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Celebrating Love & Gender Equity

In Businesses on Lake Street! 

These posters were created as part of Pangea World Theater’s Lake Street Arts! ( a multidisciplinary community development and arts initiative) “Lake Street Loves” campaign. Launched on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, “Lake Street Loves” is a campaign promoting love and gender equity. We are partnering with business and sharing art created by Lake Street community members with facilitation from women-identified local artists Greta McLain and Candida Gonzalez. 

On each day of this seven day campaign, Pangea showed support for women in the workplace in participating businesses and beyond. Through “Lake Street Loves”, participating businesses in partnership with Pangea World Theater claim their space as an all-inclusive and welcoming business that practices gender equity and celebrates women in the workplace and the Lake Street community.

Part 1: Gandhi Mahal

Ruhel Islam, Owner and Manager of Gandhi Mahal Restaurant shared that it is important to uplift the message of love and gender equity on Lake Street because “Love always wins over hate...People of color, multicultural people make Lake Street very visible to everyone.”


In the spirit of Women’s History Month, he reflected on his personal experience growing up saying, “I care especially for the women. I grew up with four sisters - a lot of siblings - so I respect that it is very important to respect all the women. Not for one day but every day.”


Gandhi Mahal thanks their women-identified workers for making this restaurant and community a wonderful place: 

  • Noorjaahan Sirin

  • Cinthia (floor lead)

  • Carolee (floor lead)

  • Debbie

  • Rahela

  • Yolanda

  • Sajida

  • Hafsa

  • Ana


And before we left Gandhi Mahal, he reminded us that, “If you want to find heaven, find love. Love is the feeling of Heaven.”

Visit: for delicious food!

Part 2: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

In our visit to In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, we had the opportunity to meet with Stephanie Rogers, Marketing Coordinator, of the theater. In our conversation about why she shared that "[In the Heart of the Beast] loves Lake Street.” And in the spirit of continual uplifting of women-identified workers, she highlighted that, “It's important for us to be here and be part of this community. This has been an organization that has had strong female leadership for decades of years. We love Lake Street. We love all of our neighbors."
In The Heart of the Beast would like to thank their women-identified workers for continuing to create, produce, and support powerful theatre for the community:

  • Amy Ballestad

  • Marcie Berg

  • Naomi Campion

  • Angie Courchaine

  • Kara Ferguson

  • Alison Heimstead

  • Linnea House

  • Deb Ramage

  • Stephanie Rogers

  • Sandy Speiler


Be sure to catch their upcoming series Puppet Lab (March 17-18 and 24-25) featuring women-identified and genderfluid artists:


  • Fufillingness’ Rebrith by Chamindika Wanduragala

  • Brothers by Madeline Helling

  • Bipolar Lite by Patty Gille

  • Mythomania by Allison Osberg

Read about these artists and Puppet Lab at
Learn more about In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s incredible work online at or in person at1500 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407

Part 3: Elsa's House of Sleep

Another wonderful business that is fuelled by strong and powerful women is Elsa’s House of Sleep but be careful to not fall asleep!
Managed by Belainesh Telak, every person who walks into Elsa’s House of Sleep is welcomed with open arms, a bright smile and warm voice. In speaking with Belainesh, we learned that she is from Eritrea, “a country where 30% of the army is women and they were freedom fighters... and the women fought for independence.” And in the month of March, Eritrea holds “a big celebration on the 11th because a lot of women fought in the war. So we’re proud!”
And when asked about the importance of love in this present moment, Belainesh shared that, “We need it because in the times of hate..we have to unite...Because if democracy is for the people, by the people, then we are the people.”
She continued to reflect on how love manifests in her daily life, reminding us that, “any activity that can bring people together is good. I don’t drive I take the bus, and when I see people I say hello, and people are like, ‘People don’t say hello’, and I say, ‘I do’. But people are afraid to talk to each other they just stare at you. I love to talk and share since I come from a small country where there is so much happening.”
And as an African who has previously worked in a Native American store, she discovered that, “They have the same culture as Africans.” During her time at the Native American store, she has jokingly asked her fellow colleagues, “Are you sure you are not from Africa?”
This memory then reminded her of a story from a Native American book she had read where “the people came [to the land] and asked if the [Native Americans would] sell the land to them, and [the Native American] said, ‘I can’t sell it to  you. It belongs to God.’ And said, ‘I use it and leave it for my kids. Come in and join us. We use it and when we die, our kids take over.’ It’s the same way in Africa. The earth belongs to all of us.”
And before we left, Belainesh reminded us that the best way to help Africa is not to donate money to large corporations, but rather educate ourselves on why Africans are struggling to help themselves. So let’s start learning!
Elsa’s House of Sleep would like to thank the powerful and strong women-identified workers who have held the business together:

  • Belainesh Telak

  • Elsa (Belainish’s sister, who had breast cancer and remained optimistic throughout by remembering that there are many worse things that can happen, “You don’t have to have cancer to die.”)

