Bringing neighbors together to fight for their communities

You may know Bread & Roses Community Fund primarily as a funder of community organizations. We also bring people together to share information and build relationships to organize for change.

On February 2, 2010 at our No Neighbor Left Behind townhall meeting, we convened people from all over the Delaware valley to discuss how disinvestment and gentrification threaten all of us. Community organizers and leaders shared their strategies to ensure that no neighbor is left behind.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Johnson, Pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church, spoke about his church’s commitment to Black-owned banks and to its North Philadelphia community. Despite obstacles, the church has succeeded in fighting gentrification in North Philadelphia, said Dr. Johnson, because, “You cannot stop people who are organized and stick together.

Helping people get organized and stick together is exactly what Bread & Roses hoped to do through the townhall meeting.

Speakers like Dr. Johnson, as well as Ellen Somekawa from Asian Americans United and Lynn Cummings and Harold Adams from Neighbors Empowering Pennsauken, inspired the audience of more than 200. Each had a story to tell about using community organizing tactics to prevent displacement and to promote equitable community development.

Attendees also broke into small groups to discuss ways to take community development issues into their own hands and work with neighbors to create a movement for change. Stimulating conversation in the small groups led to concrete action steps, including promoting investment in community banks, becoming involved with local civic associations, and working together to fight for equitable tax and development policies.

You can find out more about the townhall meeting and what you can do to fight the policies that hurt our neighborhoods by visiting our website at www.breadrosesfund.org

 Bread & Roses Board member Chris Rabb leads a small group discussion at the town hall. Photo by: Lauren Hansen-Flaschen