People & Places: Part 1 (of 4)

CEDAM’s national partner NACEDA, along with several other organizations, hosted the People & Places Conference in Washington D.C. March 4-6 bringing together community-based organizations from every corner of the country to showcase the effectiveness, resolve and passion of those working daily to improve lives in America’s most challenged neighborhoods. This was an opportunity to share what’s working in your community, inspire one another and raise your voice on behalf of the community that you serve. Thanks to NACEDA, we were able to provide scholarship assistance to four CEDAM members to attend. Over the next few weeks, we will hear from each of those members about their experiences at the conference in this blog series.

Banner with partner logos

The first in the four part series is by Rosa Robinson who serves as a Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps Member at Elder Law in Lansing.

People & Places

by Rosa Robinson

When I attended the first People and Places conference in Washington, DC, I had no idea what to expect. The 2.5 day conference was comprised of sessions on neighborhood/economic development, gentrification, racial justice and building small businesses. Individuals from practitioners to elected officials from across the country attended the event to network and learn effective community building strategies.

I attended sessions that addressed head on the disparities in neighborhood development such as substandard/unaffordable housing, racial profiling, and limited entrepreneurial opportunities. Strategies were also discussed. The strategies included advocacy work, forming coalitions, reframing public policy, creating affordable housing and the need to change the political environment. The conversations were thought-provoking and at times spirited. The conference showed me that this epidemic is real and it affects everyone. Fortunately, there are people who recognize that and are fanatical about seeking justice for underrepresented communities. It was evident that even though strides have been made to help communities thrive, we still have a long way to go.