Cleaborn-Foote Team

Amanda Smith

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crossroads to Freedom/ Dr. Bonefas

Reflection #1

The fieldwork my group has done independently and then with Professor Jamerson has painfully reminded me of the difficulties of community organizing. The dilapidated condition of the Vance Neighborhood warrants the interest that St. Pats and HOPE VI have shown, but what good is that interest or money if the residents of Vance do not care to be involved?

The history of that neighborhood, and of similar neighborhoods in Memphis with housing projects, is one of little community involvement. Outsiders come in and create change, with no input from the residents. This relationship with non profits, churches, and city and federal governments leave the residents with no sense of agency; no control over the future of their community. So how do you inspire residents to get involved? Even with the HOPE VI Evaluation Dr. Jamerson is leading, few community members show up to the Vance Avenue Collaborative Meetings. It is mostly a white, outsider and academic crowd.

So even with a project model constructed around the involvement of residents, the relationship of outsiders with the Vance Neighborhood doesn’t seem to be changing. With such a long history of no agency, how do you convince the residents otherwise?

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Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 8:46 am  Comments Off on Cleaborn-Foote Team  
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