Equitable and Sustainable Redevelopment in Abandoned Communities:
A Path Forward
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Save the Date: March 9, 2013 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Baltimore, MD
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
Please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be a limit on registrations.
Registration ends: March 2, 2013
Pay for registration here:
The Day: tentative!
March 9, 2012 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
900 – 9:25 am Harold McDougall (Howard University, DC)
Opening remarks: hopes / aspirations in spending this day together. Importance and significance of recognizing the mutual expertise in the room that can benefit each other through sharing. Frame this in the context of the book Race, Class, Power and Organizing in East Baltimore AND use this as the point of departure for the remainder of the day. How do we move forward within a ʻhuman rightsʻ framework?
9:30 – 9:55 am Housing
Dominic Moulden (One DC, DC)
Rhonda WIlliams (Case Western Reserve, OH)
9:55 – 10:20 am Education
Maia Bloomfield-Cucchiara (Temple University, PA)
Saafir Rabb (Sr. Clara Muhammed School, MD)
10:20 – 10:45 am Health
Mindy Fullilove (Columbia University, NY)
10:45 – 11:10 am Employment and Economic Development
Richie Armstrong ( Community Churches United, MD)
Roque Barros (Jacobs Family Foundation, CA)
11:10 am – 12:00 pm ‘Open Space’ for comments/questions at kiosks
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch in house
1:00 – 1:45 pm Organizing panel – Jamal Mubdi-Bey (Sojourner-Douglass College, MD)
Donald Gresham (Community Housing & Relocation Working
Luis Larin (United Workers, Baltimore, MD)
Gus Newport (CA)
Jesse Wimberley (NC)
1:45 – 3:00 pm Break-out groups facilitated by BRJA and panelists (cross topics) + an organizer in every group
3:00 – 3:45 pm Workgroups report back to the full gathering
3:45 – 4:00 pm Closing remarks and next steps
Paper will be developed and emailed to all participants and placed on various pertinent websites (sign in MUST include email)
Listserv for participants to continue to share their experience and research on community development in abandoned areas
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Biography of Presenters
Rich Armstrong is a lead organizer for Community Churches United (CCU) in Baltimore. CCU is a faith-based coalition of local churches and community organizations. Over the last three years it has trained and certified over 1500 Baltimore city residents in general labor construction. Despite all of the development in Baltimore only three out of the 1500 city residents that were trained have been employed since graduating from the program.
CCU has been diligent in rallying, testifying, and organizing for living-wage jobs at development projects in Baltimore. Still, in development projects such as the EBDI and the the current Johns Hopkins Expansion, the biggest development project ongoing in Baltimore, only 2.5% of construction employees are Baltimore city residents. This is consistent throughout development projects in Baltimore city. “The time has come for our elected officials to stop operating on good faith, to stop selling out the citizens of Baltimore. There has to be a fair and equal opportunity for jobs, a fair hiring process.”
Roque’s career spans 25 years with roles in community organizing and community building. Prior to joining the Jacobs Center Neighborhood Initiative in San DIego (JCNI) in 1997, Roque served as executive director of Los Niños, an international grassroots organization doing work in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. His work with both organizations has focused on developing and directing sustainable programs that assist communities in addressing their needs and developing solutions.
In his current role as part of the management team at JCNI, he has created, organized, and led many of the innovative resident engagement programs for which the Center is known, including the Neighborhood Coordinators and Writerz Blok graffiti arts programs, and Project VOCAL (Voices of Community at All Levels). Barros is a sought-after trainer and expert in resident engagement and assists other communities and organizations in leading change where they live. He is also a resident of the Diamond Neighborhoods, which is the focus of the Jacobs Center’s work.
Roque has received awards and commendations from the San Diego Center for Mediation and the City of San Diego 4th District Councilman’s office, and he was honored as an Hispanic leader by President Bill Clinton.
Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara
Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara received her PHD from University of Pennsylvania. She is a sociologist of education with a focus on urban schools and communities. Her research interests fall into three often-overlapping categories: urban education policy and its intersections between policy assumptions and discourses, issues of race and class, and people’s lived experiences; family-school relations, with a focus on how class shapes parents’ experiences with urban schools and their children’s education more broadly; the impact of urban development and revitalization on public education and the implications for disadvantaged students.
