Philly RG testifies for Affordable Housing

In January 2016, RG Philly created a Political Action working group, to discern our role in and take action on local economic and racial justice campaigns. We went through a process of considering where we could have the most impact, … Continue reading »

Prince John goes rogue, joins Robin Hood in wealth redistribution scheme

Kate Poole ComicWritten By RG Philly Chapter Leaders Kate Poole, Sarah Burgess & Julia Stone

In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, Robin Hood talks with Prince John about his recent transformation and decision to join a movement to redistribute wealth on a massive scale.

Robin Hood:  Let’s get right to the point here, Prince John.  Tell us, what’s behind your recent political shift?

Prince John:  Well, Robin, after years of hoarding and thinking that I alone was responsible for earning my wealth and ruling the kingdom, my brother Richard came back from the Crusades and shared with me that he had joined an organization of wealthy kings with social justice values.  At first I tried to have him beheaded at the suggestion of Sir Hissss, but after deep reflection I realized that I want to be part of a socially just world, and find love and joy in community.

RH:  That makes sense.  And what are you planning to do now?  Are you passing out gems at the gate?

PR:  Actually, Robin, I’ve learned that organizing is the most powerful tool for transforming our society.  My fellow kings visited last month and we had a visioning retreat where we concluded that equitable taxation was the best tool for us to redistribute our wealth on a kingdom-wide scale. (more…)

Part III: Taking risks

Photo by Drew Tucker

This post is a part III of a three part blog series and RG campaign, “It Starts Today: Moving $1 Million to Black-Led, Black Liberation Organizing.” Visit our campaign webpage.

Written by Lily Andrews, bex kolins, Jason Rodney, and Jen … Continue reading »

Introducing Spaulding Court

I was reading over the notes from Resource Generation’s final delegation meeting at the US Social Forum 2010 this morning and one question seemed apropos to this posting, “How can we leverage our privilege to support Detroit?” This is one example.

It started with liquidating some of the community investment notes I had with the Calvert Fund that were supporting affordable housing and economic development in the southeastern region of the states.  I was only working part-time and wanted to be sure I had access to some cash, so I deposited about $8,000 I had mentally earmarked for community investing in my credit union savings account in Chicago… just in case.

I thankfully got a full-time job and so I made a loan to a friend, gave $25 and $50 donations here and there, but kept the bulk of it in my savings account.  US Social Forum plans stated getting underway and there was an idea on the table for some Chicagoans to potentially buy a super-affordable house in Detroit.  Chicago organizers would live there for the months of May / June to assist efforts on the ground, and then detroit community organizers (or an organization) would become collective owners (renting-to-own or something similar) post-forum. In reality,  speculators were buying up houses fast and Detroit organizers needed to focus more on the “now” than commit to thinking through such a project. Besides, did Detroit organizers really need outsiders to buy a building for them?  During the process, I spoke with some community development corporations and property managers, and after talking to Deborah Olson, lawyer with the Center for Community Based Enterprise, I got a call from Jon Koller, an engineer student turned-community builder, who is leading a 10-member community resident owned project called Spaulding Court.

Jhonathan Gomez, chicago cultural organizer in the kitchen of rehabbed unit of Spaulding Court

Spaulding Court is a series of stone row houses with 3 small BDR units originally constructed as a motel in 1918. It stood abandoned and blighted for many years until Friends of Spaulding Court – the newly formed non-profit – bought the row houses from the city in February 2010 for $1,000. You can read about its history here.

What Jon proposed to me sounded more like a solidarity community investing idea than buying property from a city over 280 miles away. I would within weeks write a check with my ‘earmarked money’ as a $6,000 construction loan to Spaulding Court. I did this, pretty impromptu, for several reasons. 1. I’m attracted to risk. My SRI portfolio is medium-risk. This real estate loan was going to be high risk (think possible natural disasters, flood, tornados, etc.) And then the giving circle I’m a part of could be characterized as ‘risky.’ We’re independent, don’t ask for much by way of documentation or reporting, and stretch the bounds by granting to individuals.

2. Spaudling Court was a potential symbol of hope, regeneration and community pride for the lively, central Corktown neighborhood along Rosa Park Boulevard.  Neighbors commune with each other, swap tools, grow produce, and share a wireless hot mesh. However, the row houses needed serious work (new roof, rehabbing throughout, plumbing, electric, etc.) and no bank was going to lend them money without being up to code. Only one unit was more-or less livable with Joe and his family only paying $100 in exchange for handy-man help.

3. My money would serve as a seed loan for local laborers to rehab one unit in the hopes to begin renting the unit and bringing in some income in August.  In exchnage, for the month of June, three Chicago organizers would live and work in the rehabbed unit (free-of-charge) to help assist Detroit in getting ready for the social forum.

Airstream "pink flamingo"

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48 Days of History in Arizona (48 Equals #7w-1)

Post from Chad Jones, who has been on the Resource Generation board since 2005 and his work in philanthropy expands access for those historically excluded from the networks of old boys. As a Denver native, the Southwest is dear to his heart.

Thursday was June 10. It was a memorable day for me in two ways. Personally, as I went to hear Silvio Rodriguez perform at Carnegie Hall, which is only his second performance in the U.S. in 40 years according to my partner (with the first time having been the week prior). Publicly, 06/10/10 was historic in that it was 48 days after Arizona Governor Brewer signed bill SB1070 into law as well as 48 days until that bill goes into effect.

As a student of history, I am amazed by the history made in the past seven weeks since SB1070 was signed — the 100,000 marchers on May 29th, the launch of Human Rights Freedom Summer — as well as the history that is yet to be made. An RGer recently asked me, ‘In this moment, what are we supposed to be doing?’ (by we, I understood her to mean both as RGers and as people who believe in justice and human rights).
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