Gentrification is a legal way of ethnic cleansing. It is a process through which cities and states award projects, grants and monies to 're-develop' land and make it 'nicer'. On the surface it looks like progress. Construction vehicles and cranes come in giving the semblance that a town is 'on the move' to better itself. New residential buildings are built, streets are repaved, trees may be planted and a children's park may be birthed. Ceremonies whereby politicians and private business pat each other on the back on a job well-done would make the front page of your local newspaper and all seems well in the world.
But under the surface a nest of rats and serpents plot and align special interest to take care of each other and reign supreme. If you scratch the surface just a little questions surge up.
- When redevelopment is done in a poverty-stricken town, such as South Norwalk, Connecticut, does that not begin to raise the cost of living in that immediate region?
- If an individual or family near or below the poverty-line is priced out of the town they use to live in due to the increasingly rising cost of living, can the person or family move into a newly developed apartment?
A common ploy in the gentrification process that always gets its 'legs' at city hall is that a small percentage of housing is made 'affordable' to low-income community residents while the brunt of the newly redeveloped housing is offered to more upscale clients with somewhat deeper pockets. This is how ethnic cleansing is made legal. In this manner, a town or cities governing board can legally excuse itself from being found to be pushing poor people out in favor of getting richer people in.
Over time, as the city replicates its redevelopment process and more and more poor people get displaced and are unable to afford the cost of living while more and more people from the outside are brought in to settle in the refurbished town. Again, the city does somewhat due diligence by creating a small percentage of affordable housing to poorer people. Nonetheless, most poor people are pushed out.
This is happening in Norwalk, Connecticut and specifically, South Norwalk, which is the last community in the city that has been left ripe for 'redevelopment.' After one passes the police department on the corner, the feeling that one is in another town seeps in. The streets are lined with a mixed bag of hispanic immigrants without citizenship, blacks and whites, all mostly at the poverty-line. Many homeless go up and down the street with shopping carts filled with their belongings. Young men sell drugs openly in front of the South Norwalk Community Center at different times of the day and night. Sidewalks are cracked and their are no trees or benches bringing shade and rest. Construction vehicles rumble 'to and fro' at their depot in this section of South Norwalk's principle street. A great number of churches face each other over the span of five city blocks. All this is existent each day.
As I walk through the streets introducing myself and the campaign to oust the corrupt CEO of the South Norwalk Community Center (who I am in the midst of auditing with multiple and growing Freedom of Information Act requests) I wonder about the faith of the pastors, priests and ministers. To me they are hypocrites of the worst kind. I have been to their churches. I have stepped in and met the congregants and what I see is sad. The Catholic priest walks gingerly in his golden robes past me and my requests to speak before the church. The Baptist ministers and deacons clean their hands of speaking out against the community center because they are taking legal action against it and simply cannot say anything publicly. Another pastor, a Pentecostal one, shakes nervously in my presence as he says to me that he has a small following and does not know anyone in the community. Another Baptist minister fails to return my call. A Catholic deacon is much to busy with his important matters to call me.
"Worship! Worship!" They say to their people. 'Come and pay into our coffers! It is for the glory of the church... la gloria de la Santa Purisima.'
How about you roll up your sleeves and literally walk out onto the street and help people who can't pay you back?
James 2:17-18 (KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me they faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith BY my works.
It is a new day. It is a different time now. Business in Norwalk, Connecticut will not being carried out as usual. Light is being shined into dark places and held there. People like the South Norwalk Community Center's Warren Pena who collect granted money from unholy alliances with corrupt city hall officials have their days numbered. I have already facilitated the ouster of his director, Kelly Robertson and the resignation of board member, Rees Morales. Join CoachBill.US in finishing off this cancer.
Having nothing positive to show for it to the community but serving themselves and acting like phony mob bosses is amateur play time in my estimation. I am not fazed nor intimidated by their titles or offices. These are merely men and women filled with indifference, apathy and devoid of wisdom and understanding. It is just a job for them, while real people who are as important as they are are left in the doldrums without hope and little opportunity to advance as a whole.
It is time for the community of South Norwalk to conquer itself back and apathy in the process. Wisdom says that we rise best when we rise together. That is real progress.