Her upcoming book Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities: Who Wins and Who Loses When Schools Become Urban Amenities (University of Chicago Press, 2013) details the relationship between education and urban revitalization, focusing specifically on a Philadelphia effort to market schools to middle- and upper-middle-class families as a means of promoting revitalization in the downtown area. This research focused on a school targeted by this initiative and examined how parents of different social class and race/ethnic status experienced the marketing campaign. Though an infusion of more affluent parents into a largely low-income school certainly led to new resources and increased attention from district leaders, efforts to market the school to this population also created new patterns of marginalization and inequality, including making it more difficult for low-income students to access the school. While this research has focused on Philadelphia, scholars in other cities have documented similar patterns. Her pivotal study provides insight into both the dangers and the possibilities that accompany efforts to position schools as vehicles for urban revitalization and offer suggestions for more equitable ways to create economically integrated urban schools.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, is a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University. She was educated at Bryn Mawr College (AB, 1971) and Columbia University (MS, 1971; MD 1978). She is a board certified psychiatrist, having received her training at New York Hospital-Westchester Division (1978-1981) and Montefiore Hospital (1981-1982). She has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. Her work in AIDS in featured in Jacob Levenson’s The Secret Epidemic: The Story of AIDS in Black America. From her research, she has published Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It (2004), and The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place (1999). She is a co-author of Rodrick Wallace’s Collective Consciousness and Its Discontents: Institutional Distributed Cognition, Racial Policy and Public Health in the United States (2008). She has published numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs. She has received many awards, including inclusion on “Best Doctors” lists and two honorary doctorates (Chatham College, 1999, and Bank Street College of Education, 2002). Her new book, Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities, will be released in June 2013.
Mindy is currently carrying out a research project called “Main Street New Jersey,” examining the role of main streets in the social well-being of populations. She regularly reports on this project on her blog, http://mainstreetnj.blogspot.com. She is active in two community projects. In Orange, NJ, she is part of the free people’s University of Orange, whose mission is lifelong learning, civic engagement and community development. In Northern Manhattan, she is involved in City Life Is Moving Bodies, a project to help communities be active physically, socially and civically. In 2012 she was elected to serve as a public director of the National Board of the American Institute of Architects.
Donald Gresham is a long time resident of Middle East Baltimore and a past president of SMEAC (Save Middle East Action Committee Inc) and current member of CHRWG (Community Housing and Relocation Committee). Both organizations have challenged the East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) and Johns Hopkins Expansion project in East Baltimore since 2001.
SMEAC was instrumental in changing the relocation plan and benefit packet for the 800 families displaced, the demolition protocol for assured safety and minimal health hazards, and plans to assure construction of affordable housing in the rebuilt area. It assured resident participation in a traditional top-down, urban renewal project.
CHRWG along with Community Churches United and Laborers International Union of North America formed a coalition with several neighborhood organizations in East Baltimore-BRACE (Baltimore Redevelopment Action Coalition for Empowerment)- a progressive grassroots coalition on the front line of anti-displacement and labor activism in Baltimore. BRACE presented a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to EBDI and partners to assure equity for impacted residents of the 88-acres redevelopment project in East Baltimore and peripheral communities. These powerful stakeholders of this 1.8 billion development project have refused to meet and discuss this CBA for almost one year. BRACE continues to organize and advocate for equity, sustainability, and justice in this 20-year redevelopment project. http://bracebaltimore.blogspot.com/
Luis Larin is a Leadership Organizer/Organizador de Liderazgo for Trabajadores Unidos/United Workers- an organization of Trabajadores de bajo sueldo diriguiendo el camino para terminar la pobreza/Low-wage workers leading the way to poverty’s end. The United Workers was founded in 2002 by homeless day laborers meeting in an abandoned firehouse-turned-shelter. United Workers launched the Human Rights Zone Campaign at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore in 2008 and is now targeting the top of the profit chain GGP (General Growth Properties), which is the second largest owner of malls in United States and the corporation who controls The Harborplace at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. GGP has refused to meet with the Inner Harbor workers to discuss the human rights violations taking place at the Inner Harbor. Recently, part of the Inner Harbor was sold to the Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, who has also failed to take action to stop the human rights violations and has ignored the call for Fair Development.
