MLK Drive’s Ghost Project Is Still Stalled

Monday’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council was noteworthy. There’s a lot to unpack. The activist pushback against our status quo city council during public comments was enlightening and entertaining. While the City’s Nondiscrimination Initiative and half-hearted community investment measures are likely to get covered reasonably well by the local press. An item on Monday’s agenda that is unlikely to get any press coverage caught my eye.

Hammering Hank Endorsed Joe Camel Decades Ago

Recently, baseball great Hank Aaron died at age 86. The celebrated home run hitter overcame a shameful barrage of racist hostility when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record on April 8, 1974, in Atlanta. It’s time for the Atlanta Braves to change their name to the Hammers, in honor of “hammering” Hank Aaron. In the wake of Aaron’s death, the Journal posted some articles on Aaron’s visits to Winston. The Journal seems to do a better job of looking back than looking forward these days.

The Black Liberation Struggle Told Through Signs Along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Last Thursday, just ahead of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, The Chronicle ran a piece on King’s visit to Winston back in 1964. King visited Goler Metropolitan AME Church as well as recently desegregated Wake Forest University. King’s visit to Camel City came just one year after his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech and less than four years before his 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennesse. The Journal also covered King’s visit in a piece that they have run many times before. Both The Chronicle and Journal’s pieces are excellent.

Throwback Thursday: Remembering Watkins Street, The African American West End Enclave Destroyed By The Dash

Today, I’m posting the first of what I hope to be many Throwback Thursday posts. Every Thursday, for the foreseeable future, I am planning on examining, at length, a video from the City of Winston-Salem’s YouTube channel and other sources. The City of Winston-Salem has a number of excellent documentaries that deserve more attention than they’ve received. For a middling, mid-sized city, Winston has a lot of great historical resources in print and on video. With the renegotiation of the Dash’s lease in the news, I thought it would be a good time to take a trip back to Watkins Street.

Coalition Of Activists Engages With Stale, Status Quo Oriented City Council

After months of advocating for less funding for the police, the abolition of cash bail, and more affordable housing during the City Council’s public comments period, FCPARC (Forsyth County Police Reallocation Coalition) was finally invited to speak before the Public Safety Committee on Monday night. After months of being ignored, local activists presented the Public Safety Committee with clear but radical solutions that, if implemented, would make Winston a safer and better community “to live, work, and play.” Unfortunately, the Public Safety Committee gave FCPARC’s proposals a rather cool reception. The only subject of tentative agreement between activists and Councilmembers was the need for better mental health service in the city. Chairman Taylor invited FCPARC to speak to the Public Safety Committee again next month.

The People’s Business: December 14, 2020, WS/FC’s Last Public Meetings Of 2020

This year has been a challenging one. But there is a feeling, amongst some that when we get to 2021, everything will get better; Covid-19 vaccines will be distributed, the pandemic will finally be over, and we can return to normal. In actuality, with the federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of the year, cold weather, and Covid spikes crippling small businesses, the darkest days of the pandemic are right around the corner. A case can be made for a small business bailout, but what we really need is an extension of the eviction moratorium. We need an eviction moratorium 2.0 that forgives back rent tenants owe their landlords.

Gaama Foods Closes, Southeast Winston Loses An Important Resource

“The Southeast area of Winston-Salem is an area that
has experienced change in recent years due to the
increased numbers of immigrants, mostly of Hispanic
origin, settling in and opening new businesses, enhancing
further diversity in its population.” -Southeast Area Plan, 2002 

Gaama Foods closed recently. The Latinx-focused grocery store at the corner of Waughtown and Reynolds Park Road, in the Southeast Plaza shopping center, will be missed. When it first opened a few years ago as Compare Foods, it was a modest grocery store with an impressive produce department. A couple of years ago, it became Gaama Foods.

The Lion Isn’t Afraid To Operate In East Winston

Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for local grocery stores. One of Winston’s most serious problems is the uneven distribution of grocery stores throughout our city, i.e., food deserts. While grocery stores are highly concentrated at Stradford Road and Cloverdale, they’re few and far between in East Winston. In East Winston corner stores stocked with vices but light on nutritional goods are the norm, grocery stores with fresh produce and a variety of healthy (and not so healthy) options are the exception. Food Lion is the lone grocery store chain that has invested in East Winston.

Former Head Of Multi-Million Dollar Foundation Given “Heroes For The Homeless” Award

As Thanksgiving approaches, the nation’s news cycle focuses on hunger and homelessness. It happens every year. Newspapers and broadcast media love feel-good stories about neighbors helping neighbors. But they don’t spend much time focusing on why so many people don’t have access to basic necessities in the wealthiest nation on the planet. Homelessness (and hunger) should not be chronic conditions in our community.

Zooming In On Housing Issues In Winston-Salem, Forsyth County

Last week the Forsyth County Library’s panel discussion on affordable housing got me thinking about all the publicly available resources that document housing disparities in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Often new reports attract a great deal of attention when they are released, but get forgotten as time goes by. So, for that reason, I’ve comprised a list of the important housing studies that have been released in recent years. Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance president Allen Joines says that he’s working to bring more affordable housing to Winston. But his record tells a different story.