As this nation confronts the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and structural racism, what does it mean to truly reckon with, reclaim, and re-envision a liberated future for all through a decolonized, de-gentrified, and abolitionist framework?

Black, Indigenous, and all communities of color have been suffering from racialized capitalism since long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has exacerbated land displacement, rent burden, economic inequality, and police violence. The past year has felt dystopian at times, compelling us to think outside of the box, to reimagine a radically different society that is more just and upholds our common racial, economic, climate, and social justice values. This program will highlight cultural collectives that are unleashing popular imagination and shared vision to build an abolitionist and de-gentrified future, and discuss concrete ways that we can enact this future together.

Meet the Speakers

Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) is an intergenerational, womxn-led collective driven by the fundamental belief that our cultural, material, and aesthetic modes of production have the power to advance social change. CAB is comprised of Asian American and Asian diasporic-identifying visual artists, media makers, writers, educators, and organizers with deep roots in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Together we make work that centers art and culture as a way to support community-led campaigns around issues of gentrification and displacement.

Dr. Lisa K. Bates, PhD, is an associate professor at Portland State University in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and is Portland Professor in Innovative Housing Policy. Her scholarship focuses on housing and community development policy and planning, and her research and practice aims to build new models for emancipatory planning practices and to dismantle institutional racism. Dr. Bates’s work includes deep engagements with community-based organizations working towards racial justice and housing rights and supporting Portland’s anti-displacement coalition.

Dr. Bates received a 2019 Creative Capital award in recognition of her practice at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geographic thought. Through collaboration with multimedia artists, the works ask us to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility. This radical Black spatial imaginary practice includes the art exhibition and social emergency response center HERE|Humboldt, developed as part of the collective Black Life Experiential Research Group, and the Imagine Black (previously the Portland African-American Leadership Forum) People’s Plan, which asked, “What would it be like if your city, neighborhood, community loved Black people?”

The Sunset Park Popular Assembly is an autonomous, self-managed, directly democratic space that centers the perspectives and interests of the popular sectors of Sunset Park: tenants, workers, students, etc., and their allies. It is a space for organizing, decision-making, and community building that is free from the control or influence of bosses, landlords, police, politicians, and political parties.

Gisselle Jiménez was born in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to immigrant parents and raised there by her immigrant grandmother. Inspired by how her family’s Dominican Taíno heritage has managed to survive here in Lenapehoking, Gisselle uplifts her family’s traditional ways of preserving and sharing knowledge through her labor as an artist, educator, and organizer. Alongside members of the Sunset Park Popular Assembly and of her local church, she is currently learning how to help build up and sustain mutual aid networks.

Shaun Lin is pursuing a PhD in geography at the CUNY Graduate Center, where his research interests include immigrant communities, food and foodways, and abolition geography. He is an adjunct lecturer in urban studies at Queens College. Originally from Los Angeles, Shaun is a longtime resident of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where he organizes with Sunset Park for a Liberated Future (SPLF), Sunset Park Popular Assembly, Protect 8th Ave Coalition, and No New Jails NYC against gentrification, displacement, policing and prisons.

Other Presentations in the Series:
Beyond Sustainability: Cultural Organizing for Social Justice
May 17, 2021
6 pm