Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our City is Dying and We Are Watching: Can Someone SPEAK??

This summer I worked as an intern at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center through the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C. The name of the internship was Generation Change 2010. The theme of the internship was Community Organizing. Throughout the summer I was taught how to share my story of self, how to build relationships with leadership, how to become an influential leader in society. In order to get to the point where I could go on Capitol Hill and lobby with members of Senate, I had to first understand that the theme of Community Organizing is Equality.

Specifically with the Peace and Justice Center, we worked on projects here in Memphis like the "Homelessness Campaign" and the "Issues First Campaign." While working in Memphis, I had to visit with one of the members of the Memphis City Council. This man sat in his seat of power, an African American male, and had the most nonchalant attitude that I could ever imagine. Yet, he is a representative of our city. We went to talk about "red-lining" and how in African American communities, there are no large scale grocery stores, but there are liquor stores on every corner. There are no nice restaurants, but there is a fast food restaurant down the street. And people complain about our healthy eating habits? It is as if the city is setting the predominantly African American sections of the city up for failure, and standing by to make sure that they fail nonviolently and quietly. Then, when people no longer have jobs because they are discriminated against for being a member of the LGBTQ community or because they cannot afford a car and the bus got them to work late for the third time, they end up being foreclosed on. Hence the large population of African American homeless people in the city. Oh, we thought that the problem was being solved? It's pushing people out of their homes...

The worst part of this is coming up hold on...

I attended a City Council meeting in order to support one of the efforts in conjunction with the Peace and Justice Center. A group of people were fighting to pass the Tennessee Equality Act...The act was denied. The justification? "We don't want people of the opposite sex thinking that it is okay to dress in drag and then use the opposite sex's bathrooms. This makes everyone uncomfortable..." This is what our city has come to. There is intentional decaying of communities everyone and no one is being held accountable. Over 20% of the African American population in Memphis is below the poverty line and there is no one to lead them, no leadership to get them jobs, and no aggressive organizing going on to organize them into getting up and getting out for themselves. Don't you think this needs to be changed?!

No comments:

Post a Comment