Civic Engagement Series Kick-Off Event: Pathways to Housing Justice

Friday, February 24th, 2023 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm (ET)


Join Dannie Ritchie, MD, MPH, and Rochelle Lee, Commissioner of the Providence Public Housing Authority as they lead a presentation and conversation describing the history of Urban Renewal on the East side and the development of the two cities of Providence. You will understand the differences between displacement and gentrification, and the interplay of housing development, developers, affordable housing, and policy to create housing and protect the people of Providence from displacement.  

About The Speakers

Dannie Ritchie, MD, MPH, a University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine graduate, completed a residency in Family Medicine at Montefiore, Medical Center, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, and a Master's in Public Health at Brown University. She works from the community to the policy level to shift perspectives. She spearheaded the passing of RIGL- 23-64.1, forming the Commission on Health  Advocacy and Equity of 2011. It requires health disparities reporting and diversification of the health workforce such as community health workers (CHW). An academic appointment at Brown lets her teach undergraduates how the intersections of race, class, gender, and policy (re)produce health disparities and inequity, and medical students on the social and community context of health. In 2011, she also established Community Health Innovation of Rhode Island, an organization to take action on the social determinants of health disparities and inequity. It works to increase the community-embedded CHW workforce leading to community health governance and recognition as being part of our community health system. Here they implement programs to address community priorities as well as move policy and programs that address structural inequities to transform conditions for healthier people and communities. She also focuses on housing, food sovereignty, and policing and is in collaboration with many local organizations that address housing and food policy. In 2018, she established the Mount Hope Housing Coalition to stop gentrification and displacement. She also leads a housing research seminar course that has produced such studies as an evaluation and documentation of wealth appropriation and displacement of Black families on the East side.  

Rochelle Lee Bates is an accomplished urban planning professional with over 35 years of experience working with public and nonprofit entities to implement neighborhood revitalization projects, particularly those which create or preserve affordable housing. In that capacity, Rochelle has over 30 years in non-profit and public sector housing development including tenures with Massachusetts and Rhode Island based organizations such as the Boston Housing Authority, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, FX Associates, Local initiatives Support Corporation, (LISC), the National Equity Fund and lead consultant services with Bates and Hall Associates. Rochelle's experiences include management and oversight of senior staff in real estate development, asset management,  homeownership, and small business loan programs. As Senior Asset Management Specialist, she oversaw NEF's $100M investment portfolio in Connecticut and Rhode Island. As Senior Program Officer, she was responsible for implementing and managing the capacity building, technical assistance, and underwriting of GRANT and loan programs offered by LISC RI and as a Redevelopment Planner, managing public housing modernization and relocation projects. She has worked for municipalities such as the City of Boston and Pawtucket in human services programs and public education. Ms. Lee is a Commissioner of the Providence Public Housing Authority, the RI Commission for Human Rights, Board President of the Southside Community Land Trust, Providence Preservation Society and the Providence Revolving Fund, past Board Secretary and Vice Chair of the RI Public Transit Authority and a graduate of Leadership RI and the Women's Fund Policy Institute. Rochelle graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (Master’s of City and Regional Planning), Boston University, (Master’s of African American Studies), and the University of Massachusetts, (Bachelor's).  

About The Civic Engagement Series

The Swearer Center's Civic Engagement Series brings together students, faculty, staff, and community to learn, reflect, and take action. Each semester, through a series of workshops, presentations, and convenings, participants engage with the multiple strategies communities are using to effect social change around an issue impacting Providence & Rhode Island.

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Opens Feb 8, 2023 12:00am
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