Umoja Village


Umoja Village

The Umoja Village Shantytown was founded on October 23, 2006 in the Liberty City section of Miami, Florida in response to a crisis of gentrification and low-income housing gripping Miami, Florida, considered one of the least affordable cities in the United States.

After months of planning, a group calling itself Take Back the Land seized control of a vacant lot on the corner of 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-30408053_ITM] The lot sat vacant for approximately 8 years after low income housing there was demolished by the City of Miami. [http://beautifulcity.us/content/view/184/1/] Take Back the Land erected several tents and then built wood frame shanties in order to provide housing for otherwise homeless people in the area.

Police, City of Miami and Miami-Dade County officials were unable to evict the residents or organizers due to the landmark 1996 Pottinger Settlement. After years of arresting homeless people essentially for being homeless, the Miami ACLU sued the city of Miami, who eventually settled. In the settlement, the city agreed that homeless people could not be arrested if they met three criteria: [http://osaka.law.miami.edu/~schnably/pottinger/Settlement.html]

#The individual is homeless;
#the individual is situated on public land;
#there are no beds available at homeless shelters in the city; and
#the individual is engaged in "life sustaining conduct," such as eating, sleeping, bathing, "responding to calls of nature," congregating and building "temporary structures" to protect one's self from the elements.

Take Back the Land exploited the legal settlement to build a shantytown in Miami, Florida.

By the end of December, Umoja Village housed approximately 50 otherwise homeless people and made the news in the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, Time.com and the New York Times, as well as a number of documentaries and blogs.

Residents ran the Village, voting to build, distribute donations, move in new residents and evict others.

Umoja Village enjoyed broad support in the community, and, therefore, was able to successfully repel numerous attempts by government officials to evict them.

Land Struggle

Take Back the Land organizer Max Rameau, of the Center for Pan-African Development, argued that the Umoja Village was not just about gentrification, but was a full "land struggle," in the mold of Brazil's MST, the Landless Workers' Movement and similar movements in South Africa. As an advocate of Pan-Africanism, Rameau asserted black people should control the land in the black community, as manifested by Umoja Village.

The Village itself was built with the help of local white anarchists, operating under the black political leadership of Take Back the Land.

The Fire

On April 23, 2007, Umoja Village celebrated it's 6 month anniversary by announcing several campaigns, including the replacement of the wood shanties with more durable hexayurts (Autonomous building); building a water well; engaging in local anti-gentrification and pro-housing campaigns; demanding legal rights to the land from the City of Miami; and plans to acquire land and build low-income housing.

On April 26, 2007, on the day the first hexayurts were scheduled to be built, Umoja Village burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. [http://www.miamiherald.com/884/story/88404.html] There were no casualties or injuries. Miami police arrested 11 residents and activists for attempting to remain on the land and the City erected a barbed wire fence around the property that same day.

In order to avoid protests, the City offered Take Back the Land the property in order to build low-income housing before reneging on the offer under pressure from local power brokers and lobbyists.

On October 23, 2007, Take Back the Land announced it identified vacant public and private foreclosed homes and moved families into some of those homes, in a move it calls "liberating" housing. As of February 2008, Take Back the Land had a waiting list of 14 families waiting to move into one of those homes. [http://www.judicialaccountability.org/articles/squatterstakeoverhousing.htm]

In February, Max Rameau released a book detailing the experience. The book is entitled Take Back the Land: Land, Gentrification and the Umoja Village Shantytown.

External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiY1JcCSEyI It takes a Village documentary]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAEyqi07as0 Early Umoja documentary]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1-7HZWDfB8 Umoja Burns, Miami Herald report on the Umoja Village fire]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjzFYXfrrUs Umoja Village Post-fire video]
* [http://www.thepanafrican.org Center for Pan-African Development Website]
* Take Back the Land Book ISBN 1434845567
* [http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=2142 Photo Essay]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Umoja, le village interdit aux hommes — Affiche du film Données clés Réalisation Jean Crousillac …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Umoja — may refer to: * Umoja, Nairobi, a Suburb in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya * Umoja, Kenya, an all female village founded on the principles of women s rights. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp dyn/content/article/2005/07/08/AR2005070801775.html] *… …   Wikipedia

  • Umoja, Kenya — Umoja ( unity in Swahili)is an all female village located in northern Kenya near the town of Archers Post in Samburu District, 380 km from the capital, Nairobi. It was founded by Rebecca Lolosoli, a Samburu woman, for homeless survivors of gender …   Wikipedia

  • Umoja — 0° 38′ 00″ N 37° 38′ 00″ E / 0.633333, 37.6333 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Umoja (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Umoja est un terme swahili signifiant Unité. Il est porté par : un village du Kenya : Umoja. un hebdomadaire kenyan : Umoja. Catégorie :… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gentrification — and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people ( gentry ) acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities.[1] Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification,… …   Wikipedia

  • Improvised Action — Collective (impAct Collective) is a South Florida based anarchist collective. ImpAct has been involved with a variety of projects in the South Florida community since late 2005. In the past, ImpAct has helped out with important projects such as… …   Wikipedia

  • Rebecca Lolosoli — Rebecca Samaria Lolosoli Rebecca Samaria Lolosoli est la fondatrice et chef du village d Umoja, un village situé au Nord du Kenya, à 380 kilomètres de Nairobi. Elle représente le village d Umoja lors de congrès auxquels elle est invitée afin de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rebecca Samaria — Lolosoli Rebecca Samaria Lolosoli est la fondatrice et chef du village d Umoja, un village situé au Nord du Kenya, à 380 kilomètres de Nairobi. Elle représente le village d Umoja lors de congrès auxquels elle est invitée afin de trouver une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rebecca Samaria Lolosoli — est la fondatrice et chef du village d Umoja, un village situé au Nord du Kenya, à 380 kilomètres de Nairobi. Elle représente le village d Umoja lors de congrès auxquels elle est invitée afin de trouver une solution pour mettre un terme à ce… …   Wikipédia en Français