Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'Hands Off' Take Back the Land Shantytown Press Conference


Local clergy are set to express their support for the Umoja Village Shantytown and the Take Back the Land effort, calling for community support for the project and demanding the government refrain from raiding what has become a home for several dozen poor individuals and families. The press conference will take place on Thursday, December 15, 2006 beginning at 2:00pm at the Umoja Village Shantytown, 6201 NW 17th Ave. in Liberty City.

The religious community has been essential to the success of the shantytown, donating food, money, time and moral support for the project and its residents. Clergy who are confirmed participants include: representatives for Bishop Victor Curry, New Birth Baptist Church; Rev. George McRea, Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. Richard Dunn, President of PULSE; Pastor Anthony Dawkins, Project Hope Ministry; Rev. Ralph Ross, Historical Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Father Cox, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church;  Minster Gerald Muhammad, Muhammad's Mosque #29; and New Beginning Church.

As you know, in response to gentrification, a severe housing crisis and public corruption which resulted in the diversion of tens of millions of low income housing dollars into the pockets of wealthy politically connected developers, Take Back the Land occupied the vacant lot at 6201 NW 17th Ave. on October 23, 2006 and built a shantytown. Today, the Umoja Village feeds and houses approximately 40 residents. In late November, the Village reached it's building capacity and has been turning away potential residents on a daily basis. The operation subsists entirely on donations.

In spite of the fact that we are protesting their unwillingness to solve the problem and doing their job for them by feeding and housing the homeless, we are increasingly concerned about a government ordered raid on the Umoja Village. We are doing important and historic work here and the people who now call this village home deserve a place to stay, however, modest.

As such, we invite all activists, organizations and concerned parties to come to the press conference, if possible. We are asking clergy to speak, but your support is critical. We must send a message to Miami's Manny Diaz and the County's Carlos Alvarez that the shantytown is here because they are not doing their jobs and to keep their hands off the Shantytown!

You can also show your support by bringing a donation of any size. We need money, canned meat, pillows, blankets, clothing, fresh food, nails, water, bleach, ice, eggs, dish soap, flashlights with batteries and anything else you need to run your household.

Visit our blog, where you can get an update on our progress, sign our petition and donate money via paypal:


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


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