These days, I’ve been trying to do more in my city than just go to rap shows. Hip-hop will always make a great impact on the community, but it’s a goal for me to see more (especially when it comes to Indianapolis-my hometown.)
So, I went to a lecture on gentrification that was held at the amazing Kheprw Institute-a pro-black knowledge hub located off 38th and Boulevard. I walked in a little late, just missing the introduction portion of the conversation.
The discussion titled, “Miseducation: American Dreams or Nightmares,” is a 8-part series of discussions on gentrification. This was the second part of the series.
Phrases like “urban development” and “school reform efforts” where thrown around, and I was suddenly captivated by this information. It made me realize what privilege I had growing up. Followed by a short video explaining the strong negative effects of school reform on low income neighborhoods, was a question and answer period for the panel. This discussion brought up lots of points against gentrification, and how it’s being used as a “strategy to regain power” in Marion County. People shared a few personal ideas, while asking the panel guests their opinion on how to correct this major problem.
I left that conversation feeling intrigued, for a few different reasons. I’ve heard about gentrification, and have analyzed what it does to communities, but I never thought about it happening in my own community. The conversation spoke directly about Indiana cities, specifically Indianapolis. I hear the stories of black youth being pushed out of schools, their families pushed out of their neighborhoods-and for what? For young, hip coffee houses, gift shops and high property taxes?
Meanwhile, what happens to those youth? Their future, livelihood and status in society is never considered-especially when it comes to the corporate dollar. Another person attending the lecture stated we should focus on geographical ownership. This act will give the power back to the neighborhoods. These people residing in the areas deemed as “low income” are our local gems, and the neighborhoods are as well. We should cherish these historical feats of Indianapolis.
The bottom line to all of this, is getting involved in local politics. If we don’t know what’s going on in our cities, how can we change anything? It may not solve everything at once, but we damn sure have to try. These policies are in place to harm minority, low-income neighborhoods and black children are directly affected. There’s no excuses for it. So, I plan to get involved in my neighborhood and try to make people aware of this problem.
Gentrification is genocide. What will you do to stop it?