Posts Tagged ‘ Just Equity ’

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.

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Veronica Burt, Public Policy Advocate/Organizer
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2010 Allies for Justice Awards Dinner and Celebration

Stops For us

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC and Joan Vanhala of Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

Please join us for the 2010 Allies for Justice Awards Dinner and Celebration on Wednesday, May 19, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Nicollet Island Pavilion (40 Power Street, Minneapolis).

Join us to honor this year’s Allies for Justice Award recipients, chosen because they embody Headwaters Foundation’s conviction that, together, we can create social and political conditions that guarantee justice for all.

GRANTEES: MOVING JUSTICE FORWARD ON TRANSIT EQUITY
For the first time, the Allies for Justice Awards will honor a group of organizations for their collective impact in the local community. Through their collaboration with each other and numerous other community organizations on Central Corridor Light Rail Transit development in St. Paul, these Headwaters grantees have brought attention to the issues of affordable housing, maintaining bus service in this transit-dependent community and, in a recent victory, the need to add stops in three high-density neighborhoods. The 10 organizations being recognized for moving forward on transit equity are:

  • Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
  • Community Stabilization Project
  • District 7 Planning Council
  • Got Voice? Got Power! / Aurora St. Anthony NDC
  • ISAIAH
  • Jewish Community Action
  • JUST Equity
  • Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing
  • Somali Action Alliance
  • TakeAction Minnesota

Stops for Us Celebration

Stops for Us celebration

Nieeta Presley and Metric Giles of ASANDC celebrate with Stops for Us Coalition at Arnellia's

The community along the Central Corridor in St. Paul has been asking for extra train stops at key intersections since the light rail expansion was conceived. Just a few weeks ago, they got them. Community groups, neighborhood organizations, local elected officials and individuals have been working with federal, state and local officials to find funding and political support for the stops. A celebration was held at Arnellia’s on University Avenue on Feb. 8 to enjoy the sweet success of good old-fashioned community organizing.

With local businesses worried about revenue during construction, lawsuits being filed against the proposed light rail route and an inadequate amount of train stops, many community members have been hesitant to welcome the transit project. This victory was one felt deeply by those who worked hard to achieve it, and the party at Arnellia’s was well deserved.

The local pub was full of community members, leaders and organizational representatives. People from Isaiah, CSP, Jewish Community Action, Alliance for Metro Stability, ASANDC and more were there to cheer the funding of the new stops. City Councilmembers Russ Stark and Melvin Carter III were there as well. The party filled the back room of Arnelia’s with laughter and noise: specifically singing. A song written for the occasion was chanted by everyone, and was definitely the highpoint of the evening. “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time,” said Metric Giles, a board member of the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The Stops for Us Coalition: »Alliance for Metropolitan Stability »Asian Economic Dev. Association »ASANDC »Community Stabilization Project »District Councils Collaborative »Got Voice, Got Power! »Hmong Organizing Program, TakeActionMN »Housing Preservation Project »ISAIAH »Jewish Community Action »JUST Equity »Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy »Model Cities »MICAH »Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee »Saint Paul NAACP »Saint Paul Urban League »Transit for Livable Communities »UFCW Local 789 »University UNITED »University Ave. Business Association.

FRAN Meeting seeks to focus campaign to raise $8 million

fran-photo

Nieeta Presley discusses fund-raising with Access Philanthropy consultants.

Steve Paprocki spoke clearly when he addressed the Frogtown-Rondo Action Network meeting on April 28. “The time is now for you to come together on a common work plan, work force and work vision to raise $8 million for this community.” A consultant from Access Philanthropy, Paprocki knows what he is talking about.Representatives of nearly a dozen FRAN organizations nodded their heads in agreement. $8 million dollars is the lucky number FRAN aims to raise over the next three years to support its rollout of 11 community-based initiatives to, in its words, “start the next great chapter in Frogtown-Rondo’s history.”

Nieeta Presley, executive director of the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation led the formative meeting. “This is an opportunity for community organizations to interact with each other and create a streamlined plan for raising money and implementing programs,” Presley said.With a line-up of community-building orga- nizations at the plate, the multimillion-dollar goal seems feasible. The ASANDC, Community Stabilization Project, Greater Frogtown CDC, Camphor United Methodist Church, Concordia University, Hmong Business Association/Asian Economic Development Association, Jewish Community Action, Just Equity, Selby Area CDC, University United and the University Avenue Business Association are taking roles that range from educating community members and business owners about managing their finances to advocating for creation of green jobs and energy efficiency.

As the plan moves forward, FRAN will continue to strengthen its network of campaign supporters, community supporters and community capital.

To read more about the work of FRAN and its partner organizations, pick up a copy of the latest Aurora/St. Anthony NDC Newsletter.

— By Jake Kulju

FRAN has a plan

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC

A new initiative led by nine community organizations is focusing on high-impact projects along University Avenue designed to bring prosperity to the people of the neighborhood as state and local governments prepare to build the Central Corridor light rail line. The Frogtown/Rondo Action Network, funded in part by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, and serving an area from Rice Street west to Lexington, and from Thomas south to St. Anthony, is made up of:
•    Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation
•    Community Stabilization Project
•    Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation
•    Hmong Business Association/Asian Economic Development Association
•    Jewish Community Action
•    Just Equity
•    Selby Area Community Development Corporation
•    University Avenue Business Association
•    University United
Although planning for the Central Corridor LRT in Saint Paul includes strategies to mitigate negative  effects of the project on community members and small business owners, the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation is concerned that the project might not be focusing enough on the real needs and issues of the community as expressed by the community members and business owners.
“If the underlying premise is to ‘spur’ economic development, then the building of the LRT must be done right from start to the finish,” said Nieeta Presley, executive director of ASANDC.
FRAN’s goals are to direct resources toward community-based projects already under way that would otherwise be constrained by limited means and abilities. The idea is to have ASANDC, which has been serving the community since the 1980s, to center the coordination efforts in order to aptly prepare, strengthen and help residents and businesses not only survive the Light Rail changes but any changes that present themselves to our community.
LISC has committed three years of support to FRAN and hopes to raise and leverage additional resources both for support and implementation of FRAN projects, which have a total budget of about $7.5 million.
— By Ashanti Austin