1st Annual Harlem Anti-Gentrification Conference

The Historic Community of Harlem under Attack: Fight Back and Resistance
Forging Alliances and Building Principle Unity
In Memory of Afro Dominican Political Activist Fior Cruz

June 1st & June 2nd 2007
St. Ambrose Church @ 9 West 130th Street
(Between Fifth and Lenox Avenues)

CONFERENCE AGENDA

June 1, 2007:

4:00 PM to 9:00 PM Opening Plenary: “Race, Class & Gentrification”
4 to 6 PM: Documentary Film and Discussion: “Brooklyn Matters” an insightful documentary that reveals the fuller truth about the Atlantic Yards proposal and highlights how a few powerful men are circumventing community participation and planning principles to try to push their own interests forward. Produced and Directed by Isabel Hill. Discussion after screening. Invited: Isabel Hill

6 to 8 PM: Opening Plenary: An analysis of Race, Class, Gentrification & the Necessity for Mobilized Resistance:
Moderated by Gil Noble, Producer & Host of “Like It Is”

Panelists:
Neil Smith: Director/The Center for Place, Culture & Politics & author, “The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification & the Revanchist City”
William Sales: Chair/Dept of African American Studies, Seton Hall University
Daniel Goldstein: Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn
Robert Fitch: author, “The Assassination of New York”
Nellie Hester Bailey, Director/ Harlem Tenants Council
Invited: Dr. Mindy Fullilove: author, “Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It”

8 to 9 PM: Social Hour & Networking

June 2, 2007:

MORNING CONFERENCE AGENDA

8 to 9 AM: Registration
9 to 10 AM: Morning Plenary: Moderated by Attorney Rosemari Mealy
Panelists: Phil DePaolo (President of The New York Community Council): Gentrification and the Two Sides of Williamsburg
Hyun Lee: CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Camille Yarborough: Culture & Gentrification in Harlem
Rosita Romero, Dominican Women Development Center: The impact of gentrification on women of color.
Professor Sam Anderson: Anti-gentrification work as part of building a united front against oppression
John Fisher (Director of Tenant.Net): Politics and the Tenant Movement

10 AM 12 Noon: Workshops

1) Senior Citizens: Tenant Protections & Supportive Services: Senior citizens are more vulnerable to landlord harassment and abuse than most, complicated by the natural aging process that necessities a range of supportive services, critical interventions and safety networks. Escalating gentrification in Harlem and throughout NYC has left many seniors traumatically stressed leading to more serious complications. This workshop will present legislative initiatives, housing support services and copying tools for seniors presented by the distinguish African American psychiatrist and psycho-analyst Dr. Henry McCurtis.

Panelists: Dr. Henry McCurtis, (Other panelists to be announced.)

2) Know Your Rights: Over 95% of tenants appear in New York City Housing Courts without an attorney while the overwhelming numbers of landlords retain legal counsel. These inherent inequities have created a revolving door of evictions deepening the homeless crisis. Landlords are increasing offering buyouts to empty buildings that many low income tenants are accepting without the benefit of knowing their rights. Tenant education is the first defense against displacement: lease renewals, preferential rents, primary residence, landlord harassment, & buyout offers: Panelists to be announced.

3). Delano Village Workshops: **Due to anticipated turnout this workshop has been designated for Delano tenants only: Delano Village, a seven building complex of 1,800 units in Harlem is symbolic of international finance capital targeting low end rental complexes for purchase and eventual co-op or condo conversion with the aim of driving out working class tenants of color, particularly African Americans in Harlem This workshop will review preferential rents, primary tenancy, MCI’s and legal update. Presenter: Valerie Orridge, President of Delano Village Tenants Association.

12 NOON TO 1:00 PM: LUNCH

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS 1 PM to 3:30 PM

4) A Plague on Our Houses: “A Plague on Your Houses” authors Deborah and Roderick Wallace will present their carefully researched book on New York City’s “planned shrinkage” and social engineering policies, some of them conceived by the Rand Corporation that deliberately eliminated fire control resources in areas targeted for clearance. After an epidemic of housing abandonment by landlords about two million people were uprooted. Robert Fitch, author of “The Assassination of New York” traces the ruling elite control of the city’s economic and political life to increase the value of the land they own by driving out low rent workers and eliminating factories, to be replaced by high rent professionals, high rise towers, and the expansions of universities and hospitals. This critical workshop examines the demise and “revitalization” of communities such as Harlem to achieve this goal. Panelists: Deborah and Roderick Wallace; Author Robert Fitch.

