Originally published August 2021.
If you attended last month’s Grand Harvest Rally there’s a good chance that you saw the gentlemen in the photograph above. They were in attendance in solidarity with BYI’s land issues and to spread awareness for a block party that would be taking place the following weekend in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood of Poppleton.
Before we get too deep into the story how familiar are you with eminent domain? This practice allows the seizure of private property for the purpose of public use. This practice has been used in cities across the nation as a justification for displacing residents from their communities. This brings us back to Poppleton, where eminent domain has placed residents in a decade plus battle against the seizure of their homes. At the forefront of that battle has been Ms. Sonia Eady. Ms. Eady, a lifelong community resident, has been vocal about the historical importance of community. She stressed that the solution to the issue plaguing her and numerous other communities is a lack of resources and accessibility.
Though she has been among the most vocal residents of the neighborhood, it must be emphasized that only through community can the threat of gentrification be combatted. Poppleton has banded together through the previously mentioned block party, petitions, letter writing, and spreading awareness through social media.
Poppleton is seeking to fight the state of Maryland’s practices of urban renewal through eminent domain. Eminent domain takes ownership out of the hands of the community creating a cycle of residents living without agency over that land.