Have you or others like you ever been forced to leave the community you lived in? Have you ever been denied a chance to participate in what happens in your community? Have you been told to move because the land could be put to better use, without you there?
As the book Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: rebuilding abandoned communities in America boldly documents: “We rarely acknowledge the history of racism and classism as reasons for urban poverty and decay in U.S. cities. Usually we blame the current residents for deterioration. Seldom do we consider the role of developers in contributing to future urban decay, benefiting from it through public:private development projects. Usually we see them as “saving” a neighborhood’s residents from themselves. And seldom do we include the residents of the area in the process of rebuilding their community. Usually we remove the people, rebuild the place, and invite people with power—from a different race and class—to live, work, and play in the renewed community. And we do all this without ever addressing the root causes of poverty in the process of rebuilding a healthy community.”
Using this compelling history and current story of rebuilding an abandoned community in Baltimore -through displacement of more than 1000 low-income and poor African American families through eminent domain- as a departure point, this one day symposium will vision a path forward to more equitable and sustainable redevelopment practices. It will:
• highlight successes/striving/limitations that comes from grass roots and research-based rebuilding projects
• create a space for listening to past and present experiences and ideas
• reframe and vision going forward with/toward more transformative models of people and place-based community rebuilding strategies
• grow future leaders in more comprehensive, sustainable, and equitable
• strategize for actions that can be adapted into local rebuilding processes
We will highlight the newly released book Race, class, power and organizing in East Baltimore: rebuilding abandoned communities in America as an example of ‘what not to do’ in community rebuilding, and bring together presenters and audience to strategize from their own experience of what can be done better moving forward.
Summary: A morning panel will cover four aspects of development:
• Employment and Economic Development
Each aspect will be presented through a dialogue of an ‘academic’ and ‘on the ground’ practitioner. An opportunity for audience to ask questions/comments will follow directly after the panel presentations and comments used to organize the break-out sessions.
After lunch the afternoon will begin with a 45 min presentation from community organizers followed by breakout groups to strategize and capture experiences and ideas to move forward to equitable and sustainable development.
A report of the breakout section will be forwarded to all participants and a listserv developed to continue the dialogue until a future gathering.
Invited audience include:
Government, private and non-profit organizations involved in learning, teaching and practicing in community and economic development, urban planning, transportation, health, housing, preservation, social services, public safety, recreation, education.
Community organizations, foundations, non-profit organizations involved with community organizing, political action, social justice and alternative governments, neighborhood improvement, re-entry programs, after-school and elderly programs, mental health and substance use programs, youth programs, leadership development.
Baltimore Racial Justice Action
Red Emma’s Bookstore
Social Health Concepts
Sojourner Douglass College
Fee for attendance is $40.00 (sliding scale) and includes a light breakfast and lunch.
Location: Sojourner-Douglass College, 200 N. Central Avenue (enter from rear of auditorium on Aisquith St),
Baltimore, MD 21202
Be a part of this movement to make change happen today!