Saturday, January 27, 2007

Umoja Village on NBC Nightly News and the AP

Umoja Village was featured on the national NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. In addition, the AP story is listed below as well.

Follow the links to see the video and the story.

NBC Nightly News January 26, 2007

AP- Glitz and Glamour Overshadows Majority of Miami's Population

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Week of Action Calendar


Here is what you have been waiting for... the calender of events for the Week of Action Against Gentrification and For Low-Income Housing. This is the first draft, and will be updated regularly as we add actions and events, so check our blog,, on a regular basis.

The objective of the Week of Action is to expose the crisis of gentrification and low-income housing in South Florida, especially the role local government and government officials- such as Miami-Dade County and County Commissioner Dorrin Rolle- have played in making the crisis worse. While most people think government should help the poor, some people believe the role of government is to steal money from the poor and give it to wealthy, politically connected campaign contributors who also hire your friends and relatives.

The events are independently organized. This is not one centrally ran campaign. If you have events you want to include in the Week of Action calendar, please email with all pertinent information.

As you will note, some of the actions only have a meeting place and time. When you arrive, you will find out more about the action. Here is a quick rundown of events:


Monday, January 29
6pm Spokescouncil Meeting
Arcola Lakes Park, 1301 NW 83 St., Miami
Guerilla Art/Superbowl Party
9pm @ Umoja Village, 6201 NW 17th Ave.

Tuesday, January 30
• 10am. Banner/Sign/Puppet Making
Umoja Village Shantytown
6pm. Gentrification Teach In
Umoja Village Shantytown
Guerilla Art/Superbowl Party
9pm @ Umoja Village

Wednesday, January 31
9am. Anti-Coal Conference Action
10am. Tour of Shame
3pm. Set Up Tent City at County Hall
111 NW First St., Miami
7pm. Global Land Struggles Discussion
Tap-Tap Rest. • 819 5th St., South Beach

Thursday, February 1
Action Against Gentrification and For Low-Income Housing
12 noon at Power U Center for Social Change
1633 NW 3rd Ave.
• Glitz and Glam Granny Cheer Squad
3:30pm @ NFL YET Center
70th St. and NW 22nd Ave.
Guerilla Art/Superbowl Party
8pm @ Tent City

Friday, February 2
7am. Vets for Peace War Memorial
Ocean Drive between 8th & 10th st. Place tombstones on South Beach
Guerilla Art/Superbowl Party
8pm @ Tent City

Saturday, February 3
1pm Free Speech Rally
South Florida Peace & Justice, Torch of Friendship • Biscayne Blvd. and SW 1st St., downtown Miami
Tent City Party
Guerilla Art/Superbowl Party
8pm @ Tent City

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

January 2007 Media

Here is media coverage of the rally and other items:

The New York Times January 16, 2007

Miami Herald Op-Ed January 17, 2007 Video by Matthew Mireless

Miami Herald January 11, 2007

Miami Herald January 12, 2007

Miami Sun Post

Rebecca Wakefield Column in the Miami Sun Post

The Final Call Newspaper

EyeonMiami 1

EyeonMiami 2

Miami New Times Blog profile on Max

January 11 Umoja Rally

Instead of heading to the city commission chambers to defend our right to exist, about 150 people rallied at the Umoja Village on January 11th. Residents and supporters spoke at the event, expressing relief that we can move beyond the anti-shantytown ordinance and looking forward to our next steps.

Remarking that the US cannot find enough money for social programs or to build enough low-income housing but can find $300 billion to bomb people in Iraq and now Somalia, Max Rameau directly linked the national housing crisis to the war.

Speakers also discussed some of the highlights and future steps of the Umoja Village: We found jobs for several residents and are looking to place a dozen or so during the weeks of the superbowl; we want to coordinate social services for residents; we want to improve living conditions here for residents.

