Editorial: Palm Springs bulldozed a Black neighborhood. Compensate survivors
How many times have we heard that “the only language of racism is bullets?” This is true. But bullets kill people. The reality on the ground is different.
The Palm Springs City Council voted 6-1 to make this city a place to be afraid of the public. The city council decided a year ago to bulldoze one entire Black neighborhood and replace nearly 10,000 homes, with mixed-income, single-family homes and multifamily housing. The city is moving swiftly forward by bulldozing homes.
The city’s demolition crews began tearing down homes last week, despite the fact that the city council approved a preservation order for the property. Residents of the area have been told since mid-summer to prepare for the bulldozers.
Mayor John Duran and his staff promised the homeowners they would have an opportunity to purchase the property if they were allowed to stay. Yet they had no public meeting after the original approval, and no public process to determine whether the property could be preserved for that reason. They then moved forward with the demolition on the grounds that “an order was necessary,” despite any evidence to the contrary.
The city is also on the verge of opening an “after-hours” jail for the mentally ill.
These actions are not just an attack on Black people, but on all of us. We have lost our homes in this city over the last few years because people do not care about our lives. This city’s destruction of Black communities is an attack on all of us.
People of color around the country are seeing their homes being destroyed. I had a few people ask me if I knew where the homes were going to be destroyed, and I said I didn’t know, because I was not notified until much closer to the final night of the demolition.
People were able to view the demolition site and the surrounding properties several