Take Back the Land is calling on supporters to attend the city of Miami Commission meeting on Thursday, July 26, 2007, beginning at 3:00pm. Miami City Hall is located at 3500 Pan-American Drive, in Coconut Grove. At the meeting, the Commission will vote on the fate of the Umoja Village Shantytown's land.
After promising to convey the land to the residents and organizers of Umoja, Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones is going back on her promise and putting the lot out for bid, a notoriously corrupt process in the city of Miami. We demand that the city keep its word, and convey the land to the Umoja Village.
Following the tragic fire which destroyed the Umoja Village, Miami Commissioner Spence-Jones contacted Umoja Village, met with organizer Max Rameau and resident John Cata, and offered direct conveyance of the land, without a bid process. She also agreed to provide immediate housing for former Umoja residents, and the deal was reported in the Miami Herald and Miami Times.
After intense debate, we called off our planned protests and accepted the offer. We met with potential partners and crafted a proposal, which we submitted to Spence-Jones, as agreed, and tried to confirm the item for the July 26th Commission meeting.
Instead, Spence-Jones unilaterally and without explanation, nixed the deal and put the lot out to bid. Miami's bid process is notoriously rigged and corrupt, as often reported in the media, giving politically connected developers the inside track to use this public land for a gentrification project.
This is the same kind of double dealing which got us into this mess in the first place. Umoja was a tremendous victory for this community, and will not be swept under the rug.
Show your support for Umoja by attending this meeting and demanding elected officials live up to their commitments and convey the land directly to the residents and organizers of the Umoja Village. If officials are able to continue to lie to us and get away with it, we will be forced to resort to more drastic measures to house people ourselves.
Take Back the Land
a project of the Center for Pan-African Development