TAKOMA PARK — As the Takoma Park City Council vote on the Takoma Junction redevelopment project approaches on July 25, residents in the city gathered for a town hall on Thursday to discuss equity, economic development, social justice and gentrification.
“Gentrification is what happens when an area that was previously denied resources … resulting in demographic shifts and displacement,” Sabiyha Prince, Ph.D., an anthropologist for the Anacostia Community Museum, said, opening the discussion, which took place at the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department. “Those resources I’m referring to are primarily loans in the form of home improvement, purchasing of property, improving property.”
The discussion, which was broadcast on air by local radio station WPFW, covered topics such as economic effects gentrification, worker-owned and cooperatively owned businesses, and the effect of development on minority-owned businesses.
In addition to Prince, the panel, which was moderated on air by WPFW hosts David Zirin and Katea Stitt, featured local business owner Kendra Blackett-Dibinga; George Mason University sociology professor Johanna Bockman, Ph.D.; Empower DC executive director Parisa Norouzi; Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op employees Mokie Rovner and Tiffany S.; Busboys and Poets founder Andy Shallal; local writer Sue Katz Miller; student activist Emily Kombe; and four-term Council member Jarrett Smith (Ward 5).