The Home Stretch

So we are basically in the home stretch of the semester and the project is beginning to take shape. In general I feel good about where we stand. However I do have some thoughts on how it could possibly be better. First some context though.

Terece and I went to the Southwest Partnerships monthly board meeting last night. It was very long but packed with a bunch of information about what is happening in the area. Without getting into too much detail, one of the more interesting things I took away from the meeting was the fact that the overwhelming majority of board members were white, and seemingly pretty affluent. I talked with one guy, Chuck, who I looked up afterwards and it turns out he works for UMD as a doctor and director of some department. Other members seemed to come form similar backgrounds and did the lion share of the talking. Not to say that this bad or good, just an interesting observation.

At that same meeting, there was a relatively heated back and forth between a few members and attendees about War Horse and the Hollins Market revitalization. In a nut shell, a few members were upset at what they perceived as a lack of transparency by War Horse. They complained that the company was holding “public” meetings without advertising them to the actual public. For example, War Horse apparently advertised the meetings via email and Twitter, which is problematic because not everyone in the community has internet access let alone Twitter.
On a similar note, at an earlier point in the board meeting one of the members suggested they could cut back on printing costs by switching the an online newsletter, to which another board member shot down because the effect would be to cut off access to information for those residents without the internet.

The reason I bring this up here is because I think the one component we are lacking in our project/zine is the prospective of the everyday residents of Hollins. The neighborhoods comprising the SW Partnership are majority African American, many of whom exist at or below the poverty line. I would suggest that these voices need more representation in our project. So Today in class Lia and I basically focused on trying to figure out how to get as many of these voices in our zine as possible. Given that the semester is starting to wind down and our deadline is approaching, I don’t know how effective we will be at getting this done.

It’s admittedly a bit invasive to just approach random people as a researcher and start asking personal questions so I don’t know what approach we could use to make this happen. We talked about maybe asking Curtis to be a conduit for introducing us to folks he knows in the neighborhood. Not necessarily folks in the business community, which I think we have pretty well covered, but just everyday average residents of Hollins. Their lives and perspectives speak just as much to “re-development” of Hollins just as much as the entrepreneurs and businesspersons who are more actively engagement in that process.

Anyways, this is just a thought. Either way I think we are in good shape!

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