This year marks 100 years since the attack on the Greenwood District, commonly known as Black Wall Street, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This thriving business district and residential area was tragically destroyed through racial violence. It’s critical to know that the urban planning of the Greenwood District was led by O.W. Gurley.
Gurley was a first-generation freedman. He was born on Christmas day in 1868 to newly freed parents. Gurly, who was self-educated and industrious, purchased 40 acres of land in North Tulsa in 1905 and established his first business, a rooming house on a dusty road that would become Greenwood Avenue. He subdivided his plot into residential and commercial lots and eventually opened a grocery store. This would be the early origins of one of the most affluent African American communities in U.S. history as well as a determined response to racial discrimination and practices.
As we survey and reflect on the current state of urban planning, we will examine persistent racial bias in development, land use, the built environment, transportation and infrastructure. We will discuss examples of “economic improvement” that have come at the expense of communities of color.
This meaningful discussion with thought-leaders will explore not only the historical impact of urban planning, but the current state of urban planning and how communities of color continue to be impacted today. Panelist include:
- Ronit Bezalel, an accomplished filmmaker who has been creating social issue documentary films for more than two decades. Her award-winning film Voices of Cabrini: Remaking Chicago’s Public Housing (1999), received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Award to catalyze dialogue about affordable housing issues in Chicago neighborhoods. Newsweek magazine selected Ronit as one of the “Top 10 Women of the 21st Century” (Jan 8, 2001) for this work. Her recent film, 70 Acres in Chicago, is twenty-years in the making.
- Jennifer Ingram, founder and CEO of Calibrated Lens, LLC, a boutique consulting firm with the mission of inspiring clients to facilitate sustainable change centering on equity and inclusion. She served as the first Vice President of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Jennifer is also Founder and CEO of 3011Whitney, LLC a real estate investment company that acquires and rehabs properties to provide high quality affordable housing options for all.
- Josh Poe, co-founder and Co-Principal Investigator at the Root Cause Research Center in Louisville, Kentucky. He is an urban planner, community organizer, and geographer with over 20 years of scholarship, activism and practical experience in planning, urban land policy and housing issues.
- Ozie Davis III, founder of Ozie Davis & Associates where he has consulted for municipalities, non-profit agencies, large issue and political candidate campaigns, developers, and anchor institutions advising his clients toward the best Community relations approaches. Davis was the founding Executive Director of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation and served in the 100th Congress as Congressman Steve Driehaus’ Community Liaison.
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