Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta Blockwalks With YoungDemsBCS for Affordable Housing

Bryan, TX—Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta joined YoungDemsBCS on a blockwalk on Sunday, April 7 to stop Bryan City Council from taking away people’s right to live in manufactured homes in neighborhoods zoned as MU-1.

Dolores Huerta is a labor and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). When President Obama awarded Mrs. Huerta with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, he admitted that her rallying cry “Sí, se puede!” was inspiration for his campaign slogan “yes, we can.”

Mrs. Huerta joined with Young Dems BCS to collect signatures for a petition to oppose the ordinance that will change neighborhoods zoned MU-1 to RD5000, which will displace poor people by taking away their right to live in manufactured housing.

Young Dems BCS has already collected 230 signatures by conducting daily blockwalks targeting those affected in MU-1 communities. The petition will force a 3/4 vote and make it harder for city council to pass the ordinance, as only two council members have to oppose it for it to fail.

YoungDemsBCS will be blockwalking all day on Monday, April 8 and encourages the public to join us at any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Residents of neighborhoods zoned MU-1 who would like to sign the petition can also visit 307 S Main St anytime on Monday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. If you do not know whether you live in a neighborhood zoned MU-1, use this map.

Concerned community members may show up and speak out against the zoning change at Bryan City Council on Tuesday, April 9 before the council members vote on the ordinance. In order to be included in public commentary, you must arrive and provide your name before 5:30 p.m.

Hundreds of families will be negatively affected by this ordinance if it passes. Planning & Zoning is eliminating a major form of affordable housing without offering any alternatives in its place. This could further exacerbate Bryan’s affordable housing crisis, which a recent report by the Bush School called “the most pressing concern facing the Bryan/College Station community.”

Many of those affected own the land they live on and the manufactured home might be the only structure they can afford to put on their property. They want land that appreciates in value rather than renting a spot in a mobile home park for at least $400 a month.

So many apartment complexes in Brazos County rent by the room, which isn’t affordable for a low income family. Many apartment complexes may reject an application if the tenant has bad credit. The Planning & Zoning Committee acts like these low income families have options but choice is a luxury.

Residents who live in manufactured housing in an MU-1 zoned neighborhood will be “grandfathered in” to the new zoning (RD5000) and allowed one replacement structure. This zoning change would creates a future of uncertainty for low income families. Residents should be able to live in peace without the threat of displacement and potential homelessness looming over them.

With this ordinance, the Planning & Zoning Committee hope to relegate all future manufactured housing to mobile home parks, which is why some residents referred to the ordinance as “segregation” during public commentary. This zoning change also disproportionately affects the Latinx and black communities of Bryan.

Those who wish to participate in the blockwalk should bring comfortable shoes, their smartphone, a car phone charger, and a clipboard. Follow YoungDemBCS on Facebook for updates.