Category Archives: Blog

“Call and Response: Black Power 50 Years Later” at Brooklyn Historical Society

“CaBrownstonephoto_Wikimedia_publicdomain_Smallll & Response: Black Power 50 Years Later,” a panel discussion, which took place at Brooklyn Historical Society on June 14, 2016, featured the perspectives of five people with very diverse life experiences and approaches to the meaning of Black Power from a 21st century vantage point. The panel reflected on the movement, which thrived primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, and considered ways to use historical perspective to inform methods for organizing in the contemporary #blacklivesmatter movement. The speakers included 86-year-old Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, social activist, pastor, and founder of the African People’s Christian Organization; 30-year-old DeRay McKesson, a civil rights activist and politician; long-time activist, educator, and radio host, Bahir Mchawi; Board member at Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc., Janeen Mantin; and Dante Barrett, a writer, organizer, and Executive Director of Million Hoodies. The  inter-generational dynamic was immensely interesting and allowed for a great deal of comparison. Continue reading

Review: “If you can’t afford to live here, mo-o-ove” at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

All images courtesy Osman Can Yerebakan for Art Observed

On June 7, I attended Martha Rosler’s exhibition, If you can’t afford to live here, mo-o-ove!!, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash (renamed “The Temporary Office of Urban Disturbances” for this exhibition.) From the title, I expected the exhibition to discuss gentrification through art, and this is exactly what it did. But, I had no idea that the quote “If you can’t afford to live here…” is not just an example of an ignorant statement that one might hypothetically say, but it is actually something said by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Curator and critic Nina Möntmann, who wrote about the original exhibition cycle organized by Rosler in 1989, referred to this statement as “the principle of gentrification in a nutshell.” Many advocates for social justice would likely agree with Möntmann’s assessment. After all, gentrification involves displacement of people, especially people of color and poor people, on the basis of their ability to afford the areas in which they live or once lived. Koch’s encouragement of this displacement is, essentially, an encouragement of gentrification.

Continue reading

Introducing our Summer Blogger: Ayesha Sharma

Ayesha Sharma, a rising Junior at Bates College, has joined the Urban Democracy Lab staff as our summer blogger.  Watch out for her dispatches from New York City in the coming weeks.  Ayesha describes herself as follows:

“I’m a second generation Indian-American studying Anthropology and Gender Studies at Bates College. I’m most intellectually and emotionally driven by inequality affecting a variety of humans and non-humans. While difficult to name a few, some of the impacts of broad and problematic systems which trouble and motivate me are emotional violence, and the loss and robbery of personal identity through forced assimilation. I use they/them and she/her pronouns. ”

Welcome, Ayesha!


The Laundromat Project: Call for creative responses to #BlackLivesMatter

_84026_PostcardsOur friends at The Laundromat Project — which connects artists and artwork with community members in order to solve problems and build community networks —  are calling for creative responses in connection with the Black Lives Matter movement. Please consider making a submission:

“Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the death of Sandra Bland. We are heavy-hearted that two years later we find ourselves once again trying to make sense of the gross disregard and disrespect for life in the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the loss of the hundreds of lives of other people of color at the hands of those meant to protect them.

. . .

We invite you to share your creative responses to this moment–drawings, poems, dance, films, songs, etc–as well as your readings, curricula, self care tips, and more with The LP community, by sending them to Information can be shared in all formats (images, links, videos, pdfs, etc.). We will share responses on The LP’s Black Lives Matter webpage, started in 2014. We will also share tips on self-care, educational resources, and details regarding actions and interventions on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You can also find information by following us @laundromatproject (Twitter) and @laundromat_proj (Instagram).”

Read more at The Laundromat Project.


Does subsidized housing make a difference?

17d93581-2c85-4143-bfb1-17e01499fa9bFrom our Democratizing the Green City colleague Karen Chapple (UC Berkeley), who is a co-author of this report:

Is market-rate development the most effective way to prevent displacement?

We are pleased to release our latest research brief, “Housing Production, Filtering and Displacement: Untangling the Relationships.”

The brief assesses the effectiveness of subsidized and market-rate housing production in alleviating the current housing crisis. We find that both market-rate and subsidized housing reduce displacement pressures in the Bay Area, but subsidized housing has twice the impact.

The brief is our response to the February 2016 report from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office that used our data to argue that market-rate development would be the most effective way to prevent displacement of low-income households. With the simple addition of data on subsidized housing, we present a more nuanced story.

However, because of the severe mismatch between demand and supply, development alone is not enough. Aggressive preservation and tenant protection strategies will be needed to help vulnerable households stay in their neighborhoods.

Read more of the report here.

Book Talk — Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation

DreamsDeported160513From our friends at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers:

Join us for a panel discussion of the immigrant rights movement and the book Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation, edited by Kent Wong and Nancy Guarneros. Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation is a UCLA student publication featuring stories of deportation and of the courageous immigrant youth and families who have led the national campaign against deportations and successfully challenged the president of the United States to act.  Continue reading

April 19 – Gallatin Global Writers presents Amira Hass, Global Faculty in Residence

From our friends at the NYU Gallatin Global Writers program:

“Neither Terror Nor Intifada: Reflections on the Lone-Wolf Stabbings”

Gallatin Global Writers, a Writing Program series, highlights contemporary international authors and the diverse literary traditions and cultures from which their writing arises.

Award-winning Israeli journalist and Global Faculty in Residence Amira Hass will read from her work and discuss writing as social action.

Hass joined Haaretz, Israel’s oldest newspaper, in 1989 and has been the paper’s correspondent for the Occupied Territories since 1993. Her book Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under Siege (Holt, 2000) is an account of the three-year period during which she lived in Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Her other books include Reporting from Ramallah: An Israeli Journalist in an Occupied Land(Semiotext(e)/Active Agents, 2003) and Diary of Bergen-Belsen: 1944–1945 (Haymarket Books, 2009).

Apr 19, 2016 | 6:30 PM-8:00 PM
Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1 Washington Place

**April 19 is the date of the New York presidential primary elections. Please vote early in the day.**

RSVP here