The ‘Whitening’ of Crown Heights

Protesting the Bedford Union Armory development. (Photo via Amsterdam News)

City plans for the development of affordable housing at the Bedford Union Armory in Brooklyn will, instead, further the “whitening of Crown Heights,” says New York Communities for Change in a new report. In an Amsterdam News article about the report, Stephon Johnson and Nayaba Arinde note that a number of residents, activists and organizations have rallied in opposition to the development plans for the armory.

In attendance at several rallies were Assembly members Walter Mosley and Diana Richardson, State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Crown Heights residents, housing advocates, members of New York Communities for Change, the Crown Heights Tenants Union, the Black Institute, VOCAL-NY, Community Voices Heard, the Democratic Socialists of America and Laborers Local 79. They, along with community activists and elected officials opposing the Bedford Armory development, are calling for the “project to be killed and for the land to be placed into a community land trust.”

The city’s plans with developers won’t help many neighborhood residents for whom the housing will remain out of reach, the new report argues.

“A straightforward analysis of census data on Brooklyn’s racial and income demographics confirms that the Bedford Courts Development, proposed by BFC Partners, will not serve the neighborhood’s African-American and Latino resident,” read the report. “Rather, the Bedford Courts development will accelerate the whitening of Crown Heights, with fewer affordable apartments available for residents of color who earn lower incomes, and more apartments geared toward whiter, wealthier newcomers to the neighborhood.”

“The defense of gentrification as not being racist is founded on the premise of affordability not being a racial issue but simply based on one’s ability to pay,” declared December 12th Movement activist Omowale Clay.

Go to Amsterdam News to read more details on the report, and the explanation of how prices for the units will shut out many Afro-American and Latino families.

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