We are now free to focus on three major areas: first, we want to improve living conditions for the residents (jobs, social services, physical conditions); second, we want to redirect attention to the biggest offender in the housing scandal, Miami-Dade County and the County Commission; and third, we want to concentrate on building the Week of Action Against Gentrification and For Low Income Housing, the week of January 29th through February 4th, which is also Superbowl week in Miami.

Stay tuned for more Week of Action updates and how you can participate!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Anti-shantytown ordinance is pulled, will not be voted on

After initially sponsoring the item, city commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones pulled the "anti-shantytown" ordinance from the January 11 agenda. This means the new law will not be voted on and, therefore, the Umoja Village Shantytown is safe- for now.

Take Back the Land is organizing a press conference to announce the legal victory and next steps. The press conference is scheduled for Monday, January 8, 2007, beginning at 4:00pm at the Umoja Village, on the corner of 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. in the Liberty City section of Miami. We will also host a rally at the Umoja Village on Thursday night at 6:00pm. See details at the end of this message.

There is no two ways about it: this is a clear and major victory for Take Back the Land and our supporters. This item was pulled due to the tremendous and overwhelming opposition to the ordinance. We thank each and every one of you for your support, calls, emails, petition signatures, support and contributions of time, goods and money.

WE WON THE BATTLE, BUT THE WAR IS NOT OVER! The ordinance was pulled, but it was not voted down. As such, it can be revived at any time in the future, or different tactics can be used to try to bring down the village. Our support network and legal team remain intact and ready to activate.

In response to the crisis in gentrification and low-income housing, and the role local government policies and corruption played in exacerbating that crisis, on October 23, 2006, several organizations and individuals took control over the vacant publicly owned lot on the corner of 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. in Liberty City. Using the legal protections afforded in the landmark Pottinger Settlement, the Umoja Village currently houses and feeds over 40 otherwise homeless people in wood frame shanties.

Acknowledging our legal rights to the land, the Miami city attorney crafted the ordinance to outlaw "assemblies" of any size on vacant public lots. In addition to restricting the public's right to free assembly, the ordinance would have, theoretically, outlawed the shantytown and set up a showdown and potential raid of the village.

The pulled item allows Take Back the Land to refocus energies on improve the quality of life for residents of the Umoja Village and taking on new initiatives, some of which will be discussed at the press conference on Monday and rally on Thursday. Please come to the events and check your email for important updates.

In recognition of this new development, Take Back the Land is hosting a celebration rally on the day the vote was to take place. On Thursday, January 11th, 2007, at 6:00pm, at the Umoja Village, we rally in celebration of our victory and continue our march forward. We ask that you bring a side dish to share and bring a donation to the village, such as money, bottled water, canned meat, blankets, dish soap, bleach, large trash bags (39 gallons or larger), clothes and money. All are invited and welcome, so come rally in support of the village, against gentrification and for housing for all and celebrate our victory- YOUR victory- with us on Thursday.

Take Back the Land runs entirely off of donations, so please contribute generously in person or by donating online via a secure paypal payment.


Max Rameau
Take Back the Land
A project of the Center for Pan-African Development

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Umoja Village Media

More Media Coverage of the Umoja Village:

Great Op-Ed in Miami Herald Defending Umoja Village

Daily Business Review's Profile of Max

The Final Call Newspaper on the arts and shantytown

Miami Commissioner Regalado: 'Arrest Me First'

In a stunning development, City of Miami Commissioner Tomas Regalado has stated that if the city of Miami votes on January 11 to outlaw the Umoja Village Shantytown, he will walk off the dias, go to the shantytown and wait for the police, who will have to arrest him first.

We are not alone! We have support!

Make your support known by calling the City of Miami Commissioners and the Mayor to tell them to vote no on the anti-shantytown ordinance. The numbers are found in this blog.

Here are media reports of the Regalado statement:

CBS 4 Miami TV News Video

Daniel Ricker's Watchdog Report in the Miami Herald

NBC 6 Miami TV News