What is the Center for People's Self Determination:
The purpose of the CPSD-STL is to develop a base of self determination for the entire community North of Delmar in Saint Louis, Missouri. We were established by a network of broke millennials with a social conscience who were sick and tired of seeing people going hungry on our city’s streets, being shot and killed for poverty reasons, and generally living short, brutal, and nasty lives. Our purpose is to develop a baseline level of material support for the communities that we’ve targeted, namely, the Penrose, Greater Ville, JVL (JeffVanderLou) and Academy neighborhoods in regards to food and community space. We look at all the vacant buildings in our neighborhoods and see space that can be used for growing food for the people, hosting community movie nights, holding teach ins, hosting women’s support groups, and serving as facilitation spaces for violence intervention meetings. We seek to partner with other interested community partners to help us accomplish this mission and revitalize the North Side one block at a time, with the people’s input and in their interest. Our mission statement is “Serve the People, Heart and Soul”. We envision a community garden or well maintained park where every vacant lot is, a community center, a people’s school, or a free temporary housing shelter for the houseless where a burned out building is, and neighborhoods filled with love and solidarity instead of police sirens and ambulances. We are inspired by the work being done by Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi and the historical example set by the Black Panther Party in regards to developing longstanding community service programs that directly improved the quality of life of the people in the communities in which they worked.
What are we doing?
Our goal is to purchase and begin renovating our first Red House community center by the beginning of next year. There are hundreds of vacant buildings in the areas of Saint Louis where we work that could be bought for relatively cheap ($3,000, $4,000) and rehabbed into livable and workable community spaces. There are also hundreds of vacant lots in our city that we plan to begin reclaiming and turning into community gardens and relaxation space. We already operate one in the Penrose neighborhood which is currently growing strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, onions, watermelon, peppers, and a variety of herbs.
What is the money for?
Your donation will go to the purchase and full renovation of one of our city's many gutted yet beautiful properties to serve the people as they were originally intended to do. Our goal is to have a library/reading room, living space, kitchen and backyard garden in each Red House. Our first test house will set the standard for the rest in the future. You can take pride in the fact that you're helping a group of people who are not gentrifiers, developers, or landlords develop a base of solidarity and help ameliorate the myriad problems our city faces. We will also give you a personalized invitation to the opening of the first Red House to see what you've helped build!