Benefit Concert for Cedar Avenue Fire Victims Hopes to Bring Healing

Updated: 01/24/2014 6:34 PM By: Steve Patterson

Photo: KSTP/file
Photo: KSTP/file

More than three weeks have passed since the deadly Cedar Ave. fire, and some community members are still at a loss for words. But tonight, the Cedar Cultural Center will fill the silence with music and dance.

"What can we do to help? And what we do is concerts," said Robert Simonds, the Executive Director of the Cedar Cultural Center, which is located just down the block from the site of the New Year's day blaze.

His goal is to raise $10,000 for the victims.   

As for how the victims are doing, Abdirizak Bihi, who works at the local community center said that while the initial effort to help them was great, so too is their ongoing need. "Housing is very important. A lot of the victims are homeless," said Bihi.

The benefit concert is limited in what it can do financially, but to Simonds, it's about more than just raising money. It's about lifting spirits, saying "It's an example of tragedy bringing people together out of a common desire to help the community, and it's been heartwarming."

Funds raised will go to the "Cedar-Riverside Fire Disaster Relief Fund" established by Pillsbury United Communities and the Brian Coyle Center.

Community members who wish to help the victims of the Cedar-Riverside fire you may make contributions through the Pillsbury United Communities and the Brian Coyle Center by calling 612-787-3730.

The Brian Coyle Center, 420 15th Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55454, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Checks should be made out to "Pillsbury United Communities" or financial contributions can be made online at <>. Note "Cedar-Riverside Fire Disaster Relief" on all donations.