In 1969, an urban renewal project was initiated for the area through a $5.7 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Older dilapidated houses on the outskirts of Lakeland were torn down and much of the land was purchased by the city of College Park. Unfortunately, many of Lakeland’s African American community were displaced by this project.

More here on the Washington Post, and here on the Lakeland Community Project’s website.

Last summer, the City passed a resolution to “acknowledge and apologize for our City’s past history of oppression, particularly with regards to the Lakeland community, and actively seek opportunities for accountability and truth-telling about past injustice, and aggressively seek opportunities for restorative justice.”

Last November the Mayor and Council received a presentation from Lakeland residents who called for the start of a restorative justice process. This process could begin with the establishment of a Restorative Justice Commission to recommend a structure and process for restorative justice work regarding systemic racism in the City of College Park.

Like the Council resolution, the Lakeland residents suggested the Commission focus on the harm caused to the historic African American community of Lakeland due to the Urban renewal project. They also offered to help with the process.

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that focuses on repairing the harm committed against the victim and the community.

At this week’s meeting, the Council will discuss the formation of a Restorative Justice Commission.