Monday, September 2, 2013

Dreaming in Uptown

If you haven't come out of your Rip Van Winkle cave, then you probably heard that last week marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
I Have a Dream
I recently saw a documentary on King's progression as a social activist from Selma to Memphis. No matter  the issue, he said he wanted to be on the side of justice. Thus he fought not only for voting rights, but for fair housing and jobs for minorities. This is something I think society is still struggling with. Especially in my neighborhood, where every day the poor and low-income earners are being squeezed out of housing. Just this past month another SRO (sing-room occupancy) building got gobbled up by a developer, planning a 14M re-hab on the Lawrence House, once housing for seniors and others on fixed incomes.

Martin Luther King's life and death demonstrates a life not only on the right side of an issue, but one who sacrifices and pursues with a passion a commitment to that issue.

I find many people who say they are progressive (code for not prejudice), who say they identify with those struggling for civil rights, who love diversity.

But this past week I heard something that I hope is simply an ugly rumor.

On the first day of school, by the "known" troublespots in Uptown, where in the past there has been outbreaks of violence, the police randomly rounded up residents hanging out at those corners and moved them to the Jewel store parking lot and kept them there until the parents and children along the back-to-school route had vacated the sidewalks.


I heard it was an effort to rid the streets of the homeless who gather around the McDonald's at Wilson and Sheridan. Who decides who is homeless? Who decides who is a bum? And, lastly, what does this have to do with the gang violence--they are 2 separate issues.

I Have a Dream--that housing will become a human right. That the marginalized will not be reduced to the point of invisibility. That in Uptown we can all DWELL together in unity. not according to class and square feet.

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