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Upcoming symposium aims to reimagine Dayton to be more inclusive with housing and more

During the first Imagining Community in 2022 the conversation focused on redlining in Dayton and Springfield.
Imagining Community
During the first Imagining Community in 2022 the conversation focused on redlining in Dayton and Springfield.

Dayton continues to be among the most segregated U.S. cities. Cleveland and Cincinnati also have a problem. The Wall Street Journal report and other studies list those Ohio cities higher than Dayton.

After focusing on redlining in the Dayton region with a series of conversations in 2022, this year the University of Dayton, the Dayton Metro Library, Sinclair Community College, Wright State University, and other Dayton partners will discuss possible solutions Feb. 16-18.

A news release says, “Imagining Community: Housing Justice and Flourishing Neighborhoods” will feature art exhibits, workshops, panels and presentations looking at the “history, legacy and impact of injustice in Dayton and strategies for moving toward a more equitable and inclusive community.”

Executive Director of UD’s Fitz Center for Leadership and Community Nancy McHugh helped organize the event. “Where can we imagine our community being five, 10, 15 years down the road? When can we think of all members of our community having access and the opportunity to live in safe, healthy and accessible homes.”

McHugh points out that there’s “a food apartheid in Dayton that mirrors the hypersegregation of our city.” She wants everybody to have access to safe parks, grocery stores and fair and equitable housing.

McHugh is encouraged that the themes this year are community generated. She says Daytonians are ready for a change.

Speakers include:

  • Aaliyah Baker, UD assistant professor whose research and practice have centered around building anti-racist communities
  • Lawrence Brown, author of The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race & Space in America
  • Tim Thomas, research director for Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley.

It was McHugh who approached ThinkTV (while still at Wittenberg University) with the idea of a redlining documentary. It explains how the history of redlining started in Springfield, creating one of the first planned communities in the United States.

The symposium is free and open to the public at the Dayton Arcade, with additional exhibits at the Dayton Metro Library and a community conversation Feb. 18 at Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at 1401 S. Main Street.

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Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.