PathwaysToParramoreBy Attorney Ka'Juel J. Washington
As the seasons change from Spring to Fall, the leaves from the trees dazzle in a brilliant display of colors. At the same time, these beautiful leaves succumb to the force of the wind and lose their grip with the branches and limbs. As these leaves lay lying on the ground, the wind continues to blow and systematically scatter them into places unknown.

Such is the fate of Black Parramore. Disconnected from its rich and thriving economic and cultural history, the winds of Orlando City Hall have come to blow the residents away and into the abyss. According to an April 18, 2013 article published in the Orlando Sentinel, the "quiet" purchase of land in Parramore was done by City Hall without giving a public reason behind the spending. Labeled as a "strategic acquisition" of 21 plots, it wasn't until later that it was announced a soccer stadium would be coming and the people and history of the area would be departing.

Map of land purchased by City of Orlando

While one could argue that the owners of the land sold it under their own "free will", this isn't exactly true. Not to say that some of the land owners didn't decide to sell under the auspices of monetary gain, but even if they didn't, it probably wouldn't have mattered. If you don't believe me, just read the headline from an article that appeared on My Fox Orlando on September 16, 2013: "City of Orlando to use eminent domain for soccer stadium." For those that don't know, eminent domain means the city can force you to sell your land.

Related: Orange County Commission Step Up Gentrification Of Parramore

Like the array of Fall leaves that cover the trees, the rational for putting the soccer stadium in a Historically Black area are many fold. Consistently, they center on economic viability and opportunity, jobs, contracting potential and the like. However, when these alleged economic fortunes are put under scientific scrutiny, rarely do the surrounding communities benefit from the windfall. This usually leaves the Black community to feel angry, betrayed and lied to yet, at the same time, powerless to do anything about the deception. It's a brilliant strategy once articulated by a master strategist:

"Lure them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion."
-The Art of War by Sun-Tzu

And so, as we bid Black Parramore a tearful farewell, we also say a prayer for the many residents of the area soon to be scattered like leaves by the winds of City Hall.

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