Living on Lake Street during the riots

Posted on 03 June 2020 by Tesha Christensen

by Margie O’Loughlin

“I’m grateful that the church next door is helping people get back on their feet,” said John Riggins, who lives at Trinity on Lake Apartments.

John Riggins grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., a place considered by many to be the most dangerous city in America. He moved to Minneapolis in 1992, and has been a resident of Trinity on Lake Apartments since last year. Until the riots started, he called living there “a slice of heaven.”
But last week for three nights, everything changed. John and the other residents were effectively trapped in their apartments while fires raged around them. He said, “The nights were the worst. Every time I tried to go to sleep, there was another BOOM on the street. A lot of the residents here are older, have respiratory issues, or are living with disabilities. There was nothing any of us could do.”
Fast forward to a steamy Tuesday afternoon, on the ninth day since George Floyd was killed. John is sitting on the veranda of the Trinity Lake Apartments in his wheel chair, watching a different kind of commotion.
Hundreds of black, white, Latinx, Asian, and East African people file past tables piled high with food staples and hygiene supplies. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is hosting a second day of free distribution of items to meet basic needs – all donated by community members who pull up to the church in an unending stream.
John said, “I guess we have to look at what’s ahead. This is the time to come together. I’m grateful that the church next door is helping people get back on their feet. We don’t have any other place to get groceries right now in the neighborhood. I feel okay today. I’m going to be better tomorrow.”

Hundreds of black, white, Latinx, Asian, and East African people file past tables piled high with food staples and hygiene supplies. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is hosting a second day of free distribution of items to meet basic needs – all donated by community members who pull up to the church in an unending stream.

Signs at Trinity on Lake Apartments, 2805 E. Lake St. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“The nights were the worst. Every time I tried to go to sleep, there was another BOOM on the street. A lot of the residents here are older, have respiratory issues, or are living with disabilities. There was nothing any of us could do,” said John Riggins, who lives at Trinity on Lake Apartments.