On Monday, November 17, Occupy Movement activists held a public meeting on the steps of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) to discuss the lack of human rights standards and public participation in the allocation of public money towards economic development in Baltimore. Organizers of this event invited Rev. Heber Brown of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Benn Ray with Bmore Local, and Juan Paredes with the United Workers to speak about the human cost of decades of poverty-zone development on residents, small businesses, and workers. We stand in solidarity with the aims of the Occupy Movement and appreciated the opportunity to talk about the fight for Fair Development at the Inner Harbor. President of the BDC, “Jay” Brodie attended this public meeting, listened to testimony from community members, and responded to the crowd. He promised the crowd continued dialogue. Check out the video from this powerful action.
Archive for November, 2011
Check out the Real News Network’s coverage of last week’s Fair Development Conference.
Fair Development Conference: Block 1
Saving Middle East Baltimore from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions: David and Goliath The Work-driven Corporate Accountability Model (CTUL, CIW, United Workers) (Spanish) LOOK HERE, LISTEN UP! Creative Tactics for Telling Critical Stories Movement Support Work at the Urban Justice Center's Community Development Project Local Development, Global Solidarity: Baltimore, Veolia, and BDS
Fair Development Conference: Block 2
Resource Grabs: From Highland Park to Kayford Mountain New Strategies toward a National Movement to End Poverty Permaculture: A Method of Sustainable Systems Design Creating Youth Justice through a democratic youth led process Community Advocacy Strategies for Accountable, Equitable Development
Fair Development Conference: Block 3
Creative Strategies for Facilitating Meetings and Groups Work Human Rights and Organizing: The Grassroots Struggle for Universal Healthcare Exploring and Understanding Workers Cooperatives as an Alternative Development Strategy Abolition, Religion, & Social Movements: Lessons from a Movement to End Slavery for a Movement to End Poverty Today National to Local - How the Fight for a Fair Economy and Good Jobs Better Baltimore are working to address income inequality in America and our city
Fair Development Conference: Block 4
Race to the Bottom: How workers and taxpayers lose Collectivization, fair development, and solidarity: rural and urban community organizing in the Dominican Republic (Spanish) The Human Right to Education: The School to Prison Pipeline Breaking the Media Blackout Real Food, Real Work
Throughout the Fair Development Conference, participants, panelists and United Workers’ members were asked what Fair Development means to them. A few of those interviews can be seen below, building, expanding and collectively envisioning how Fair Development both stands in opposition to poverty zone development like that of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and extends to struggles across the country for land, healthcare, housing, love and dignity; or in short, people’s basic human rights.
Wow! What a powerful weekend. From Brazil to Detroit, more than 400 social movement activists and grassroots organizers participated in the Fair Development Conference to connect local struggles to a growing global movement for economic human rights and justice. Participants converged in Baltimore to take part in discussions, workshops and actions to build solidarity across issues of social, economic and environmental justice ranging from universal healthcare to anti-war organizing, all under the banner of “fair development for everyone.”
Check out the website for videos and photos posted over the course of the weekend
It was truly an inspiring event, from beginning to end. From the first night where we started by sharing a meal together to build community and listen to six commanding and clear keynote speakers set the tone and call to action for the collective task of building a global movement to end poverty for all.
Videos of the speeches are forthcoming.
On Saturday, over 40 grassroots, cultural, community, and labor leaders and groups presented in 24 workshops to exchange strategies and solutions for building power to put forward alternative visions of economic development based on fair development principles of respecting human rights, maximizing public benefits, and sustainability. The Fair Development Conference created a space for in-depth dialogue on how to stop private corporations and banks from reaping unprecedented profits as the economic crisis continues to ravage communities across the globe.
In a workshop entitled, “Resource Grabs,” we heard from Adam Hall of the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation discuss the devastating effects that mountain top removal has had on the level of poverty and health of communities in West Virginia, including his family farm that had extended back generations and generations. The Vermont Workers Center shared insights into what led to their successful Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign. Marisela Gomez, former director of the Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC), gave a thorough presentation on the history of Johns Hopkins controversial redevelopment of East Baltimore that led to unprecedented displacement of residents.
If you came to the Fair Development Conference and just couldn’t go to every workshop you were interested in or if you just missed the conference, have no fear. Our amazing internal media team audio recorded just about every session. We will be posting all these soon, so be on the lookout.
Baltimore is a great example of how development affects ordinary people’s lives and on Sunday, we focused our attention on one of those examples, the Inner Harbor. Over 150 harbor workers, grassroots allies, and community members gathered for the “Haunted Harbor March.” See photos and from this playful and dramatic action.
The whole weekend was a stunning success. So many connections and friendship were made, solidified, and grew. We ate, prayed, reflected, learned, shared, danced, and marched together. Through that process we build lasting bonds of solidarity, shared a vision of a world free from poverty and exploitation, and re-equipped ourselves with new strategies and tools for realizing that vision.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Fair Development Conference!
After two days of amazing conversations, presentations, and workshops with social movement activists and organizers from all over the country and the globe, we closed the Fair Development Conference by taking that energy and spirit to the Inner Harbor.
On the eve of Halloween, harbor workers, grassroots allies, conference goers, and community members gathered to take part in telling the story of, “The Haunted Harbor: A Terrifying Tale of Poverty-Zone Development.” Dressed as zombie developers, ghosts of “poverty wages” and “disrespect,” and the protagonists of this story, the “Poverty Busters,” we took to the harbor making stops along the way to perform our play and hear from harbor workers and grassroots allies from the Baltimore Algebra Project, Occupy Baltimore, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Vermont Workers Center, Media Mobilizing Project, and the Poverty Initiative.
It was an incredible action, but the most powerful moment came when after three years of being denied access to march through our harbor, we took the promenade along the Inner Harbor in full view of workers and consumers. We stopped in the ampitheater in the center of Harborplace to tell the real story of the harbor, the story that is hidden, made invisible, but that workers know all too well. As Raquel Rojas, former Cheesecake Factory cook, recounted the wage theft and sexual harassment she experienced and witnessed, workers congregated on the balconies and at doorways to hear her story. Emboldened by our actions, we marched to the Cheesecake Factory where we stopped and chanted so all could hear our demands for worker dignity.
As we came to our final stop at the former location of the ESPN Zone and the new location of Phillips Seafood, one of the worst human rights violators in the harbor, it was a bittersweet moment. It was a bittersweet moment, because in the tale we performed, we as “Poverty Busters” had zapped the human rights abuses out of this dimension, freeing the harbor from the ghosts of poverty-zone development. But as we emerged from our playful fantasy, we knew the human rights abuses still existed and the harbor had yet to be transformed into a Human Rights Zone. We know that the road to Fair Development is long and has and will continue to require commitment, leadership and effective grassroots organizing to release the heart of our city from the shackles of poverty-zone development. It was also a bittersweet moment because the Fair Development Conference had officially come to an end and it was time to say good-bye to friends both new and old. We had shared and learned so much over the course of the weekend, we were inspired by the many stories of struggle and victory, reaffirming our collective commitment to building a united movement to create a just and equitable world for all.