July 4, 2019
Written by Peter Block
2019 is the 400thanniversary of slavery in America. Slavery is not a history lesson, it is still going on in form of interest rates, people displacement from land development, investment scarcity, minority fronts to make businesses look diverse.
The modern plantation no longer plants cotton with low-cost labor, instead, it erases homes and neighborhoods in the name of “highest and best” use of land. It loans money to people at exploitive interest rates. In 1959, in the West End of Cincinnati, the city cleared 2,000 buildings and 24,000 people in the name of development. In 2019 this is reoccurring in the name of a “must have” professional soccer stadium. And 66 properties around it, also in the name of development. All with the help of public money. All legal. All showcased with pride.
We are committed to ending slavery in Cincinnati, supporting an alternative, just economy in its obvious shapes and subtle and invisible forms. It will take 10-20 years. If we act quickly.
It begins with our capacity to gain real communal control of land, reimagine ways to create stable housing and making debt right. All in service of black, brown and Appalachian residents who right now are philanthropically and charitably served, but still economically isolated.
It is a strategy to end displacement in the name of economic development. This entails not only a change in how we think about the land but also reimagining the real estate of our minds.
What we as government, social service, education, and corporate generosity are now doing is worthwhile, but not powerful enough. Even with our pride in 3% unemployment, we have not touched wealth disparity. We have too far to go to make a real impact on safety where it is most needed, health, education or loneliness.
This is an invitation to join Jubilee now. Help us bring forward any of the following.
Jubilee Fund. Loans with interest to acquire resident, neighborhood controlled land to provide stable housing and local enterprise. Many of the properties are in public hands. Port Authority Land Bank is waiting for us. There exists a Community Land Trust. JRAB residents in public housing have development strategies.
Stable Housing. Contribute to widening existing structures serving stable housing options. We have proof of concept in place. Dividend Housing. Jubilee Project.
Beneficial Debt. Interest rates are the yolk of oppression. Help us collect the range of low and no income mortgage options. Help move the commercial banking commitment to Community Reinvestment Act money in a resident benefit direction.
Join in producing the Jubilee Launch Conference event on October 12 in cooperation with Xavier and University of Cincinnati.
Support our Arts and Culture movement. We are funding and supporting music, opera, and dance that recognize that black, brown, appalachian culture was never lost. It is as strong and forward facing as ever. Where the blues, jazz, and gospel was a cry out of grief and hope from the suffering of many; Hip Hop architecture, design, and language is a recognition that minority cultures are strong and present and lead us forward in shaping an alternative economy.
Enterprise Development. Help us pull together and publicize all investment opportunities in place in Cincinnati Access Fund, Damon Lynch III, CEAI, CUCI, Mortar. Collect in one place resources for local minority businesses. Help with the campaign to spend our dollars to support this local, resident-driven alternative economy.
Join our Journalism Project. We need a new narrative. We are held back by the old narrative of inevitable poverty and the belief that average annual income describes a human being. That GDP describes our well-being. The news reinforces and rewards displacement in the name of progress, public funds for private wealth creation. The stories of our neighborhoods need to be major news. Reparation needs to be explained as a way of building wealth. It works for the well-off today, called a bail out. We need to see its importance for the not so well off. A new journalism is underway under many names: Solutions Journalism. Relationship Journalism, Citizen Journalism.
The above structures needed to bring Jubilee alive are in place. What we need to amplify them, bring our talents to them, tie them together as one movement. National and local. Jubilee 2019.