Community Movement Builders

Community Movement Builders
790 Welch Street
Atlanta, GA 30310
www.communitymovementbuilders.org

Mission:

Community Movement Builders is a member collective of community residents/activists based in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood creating sustainable black communities via cooperative economic advancement and community organizing rooted in Black love and equity.

History:

CMB began as a youth service project to develop leadership skills for Black youth. To better serve the community, we pushed to become a site-based model for sustainable development and community organizing that can be duplicated across the country. We were founded by experienced community activists, youth and residents in south-west Atlanta. We created a youth organizing scouts’ program (Siafu Youth Corp) to teach community organizing, leadership skills and community sustainability. We re-established a community garden for training and food sustainability programs, linking urban agriculture and micro-business/cooperative development.

The Issues:

Gentrification is currently underway in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood, a historic Black working/under class community settled by formerly enslaved Africans in 1883. Residents are subjects of “market forces” and led to believe that nothing can stop “private development.” This powerlessness is rooted in the history of white supremacy that has led to a lack of political and economic power for poor and working-class Black people. Current residents share concerns about being able to stay in Pittsburgh when housing values rise above what they can afford. As with other places in Atlanta, if work is not done now to stop gentrification Black neighborhoods in Atlanta will become a thing of the past. 

Constituency and Leadership:

CMB is a Black organization, our larger constituency is based in the community we work in which extends our community to a larger overwhelmingly Black working-class grouping. We were founded in 2015 by Black activists, academics, and community members. We chose to directly locate in this community, not only because some of our members live here, but also because it is one of the few working-class neighborhoods left in Atlanta. CMB is governed by a board of directors, coordinating committee (committee leaders), committee members and its Executive Director. The Board of CMB is a majority residents of the Pittsburgh area of Atlanta, chosen based on community and cultural ties to the working-class community where most of our work is done. 

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

CMB operates from the axiom: all life has value. We staunchly oppose all practices and ideologies that devalue human life, including racism, capitalism, classism, sexism, imperialism, colonialism, homophobia and xenophobia. This is one of our principles of unity that we agreed to at the founding of our organization. The ability to exist in a world free of oppression is a human right. We fully recognize that the forces that maintain our oppression are the same forces that oppress other marginalized groups and we stand in solidarity with all oppressed peoples.

Movement Building:

Community partnerships and constituent involvement are at the core of CMB’s work with local residents active in our leadership and committee structure. The decision for an anti-gentrification campaign emerged from a People’s Assembly held in the Pittsburgh community (and co-sponsored by the Neighborhood Association and the Pittsburgh Collaborative) where more than 50 people agreed that gentrification and lack of community control over resources are the community’s central issues. CMB has formed fruitful, collaborative, coordinated relationships with the Partnership for Southern Equity, Greening Youth Foundation and Swope Dreams to develop a Community Stabilization Fund, offering short-term support for residential and rental housing stability. Additionally, CMB is working with Black Voters Matter and Housing Justice League on creating a Political Action Committee.

Long-term Vision for Change:

Our long-term vision is a world where freedom from oppression is a human right. We fully recognize that the forces that maintain our oppression are the same forces that oppress other marginalized groups. So we stand in solidarity with all oppressed peoples. The tools we use in our liberation efforts also intersect to amplify the effects of our organizing and base building, by leveraging the power of art and self-expression along with health and wellness, to raise consciousness and build resiliency within the community. We believe in building local power that controls decisions on community development. Our work speaks to this via our organizing campaign and our sustainable development and cooperative work we engage in.  

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Organization Budget:  $25,000
Request: $10,000

Raised to date this week:

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