Lately I’ve been loving Dirty Old Boston, a Facebook page that posts pictures of Greater Boston before the region became gentrified. It’s been a great way for me to engage with Boston’s modern cultural history, and also a reflection point for me to consider my own participation in Boston’s gentrification as a recently relocated resident.
This ad (which was featured on the page today) stood out to me, because I’ve never seen anything like it in my lifetime: a company highlighting the use of its products in an affordable housing project. Here, Bryant Electric uses its company’s selection for the 1500-unit project as proof of the quality of its products, and as a selling point for private customers who might want their house or building rewired.
Fast forward to today and you’ll be hard pressed to find a company highlighting its work on affordable housing as a selling point to your average Joe. Increasing income disparity, white flight, and the spectacular and public decline of many visionary housing projects such as Pruitt-Igoe and even Columbia itself have led to a negative view of affordable housing. Even mixed income complexes face significant barriers to placement in communities. It will be interesting to see if this changes as a the emphasis on green affordable housing grows…
Guys, Catcalled is finally happening. This is just phase one. Much more to come.
CATCALLED is a two-week long writing project by women living in New York on their experiences with being objectified and sexually harassed on city streets. Each daily log was kept by one of our 13 participants over the course of two weeks in August 2012. In the entries the women reflect on vulnerability, power, objectification, and safety in their urban environments.
Very, very excited about this project by my awesome friend Sonia Saraiya.
As per usual, Latoya Peterson of Racialicious does a tremendous job breaking down the reactions and revelations surrounding yesterday’s announcement that Black Panther Marshal and seminal Bay Area activist Richard Aoki was actually an FBI informer. The piece helps bring some direction and focus to the shock that has been resonating through the activism and solidarity communities.
Whether or not the allegations about Aoki’s informant status are true, the episode serves as a poignant reminder that civil rights and solidarity work has historically been viewed as dangerous. Any work to rectify systemic injustice can be viewed as subversive, which makes such work all the more important.
I don’t like this expression ‘First World problems.’ It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.
It’s been over a year since I last posted on here, partially due to AmeriCorps restrictions on political activity, and partially due to laziness.
Now that I’m working as a disability advocate and not writing for publication at my day job, I want to get back to blogging, responding to media and current events, and reviewing things I see, hear and read. I spend a lot of time thinking critically about pop culture and/or the intersection of inequalities, and would like the opportunity to think those thoughts out loud, so to speak.
I don’t necessarily expect people to read this— I see this as more an exercise in preparing thoughts for public consumption than actively trying to get them consumed by the public— but if you do, let me know! I’ve prepared a disclaimer here that tries to cover all the necessary bases, and will do my best to check my privilege and my ego.
And a second disclaimer: This being a tumblr, there will probably be some gifs involved, on occasion.
A high school friend posted a link to this video on Facebook about Monji Dolon, one of her classmates at UNC-CH. Although Monji has proven himself to be a skillful computer scientist, he cannot accept any of the many job offers he has received, because his parents brought him to the United States illegally when he was 9 years old. A petition to support him is available here.
I was excited to find that Monji’s video was one of a series of videos from Senator Durbin’s testimony in favor of the DREAM Act (the series is watchable here). Although I think the stories would be even more powerful if they were told by the individuals themselves, Senator Durbin does an excellent job conveying the DREAMers’ dedication to their education, work and communities. He also effectively shows how the United States will only benefit from granting these individuals citizenship.
Though most media attention on congress has been focused on the impending debt ceiling deadline, Senators Reid and Durbin sought to revive the DREAM Act at the end of June. Additionally, Maryland and California have introduced their own DREAM Act-type bills, with the California congress approving a bill to allow undocumented students to receive financial aid from private sources. Progress is being made every day, and it’s important that those of us who support the DREAM Act continue to advocate on this issue, through petitions and letters to our congresspeople.
Back after a long absence! I’ve definitely not been as dedicated to getting this website up and running as I would have liked to be, but I’m hoping to get back into a regular schedule of posting things.
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
- Working as a volunteer English Language Teacher with Catholic Social Services in Asheville.
- Working as a server in a great restaurant in Asheville! I’m learning a lot in this position, and am enjoying the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things every day.
- Going on interviews and getting applications out for positions that align with my interests in public service.
- Researching submission guidelines and pitching articles and opinion pieces
- And on a non-professional note, training for and running two 5Ks!
And here’s my plan for this website:
- Updating the writing section with links to all of my past work, and keeping it updated as new things I write are published (hopefully!)
- Backdated posts about the editorials and opinions pieces I’ve translated so far for Watching America. Translating has been both challenging and exhilarating for me, and I definitely want to reflect on the process.
- Regular, short news and historical commentary; more “Required Reading” posts
- Reviews of books and other media I consume, whether new or old. I’ve gotten out of the habit of reviewing, but I’ve found in the past that it’s one of the best ways to keep me thinking critically about the world I live in.
Stay tuned! Those backdated posts (and some new ones as well) should be appearing soon.