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Peninsula | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Front Page

Mon Jan 4 2010
Re'Anita Burns Looks Back on a Decade of Activism in East Palo Alto
Mon Jan 4 2010
Profile of East Palo Alto Organizer Re'Anita Burns
Looking back on a life growing up in East Palo Alto, 24-year-old Re'Anita Burns cannot remember a time when there was not a monster living her backyard. The monster was a hazardous waste disposal company, Romic Technologies, with billowing smokestacks that spewed foul-smelling chemicals into this low-income community of color.

After Re'Anita and other members of Youth United for Community Action (YUCA) helped shut down the monster, The Nation hailed their victory over Romic as one of the top 10 youth activism victories of 2007.

Now, entering a second decade of community organizing, Re'Anita fights in YUCA's battle for affordable, decent housing in East Palo Alto. Giant landlord Page Mill Properties went into receivership in 2009, which led to some long overdue changes fought for by YUCA members, including improved apartment complex maintenance. However, Page Mill raised rents in violation of the city's rent stabilization ordinance before its financial collapse. Re'Anita refuses to give up on the tenants who need relief, and is working to roll back rents in Page Mill apartments.

photoRead the article | Youth United for Community Action
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