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Black History Month Voices: Nneka N’namdi | Commentary

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Nneka N’namdi, 43, director of community development, Living Well Center for Social and Economic Vibrancy, creator of Fight Blight Bmore

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Nneka N'namdi, 43, director of community development for the Living Well Center for Social and Economic Vibrancy says in her Black History Month essay, creating racial equity will take fundamental change in the way the city government operates.
Nneka N'namdi, 43, director of community development for the Living Well Center for Social and Economic Vibrancy says in her Black History Month essay, creating racial equity will take fundamental change in the way the city government operates.

My lived experience and research shows that racism in public policy has damaged Black neighborhoods and disproportionately harmed Black residents wherever we may live.

The interpersonal violence we see in the community is the direct result of the economic violence perpetrated by the city’s Black codes, Jim Crow, Ordinance 610, restrictive covenants, redlining, urban renewal, contract lending, land use and zoning, disinvestment, tax sale, subprime lending, etc. COVID-19 further exposed these deep wounds’ impact on housing and health outcomes in the Black Butterfly, a book by Lawrence Brown about the politics of race and space in America.

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In response to these conditions, Mayor Brandon Scott ran on and other elected officials espouse a commitment to creating racial equity in the city. But there can be no equity without repairing the damage caused by the long list above.

In order to achieve equity, Baltimore must implement laws, policies, regulations and practices that restore Black people and communities. One of the priority corrective actions the city should take is to abolish tax sale of owner-occupied units and enable installment payment plans.

Creating racial equity will take fundamental change in the way the city government operates. We have to start with lessons from the past to build a better future.

— Compiled by Emily Opilo

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