebted to him for his service.

Clem worked for years, with quiet dedication, to make the Seward neighborhood a better place to live.  He was one of the key leaders and participants in the Seward Crime and Safety Committee and the Seward History Committee.  He regularly volunteered with his good friend Dick Westby to clean graffiti from signs and other public infrastructure, and helped with the project to write a history of Seward.  Clem’s low-key, positive outlook and commitment of his own time and effort helped welcome people to Seward and set a great example for community service.

Hussein and Clem were very good people, who served their communities in different ways but with the common goal of making their parts of our city better for everyone.  They will be missed.


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