Housing, Gentrification and Queer Safety Actions in NYC Tomorrow

There are three really interesting actions taking place this weekend in NYC to bring attention to issues that are critical to poor & working class people, blacks and Latinos—particularly women, and queer/gender non-conforming people (and all the places where those identities intersect). If you’re in NYC I strongly advise trying to make it to one or more of these if you’re able:

11am, Harlem, NYC. “Hands Across Harlem”
The Coalition to Save Harlem is holing a Hand Across Harlem demonstration to protest the city’s plane to re-zone 125th Street, which would effectively kill most small independent black/Latino-owned business along 125th, and drive rents in Harlem even further into the stratosphere, opening the area up for increased gentrification. Protesters are planning to meet at 11am at 125th St and Broadway, and form a human chain at noon across 125th Street, river to river. At 1pm a rally will begin at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell. For more background read the NY Observer Article. (The photo above is of Sikhulu Shange, owner of Harlem Record Shack, which has become the symbol for the types of long-held indigenous businesses in danger of closing). I think this campaign is worthwhile, but for nearly as long as Black people have been in Harlem, I would venture to say we have not ever owned a majority of the businesses.

1pm, Downtown Brooklyn, NYC. “Fed Up Homeowners ‘Auction Off’ Brooklyn Supreme Court”

Hardworking homeowners being devastated by subprime mortgages and foreclosures are placing the Brooklyn Supreme Court (360 Adams Street—front steps facing Cadman Plaza W.) up for public auction on Saturday April 12th at 1:00pm. Frustrated by financial institutions’ unwillingness to negotiate solutions to the current crisis, New York City homeowners who are a part of CHANGER’s 300 strong city wide organizing campaign, DO SOMETHING, in partnership with United Community Centers will rally, hold a home foreclosure auction, and release new data on the inner workings of foreclosure auctions. Visit Community CHANGER online for more information.

1:30-6:30pm, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, NYC. “Safe Neighborhood Summit.”

The Summit will kick off the Safe Neighborhood Campaign with speakers, workshops on preventing violence and challenging police violence, and community strategy sessions.

The Safe Neighborhood Campaign is a program initiated by the S.O.S. Collective of the Audre Lorde Project, which works to address an increase in violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit. And gender nonconforming people in communities of color. The Summit takes place in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St. (between Brooklyn & New York Ave.) C to Kingston-Throop, A to Nostrand Ave, B43, B44, B25. Register now online, Or by phone at: 718-596-0342 ext 22, ask for Ejeris.

S.O.S. is currently inviting organizations, businesses, religious institutions, and schools to become “Safe Spaces” which pledge to intervene in and prevent harassment or violence on their premises. Some “Safe Spaces” also agree to be “Safe Havens” which agree to provide sanctuary to community members escaping violence. We are guided by the belief that we can create violence free neighborhoods one Safe Space at a time.

There are a couple things happening next week you should know about too! Stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “Housing, Gentrification and Queer Safety Actions in NYC Tomorrow

  1. First of all let me state, “No, I am NOT trying to take over your blog with my comments!” *LOL!*

    I got up this morning and bought an unlimited Metrocard for the day. I was planning on attending “Hands Across Harlem” here, hopping on the A/C line, then attending ALP’s “Safe Neighborhood Campaign” (which, for all you non-NYC-area readers, is half a world away in Brooklyn).

    About 11am with my camera and tripod in tow, I was greeted on the corner of 125th and Broadway by about half a dozen of our more elderly activist residents. I waited about 20 minutes for a crowd that never appeared. The Coalition to Save Harlem doesn’t seem to have its own site, but there is an online petition. I ended up hopping back on another crowded bus and hanging out with a friend nearby.

    About 2:30pm, I rode back down 125th Street on yet another crowded bus. I signed the petition, but 125th Street actually does need further development. Tourism is very obviously Harlem’s most valuable asset now, but I don’t think many residents realize the price of that ticket. Most of the new businesses that have been developed seem to be for Harlem’s tourists – not its residents. The bus meandered by the Coalition’s rally at the State Building, but only after passing countless hair braiding salons, dollar stores, sneaker shops, pimp-daddy clothing boutiques and street vendors (legal and illegal). MART125, the building which housed many of those vendors, remains vacant. 125th Street has needed work for more than a minute but, if they are seriously hoping to inspire change, this Coalition has plenty of work to do as well.

    I went home and dropped off my gear, deciding to let the letter I drafted early this morning suffice in response to ALP’s campaign. We need to save our neighborhoods, but The Kid also needs his Trader Joe’s fix.

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