The fight for Fair Development hits home. United Workers is being evicted from its office and community space due to the expanding presence of the University of Maryland (UM) in West Baltimore.
Over the last few years, UM has bought much of the property around our current office for its business school and biopark, setting in motion the dominos of displacement that development inevitably triggers. Due to the UM development, our non-profit landlord has been priced out of a number of community spaces and is now forcing us out to make room for its own relocated community programs. While fighting to keep open the precious few community resources, such as rec centers and fire stations, we see this eviction as part of the untold story of human rights abuses systemic across Baltimore. The actions of the University of Maryland have largely gone unnoticed – from demolishing low-income housing in the community to massive land purchases that led to our eviction and, no doubt, the displacement of other community residents and institutions. The result has been increased power for the few, while the livelihood and empowerment of the community has been completely undermined.
Our landlord is imposing an eviction deadline of January 31, 2013. We are attempting to push back and may need your help! We will keep you posted. What we need now are solid leads on new locations for our office and community space. Though this is a frustrating situation, it also allows us an opportunity to find a space that can make us even more accessible to our community. We want to stay in West Baltimore, particularly either in the Hollins Market area, where we are currently located (21223), or in Sandtown Winchester (21217). West Baltimore has been important to our organizing, particularly in recent years. It is where we have fought to keep the rec centers open and succeeded in saving the Truck 10 fire station. We have been working to launch a food distribution program in the neighborhood around our office this month. That being said we will consider any space that is available.
This is also an unexpected situation for which we did not budget. If you would like to make a donation to help us cover the cost of moving and a likely increase in rent, that would be extremely helpful and ensure our ability to continue our programming at current capacity. You can donate by going here: http://engage.unitedworkers.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=1
Thank you for your support and leadership over the years. We are grateful to know we have allies who will help ensure that we get through these challenging times, grow, and become ever more connected to our neighborhood and the larger Baltimore community.