Summit registration is free, however contributions are appreciated and will help cover the costs of the summit and coalition building activities.
Denver Community Action Network (DenverCAN)
If Denver is to truly be a “world-class city” it can’t be just for those who can most afford it. With displacement accelerating at lightening speed due to policies promoted by politicians indebted to wealthy developers, or businesses that are more interested in remaking neighborhoods rather than integrating into them, we need urgent solutions that will not take years to implement. We will not wait another election cycle to take back our city. The time to resist is now!
This citywide summit will bring together progressive organizers, emerging leaders, and impacted residents who have actively and creatively resisted gentrification in their communities, as well as those who want to learn strategies to take back their neighborhoods.
Our goal of the summit is to connect our movements including affordable housing, justice reform, transportation alternatives, environmental sustainability, food justice, educational equity, health access, and renaming/removing racist signage/symbol initiatives through the lens of gentrification. Four organizing sessions will be offered:
1. Promoting Business Social Responsibility: What makes a good business owner and what elements should be included in good neighbor agreements? This session will explore how individual businesses can achieve a level of social responsibility by examining their hiring policies to reflect culturally diverse communities, developing community advisory boards, paying a living wage, preserving hubs of history and culture, and creating good neighbor funds to invest in local initiatives in order to develop better and more integrated ways of doing business with impacted residents.
2. Systemic Accountability – Holding Politicians Accountable through Direct Democracy: Even though Denver elections are non-partisan, the city is essentially run by a one party political establishment. Challenging those who look like us and sound like us, but who are not serving all of us us through policies that accelerate gentrification requires new leadership with fresh perspectives. This session will explore how to build the next wave of political leadership, identify current progressive candidates, and promote campaign funding mechanisms that do not rely on corporate money.
3. Developing Affordable and Accessible Home and Business Ownership Opportunities – Those who control the land control the power. Because communities of color and low-income residents have been destabilized by both public and private initiatives designed to deprive us of economic opportunity and home ownership access, it is time to create our own power base for wealth building. This session will explore various avenues to develop our own land and business ownership opportunities including community banks, co-op investment clubs, community development corporations, model inclusionary housing ordinances, housing bonds, land trusts, and zoning ordinances as all part of both short and long-term comprehensive solutions.
4. Cultural Preservation: A Celebration of Resistance – A key characteristic of neo-colonialist expansion is the renaming and remaking of communities of color. In order to reclaim and preserve our rich cultural legacies, it is imperative to connect the keepers of our historical memories with the next generation of expressionists. This session will be a multifaceted and interactive experience that will celebrate the various ways that we resist gentrification through creative forms of expression, while reinforcing the need to maintain our cultural hubs of identity.
The expected outcomes of the summit include the collective development of a citywide policy platform that we can all fight for, recruiting and promoting progressive candidates who will truly work for those who are most impacted or at-risk of displacement, and activating an expansive network to create change through direct democracy initiatives.
Our summit grew out of a grassroots movement in response to Ink! Coffee and Cultivator Advertising & Design’s offensive ad campaign that celebrated gentrification at the expense of residents of color who are being driven out of their historical communities. As organizers of that protest, we are turning our collective outrage into political power by moving beyond the “happily gentrifying” sign controversy, to the root causes that allowed neo-colonialism policies to devour our neighborhoods in the first place in order to rebuild community ownership and local control for the residents of today and future generations.
We are Denver Community Action Network (DenverCAN), a grassroots collective of progressive organizations and individuals working collectively in a citywide effort to resist gentrification, create ownership opportunities for marginalized residents, and cultivate new political leadership. Denver Community Action Network (DenverCAN) is comprised of social justice organizations including Colorado Latino Forum Cross Community Coalition of GES Coalition, Ditch the I-70 Ditch, Project VOYCE, Black Lives Matter 5280 and Shorter Community AME Church.
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