For over two years the United Workers has been trying to address the issues at the Inner Harbor, and we are not alone in our fight for Fair Development. Around the city and country we can see how developers are taking everything and our communities are suffering. This year we have the amazing opportunity to stand up together with other organizations such as Unite Here, who has been fighting for Fair Development at the Hyatt. The Hyatt was the first hotel built in the Inner Harbor, funded by about 30 million dollars of public money. When the Hyatt opened the developers shook hands with union representatives in front of the media; however 20 years later the hotel has no union contract, the numbers of jobs have been drastically cut, and the community has received no benefit from the public money that was taken to build the hotel. We also stand with LIUNA (Laborers International Union of North America), who has been working with Community Churches United to get Baltimore residents jobs with dignity. Most of the developments projects use labor from outside of Baltimore, and are not living wages jobs either.
We see the urgent need to come together as a force and say, “Baltimore deserves Fair Development.” We want to see Baltimore’s economic development continue to grow, but that development must be tied to the human rights principles of universality, equity, participation, transparency and accountability. If development is not in line with those principles, it is not Fair Development. We cannot continue to support the development of specific areas while other areas suffer; for example the closing of recreational centers and fire stations, budget cuts in schools and people with no access to healthcare. Our communities must stand, fight and demand Fair Development. http://unitedworkers.org/ or www.trabajadoresunidos.org
Harold A. McDougall
Harold McDougall is a Professor of Law at Howard University in Washington, D.C, and specializes in the areas of urban social and economic development, civil rights, and the workings of state, local, and federal government. He has written numerous articles, as well as two books. Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community Change proposes a new approach to the renovation and revitalization of community civic culture. African American Civil Rights in the Age of Obama: A History and a Handbook covers “trouble spots” like racial profiling. hate crimes, discrimination against consumers, employment discrimination, voting rights, housing discrimination and discrimination in public education. It also looks at citizen action and access to local government.
Professor McDougall’s work on civic culture presently takes two forms, one international, and one domestic. Since a 1999 Fulbright Fellowship to the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, he has focused on sustainable development and citizen engagement in the developing world, teaching and writing in this area. In 2006, he taught a course on sustainable development to students at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, pursuant to Howard Law School’s South Africa Program. Locally, he has founded the “Invisible College,” a nonprofit organization teaching “public citizenship” to middle and high school students. One offshoot, a BoysII Men program, has been taught at Takoma Park Middle School in Montgomery County, MD, by Howard Law School students since 2008. A “Girls2Women” program started in 2009.
As a seditious teen in East Baltimore, Mr. Moulden was introduced to organizing in the late 1970s with Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD). Now close to 30 years later, he is still dedicated to a lifestyle of organizing evidenced through his current work with Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC (ONE DC), which focuses on resident-led organizing and leadership development through popular education and consciousness-raising to encourage and incite transformative social change. True to Dominic’s conviction that social change is both personal and political, he has remained a steadfast student of social movement history and has accrued a wealth of knowledge around topics including but not limited to anti-lynching, abolitionist, women suffrage, black arts, civil rights and human rights movements.
Over the past 25 years as a resource and housing organizer in Washington, DC, he organized residents using alternative housing models which included limited equity cooperatives and community land trust cooperatives. This organizing strategy achieved resident control and created permanently affordable housing for long time DC residents.
Although his primary residence of organizing is Washington DC, he continues to support organizing efforts in his hometown of Baltimore. His most recent work has been with Greenmount West CDC and the Ella Baker Organizing Initiative, a learning circle for young people about grassroots organizing and movements for social change. He continues to teach organizing locally and nationally at various communities such as Washington, DC, and Atlanta and academic institutions such as The New School for Social Research, George Washington University and Georgetown University. Mr. Moulden received his B.A. in Philosophy from Saint Alphonsus College and his Masters in Theological Studies from Washington Theological Union. He attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government through the Achieving Excellence in Community Development Program sponsored by NeighborWorks America.
Gus Newport has been a longtime leader in community development, municipal government and nonprofit capacity building. He served two terms as the mayor (1979-1986) of Berkeley, CA, and also as the executive director of Boston’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative from 1988 to 1992. Newport has provided technical assistance to such major philanthropies as the Annie E. Casey, Ford and Edna McConnell Clark foundations. He has served on the faculties of the University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Massachusetts, Boston; Yale University; Portland (OR) State University; and was a Martin Luther King Fellow (MLK) at MIT from 2006 to 2008.
Newport has served on two United Nations Sub-committees and on the Conference of Mayors Advisory Council. He is currently a member of the board of overseers of the graduate program in community development at Southern New Hampshire University.