  • Eritrea (Belainish’s sister who runs Elsa’s House of Sleep in St. Paul)


Explore more of Elsa’s soft couches, paintings, and more online at or in person at 3540 East Lake St. Minneapolis, MN 55406 ​ and 1441 University Ave WSt Paul, MN 55104.

Part 4: East Lake Library

Today we highlight the East Lake Library as a space that brings together communities from all backgrounds and interests. Allowing the Lake Street community a warm place to be where they know they will be welcomed as the sunlight streams through clear windowed walls.
At East Lake Library, we met with Jesse the manager of the library and asked him why he thought it was important to spread the message of love right now. After some careful thinking, he shared that, “it is pretty clear right now that there is a climate where asserting the value for people from underrepresented populations, including, especially women, is more valuable now than ever to combat a lot of the negativity we see in the public sphere."
East Lake Library would like to thank their women-identified workers for holding the library together and keeping it a home for the arts and the Lake Street community:

  • Anna Sheppard

  • Anita Montoya

  • Jayne Mikulay

  • Kristy Kette

  • Lynn Tarkow

  • Lissa Calvit

  • Ruqia Abdi

  • Ophelia Bergman

Visit East Lake Library and spot our “Lake Street Loves” poster right next to a Poke ball!
Find your favorite book online at
Or in person at
2727 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55406
The posters were created at Pangea's Lake Street Arts! Stories Matter event last December highlighting artists Greta McLain and Candida Gonzalez of GoodSpace Murals.

Part 5: Longfellow Market

Our next stop is at Longfellow Market, Lake Street’s local market for high quality groceries or your next delicious meal! Since its opening on April 14, 2014, Longfellow Market has remained a family-owned store that has served the Lake Street community for three years now and counting.

As we entered Longfellow Market, we were welcomed with the cozy atmosphere of the old-time deep brown wooden floor and shelves, an old-time theme that was also reflected in the uniform of the staff. There we met with the staff of Longfellow who when asked about the need for love along Lake Street today, responded by emphasizing how Longfellow Market is all about raising the community, especially since almost all the staff at Longfellow live in the neighborhood.
The Lake Street Loves poster now proudly stands next to a poem from Pangea World Theater’s past campaign Poetry in the Windows. Be sure to stop by Longfellow Market whether to read the poem, get special deals on groceries, or grab a quick healthy lunch to go!
Find out more about their special deals online at
Or in person at
3815 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406

The posters were created at Pangea's Lake Street Arts! Stories Matter event last December highlighting artists Greta McLain and Candida Gonzalez of GoodSpace Murals.

Part 6: Lake Coffee House

If you haven’t already been to Lake Coffee House, you should. Quietly sitting along a busy road, Lake Coffee House serves as the perfect place for meetings, reading a book or a warm cup of coffee. In our visit to Lake Coffee House, we met with Anwar Issa, the owner of the place who has been on Lake Street since July 2013.
An active supporter of Pangea World Theater’s Lake Street Arts!, Anwar shared that he always says yes to artists who approach him because “If [he] can help them share message, [he’d] like to do that”, evident in the walls of Lake Coffee House adorned with paintings and photographs. He continued to share that “all this anger and hate is a mess... Kindness is nice.”
Anwar’s passion for the arts and artists on the Lake Street community was felt by Pangea intern Elizabeth Santana who shared that “His eyes became huge and his voice passionate when he talked about the photographs, painting and poetry he displays on the walls...Things like today made me excited all over again to be doing this and being an artist in general...Today I realized that we can all grow from this, people working with Lake Street Arts, people not so familiar with it, and myself especially.”
Lake Coffee House would like to thank their women-identified worker for supporting a humble coffee house and keeping it a home for artists:

  • Emma Smith

Discover their wide variety of coffee and teas at
Or in person at
3223 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55406

The posters were created at Pangea's Lake Street Arts! Stories Matter event last December highlighting artists Greta McLain and Candida Gonzalez of GoodSpace Murals.

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Artist: Chamindika Wanduragala

Show: Fufillingness' Rebirth 

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