Chattanooga Organized For Action
The mission of Chattanooga Organized for Action is to assist individuals and organizations in becoming the essential agents of real systemic change to achieve social, economic and environmental justice.
Made for All Residents: The Voices of the Lincoln Park
At the May 31st meeting of the Chattanooga City Council, residents and supporters of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood had had enough. They showed out in opposition of a zoning change that Lincoln Park leaders called "aggressive gentrification".
Lincoln Park can be considered a holdout community in a Chattanooga zipcode which is one of the most significantly gentrified in the entire nation. The community is predominately elderly, predominately African-American, and predominately low-income.
In an ongoing campaign, Chattanooga Organized for Action has supported the Lincoln Park neighborhood in its struggle against gentrification in the form of a large road extension which may destroy their historical African-American park.
Hundreds of Chattanoogans shared Lincoln Park's plight over social media.
The Day of the Vote
Though Lincoln Park neighborhood leaders came to City Council prepared with signed petitions of Lincoln Park residents, the City Council voted 9 - 0 in favor of the eight-story commercial development. Lincoln Park neighborhood leaders continued to feel voiceless next to the large development firms working to gentrify their community.
The opposition was only allowed to speak for 6 minutes out of the 9 minutes that they had been promised before the vote.
Despite this setback, Lincoln Park's long struggle to keep their community continues. More than half of the residents of Chattanooga's urban overlay are burdened or severally burdened by housing costs. We believe that every Chattanoogan, in Lincoln Park and beyond, deserves a safe and affordable housing.
There will be many fights in Lincoln Park's future.
A Guide to the Lincoln Park Opposition
On the link below, we're sharing the full City Council meeting. We are also sharing quotes and time-stamps for the various Chattanoogans who spoke out in opposition of gentrification and in favor of the Lincoln Park community.
Tiffany Rankins, Secretary of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association
"You guys looked at the renters like they were nothing and to allow [property owner Ken Defoor] to come up and say he wanted to buy the community was very arrogant.... Lincoln Park has always be considered after the fact, we want before the fact." -Tiffany speaks before the vote at 5:35-10:13. She speaks after the vote at 1:38:33-1:39:45.
Jefferson Hodge, Chattanooga Organized for Action
"I want to talk about those who didn't sign the petition... because of a shared sentiment. That shared sentiment was the feeling of hopelessness. That we could've come with a mile-long list of names opposing large out-of-city developers. We could've come with all sorts of facts and all sorts of data and those things wouldn't matter." -Jefferson speaks before the vote at 12:57-13:52. He speaks after the vote at 1:13:39-1:16:00.
Vannice Hughley, Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association President
"This building on the corner of central and third, taxes will go up. I’m a senior citizen, I’m on a fixed income. We can’t afford higher taxes and that’s our plea." -Ms. Hughley speaks after the vote at 1:12:52 - 1:13:31.
Lillie Stubsten, Student Activists for Equality
"So let me just say that, as a student, I actively oppose all racist and gentrifying development. The institution of UTC may applaud certain projects... but the Students do not. We will not let our historic neighborhoods be destroyed in our name." -Lillie speaks after the vote at 1:16:09-1:17:44.
Michael Gilliland, Chattanooga Organized for Action
"It is a sick math when hundreds of people can bounced out of their communities like little kids on a trampoline and that be called progress because they’re being priced out. And we don’t have the organs or ability or infrastructure to address this."- Michael speaks after the vote at 1:17:48-1:20:49.
"I just believe that the order of operations is backward, I just think that as city officials the first priority and first responsibility should be managing the well-being of citizens and not private developers, so all I just want to say is that the measures that Councilman Hakeem mentioned is great, they just should have been resolved first before you all voted unanimously to approve the zoning."- Mr. O'Grady speaks after the vote at 1:21:34-1:23:08.