Episode: 010: Revitalization in Baltimore after Freddie Gray, Mel Freeman, Citizens Planning & Housing Association


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010: Revitalization in Baltimore after Freddie Gray, Mel Freeman, Citizens Planning & Housing Association

On this episode of Equitable Opportunity Radio, we explore the revitalization challenges facing neighborhoods in West Baltimore before and after the tragic death of Freddie Gray. Our guest, Mel Freeman,  is a long-time community development activist and consultant and the former Executive Director of Citizens Planning & Housing Association in Baltimore, Maryland. Mel shares how inadequate access to quality infrastructure, services, and employment opportunities acts as a major barrier to community revitalization and economic participation for many residents of Baltimore. He stresses how vitally important it is to engage directly with residents in these neighborhoods to empower them and to work with them to build enduring solutions. Public resources are not adequate to shift the dynamic in many of these neighborhoods so Mel is focused on how to create conditions that will stimulate private investment in these neighborhoods while simultaneously lifting up and not displacing the majority of current residents. One particular focus of Mel’s work is to help members of these communities have hope, believe in themselves, empower themselves and become a force for change.

Topic: Revitalization in Baltimore after Freddie Gray

Guest: Mel Freeman is the former Executive Director of Citizens Planning & Housing Association, a regional organization whose mission envisions a well-planned Baltimore region with equity among jurisdictions, where citizens respect diversity and have access to responsive government and quality housing in vibrant neighborhoods. Currently, Mel is leading his own consulting firm, Freeman Consulting Group, where he continues to work to advance community-led planning processes that provide residents and organizations with the tools to self-manage change within their own communities. His approach is grounded in the belief that people change neighborhoods themselves not by waiting on others to lead the way.

Organization: The Citizens Planning & Housing Association (CPHA) is the catalyst for civic action to bring about a healthy, inclusive Baltimore, with economically vibrant communities and opportunities for all people. The organization does this by bringing together people and neighborhoods to create innovative solutions to challenging, community-wide problems; empowering citizens with information and skills for advocacy and organizing; and championing solutions through legislative and policy reforms. Their programs include Community Association Support and Leadership Training, Policy Research and Legislative Pressure, Citizen Outreach and Organizing, and more.

Website - http://www.cphabaltimore.org/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bmorecpha

Twitter - https://twitter.com/bmorecpha

Take Away Quotes:

“There is a big fear of the word gentrification, do we have to have other folks who don’t look like us in our neighborhoods to increase the value of our communities?”

“There is never enough public money, ever! So private investment needs to happen in these communities.”

“We do need change in communities, but we also need to secure the families that are there.”

“You can’t get anything done unless you’re out there talking to people, and trying to really understand what their needs are.”

“Nobody in their neighborhood uses this train, hundreds of cars drive to this train station and then those people go to work, and those jobs are for them, not for us.”

“What we have to do is get out in these communities and talk about what is for them, and not have them constantly thinking that the next thing that happens in their community is not for them, it is for them and they need to know that.”

 

 

For more information about Equitable Opportunity Radio and to join the conversation, visit our webiste, Equitable Opportunity Summit at eosummit.com

 



Equitable Opportunity Radio – weekly conversations with visionary leaders who are building a more inclusive economy
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