A Science Library for North Minneapolis
By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota
An eager intellect is a prospect of hope. It scoffs at the predetermined odds and looks to a world of what could be.
Behind every great community, there is an intellectual center. Youths entertain grand imaginations that tempt the known boundaries. An adult reality is bland. It is defined by the monotony of routine. Gradually, we misplace our hopes and curiosities for complacency and acceptance. An ominous gatekeeper rules over each boundary with little to no empathy. A person is labeled as expendable and is rapidly dispensed with. Will our resolve be sincere to our youths? What happens when youths are cut down and put in their “respective places” in society? Will hopeful dreams and ambitions be rendered illusory once such an ominous reality comes to pass? The need for a science library may seem abundantly extraneous to many. If we budgeted enough tax revenue for a billion dollar football stadium, why is a science library for less than a quarter of a million dollars unconscionable to us? It then becomes pertinent to ask ourselves an existential question: as a society, where are our priorities?
It can be argued, rather cynically, that we are overly preoccupied with the boredom killing business. It should be no surprise why we spend so much time doing absolutely nothing whatsoever. An eager intellect is a prospect of hope. It scoffs at the predetermined odds and looks to a world of what could be. Some call it the idealism of the naïve, but others recognize it as the tenacity of a budding generation. North Minneapolis is defined by its demographic challenges. Each neighborhood has so much potential. It is as clear as plain English; youths growing up in environments associated as shooting galleries to people outside the inner city are the most sociologically marginalized. In developmentally challenged communities, currencies of divide and conquer are erected through barriers of subjugation by means of stratification. Where there is poverty, there is always ample opportunity for the exploitation of the weak and developmentally challenged.
It is all too familiar to us! The meekest are the easiest to exploit due to their defenselessness. Hopelessness is overshadowed by an overbearing clout of despair. Nevertheless, pain and suffering builds displays of communal resiliency; the likes of which illustrates the trials and tribulations of a people. The essence of which is the greatest recipe for liberation. The best way to break through barriers of communal marginalization is through intellectual empowerment. Youths are driven by their imaginations. They renew lost visions and restore abandoned hopes. The presence of a science library has potential to awaken the idling intellects of the inner city. As a society, it is our moral obligation to provide feasible opportunities that can bridge gaps of intellectual achievement. Hennepin County has invested heavily in the opening and renovation of public libraries throughout North Minneapolis. Such developments are indeed indicative of progress.
Therefore, it becomes reasonable to ask the following: why do inner city youths in North Minneapolis need a science library when there are plenty of newly renovated public libraries throughout the same community? A building is nothing but an edifice that represents the ideas that made it possible. Each building exists to serve a specific purpose. If society engages youths in ways where they are shown what is possible, only a limited imagination stands in the way of an individual’s intellectual progress. Traditionally, a library was a place where the public went to seek out information. With the arrival of the internet, facts, figures, and details are no longer confined to brick and mortar places. Many of us wonder what the future has in store for libraries; considering that an individual smart phone has the capacity to function as a personal library, some argue that libraries are now a thing of the past. No amount of modernity can bypass the indispensability of the traditional library. Abstract traditions that govern uses for public libraries can be made more accessible through purposes of grounded specificity. Science is a limitless realm that describes the nature of reality. It should be made available to everybody.
Arguably, such a condition can ease the accessibility of science to the demographically challenged and marginalized. There is a pervasive attitude that to have intelligence, one must have material resources to fully harness it. Under these circumstances, science is forgotten as something best left to people that have the money to send their children to “Ivy League” schools. Such attitudes could not be further from the truth! On the contrary, history proves that some of the most distinguished scientists emerged from some of the poorest backgrounds. Paradigm shifts of mind are the best solutions that can change communal attitudes. A science library in North Minneapolis could show inner city youths the power of possibility through forces of applied intrapersonal potential.
Such things are distinguished by ideas that are timelessly infinite; hence, the backbone of all things scientific. The presence of a science library sends out one subliminal message: this is yours, why not seek it out? The more individual paradigms are changed, the greater its communal impact.
Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer and a social activist.
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