Friday, October 27, 2006

Miami Activists Take Back the Land!

Fed up with broken government promises and stolen money, activists and residents took over the vacant publicly owned land on 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. in the Liberty City section of Miami. Miami police tried to evict us, but, having done our research in advance with lawyers, we had the law on our side.

We fed over 50 people and housed about 20. Today and through the week, we will continue to build our city. Our objective is not just to make a statement, it is to directly provide housing to poor Black people, to do for our community what the government and market are unwilling and uncapable of doing.

South Florida has suffered under a critical shortage of affordable housing. However, instead of creating more affordable housing, local government officials have been busy decreasing the number of affordable housing units, through bad public policy, such as the HOPE VI project, which destroyed 851 units of public housing, replacing it with 80 units; and the intentional vacancies in public housing. Following a series of media reports detailing practices of stealing from the poor to deliver to the rich, county officials have given virtually nothing to the community to compensate for the lost housing, stolen money or broken trust. The reality is this: far from providing a solution to the housing crisis, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami officials are exacerbating the crisis.

Poor Black people in need of housing are suffering disproportionately and unnecessarily, just so that a few officials and developers can line their own pockets. Therefore, the Black community can no longer depend on the government to provide basic human services for us. Consequently, we must provide it ourselves. We must 'Take Back the Land' so that we can circumvent the problem and implement our own solution.

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