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Rider's Almanac Blog


Metro Transit employees building community on and off the clock

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, June 11, 2020 1:30:00 PM

At work, Metro Transit employees serve their community by getting people where they need to go. But many also give back in other ways, and have taken actions to help the community recover in the wake of property loss and unrest. Here are three examples of employees who are proud to serve, both in and out of uniform.   

"Even in the depths of this tragedy, I'm seeing a lot of unity,"

Normally, East Metro Operator Janea Scott delivers people to their destination. For the last week, however, she's been delivering supplies to people in need.

As many people have been left without access to basic essentials like food or toilet paper, organizations like Hersilincy have stepped up to help fill in gaps.

Through their Healer's On-Duty Drive, Scott is helping her Rondo/Frogtown community by delivering donations to single mothers in need. "Even in the depths of this tragedy, I'm seeing a lot of unity," Scott said.

Helping out in the Rondo area community isn't new to Scott. Her family has lived and been active in the Rondo community since before the construction of Interstate 94.

"I'm just trying to help rebuild our community any way that I can," Scott said. "I just hope some change will come from this."

Scott plans to continue delivering donations on weekdays until she returns to work, and to continue making weekend deliveries until the need subsides.

"I hope we return to peace everywhere"

On Route 21, Nicollet Operator Omar Iye drives community members up and down Lake Street. It's familiar turf -- Iye lives in the Whittier neighborhood with his three children.  

As a Somali immigrant, he also relates to many of the small business owners who have set up shop in south Minneapolis. 

So when locally owned businesses were threatened during recent demonstrations, Iye did what he could to deter potential troublemakers. For three nights, he stood in front of businesses and asked people to leave them alone. 

"It felt like a war zone," Iye said. "I've experienced this back in Somalia, but never thought something this would happen here in Minnesota."

Iye later helped clean up the neighborhood. Now, he hopes for calm. 

"I hope we return to peace, not only in my neighborhood, but everywhere," Lye said. "I'll continue to be a good neighbor and help build a good neighborhood for my kids."

"It made my day to see the impact"

After the death of George Floyd, Metro Transit Principal Engineer Carrie Desmond wanted to do something. She decided to decorate the sidewalks in her neighborhood with chalk, but then thought others might want to do it with her.

So she reached out to co-workers in the Advancing Women in Transit employee resource group.  "I just wanted to see if anyone wanted to join me," Desmond said. "It quickly became a bigger group than I anticipated."

Assistant Transportation Manager Amina Wolf suggested the group meet at Nicollet Garage, in a neighborhood where many businesses have been damaged, and a group of families came together to build community and bear their hearts through art.

"It was great to see parents and kids working together," Desmond said. "Parents writing positive, hopeful messages and young kids adding colorful scribbles."

After the group event ended, Desmond wanted to keep going. In downtown Minneapolis, she took a bucket of chalk and saw how little gestures can make a big impact. 

At a bus stop, two kids helped her draw "In this Together." Shortly after that, a bus operator saw her drawing a heart and had a big grin and wave to share.

"It made my day to see the impact -- kids I've never met before helping me out and to see the smile on one of our operator’s faces," Desmond said.