Over fifty people attended the press conference and rally, called for only hours earlier.
At midnight on Valentines Night, police, county workers, and fence builders surrounded the last remaining Scott building and disassembled the “Find Our People” Name Wall and the Justice for Scotts campaign headquarters at the last remaining Scotts Home.
The month-long effort that has located over 300 displaced residents from the demolished Scott Carver Homes, was effectively shut down by the county in the dead of night.
Over the course of several hours a private fencing company erected an 8-foot tall fence around the last remaining Scott building. 'No Trespass' signs hang on the fence in stark contrast to a mural of Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. that declares “Justice for Scotts.”
A volunteer, Karaka Campbell, was at the wall when the fence company and police showed up. He quickly jumped into action calling community organizers who then activated an ad-hoc phone tree to rile people from sleep and witness the destruction of the community space and campaign headquarters they had constructed.
“They came like thieves in the night,” said Caprice Brown former Scott resident and member of LIFFT. “and why did they shut us down? Because we are doing a better job than them. We are finding our people, we are fighting for justice.”
Several speakers spoke broadly about the struggle for justice at Scotts where 850 families were displaced by the county with the aid of a federal HOPE VI grant. “This about more than this one building this is about bringing 850 units back here. It is about bringing the community back,” said Yvonne Stratford, former Scott resident and leader of LIFFT. “And this building here. We need to make this a Black History museum. We need to remember where we came from to know where we are going.”
Beyond the former residents and representatives of grassroots organizations there were at least five congregations represented.
“My mother raised 7 children in these projects and she died just three months after they pushed her out of her apartment,” raged Pastor Anthony Dawkins of Project Hope Outreach Ministries. “Our people aren’t only dying from guns they are being murdered in county hall when they kill our dreams.”
Pastor Dawkins closed with “They may chain off this building but they wont chain off our hearts.”