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Saundra Graham, president of the Riverside Planning Team, said last night that "members of the community, especially the Riverside Planning Team, have not allied themselves with the occupants of the building at 888 Meanorial Drive."
"While individual members of the community have expressed sympathy with the demand for low-income housing on the property, we have absolutely no connection with the women occupying the building." she said. Sources inside the building have indicated that the women consider themselves "allied" with the Riverside community.
Graham visited the building Sunday afternoon in order to "find out what was going on," and several of the woman occupiers went out into the neighborhood to talk with residents about the takeover.
According to Graham and several of the occupiers' leaflets. the women learned at that time that the building they were occupying had been considered a possible site for low-income housing by the area residents. Harvard is planning to build Faculty and graduate student housing on the site.
The women in the building then decided to add to their list a demand that the University build low-income housing on the site But, said Graham, the community has been "fighting for this demand for over a year."
Another leader in the Riverside community said last night that the building takeover was "a very typical example of white middle-class cooptation."
"Those people in the building are taking the very real issue of housing for poor blacks, and using it in an exploitative manner for their own purposes." he said.
He also emphasized the fact that University reaction to this building takeover has been "incredibly slow and wishy-washy in comparison to their handling of the black takeover of University Hall in early December last year." The injunction against the women's takeover came three days after the event, whereas the injunction against the blacks last year was obtained on the same day as the takeover.
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