Reclaim Fresno Launch
The crowd was abuzz at Peeve’s Public House (a pub well known for its community involvement) in Downtown Fresno on Wednesday, February 25th. No More Slumlords had just released our Reclaim Fresno video and now were hosting our first ever public event. Guests were asked to sign the petition and were informed of their district number. Why the importance of a district number? That is where a voter has their most power. This is where politicians pay attention.
There was a mixture of people familiar with the slumlord injustice and those not so familiar. Both sides were brought together with the sole desire to learn more about what No More Slumlords has planned for 2015. Still, there were others who came into Peeve’s for dinner and stayed to listen. Aware of this the MC for the night, Angela Whitney, began by defining what a slumlord is. Slumlords are property owners and property management companies that refuse to maintain their properties. Their refusal to care for their properties directly affects the quality of living for their tenants, along with bringing down the value of real estate in said neighborhood.
Now that we can define a slumlord, what are our next steps?
Next steps are crucial because they keep us from going home and forgetting the slumlord injustice, we need to take action NOW! It’s easier to have our hearts moved while in our seats. A moved heart will not stand against injustice on its own. A moved heart and action can bring about the justice we want for all the people in Fresno. When action and heart combine, things change.
The night continued as Ashley Cortes took the mic and shared a poem she wrote. She captured the slumlord injustice beautifully. In art she proclaimed a call to action for the community in Fresno:
“When will we hold these slumlords accountable for the injustice they have committed?
Who are the ones that will take a stand?
Where are the ones who will proclaim,
‘We are not controlled
‘We are not tossed around
‘We are strong
‘We are brave
‘We decide what happens in our city’”
The poem is fitting. Creativity and commitment has always surrounded No More Slumlords. It has brought us to a moment that took three years to get to. The time to push is NOW.
No longer do we have to have hurting people. No longer do we have to be a hurting city. It’s taken three years to get here from the birth of No More Slumlords. Why keep pushing? As Ashley eloquently put it, “Fresno deserves a chance without slumlords.”