Community, Recovery, and Tacos on Lake Street, Minneapolis

Lake Street, Minneapolis

Mario Hernandez, 42, knows the power of a taco to change lives. As the founder and four-year lead of the Taco Tour on Lake Street, Minneapolis, Hernandez has taken what was once one of the city’s best kept secrets (that there are dozens of best-in-class taquerias along the Lake Street corridor) and turned it into a yearly tradition that people all over the state flocked to and raved about.

“It used to be that when people thought of Lake Street they only thought about what it was like in the 90s, things like drugs, prostitution, and violence,” says Hernandez. “But…


The rune’s story is an immigrant story, no matter the century

In 1898, Swedish immigrant Olof Ohman was clearing stumps off his farmland near Kensington, Minnesota, when his shovel struck something hard. Entangled in the roots was a slab of stone, weighing in at 200 pounds and covered in Norse runic inscriptions. Ohman brought the stone to Kensington’s local bank where they put it on display, while a trace paper sketch of the runes was sent to the university for analysis.

The markings were later identified as Swedish runic writing. They describe the massacre of a group of Norwegians and…


How One Catholic Nun is Mobilizing her Sisterhood in the face of COVID-19

Irene O’Neill is a lot of things to a lot of people. She’s an activist, championing the rights of Somali refugees in her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota; she’s a rollerblader, feminist, fundraiser, and a zip-liner, when given the opportunity.

She’s also a Catholic Nun.


I chose to return home from Rwanda because of COVID-19. It’s a choice every American abroad is facing right now.

Less than two weeks ago, I was sitting at my house in Kigali, Rwanda, drinking coffee and reading the news. Like the rest of the world, I was sucked into the black hole that was (and is) coronavirus coverage, not wanting to look but compelled by force of gravity to consume article after article, anxiety rising with each click.

At that time, I was worried. But my husband and I had moved to Rwanda for work a few months earlier. We would monitor the situation, closely, we said. We’d made a life here, and we weren’t planning on going anywhere…


African refugees can spend whole lifetimes in exile. Better solutions are needed.

Refugees walk to a water source in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement, Uganda

Thousands of people risking their lives on the choppy waters of the Mediterranean, oversized lifejackets strapped to terrified children. Make-shift tents lined up at the U.S.-Mexico border, former stadiums turned emergency camps. Syrian refugees making the journey over land to Europe, sending shockwaves through the political landscape. …


At 11pm Kigali time on November 8th, I set my alarm, closed my eyes, and fell confidently to sleep, in full anticipation that I would wake up the next morning to news alerts of a Hillary Clinton win. To a world where the United States had finally, after more than two centuries, elected its first female president. I envisioned the emotions of the day, the congratulatory texts and emails. The incredible moment for women in the U.S., and around the world. And I, like many people, felt not a sliver of doubt that this moment would come to fruition. Or…

Carly Lunden

Carly Lunden is an anthropologically-trained writer and creator. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. www.carlylunden.com

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