"We won't give up our power"

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November 20, 2019 - 3:53pm

Critical Commentary

Top Left: President Carlton Davis in the middle, followed by photos of Grant Houses

It was a cool October evening in Manhattan and Halloween was fast-approaching. Food was tantalizingly laid out at the front of the room: pizza, beans and rice, salad, meatloaf and soda, as approximately 70 residents sat at folding tables. Held in the Senior Center, mostly women (and some men) in their middle age and older were present, with several young boys playing nearby with superhero action figures and a couple of teenage boys seated staring at their cell phones. These monthly assemblies at Grant Houses provided a forum to express concerns that remained unaddressed via alternative outlets, including dilapidating housing, the Manhattanville Expansion by Columbia University, and their children’s needs. Principal Reginald Higgins presented on the impact of housing conditions on young people: “how are the kids supposed to go to sleep at night? If they are without heat, uncomfortable, pain is being transferred elsewhere. Kids are looking to the adults for help. It’s a partnership.” The President of the Resident's Association, Carlton Davis, asserted later on in the meeting: “There’s a plan and a purpose for what takes place here and there is always a relationship with what happens out there. They will challenge your right to your community…We’re not invisible and we won’t give up our power.”