Posts Tagged ‘ Community Development ’

JUST Equity

Veronica Burt

Veronica Burt

Veronica Burt, public policy advocate and organizer for JUST Equity, works diligently with other community organizations within the African American community in the historic Rondo neighborhood. Their shared passion for racial justice and equitable development brings awareness to community members so that they can voice their questions and concerns.

“We look at the large development projects and the impact they will have on the communities around them,” says Burt. “I look at the policies that exist on the books, to see if they will be beneficial or harmful to the community and then work to organize our communities to take action.”

JUST Equity is a network of several local community development groups, including the Aurora/Saint Anthony NDC, North Side Development Council and the NAACP (Saint Paul Chapter), all African Americans working for the betterment of their communities.

They are looking at the Central Corridor light rail line as one such project, with the hindsight of the construction of Interstate 94, in the 1960s through the Rondo neighborhood; they are hoping to see something different with this transportation project.

Community members were made aware of the project when it was still in the beginning stages and were able to ask questions about positive and negative impact on their communities and livelihoods.

JUST Equity has set out with the goal of “Lifting our community members out of poverty and not out of the community,” Burt said.

“We want to stay in our neighborhoods and we want to thrive,” says Burt. “The end goal to our particular effort and emphasis is essentially, development that takes place in this community that would be a benefit to the African American community. … What we want is a Rondo Renaissance … a revitalization vision that honors our community’s history, helps preserve what we have left in Rondo, helps restore components of the Rondo community, and builds wealth for our community members.”

JUST Equity seeks to be a partner with government agencies so that, together, they may be thoughtful planners of projects that lead to restoring and healing our communities.

About JUST Equity

JUST Equity is a network of several local community organizations, including Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, North Side Development Council, and the Saint Paul Chapter of the NAACP.

More info

Veronica Burt, Public Policy Advocate/Organizer
Email

Community Roundtable

Organizer Roundtable

About 30 people attended the Organizer Roundtable on the Building Sustainable Communities project.

More than 30 attendees from 22 organizations gathered at the Model Cities Communities Room on University Avenue on February 24, 2010, to hear impassioned community leaders share their raw experiences — the triumphs and the difficulties — in realizing the true meaning of collaboration.

Collaboration, in this case, meant creating neighborhood-centric, multi-partner coalitions aligned with the Building Sustainable Communities initiative supported by Twin Cities LISC.

As part of a monthly roundtable series organized by the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, the event, titled “Community Partnerships for Success,” drew excellent attendance according to Joan Vanhala, coalition organizer with AMS.

“I appreciated the different leaders who talked honestly about their challenges in working with coalitions towards one common goal,” said Vanhala.

Those leaders included Mari Bongiovanni, executive director, East Side Neighborhood Development Company; Staci Horwitz, program director, City of Lakes Community Land Trust; Cathy Maes, executive director, ICA Food Shelf; Judy Elling, executive director of ResourceWest in Hopkins; and Nieeta Presley, executive director, Aurora/St. Anthony Community Development Corporation.

During the two-hour session, leaders outlined the formulation of their collaborative, conveying both excitement and frustration in the challenges and rewards of developing cross-sector partnerships.

“I can see that in the different presentations, we’re at different levels of maturity, and we all came out in completely different ways,” said Bongiovanni. “We [St Paul’s East Side] needed to sit at the table for quite a while.”

After four years, Bongiovanni admitted her collaborative is still working on finding a comprehensive voice, which has slightly fragmented recently due to resident churn in a tough economy. That said, she noted the effort put forth in a multi-year process that started with informational meetings and evolved into 64 organizations sitting at a table calling each other to ask for advice and referrals.

“That was a big step,” she said. “Before we were all in our little silos and hoping that we would get funded and others wouldn’t because that would be more money for us.”

The next Organizer Roundtable will be “Race, Power and Organizing,” which will address the dynamics of race in day-to-day life, and how to integrate racial equity in campaign focus.

Race, Power and Organizing

Noon – 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 31
Rondo Community Library
461 N. Dale St.
St. Paul, MN 55103

Building Sustainable Communities Roundtable

LISC logoJoin Model Cities, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, Aurora/St. Anthony NDC and other Frogtown Rondo Action Network partners at an Organizer Roundtable — Community Partnerships for Success: Building Sustainable Communities from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, at Model Cities Community Room, 839 University Avenue, Saint Paul. (Map/Directions or Transit Planner)

In 2007, the Twin Cities was chosen by the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to carry out a Building Sustainable Communities demonstration to promote more integrated and comprehensive approaches to community development. Twin Cities LISC is implementing the project with a focus on five areas: St. Paul’s East Side, the Central Corridor, Minneapolis’ north and south sides, and the suburban community of Hopkins. They chose these areas because each offers a multitude of potential partners, opportunities and issues.

Come hear from community leaders involved in the program about their efforts to direct resources toward community-based projects already under way that would otherwise be constrained by limited means and abilities. Join in the dialogue about how innovative partnerships like this can leverage resources for community projects.

Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Light snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Going Away Party for “Dan the Man”

Going away party for Dan Kravetz, Community Development Assistant at Aurora/Saint Anthony Community Development Corporation, at Arnellia’s in Saint Paul.
His activism, his commitment, love, time, and deep voice will be missed!

— Video By Ashanti Austin