Friday, December 14, 2007

WHY we're doing this?

  • From June 18, 2006 to June 18, 2007 717 calls to law enforcement were made regarding Dunbar Village public housing complex.
  • HUD send out a survey to Dunbar Village residents asking about safety. Of those who responded, the consensus was that there were safety issues and they didn't feel safe.
  • June 18, 2007 a Haitian single mother was gang raped, her 12-year-old son was beaten. Mother and son were forced to perform sex acts with each other. Chemicals were poured in his eyes, in the mother (to gt rid of possible DNA evidence) and the rapists searched for a lighter (presumably to light mom and son on fire).
  • Only four of the rapists have been caught. Anywhere from two to four are still on the loose.
  • State Representative Priscilla Taylor requested HUD get rid of West Palm Beach Housing Authority Commissioner Laurel Robinson and the board. They replied that WPBHA has been and continues to be a top performer.
  • In November 2007, a male attacked his pregnant ex-girlfriend with a metal crowbar. Days later he was apprehended by police in Dunbar Village. It leads one to believe he felt relatively safe from getting caught when he returns to the scene of his crime.
  • At least one child ate paint chips off the wall. WPBHA's fix was to simply paint over it with the same chipping, cheap paint.
  • Residents have called the property manager and received no response. They resorted to calling the mayor's office in hopes City Hall could get the property manager to acknowledge the concerns of the residents. Even then, it still took over two weeks for a response.
  • The residents, led by a strong and resourceful Ms. Grenwood, have decided they are done with this commissioner and her board. The townhall meeting will consist of talking directly to a HUD representative to speak of their concerns and complaints. And also, demand their elected officials represent them.
  • The residents want Laurel Robinson and the entire board removed from their positions.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Still Plugging Along

As you can see from the sidebar some local and state politicians have let it be known they will attend the meeting.

CG, the Dunbar Village (DV) resident who is planning the Townhall Meeting is going to City Hall to try and get this meeting put on the mayor's calendar.

I spoke with the Director of HUD's Miami Office, Armando Fana, a couple of weeks back. He agreed to have a HUD representative come to the meeting in order to hear the complaints of the residents. Because a HUD representative is slated to be there, Laurel Robinson was contacted.

This morning I contacted a managing editor of one of the stations down in West Palm to start greasing the wheels on getting the media attention ready.

CG will also speak with a principal of one of the local schools.

Monday I have a few more phone calls to make. Shane and Shecodes are on the ball as always. They will draft a letter that will be out of this world.

Fal will be working on flyers that will be passed out to the residents and posted online.

I love ACTION. Don't you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two-Prong Approach to Activism

The best example I can give is public education. Many people don't like the standardized testing and the "No Child Left Behind" program but you dont stop teaching the kids while you fight the policy.

So while many believe West Palm Beach needs leadership in the form of a new mayor, the West Palm Beach Housing Authority needs a new board and Laurel Robinson needs to be replaced is there any question that the residents of Dunbar Village need something too? Its a two-prong approach.

If there is a new mayor, board and executive will everything magically be okay? No, it won't. Lets at least be honest about that. Many of the residents of Dunbar Village want improvement but don't know how. And we have to acknowledge that some aren't going to change and don't care to change.

So this townhall meeting, if you will, is about helping the residents to empower themselves to demand and more importantly create the change they want.

There is the need to bring attention to the problem and heat on the public officials. That can be done from my home. But the world also needs hands-on people who are actively involved with individuals. Thats where going to West Palm Beach and working with the people come into play.

Calling attention to problems is necessary and fabulous. Many times its what allows the hands-on folks to become aware of issues. But people calling attention to an issue will only work if it motivates people to get involved. If you don't get involved people are talking and alerting for no reason.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What Are We Doing?

This is a blog that focuses on the need for change. Our objective is to improve the lives of the residents of Dunbar Village. We may have differences of opinions but one thing is painfully clear: They need our support. This is not a forum to discuss whether or not there is a problem in the community, whether or not we need to take care of them, whether or not established civil rights groups are actively advocating for our issues. If you want to debate those issues this is the wrong place.

In January 2008 those who care and want to actively make a difference will come together in West Palm Beach to give the Dunbar Village residents our support as they demand and create change in their community.

We are not stepping into Dunbar Village to tell people what to do. This is something where we follow THEIR lead. We will provide support in terms of knowledge, ideas and resources but we won't be there to tell anyone what to do.

If you are interested in helping the residents to empower themselves through your physical presence, knowledge, ideas, resources or contacts THANK YOU. If not, please move along.

Please stay tuned for information about the date and agenda.