What happens when neighborhoods come together to fight displacement from a powerful and seemingly unstoppable political force?
Residents in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Central Little Rock were slated to lose their homes to the forces of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority, after their properties were determined to be a good location for development. The LRTPA, a group of powerful business and political leaders, ignored the residents when studying locations and a tax that had recently passed served to fund its construction. But when residents caught wind of the project, they formed a We Shall Not Be Moved Coalition to spread information and sway the public against the project.
In a Shelterforce article titled “The Whole City's Watching,” Ashley Bachelder and Neil Sealy wrote about the coalition's fight against the LRTPA. The ending was hopeful, yet inconclusive: following public pressure, the LRTPA voted to study other locations before moving forward with development.
Well, on Oct. 23, the not-to-be-moved residents were awarded a big win. The LRTPA voted 4-3 to place the $22 million technology park in Little Rock's downtown, sparing hundreds of homes from demolition.