We are pleased to announce Community Preservation Corporation as a Supporter level sponsor for the Spring 2019 Gentrification Conference.
We are pleased to announce RocGrowth as a Supporter level sponsor for the Spring 2019 Gentrification Conference.
Learn more about RocGrowth
540WMain Spring 2019 Gentrification Conference
Development Without Displacement: Activism & Action
Saturday March 30th // 10am-4pm
We are pleased to formally announce the Spring 2010 540WMain Gentrification Conference. The Spring 2019 conference will continue the discussion around the history of gentrification in Rochester neighborhoods.
Spring 2019 Theme
Themed “Development Without Displacement: Activism & Action the Spring 2019 conference will bring together leaders, developers, and residents of our community to learn about what is currently being done to counter displacement, find better solutions, and determine a collective path forward.
Our morning session will feature P.E. Moskowitz, author of the acclaimed 2017 book “How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality and the Fight for the Neighborhood” and will inform our afternoon program.
Pre-register online today ($10) | Open to all // no one turned away for lack of funds
Check out a very special guest blog written by Marlana Zink and be sure to register to attend today’s conference
‘Fall 2018 Gentrification Conference // Who Are the Gentrified?
Saturday October 20th // 10am-4pm
Thomas P. Ryan Community Center
A Wakandan Vision for Rochester by Marlana Zink
At the risk of being corny, many of my recent musings around gentrification have been inspired by the movie Black Panther. The movie asks viewers to reflect on an important question: What would our world look and feel like if the historically marginalized were never, well, marginalized? I’m curious about a vision for our own community:
- What if crack had never been allowed to infiltrate black neighborhoods?
- What if our schools were among the best in the nation?
- What if redlining was never a governmental practice?
- I can’t help but wonder what our community could be if the issues we face today were considered unfathomable. Sometimes looking at an issue from a totally new frame of reference can help when we feel like we’re constantly putting out fires.
I didn’t realize how important Black Panther’s mainstreaming of afrofuturism was until I came back home from college as a permanent resident in my childhood neighborhood, in Rochester’s so-called “crescent of poverty”. I did what they tell every high schooler to do: go to school, get an education, and come back to work in your community. But when I did, I was struck with a sense of guilt that I hadn’t felt before. I confided in someone who asked me if I had ever heard of internalized oppression. I scoffed, of course I have.
“Then why can’t you see it in yourself?” That’s when I had to ask myself if I was unconsciously attached to poverty as the only future for my community. If I had romanticized it, idealized it. If I genuinely believed it was a part of my identity, and the identity of my community. Sure, the shared experiences around our community and lives are fundamental to identity but, at the same time, I can’t help but think of the words of James Baldwin in his essay, A Letter to My Nephew
“This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish…The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”
Black Panther is a game-changer not only because it is a fantastic movie, but also because it imagines a world in which there were never limits placed on Wakandans. As much as I appreciate practicality (how can we think about unrealistic visions of the future when people’s’ livelihoods are at stake?), I still think there’s immense power in creating a vision that actively resists what we’re told our community can aspire to. I’m looking forward to imaging what development without displacement could actually look like. Feel like. Taste like. I hope that the conference can lead to some great thoughts for how we can not only keep Rochester livable for the people who have been here for years, but also pour into what’s already great about it instead of only catering to the desires of those with the money we’d like to attract to fund the city’s revival. As a matter of fact, maybe it’s important that I stop using the word revival. Just because some are now seeing the city with a new set of eyes doesn’t mean it ever went anywhere.
Marlana Zink is a community resident and graduate of Cornell University (17). She currently works as an urban planner in the City Rochester.
We are pleased to announce the community panelists taking part in
Fall 540WMain Gentrification Conference
Saturday’s Conference themed “Who are the Gentrified” is anchored on the real life testomonies of three Rochester community members negatively impaced by gentrification and City devlopment. They will share their stories, how gentrification has impacted them, and provide insight on how they see future development efforts that do not displace our cities most vulnerable. Below is a brief synopsis of each. Register for the Fall conference to see and hear them LIVE.
Liz McGriff // Beechwood City Resident Fights Unlawful Eviction
In 2001, Liz McGriff bought 618 Cedarwood Terrace for $53,000. Her mortgage was sold and resold, as was common during an era when banks were purchasing distressed mortgages as investments, hoping to turn a profit when they foreclosed on the properties and sold them, or collected insurance for them. Liz McGriff, then fell behind on mortgage payments after losing her job in 2008, tried to catch up on payments and renegotiate the terms, but got nowhere. With a new job she had a willingness and ability to pay, but the bank foreclosed on her home. To buy it outright, she needed to pay more than $100,000 in cash. Then on a summer day in 2017 Liz received an eviction notice. Liz along with many community supporters took a stand against Midfirst Bank’s unlawful eviction and launched a fight against it and a financial system that condones predatory lending practices and unlawfully evicts homeowners that fall on hard times.
Source: Democrat & Chronicle
Learn more about Liz’s story using the links below and follow our Facebook
Mohamed Gazali// Solmalian Refugee to Rochester Displacement
From Somalia to Kenya to the refugee camp to the United States Mohamed and his family move to Rochester from Somalia when he was 13 years old where they started their life from zero. The family initially settled in the Plex Neighborhood and eventually found their way to the then known Gateway Park apartments in 1997. This neighborhood and complex became known for housing Rochester’s growing refugee community and over time the residents created a culture and community of their own; supporting and looking out for one another. Within a few short years the developers and their representatives or legalised gangsters” as Mohamed calls them began their campaign and promises of moving the residents to a better neighborhood and a better life in paradise. Then in 2006 the aggressive relocation plans began. Residents were promised free section 8 for life, cash settlements, and other incentives to sign their apartments away one by one. They had little say, were given little reason why relocation was needed, and wondered why they couldn’t have their apartments renovated and then move back into neighborhood they had all called home.
Learn more about Mohamed’s story on our Facebook
Jody Francis (not pictured) // Displacement via Eviction
Born and raised in Bronx, NY Jody Francis has lived in many places around the country throughout his adult life. Life and circumstances brought him to Rochester in 2013 Jody eventually found a rental in the Meigs neighborhood where he has resided as a no problem rent paying tenant until he found an eviction notice on his door this past August. Management had sold the building to a 34 year old local developer that wanted all tenants; some who had been in the building for 19 + years gone in 30 days. Says Jody ” when it rains it pours but poor people like us have to advocate for ourselves.” A phone call to Mary Lupien (who he had met during his time on Parsells) led to a meeting with Ryan Acuff, President of the Rochester Tenant Union.
Learn more about Jody’s story on our Facebook