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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Black Friday Give Back: Taking action to buy back our blocks

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It’s time for neighborhoods to have a co-op and sustainable initiative to buy back their blocks and design development for their own neighborhoods. Gentrification without displacement is possible, especially when the current neighbors and stakeholders are engaged. Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corp. (MBCDC) is a 501(c)(3) corporation. MBCDC has a block-by-block model that can be duplicated in other neighborhoods. We are starting with the 2400 block of North Rural Street. Our comprehensive Rural Street development project is a part of the Martindale-Brightwood Education Zone priority. To ensure the increase and preservation of affordable housing in the area, our plans include building new affordable units on vacant lots, expanding an existing community garden to include a learning pocket park, and providing significant repairs and upgrade to the current housing stock on the block. The project is focused on rebuilding without displacement of current residents that families can reside in safe and quality affordable housing while engaging in community building activities with new neighbors. There is a need for a maintenance and sustainability plan to be put in place, not just a few bandages. This model is designed for neighbors to participate in maintenance of the community greenspace — Heritage Community Garden and Pocket Park. The initiative includes empowerment-focused community workshops, which we started this summer with the help of HealthNet Inc., the American Red Cross, Ball University and other partners.

The MBCDC team is working with Circle Up Indy, community partners, street organizations and residents to host the Martindale Brightwood Neighborhood Reunion as a virtual fundraiser. Let’s use Black Friday to also focus on building and uplifting Black communities. This virtual reunion will ignite revolutionary ideations around sustainable redevelopment. On Nov. 26, 2021, our DJ and emcees will keep you entertained with an evening of music for all generations, neighborhood history, trivia, chances to win gift cards and local spoken word artist will awaken your conscience. It’s free to register for the event and the event is open to all generations to participate via Zoom or Facebook Live.
We invite you to join us, please register through Eventbrite or at mbcdc.org.

Martindale-Brightwood is located just northeast of downtown Indy, and African Americans make up 95% of the area’s population. We can celebrate and preserve our culture together.

We work with and run into people from various enterprises in Indy who say, “I grew up in Martindale-Brightwood. My parents still live there, or my church is there.” I believe that current and past residents and community friends will want to give back to support community focused redevelopment, especially through affordable housing and urban greenspace. This is an initiative for neighborhood advancement by buying back our blocks. MBCDC has a comprehensive housing plan for the 2400 block of North Rural Street. See more details at mbcdc.org/rural-st-project/.

Many of us have roots in Martindale-Brightwood, and others currently live or work around the neighborhood. The progress continues to move forward with engaged residents — Kipp Indy Schools, the 100-year-old Frederick Douglass Park, the new Martindale-Brightwood Library and Martin University located in Martindale-Brightwood have strong engagement with residents and community stakeholders. We need you to be involved!
For more information to engage, sponsor, donate or volunteer please contact Amina Pierson at apierson@mbcdc.org

Amina Pierson is CEO and executive director of Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corp.

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