About Urban Progress Alliance, Inc.
Urban Progress Alliance, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization based in Tampa, FL offering services to low and moderate income communities in the areas of Transitional Housing, Mortgage Assistance, Real Estate Consultation, and Community Service Coordination. Urban Progress Alliance Inc. uses a distinctive and interactive approach that allows our clients to access services that aid them in rebuilding their own community, creating a solid social structure and quality standard of living all within a sustainable framework. Urban Progress Alliance works together with citizens of the community, investors, business owners, and affiliated organizations to create a synergistic force to make community stabilization and advancement possible. Our mission is to serve all the people of Tampa by working with citizen groups to create a multi-faceted wealth in economy, spirit, culture, and human relations.
Why is UPA relevant?
Across the globe, society has been partitioned into two groups: the first consists of a small number of people who have great power and tremendous wealth. The second group consists of the majority, who do not. Out of those who do not belong to the privileged class, there are those who would strive for personal prosperity through service to the wealthy and powerful – even at the expense of the majority. There are, however, others who believe that the path to true and sustainable prosperity lies in service to all mankind…in service to people of all economic levels, social and ethnic groups. We, the members and supporters of the Urban Progress Alliance, belong to the latter.
Part of the discrimination against minority groups has been the intentional destruction of their neighborhoods. In the 1960’s, the Interstate Highway System was used to rationalize the destruction of minority neighborhoods. In Tampa, their pathways were intentionally planned to cut through the Latin neighborhood of Ybor City and the African American neighborhood of Central Avenue. In Hyde Park, the Crosstown Expressway was used to build a barrier between the white neighborhood to the south, and the black neighborhood to the north. Along with the destruction of buildings, and the displacement of population groups, we have witnessed the diluting of minority cultures. Ybor City is, today, little more than bars and clubs and the culture of Central Avenue has been reduced to a few historic markers and a memorial park. The loss of these cultural resources has diluted the Cultural Vitality of the city as a whole. Tampa, today, lacks the Cultural Vitality it once had, due to the destruction it experienced in the 1960’s. With this destruction, we all lost. We have lost culturally and therefore, we have lost economically!
Today, the re-development proposal for West Tampa shows the same discriminatory traits as those Ybor and Central Avenue experienced-- if only a little more refined. Promises of luxury hotels and condominiums will not help those who have lived in the neighborhood for decades and will not help those social groups to achieve prosperity. And while there are those who would sell out their own for a mere “30 Talons of silver,” we, of the Urban Progress Alliance, are convinced that all of Tampa would benefit—far more-- by lifting the existing, minority population, rather than imposing a diaspora. With meaningful employment, minority investment and improved education possibilities… social stabilization, safety on the streets and an economic renaissance--benefiting all people-- will occur. There is no reason why West Tampa should not become The minority “Miami Beach”…a place where people from Atlanta and Chattanooga would want to vacation, drawn by the good weather and richness of the revived minority culture. After all, Tampa was home to Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and many other cultural greats. Cultural Vitality ©…a tourist/entertainment economy, based on authenticity, would give Tampa a unique advantage that would be the envy of every city in Florida. Cultural Vitality© applies not solely to Black culture, but to every culture in West Tampa. These cultural strands could be woven into a West Tampa tapestry—a tapestry that would fuel an economic engine.