Help the residents of Peoplestown remain in their homes. There ARE other solutions for the problem that has existed for MANY years. Displacement is NOT the answer.
Them they got moved by these hard-rock Brooklyn kids
Us floor rush when the DJ’s booming classics
You, dig the crew on the fattest hip-hop records
He touch the kinks and sinks into the sounds
She frequents the fattest joints caught underground
Our funk zooms like you hit the Mary Jane
They flock to booms man boogie had to change
Who freaks the clips with mad amount percussion
Where kinky hair goes to unthought-of dimensions
Why’s it so fly cause hip-hop kept some drama
When Butterfly rocked his light blue-suede Pumas
What by the cut we push it off the corner
How was the buzz entire hip hop era
Was fresh and fat since they started saying outtie
Cause funks made fat from right beneath my hoodie
The poobah of the styles like Miles and shit
Like sixties funky worms with waves and perms
Just sendin’ chunky rhythms right down ya block
We be to rap what key be to lock
Needless to say, I am in a reminiscent state. I would blame it on “Throw Back Thursday”, however I’ve been falling into this state every time I sit in our office on RDA and look out the window. It’s a bit emotional. I get emotional when I think of how far we (community, colleagues and myself) have come, in a short period of time. Reviewing the work done to get us here is even more overwhelming. However, the joggers on the Beltline, festivals in the parks and multiple offers on a single home have been the reward and just the tip of the iceberg.
Let me back up for those who are new to the Rebirth of my SW ATL..
A trip home to Brooklyn NY, changed my life. I was very aware of the on going transformation in Harlem since the 90’s.
.. I saw it…I heard of it.. however, I did not live it since I didn’t frequent Harlem. It was something happening “over there”..as if Harlem was another Country and certainly something that would not impact me.
In the 90’s, I was comfortable living in Bed-Stuy. I had a 3rd floor Brownstone apartment , paying $800(all inclusive) a month and thinking THAT was too high since it was technically ONLY 1.5 bedrooms,a livingroom, eat in kitchen, hall and bathroom with skylights, walk thru his/her dressing area equipped with marble sinks and builtin dressers. How dare my 80yr old landlord share her old house with ONLY my 2 person family and expect us to pay all that?
Yup…Hindsight is 20/20.
During this trip home,a visit to 592 Decatur Street was priority as she was now 90, and had not seen my daughter in 3 years. It felt wonderful to really be home. I mean, truly home- with all the same sights, sounds, smells and yes, NY dirt I love. I was home and taking full advantage of everything. I had franks from the food CART (no truck needed to cart boiling water and buns), an authentic FRESHLY MADE Beef Patti from real Jamaicans (not the box from the supermarket), Gyro from the Gyro King off 34th St, a Hero sandwich from the corner Bodega (who already knew American cheese is suppose to be YELLOW) and a Mystic drink. Nothing disappointed me- it all was just as I had remembered and longed for.
Sitting on the stoop “people watching” was a nice evening pass time. Something I missed and still miss (Atlanta does not have stoops, most drive everywhere and if we had stoops, the mosquito’s would run us off!) However, there were many faces I did not recognize. My ex-landlord was quick to fill in the blanks with all the gossip (after all, she lived there over 50yrs and knew everything) “..she’s a doctor. That’s Ms. So& So daughter-she took over the house when her mom died, he’s the baby of the family-he’s grown now and has a wife home…” I didn’t mind listening one bit, she took pride in knowing and was happy that EVERYONE KNEW HER. I did notice some passing did not receive any recognition or introduction, despite their evening greeting. They were polished. A different race. And looked out of place, based on my memory of the street. Her only comment on this, “… Brooklyn is changing…like what they did in Harlem. My taxes have gone up…”
We were silent.
It was a sad moment for me to feel her unspoken fears. I did not know how to reassure her.
What could I possibly reassure? She was 90, I was 27. She lived longer and saw more.
Change is inevitable.
My return back to Atlanta was refreshing. I HATE to admit this, but I was tired after NY and welcomed the slower pace, a house with central AC and the stillness nightfall brought. I had come to find peace in the predictability of stores closing, transit stopping and people being indoors by a certain time.
But, my soul longed for a balance.
………to be continued next Throw Back Thursday
About 3 years ago I was able to spend a week attending a NeighborWorks community development/stabilization conference and classes. A few weeks prior, I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I KNEW it would not be easy to attend as all of my pregnancies have been “high risk”, however “not easy “ was an understatement. In between violently vomiting (all day “morning sickness”), sharp muscle spasms in my back, and having a condition which produced excessive saliva, I was able to network with others dedicated to community development and rebuilding blighted urban areas. It was one of the most draining and yet- exciting times in my life, especially being that it was held in New Orleans….a city not fully recovered from the Katrina devastation.
I can not believe that was nearly 3 years ago. Ironically, like in childbirth the pains and hardship one endures in that time (before and during labor) become a memory, once that which you anticipate has arrived. Now, it’s just the growing pains.
We have hundreds of Non-Profits in the West End of Atlanta and many new businesses come to our NPU seeking support with this status and mission to help rebuild. Most claim to do community development, or provide homebuyer resources. Honestly, I have seen very little impact from any agency within my neighborhoods. Yes, we do have UCDC (University Community Development Corporation) who have successfully participated in the NSP program- rehabed and resold homes to a few owner occupants. However, the success ratio of these non-profits make it very difficult for me to support them.
Why are those who have made it their business to redevelop communities limited in their accomplishments? Some will say they are lacking financial resources (grants are limited) and others may be lacking support. I personally believe the “business” of community development can not be a 9-5 Mon- Friday business alone. There were many things I learned during the week in New Orleans, one thing that resonates throughout my community is that a stabilized safe neighborhood can not be built without resident involvement. In our communities, what I do see are neighbors with no affiliation to anything, nor “C3’s” bringing in new residents, orchestrating clean ups, and public safety meetings.
In that spirit, this January 2013, Area West Realty will join with “Committed To Communities” in their event sponsored by The Beltline Team, Invest Atlanta and Wells Fargo Neighborhood Lift on a mission to support our neighbors with their efforts of community development. During this time, we will showcase available homes, affordability programs and some of the best features in our communities. We are making available, the City of Atlanta, bank reps and * RRC for one on one (no-strings-attached) conversations. We only need YOU!
Mark your calendar January 12th for this event. We appreciate our neighbors and will have special “Thank You’s” for YOUR community development efforts. ( more information to come).
* Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation, or RRC has successfully helped many potential home owners work on their credit, understand the home buying and ownership process.
I also encourage those in the business, and neighbors NOT in the business, to invest in additional training at NeighborWorks America. The information received is priceless, the connections made will change lives.
For information on past Committed to Communities events.