On November 5th, 2023, Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega issued a proclamation declaring it West Side Community Organization Day. The proclamation was read by Commissioner Ortega's brother, Luis Ortega, and presented at the 50th Anniversary Celebration held at Humboldt High School. Above, WSCO board member Sebastian Ellefson receives the proclamation. Click here to watch a live video of the proclamation being read.
The proclamation reads:
Whereas, The West Side Community Organization was the first district council to be formed in the city of Saint Paul 50 years ago in 1973, establishing an important connection between the city and West Siders, ensuring the West Side neighborhood’s voice was heard, and providing a model for community participation that the rest of the city followed; and
Whereas WSCO saved important neighborhood institutions from destruction, including Humboldt High School in 1977, the Riverview Library in 1973, the High Bridge in 1988, and the Wigington Pavilion in 1990, and continues to preserve and build important West Side Historical sites; and
Whereas WSCO has successfully led the fight for environmental justice on the West Side throughout its history, stopping a toxic metal shredder in 1995, an oil burning plant in 1982, a coal burning power plant in 2002, and asphalt plants in 1974 and 2002. This grand tradition continued when WSCO created Protect Our Riverfront Together in the mid-2010s; and
Whereas WSCO goes beyond buildings and zoning regulations by addressing the health of the West Side holistically by forming the first Spanish-language Alcoholics Anonymous group in the state of Minnesota in 1975, by organizing a youth-led Juvenile Crime vs. Justice conference in 1977, and by holding Peace
Jam, with special guest Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchú. Today, this work continues, from holding overdose-prevention training, to raising consciousness about alternatives to police, to community gatherings addressing gun violence and how to look out for one another; and
Whereas WSCO celebrates our art from Riverfront Days from 1982-1984, to the Colibrí Arts and Culture Market in 2023, thereby keeping the creative spirit alive on the West Side; and
Whereas WSCO shares our unique culture with multilingual banners in District del Sol, beautiful murals on the Robert Street pedestrian bridge, on Stryker Avenue, outside El Burrito, on Robert Street–– and coming soon, a beautiful mosaic outside SOUL Apartments; and
Whereas WSCO has raised civic involvement in significant ways by founding the West Side Voice in 1973, explicitly celebrating West Side stories with Our Stories Our Streets in 2013 and Stories from the Flats in 2022 and launching West Side 100 to get 100% voter participation since the early 2000s.
Therefore, Be It proclaimed by The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners that November 5, 2023 shall be West Side Community Organization Day in Ramsey County, Minnesota.