Immigrants transforming the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities become a more diverse metropolis every day. The 15 students who participated in ThreeSixty’s Intermediate Journalism camp in June reflect that change themselves. And they investigated it, sifting through the layers of immigrants’ influence on the Twin Cities like prospectors mining for golden nuggets, and emerged from camp rich with intriguing stories.

Twenty years ago, city planners and politicians in the Twin Cities were worried about the future of University Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis. There were too many vacant storefronts, too few customers and too much violence.

Today that picture has changed thanks to dozens of new businesses that reflect the growing diversity in the Twin Cities. From a Hmong grocery to a Latino Mercado to a Cambodian curio shop, the streets are changing.

Morris Martinez and YungJen Vang, assisted by 2009 St. Thomas graduate Pat Donohoe, take their camera and tell the story of a pair of old streets with new life.