A key highlight of the PRC convening was the mobile tours of East Point, Georgia and Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood. Sweet Auburn, a bedrock of the Civil Rights Movement and the very neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., opened his first office, is under attack. Gentrification is pushing out long-term residents, businesses, and institutions, while simultaneously making ardent strides towards erasing the rich Black history and cultural integrity of this historic place. Just as it did in the era of the Civil Rights Movement, Sweet Auburn is putting up a fight! The Historic Development District and the Partnership for Southern Equity have teamed up to advance equitable green development that mitigates displacement and preserves the cultural integrity of the neighborhood. The tour participants–leaders of color coming from similar neighborhoods around the nation–were angered by the challenges which also hit home for them, but also left heartened by the tenacity, commitment and advancements of the work to preserve Sweet Auburn. Learn more about the EGIZ.
On the subject of gentrification…East Point Georgia Mayor, Deana Holiday Ingraham is a force to be reckoned with! With the majority of the Council’s support, she championed a moratorium on industrial development that will give the City time to study development needs that will put residents first. The Tulsa Real Estate Fund (TREF), the first African-American owned crowdfund, is working with residents and the City to advance development that prevents displacement and advances community empowerment through education and ownership. For example, The Legacy Center, affectionately known as the “Black House,” offers Class A office space and a production studio for budding entrepreneurs. Seeing The Legacy Center “Class A Office and Production Studio” was an inspiring and brilliant aspect of this mobile tour and speaks to the impact TREF has on the community. Founded by husband and wife team, Jay and Ernestine Morrison, TREF is focused on “comprehensive community development.” Equitable community development happens when the systems, policies, and processes that build residents up are coupled with bricks and mortar–you can’t put broken people in pretty houses.
To top it all off, Community Leader, Brother Reynaldo Holmes, shared his approach to urban agriculture that is: training residents in sustainable urban agriculture, providing fresh, healthy food for residents, and helping to solve blight and crime challenges, all as a home based business! Talk about Black people making it happen! East Point, GA has positioned itself as an equitable development learning lab for the nation. Who woulda thunk…offer