Nationwide — Shaw University, the first HBCU in the south, is seeking to rezone 27 acres of its downtown campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, while also asking for its property to be redesignated as a “Mixed Business District”. They are requesting to increase the existing heights of its buildings to 30 stories however, a campus plan has not been provided. Raleigh City Council was scheduled to vote on the matter in May, but delayed their decision; encouraging the university to have further engagement with concerned constituents as they called for more transparency. Dr. Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw, declined the invitation to have a virtual town hall with the 2,000+ petitioners who signed the letter in opposition to the campus rezoning at SaveOurShaw.org.
Save Our Shaw, a community-based, grassroots coalition that was formed as a direct result of Shaw University’s rezoning request, hosted the “Citizens United Against Gentrification Rally” on Saturday, June 10th. The rally brought together alumni, community members, activists, and advocates in a powerful show of solidarity against displacement and gentrification.
Participants marched around the perimeter of Shaw’s campus, demanding that city leaders and university administration prioritize the needs of the students, the community, and other stakeholders, over profit-driven development schemes.
“We are thrilled with the turnout and the energy of the rally,” said coalition spokesperson and Shaw University alum Eugene Myrick. “Shaw is not just a physical space, but a cultural and historical landmark that should be protected AND respected. The Save Our Shaw coalition has been working to bring together community members, organizations, and other stakeholders to encourage collaboration that would support modernization without commercialization in addition to preventing the potential displacement of long-time residents in Southeast Raleigh.”
“We will not stand idly by as our university and surrounding neighborhoods are destroyed by incompetent and absent Board of (dis)Trustee Members,” added Myrick. “We will continue to stand up and fight for justice and equality for Shaw University, current & future students as well as all of the members of our community.”
The Save Our Shaw Coalition is committed to ongoing organizing and advocacy efforts to ensure that the city’s development policies prioritize the needs and well-being of Shaw University students and the surrounding community. City Council is scheduled to vote on Shaw’s rezoning request on June 20th at 1pm.
They are asking those who truly understand the incredible significance of our HBCUs to immediately send an email voicing their opposition to the erasure of Black history to firstname.lastname@example.org