Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tenant Leaders South of I-20 Come Together

This past weekend American Friends Service committee was proud to support and participate in a retreat with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and the newly formed SMP Housing Justice Movement. SMP stands for Summerhill, Mechanicsville, and Peoplestown. The retreat brought together longtime resident fighters from Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and tenant leaders from newly formed tenant associations in Peoplestown, Summerhill , and Mechanicsville.

The focus of the retreat was building a stronger structure to build power in neighborhoods surrounding Turner Field.  Tenant leaders took time to build a mission statement, organizing principles, a code of conduct, and an organizational structure.

The retreat also created space for folks to build stronger bonds with each other, sharing stories over meals and around the campfire, and sharing hopes and dreams for the future of the communities we're fighting to preserve. The communities surrounding Turner Field have the cities eye of development squarely fixed on them. Atlanta intown neighborhoods have seen massive development which has brought mass displacement in places like the Old 4th Ward, Kirkwood, and Reynaldstown.

A drive through parts of the Turner Field Communities would tell most that development could be a good thing, in fact most residents would like to see positive development in their communities but not if that means they have to leave. Atlanta needs to find a way to develop without displacing the very folks that have been holding it down for generations and we know it's possible. Gentrification isn't just racist development, it's lazy development that strips a community of its flavor and history.

We're inspired that a group of tenant leaders are stepping up to lead their fight, a fight that could change the way our city is developed in the future, a fight that could challenge the status quo of development deals that benefit a few rich folks and hurt are cities most vulnerable. AFSC is proud to be in their corner and look forward to supporting the housing justice movement soth of I-20.

The SMP Housing Justice Movement is hosting a meeting this Thursday October 15th, attendance is encouraged.