As the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces in the U.S., we know that economic anchors such as the former Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza Mall are key to stability and growth of the community around it. As protests fighting anti-Black racism continue across the country, we must take action to preserve these anchors that are central to Black Los Angeles, and provide the community with the means to redevelop it according to their collective vision.
The USFWC proudly stands in solidarity with the national coalition Downtown Crenshaw Rising (DCR), which is organizing to build a land trust, cooperative housing and businesses at Downtown Crenshaw. This historic collaboration of community-based and focused experts with over 200 collective years of experience in finance, acquisition, and real estate development, collaboratively working with civic leaders and organizers, represents the best interests of the Crenshaw community.
The envisioned 40 acre “urban village” will serve the needs of Crenshaw, bringing a solidarity economy that gives them the tools to attack 21st-century problems and care for our community. From affordable housing to job training programs, to worker-owned cooperatives and beyond, the vision of Downtown Crenshaw will provide its people ownership over their community, building a strong economy that returns its wealth back to the local residents.
This moment requires bold vision, to fight systemic injustices and to build up the Black-majority area in South Los Angeles. Cooperatives stabilize their communities – increasing economic impact, creating dignified jobs, increasing benefits and wages, and encouraging civic participation. A community-centered development with local ownership at every step of the process is necessary to build Black economic power and avoid gentrification and displacement.
The Downtown Crenshaw Rising movement has illustrated its commitment, having raised almost $60 million dollars toward buying the mall with the ability to finance the rest of their $115 million bid if the contract is awarded. Despite offering the highest bid, DCR was denied the bid. The USFWC calls for a stop to the sale, and to support the Crenshaw community’s bid to purchase the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza through Downtown Crenshaw Rising.
Los Angeles’ Black community has a right to own its future, the Downtown Crenshaw Rising will place this critical Black community asset into the hands of trusted and capable community leaders who will build a community-centered development.