A few weeks ago the nation was up in arms over a Trump endorser’s forewarning to American voters: opening up the borders to Mexican immigrants would usher in an era of “taco trucks on every corner.” The meme set the internet alight and flooded social media with both panic and celebration over the tantalizing--and to some repugnant--idea of mini Mexican eateries swarming like locusts over Middle America, in
This merits a response
First: Gentrify my love.
“You haven’t seen it? Wait, you have to see it.” We interrupt our regular Pigeon Palace weekly co-op meeting to break into a “Google Google Apps Apps” viewing party. It’s 2013 and bodacious queens scurry across a screen in my top floor rent-controlled apartment in the Mission to the dance beat of “gringa gringa apps apps” with punctuating bellows of “I just wanna wanna be WHITE!”
"Revolution" evolved while I was a member of the sound committee of Occupy Oakland. After setting up our sound system for rallies and actions, I found myself doing the routine sound checks with songs and verses I had written. I vividly recall how my voice seemed to travel from 14th and Broadway all the way to Jack London Square on the General Strike sound system. We ensured that our speakers, such as Angela Davis, would be heard.
The exhibit Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism at the Yerba Buena Cultural Center in San Francisco reveals the intersection of art, activism and culture in a light that is by turns brilliant, bleak and critical. Featuring the work of local artists who put their communities and social movements at the foreground of their work, the exhibit uses a variety of media to express ambivalence and aspiration about the massive cultural evolutions that the Bay has undergone.
There’s a culture war brewing in some unlikely corners of the country, over where, when and how LGBTQ people have a right to be. The public school bathroom has become the new flashpoint in a pitched battle over trans people’s access to public space, and the recognition of their right to privacy and personal dignity. But what about in more obscure spaces, where the question of “security” takes on a different valence in the shadow of the criminal justice system?
This week marks the 100th birthday of one of the iconic thinkers of the American city, Jane Jacobs. Back in the 1960s and 70s, before words like "gentrification" had been popularized, the "development' of cities was spreading a deep malaise to which urban denizens like Jacobs bore witness: whole neighborhoods were being uprooted and displaced, and "slum clearance" and "urban renewal" (aka Black Removal) was being deployed by municipal planners and real estate moguls to essentially atomize and liquidate the population of the unwanted masses.
The Black Lives Matter movement in New York City has lit a fire underneath a longstanding struggle against police violence. The criminalization of the lives of people of color is etched into the cityscape, imprinted in the shadows that haunt the cavernous towers of the projects. The city's neighborhoods are constantly walking a taut tightrope between security and terror, and the two so easily shade into each other when the halogen lights glow too dimly, and in a desolate corner of Pink Houses, visions are clouded by fear. And the tightrope snaps. Bang.