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Bridges over Barriers: Columbia neighborhood resource fair fights for equity

Erika Buford

A new neighborhood resource fair will allow local communities to learn what resources are available to them — all in one place.

Powerhouse Community Development Corporation, alongside several other local groups, has organized a resource fair that’ll take place at an open lot in the Demaret neighborhood.

Charles Stephenson is the CEO of Powerhouse Community Development Corporation. He said the fair was created so community resources reached people at their doorsteps instead of forcing neighborhoods to seek information out by themselves.

According to Stephenson, Demaret is a neighborhood that has garnered a lot of negative media attention throughout time.

“People who haven’t been to Demaret, who haven’t been on that side of town, are left with a negative stigma that gun violence and drug action — that’s all that area is,” Stephenson said. “That’s not true, there’s a lot of hard-working people that live in that neighborhood every day.”

Stephenson said it’s time this negative narrative changes into one of healing and growth. He said that the creation of this fair will help people connect to resources that they didn’t even know they had.

Erika Buford is the executive administrator for the group. She said that it’s important for people to not only help communities, but also understand how to help them.

“There are some actual neighborhoods that have some hard-working people in them,” Buford said. “They’re not looking for handouts, they’re looking for handups. They’re looking for that equity.”

Organizers of the fair said that people can expect upwards of 30 information booths that can connect people with economic, health and transportation resources.

“We’re not going to allow barriers to keep us from bringing services that people can access and have opportunities to receive,” Stephenson said.

The event will take place Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at 736 Lot Demaret.

Tadeo Ruiz is a Freshman in the Missouri School of Journalism from Mexico City. He's a reporter and producer for KBIA.
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