Rhonda Y. Williams
Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams, an associate professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at CWRU. Dr. Rhonda, as many call her, is the founder and director of CWRU’s Social Justice Institute; the founder and director of CWRU’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies; and the author of the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2004). Williams has worked to broker understanding of issues regarding marginalization, human rights, and grassroots activism. She has delivered community presentations to the Congressional Emerson Hunger Fellows on the history of institutional racism, and given numerous lectures locally, nationally, and internationally.
As an educator and scholar-activist, Dr. Rhonda is committed to critically assessing and exposing the entrenched systems of inequality and the enactment of social justice. In articulating her teaching philosophy for her “City As Classroom” – which is taught off campus, partners with community people, and requires students to engage in social activism – Dr. Rhonda says: “It is my belief that the practice of history should be part of a broader liberation project—one that arms students and scholars with the necessary analytical tools and information to combat social, cultural, and political myths and to address historical and contemporary issues.” Currently, the Social Justice Institute is engaged in its inaugural community-based collaborative initiative, the “Voicing and Action Project,” which employs East Cleveland residents and committed stakeholders as community researchers. The project focuses on documenting the life narratives of East Clevelanders to help identify and advance community priorities through the power of storytelling, conversation, voice and visioning, and active community engagement.
Jesse Wimberley has been a community organizer since 1987 when he joined the staff of the Piedmont Peace Project in North Carolina. Jesse’s work as a white organizer in African American and white communities in the sandhills area of NC is highlighted in a chapter of the book “Listening to Color: Blacks and Whites in Aberdeen, NC” by Anne McKeithen. Currently, Jesse is the Outreach Coordinator for the Sandhills Area Land Trust, which is looking at how rural landowners can work to use the natural resources that they have to create locally owned economies.
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Baltimore Racial Justice Action
Baltimore Racial Justice Action (BRJA) is a network of Maryland individuals committed to social and economic transformation with an emphasis on racial equity. BRJA is an action-based organization grounded in collective analysis of structural racism and white privilege. Organizing across the Baltimore metropolitan area, BRJA seeks to make Baltimore recognized as the leading city in the nation intentionally working for racial equity. Achieving racial equity requires working to create a society in which the distribution of resources, opportunity, societal benefits and protection is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. We attempt to influence and guide respectful and just thinking and actions. We strive to support people and organizations to see themselves as world residents or leaders or change agents by acknowledging our linked fate and encouraging responsibility for our choices, decisions and actions to collectively build an equitable world for all.
Red Emma’s is a bookstore, coffeehouse, and radical resource space. We run our business as a cooperatively owned democratic workplace, and are dedicated to both demonstrating the viability of alternative business models rooted in solidarity, not profit, as well as serving Baltimore activism by providing space and resources for organizing and education. Currently located at 800 Saint Paul St., we are in the process of moving to a new location at the corner of North Ave. and Maryland in the fall of 2013.
Social Health Concepts and Practice
Social Health Concepts and Practice (SHCP) is an independent consulting firm offering the opportunity for individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to identify and understand the bridge between the health of the individual and society. In partnership with communities and engaging in research and practice since 2006 SHCP facilitates alternative ways to transform existing oppressive and hierarchical models of individual and community change. Our understanding stems from the premise that the norms of society shape our mental, physical, and spiritual health and sets the framework for resultant disparities between those with power and those without-in all aspects of life. Therefore rebuilding healthy selves and community can occur only when we transform oppressive norms- embedded in our selves and institutions- which maintain the cycle of inequality. Our collective transformed selves become the transformed society-moving toward a new norm of balance, equity, and sustainability.
The establishment of Sojourner-Douglass College represents the struggle in the Black community for a model of education capable of producing self-determination among historically oppressed people. To address this need the College adopts a transformational learning model designed to increase the students’ capacity for self-development and self-expression, facilitate students’ engagement in effective social action, and resurrect the student and the community with the tools to generate new life.
The focus of our educational philosophy is learning how to negotiate and act on our own purposes, values, feelings, and meanings rather than those we have uncritically assimilated from others; and gaining greater control over our lives and our communities as socially responsible, critical thinking decision makers. Rather than viewing education as an end, we view it as a means by which the community enhances its political social, economic, and cultural development. Our learning methods are intended to engage the real world where learning can be reconciled with action and study, a concept that reflects student growth through social and academic utility.
The transformative approach to education corrects the problematic frame of traditional models with an unbiased historical context that instills moral and ethical values, promotes a regenerative spirit, and teaches the skills and mindsets necessary to meet our present and future challenges with sustainable solutions – both within our social systems as well as within our individual selves.
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