Sunday, February 27, 2011

Am I Not Human: Grassroots Activism and V. May

The above screenshot comes from and interview done with grassroots activist V. May. It's done in a whimsical format, but touches on the very important work, being done in 'innercities'. It seemed appropriate in the increased confusions the world is beset with to focus upon a freedom fighter who is walking the walk to make an impact plenty just talk about.

The full interview can be read in this month's Purple #10 release, but a few key words have been extended here as food for thought as we watch and learn how to take back our communities:

'I was conceived during the tumult of the 1960’s; during the summer of 1968 to be exact. I’ve always felt that I am here to complete some unfinished business.
For some reason, Robert F. Kennedy’s paraphrase of George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote resonates in my soul and reverberates through every fiber of my being, “There are those who look at things the way they are and ask, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and ask, “Why not?”
I have always been hands-on with my activism. I don’t understand complacency. If things can be made better, I don’t understand inertia. '

'My present involvement in the quest for the balancing/greening of my city came about during a trip to the public library. On my way out, I happened to peruse the free community newspapers, weeklies, and event flyers lying on the public information shelf. One of the community newspapers had a story regarding the city of Los Angeles trying to secure a zone variance that would allow a trucking school to operate at the Lopez Canyon Restoration Project site. The Lopez Canyon Restoration Project site is a former landfill that is now zoned open space and is being transitioned back to a recreation area that is to be replete with hiking and equestrian trails, a park, and scenic vistas. Los Angeles is a concrete jungle. It needs more open and green space.
With a little research, networking, and synchronicity, I was able to hook up with others that held my same concerns. The effort to quickly transition the Lopez Canyon Restoration Project site to an industrial and commercial use free open space has blossomed. By reaching out, the effort has garnered many supporters.'

'As the early feminists of the early 1970’s declared, “The personal is the political.” Whether we like it or not, politics affects our personal lives. We have to be ever vigilant if we want to maintain personal freedom.
The section of the San Fernando Valley where I grew up and now reside is the step child of the Valley. This area is oversaturated with Section 8/low income housing, industrial zoned areas, and facilities that other areas do not want. The former landfill was the anchor for this designation. Once it was established, the area was targeted as the spot to put the “undesirables”.
There are some who want things to stay [as] they are. However, there are more that want to see things change for the better.

Now that the landfill is transitioning, some of us are hoping to bring about sustainable and attractive redevelopment without displacement. By decreasing the number of liquor stores, bringing in needed financial, retail, and commercial ventures, increasing community policing, providing positive alternatives for youth, and improving the overall appearance of the community; we hope to create community that attracts civic minded residents while retaining established ones. This community has been hit by the foreclosure crisis and new homes are being built. Consequently, there are homes available for purchase. We hope to create a community that home purchases will love to live in and contribute to.'

On behalf of our sisters and brothers scapegoated into lives conditioned to be caricature, through environments beset with the installation of liquor stores at every turn, poison peddling of other varieties, GMO-laden 'options' in cornerstores devoid of nutrition, and a dire lack of mind-nourishing outlets for healthy personal development, we ask:

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