Many people in The Mile High (and nationally) are well aware of the Ink! coffee debacle — when the shop in Five Points neighborhood sparked community outrage with a sign that read, “Happily Gentrifying the Neighborhood Since 2014.”
Since, the advertisement has gained national attention, from The New York Times to The Washington Post and the involvement of Denver City officials such as Mayor Michael Hancock and City Councilman Albus Brooks, it gave way to a city-wide debate on the broader issue of gentrification in Denver, followed by protests and now — a community summit.
The summit, formulated by Denver Community Action Network (DenverCAN)— will bring together organizers, emerging leaders and residents in an effort to combat gentrification through reform to key issues such as education, transportation, food, housing and sustainability.
“The summit grew out of a grassroots movement in response to Ink! Coffee and Cultivator Advertising & Design’s offensive ad campaign that celebrated gentrification at the expense of residents of color who are being driven out of their historical communities,” said a representative of DenverCAN, who preferred to not be named.
The summit aims to tackle gentrification by addressing the following :
- Promoting Business Social Responsibility
- Systemic Accountability – Holding Politicians Accountable through Direct Democracy
- Developing Affordable and Accessible Home and Business Ownership Opportunities
- Cultural Preservation: A Celebration of Resistance
DenverCAN is one group among many that have sprung into action following the Ink! incident. Since protesters have emerged in masses to display their outrage. From the initial protest on November 25, when hundreds of people gathered in front of the coffee shop at 2851 Larimer Street, to multiple others following — members of the Denver and National community are not backing down.
“As organizers of that original protest, we are turning our collective outrage into political power,” said the summit organizer. “By moving beyond the sign controversy, to the root causes that allowed neo-colonialism policies to devour our neighborhoods in the first place in order to rebuild community ownership and local control for the residents of today and future generations.”
To participate in the summit, join DenverCAN at the Shorter Community AME Church this Saturday, January 13 from 9:30 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. This is a free event, but there is an option to donate. For more information visit the site, here.