5). Building Alliances: a critical and candid examination of the relationship between the fight for immigrant rights and the historic civil rights movement: This workshop will explore the divisions of economic rivalry, xenophobia within communities of color, and anti-Black prejudices of reactionary forces within the immigrant rights movement in addition to white ethnic chauvinism within the struggle juxtaposed to the lessons of the civil rights movement: The discussion will also explore the political dynamics of Black and Latino unity in NYC politics and social justice movements: Lessons to be learned in building a solidarity movement. Moderator: Fallou Gueye, former President of the Association of Senegalese in America; Panelists: Cleo Silvers, HTC Board Member; (Others TBA)

3:30 PM to 6 PM Workshops

6). Gentrification in Harlem: No single development project in Harlem will permanently alter its ethnic, socioeconomic and physical landscape than that of Columbia University’s 18 acre land grab in West Harlem. Columbia University, the third largest landlord in New York City has mounted an aggressive campaign of harassment, intimidation, omissions and deception to win and justify its “all or nothing” position that seek 100% control of the proposed footprint that will lead to the eviction of residents and businesses using eminent domain. This workshop will present an in-depth portrait of community opposition to the expansion, and a history of the university’s adversarial and “managerial” relationship to the Harlem community including dangerous and deadly medical experiments on Blacks. Bryan Mercer, Students against Expansion & Gentrification; MarioMazzoni, Coalition to Preserve Community; Attorney and Civil Rights Activist Norm Siegel, (Others TBA)

7) Building Coalition and Alliances: An analysis of gentrification as a human rights issue and the commonality of struggle against gentrification in building alliances: Lesson and best practices from organizers and activists fighting gentrification and displacement in their neighborhoods. Moderator: Marcos Tejeda, Harlem Tenants Council. Panelists: Samuel White Jr. Harlem Community Activist; Helena Wong, CAAAY Organizing Asian Committee; Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Fran Luck, Lower Eastside Activist and Producer of WBAI’s “Joy of Resistance,” Phil DePaolo, President of The New York Community Council, Kim Powell (BRUSH), Joyce Culler, Simpson Street Tenants Association (Bronx).

8) Gentrification and the Growing Economic Crisis in the US: Although touted as the world’s super power the US economy teeters on collapse. Borrowed money not production props up the economy. With stagge
ring debts such as 644.3 billions to Japan, 349.6 billions to China, 239.1 billion to the UK and cost of 7 to 8 billion dollars a month for current military operations and reconstruction in Iraq, can the US economy sustain itself? The collapse of infrastructure, the skeleton around which a city is built, only deepens the crisis. Wars, bloated military spending, debt, infrastructure decay, prison industrial complex, repression of civil liberties, rising unemployment & homelessness. What can we do? Moderator: Nellie Hester Bailey, Panelists: Professor Komozi Woodward; Rosita Romero, Dominican Women Development Center; Brian Jones, International Socialist Organization; Lynne Stewart; Jim Haughton, Harlem Fight Back; Professor Tony Monterio, African American Studies, Temple University.

6 PM to 7 PM: Closing Plenary: Which Way Forward: Forging Alliances around Principle Unity: Moderated by Cleo Silver, Harlem Tenants Council; Panelist: Professor Komozi Woodward, author of Ground –Local Black Power Movements; Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council; Rosita Romero, Dominican Women Development Center; Mae Jackson, Harlem Tenants Council & Art Without Walls; John Fisher (Director of Tenant.Net). (Others TBA)

7 PM to 9 PM: Dinner and Networking (Dinner $10)

* $5 Suggested Donation for conference but NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY!

Follow-up Convention Meeting: Date to be Announced.

Sponsored by Harlem Tenants Council, Delano Village Tenants Association, St. Ambrose Church, Harlem Fight Back. Endorsements (in formation) December 12th Movement; Million More Movement Harlem Local Organizing Committee, Concerned Citizens Outreach to Save Harlem Hospital & Rehab Service, Emma Chapman, Phil DePaolo New York Community Council; International Action Center; Art Without Walls, Caring for Creators of Change, Simpson Street Tenants Association (Bronx), Attorney Tarif Warren. For additional information contact Harlem Tenants Council at 212-234-5005 or Email at harlemtenants@aol.com.

** Warning: No independent video taping or audio taping of this conference is allowed without the expressed permission of the Harlem Tenants Council. In particular for those who have previously taped programs of the Harlem Tenants and have not submitted copies of those tapings to the organization your request will be denied. This policy will be vigorously enforced.

Posted Under: Affordable Housing, Event, Harlem, Talking Heads

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