Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo from the University of Minnesota.
Today I was deeply saddened to receive a phone call from a colleague at CURA, telling me that Kris Nelson passed away in his sleep last night. Kris had touched community organizations and people's lives in countless ways. I began working with him during my first summer on the job at Hawthorne, as we studied the pattern of "predatory investors" or speculators and slumlords who bought cheap properties throughout north Minneapolis and caused a large percentage of our foreclosures.
Kris taught me how to examine data that affected our community in real ways. I learned how to frame questions and how to avoid jumping to the wrong conclusions. We later worked together on studying how effective NCRC was in our foreclosure prevention outreach work in north. The strategies that coalition employs are a direct result of Kris sharing his knowledge and leadership.
Kris also understood that there are many things that neighbors intuitively know about our own community, but when the University of Minnesota puts is official stamp on research about those things, we can use that credibility to bring about true change. Kris Nelson was "the real deal;" a leader, a servant, a mentor to many, and a genuine friend to communities across the Twin Cities. He will be missed.