Revitalize Our School Sites with Black Wall Street Zones

Revitalize Our School Sites with Black Wall Street Zones

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Racial Equity Chamber started this petition to Benton Harbor City Commission and

*Nationwide/global supporters are encouraged to sign this petition

Organizers are uniting in strength and solidarity to demand clear racial equity zoning protections for the advancement of Benton Harbor children and families. Zones are used to decide which activities can happen within the city spaces. Declaring Black Wall Street Zoning presents a clear message from the city planners to the world that our schools and residents are a top priority for their master plan.


Racism in Michigan was officially declared a public crisis. Benton Harbor is 84.7% black.  An Emergency Manager took away the school’s zoning protections in the City of Benton Harbor which makes it easier for predators to get rid of our public schools, sell off the land, remove our people and build a bigger prison. Emergency Manager laws have been legally exposed as strategically racist, and the Emergency Manager was fired, but his harmful zoning law is still on the books.

Dangerous chaos ensues when organized developers benefit from devaluing the people in a predominantly black community such as ours. Part of the gentrification and removal strategies involve removing the schools and building a brand new $100 million prison in the Benton Harbor Area that would be designed to hold more people longer. For years students, families, and educators in our community have stood up to land grabs, school closures, and militarized policing strategies. Highly skilled residents have been exploited, turned away from opportunities, forced to leave the city in search of work, suffered from weariness, endured bouts of violence, and division amongst leaders has festered. We are resilient people, and changing the zoning law will give us the strong foundation we need to build smarter, attract the right investors and work together collaboratively rather than fighting harder against one another in competition. 


Do you believe that cities and schools should work hand in hand? Do you support the idea of creating job opportunities, and promoting black business ownership? Do you believe that Benton Harbor Area Schools will thrive if given a fair fighting chance? Do you believe that now is the time to reimagine neighborhoods in ways that will empower learning institutions? Have you noticed that operating in survival mode does not allow people to bring their best selves into the space to raise the village? Do you believe that marginalized communities deserve a Fresh Start for growth and repair?

(See the video overview for more information about the vision of Fresh Start)


Empowering School Sites Begin with Clear Zoning Laws

The school properties belong to the residents. We know that no one is making more land and that we must conserve the land for our legacy. We will not be uprooted. The first step in rejuvenating our communities is protecting the land from predators and focusing our resources on revitalizing our educational facilities.  WE MUST REZONE OUR SCHOOL SITES BACK TO PUBLIC SCHOOL ZONES and UNITE IN ONE VOICE TO PRESS FOR BLACK WALL STREET ORDINANCES that will provide needed sustainability and peace of mind for the current population. Join the City of Benton Harbor Racial Equity Committee and our supporting partners today in signing this petition for Benton Harbor and Township Officials to declare:

1. A PUBLIC SCHOOL ZONING PROTECTION ORDINANCE: Our City Officials shall pass an ordinance to rezone Benton Harbor Area School sites back to public school zones. 

2. RACIAL EQUITY ZONING CATEGORY: Our City Officials shall establish a distinct Black Wall Street Zone category for Benton Harbor Area School sites in order to help ensure that Benton Harbor Area School alum and the black folks of Benton Harbor receive adequate racial equity safeguards to stimulate restorative social justice agreements and community benefits; while deterring aggressive removal practices, mass incarceration tactics, and school shutdowns.

It is IMPERATIVE that we establish these intentional zones now in order for the Greater Benton Harbor Area to reach its highest economic, social and educational potential. Join us in signing this petition and sharing it often via text, social media, and email. Stay connected with us via Facebook for Event Updates

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!