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A Legacy To Honor; A Dream To Achieve By Roslyn M. Brock

Editor’s note: This commentary was received prior to the Dr. King memorial dedication on the National Mall on Oct. 16

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s our nation prepares to dedicate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall, we cannot help but reflect on the legacy he left behind, the faith he had in the next generation, and the dream that we must still strive to achieve.

Without question, few shaped our culture and our nation in the 20th century more than Dr. King. His legacy of social justice and activism has played an integral role in so much of what we take for granted today. Without his advocacy for voting rights, people of color might still be unable to cast a ballot unfettered. If not for his work defending the poor, economic disparity in America would be far worse than it is today. And without Dr. King’s call for non-violence, the civil rights movement might be remembered for the bloodshed and not for its message of justice and equality. At the NAACP, Dr. King’s legacy is prominent in our constant struggle to advance civil and human rights. With our Financial Freedom Campaign, we are building on Dr. King’s message that true freedom is inextricably tied to economic justice. With that in mind, we are providing underserved communities across the country with the tools they need to attain and maintain financial stability. In our health campaigns, we have embodied Dr. King’s

White House Announces Expediting DHA’s Revitalization Of South Lincoln Homes

The Obama Administration announced the selection of 14 infrastructure projects across the country to be expedited through the permitting and environmental review process. The list of projects includes the Denver Housing Authority’s (DHA) revitalization of the South Lincoln Homes, a 60year old public housing development located at 10th and Osage St., covering 17.5 acres. “Denver is proud to be part of today’s White House announcement to expedite infrastructure projects from around the nation,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “These federal actions will directly activate our local economy, energize an emerging community, and ultimately create jobs in Denver. The White House is clearly doing what is needed to create jobs and get this country moving forward again.” The recent action taken by the White House will facilitate timely review and approval by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the construction schedule for the $91.7 million redevelopment. Through leveraging a $10 million ARRA Competitive Energy Modernization Grant, DHA began construction of the first phase of the redevelopment of the 1099 Osage Apartments and community facility, providing 100 units of affordable housing and community retail services. Total project cost for 1099 Osage will be $24.8 million scheduled for completion in January 2012. DHA was subsequently awarded a $22 million HOPE VI grant from HUD to transform 270 obsolete public housing units area into a sustainable, mixed-income,

mixed-use, transit-oriented community, with diverse housing types, outdoor amenities and environments that promotes healthy lifestyles. With the new name of “Mariposa,” the development will include: 457 new multifamily housing units Phased redevelopment plan that significantly minimizes disruption or displacement to current residents. High standard design for sustainable, energy efficient building infrastructure systems, including LEED certification. Community amenities including pedestrian friendly walkways, bikeable streets, urban gardens, public arts program, early childhood center and open space that promote active healthy lifestyles. Adult based education, job training/placement, youth employment opportunities and financial literacy. According to Ismael Guerrero, DHA Executive Director, “DHA is fortunate to have the support of HUD and the Obama administration; which has meant capital investment for Denver’s disadvantaged communities and jobs for families working their way out of this recession.” South Lincoln redevelopment is scheduled for completion in 2018. About DHA The Denver Housing Authority is a quasi-municipal corporation that provides affordable housing to more than 26,000 very low, low, and middle income individuals. DHA’s mission is to serve the residents of Denver by developing, owning, and operating safe, decent and affordable housing in a manner that promotes thriving communities.

remark that, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Working under that motto, we are organizing campaigns to bring additional attention and resources to the fight against HIV/AIDS and childhood obesity. When we fight for equality in education, we remember Dr. King’s belief that education functions “to teach one to think intensively and to think critically”, something that all students deserve. With all that Dr. King gave to the world, his most enduring gift may be the faith he had in others. Dr. King had an unwavering faith that future generations would continue his fight to ensure that the arc of the universe bends towards justice. He trusted that if he provided the vehicle and destination, we would be able to forge our own path towards equality. We must remember Dr. King’s faith as we fight twenty-first century attempts to roll back rights for people of color. Dr. King succeeded in securing full voting rights for people of all color, but this election season we see a coordinated by some push to implement laws that would disenfranchise poor and minority voters. He strove for equality between all races, but our nation is stuck in a “tough on crime” mentality that imprisons African

Americans for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of their white counterparts. Dr. King brought his attention to poverty, but these days the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever before, and the war on poverty has been narrowed to a series of bromides and unrealized initiatives. It is up to this generation, and the generations that follow to live up to Dr. King’s faith and stand on the frontlines in this new battle for civil rights. I grew up in this organization as a member of the NAACP Youth and College Division. Inspired by the work of Dr. King and those who followed him, I joined the Association as a freshman at Virginia Union University and later served as a Youth Board Member. I am proud to say that in its 75th year, our Youth and College Division is 25,000 members strong, making it one of the largest organized groups of young people of any secular organization in the country. These youth are the future of the organization, and we must have faith in them as Dr. King had faith in us. After all, there is still so much to do before we achieve Dr. King’s dream of full equality. The future is calling, and with your help, the NAACP will answer.  Editor’s note: Roslyn M. Brock is the Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the NAACP.

COMMUNITY CON CONVERSA VERSATIONS TIONS CONVERSATIONS

Exploring Expl oring is issues sues of

CIVIC C IVIC RESPONSIBILITY Presented Pr esented by F Facing acing History History and Ourselves Ourselves and The Allstate Allstate Foundation Foundation in partner partnership ship with the Blair-Caldw Blair-Caldwell ell African African American American Resear Research ch Library Library and City YYear. ear.

The Warmth Warmth of Other Suns: Story of the Great Great Migr ation The Story Migration A Community Conv Conversation ersation with Author A uthor IIsabel sabel Wilkerson Wilkerson THURSDAY, T HURSDAY, DECEMBER DECEMBER 8, 2011 7:00–9:00 PM Manual High School 1700 Eas Eastt 28th A Avenue, venue, Denver Denver Seating is limit limited. ed. T To o RSVP, please please visit ffacinghistory.org/communityconversations acinghistory.org/communityconversations or ccall all 303-316-4848 (e xt. 221) (ext. 221).. As part of F acing His tory’s national series of Community Conv ersations, Facing History’s Conversations, event is fr ee and open tto o the public. this event free Presented Pr esented by:

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Denver Urban Spectrum November 2011 Issue