The Miami Community Relations Board (CRB) paid a little visit to the shanty town on Thursday. They came in, sat down and wanted to talk about our concerns and problems.
Several of us, including me, had no interest what-so-ever in the conversation for at least a few reasons: first, we have nothing to discuss. They know our issues and the know our only demand (Leave us Alone), and if we discuss that demand, then they will not actually be leaving us alone, now would they? And second, if we were to negotiate, they do not have the power for us to negotiate with them.
In any event, several volunteers, activists, residents and neighbors were at the site talking, so they CRB talked to them. While we missed most of the conversation, this one snippet we caught was great:
A CRB member said she wanted to address the issues because the shanty town was unsafe for adults and children. One of our neighbors from the complex behind the lot got hot under the collar quick. She said: "Unsafe? My child has been bitten several times by rats right in our apartment! The shanty town is safer than my apartment. You (the City of Miami) should shut down my apartment complex and leave the shanty town alone."
Surely the CRB members were disgusted when all involved demanded they take a tour of the dilapidated apartment complex. Of course, we all know the CRB was not there to address the issues of poverty and housing, they were there to shut down the shanty town and reclaim government land.