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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Healing Our City through Prayer and Meditation in Minneapolis

Courtesy of Healing Our City

What began as a need to provide comfort and healing for those experiencing the deeply rooted and overlapping layers of trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by the George Floyd murder, has grown into an ever-growing community seeking to share peace and love.

Healing Our City was the brainchild of former Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels and, with the help of his wife Sandra Samuels, director of the Northside Achievement Zone, began with a month-long prayer tent in July 2020. The prayer tent brought thousands of people from all religions and nationalities together to grieve the losses and collectively pray for change and a better future.

During that 30 days, people were welcomed into the tent throughout the day to sit in silent prayer or meditation for eight minutes and 46 seconds. They were also encouraged to write reflections or verbally share their hopes and dreams for the future. Artists were invited in to share their unique ability to heal through creativity.

Once the 30 days were complete, the on-ground movement went dormant, although the online presence remained strong. With the start of the jury selection in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, this healing community reemerged in a new way. Every morning, people from across the world joined online for 30 minutes of prayer, silent meditation and reflection to bring forth healing in our community. With over 800 people joining on a daily basis, the community was strong and growing. This daily ritual continued through May 25, the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

With encouragement from the community, it was determined that the movement must continue in some way. Moving forward, the committee will focus on the people in the community who are doing the work and provide a platform and voice to these leaders. Additionally, there is the possibility of a weekly online meditation and prayer, similar to what took place this spring.

Greater support is needed. Since the beginning, Healing Our City has been supported by a representation of our community welcoming people of all faiths, denominations, races and orientations. For those wishing to support their efforts, The Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement is accepting financial donations on their behalf. Visit clne-Mn.org/donate.

Recognizing the positive aspects of higher technology, not only were people able to pray for peace in person throughout the city, they were also able to pray from home via social media, interact with other people during the tragedies and spread positive messages through the hashtag #healingourcity.

For more information, visit HealingOurCity.org.

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Read the full June 2021 Magazine