This Week: Gentrification, a New Congressional Caucus, and Voguing as Resistance

March 27, 2016

Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. There Is Now a Congressional Caucus Dedicated to Black Women and Girls

“Three members of Congress announced the formation of a new caucus focused on the advancement of black women on Tuesday morning. The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, the first of more than 430 congressional caucuses and member organizations to focus on the demographic, will amplify black women’s voices in policy discussions and promote legislation that addresses the social and economic barriers they face. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), and Robin Kelly (D-IL) were moved to found the caucus by the #SheWoke Committee, a group of seven women who wrote a MoveOn.org petition in January asking congressional leaders for an organized plan to improve the lives of black women and girls.”

2. A beautiful act of resistance in the face of a terrible law in North Carolina

“After protesting in front of the North Carolina governor’s mansion all day, Micky Bradford just couldn’t take it anymore. ‘I was tired. The most I could do was dance away my anger, frustration, and sadness,’ Bradford said in a telephone interview Friday. So she started voguing. Right next to the police officers protecting the governor’s residence. ‘It’s important to see a black trans woman be unafraid of police and policing,’ Bradford said of her dance. Bradford, 25, was in front of the governor’s mansion on Thursday night to call attention to legislation the governor signed into law that bans transgender individuals from using public restrooms that don’t match the sex listed on their birth certificates. The bill Bradford was protesting, signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, also denies LGBT people any protection from discrimination at work or housing. That means that it’s perfectly legal for a gay couple in the state to get married this weekend—and get fired for being gay when they go to work on Monday.”

3. There Goes the Neighborhood: Turf Wars

Kai Wright describes There Goes the Neighborhood as an audio-documentary that chronicles “gentrification, housing costs, and the ways in which black and Latino neighborhoods are pimped for profit.” In episode three of their eight-part, Brooklyn-centered podcast, Wright, The Nation and WNYC focus on the history of East New York, Brooklyn. East New York is one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and a target of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s controversial rezoning plan. As local government currently considers a rezoning strategy that may displace current residents, episode three of There Goes the Neighborhood discusses the rapid transformation of East New York “from a mostly white, working class neighborhood to an under-served community of mostly black and brown New Yorkers neglected by both society and policy”  that took place in the 1960s. Past episodes of There Goes the Neighborhood can be found here.

4. Her Dream Deferred 2016: A Week on the Status of Black Women

In honor of Women’s History Month and the second year of the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent, the African American Policy Forum and other racial and gender justice leaders will host a weeklong series of web-based activities focused on elevating the crisis facing Black women & other women of color from March 28-April 1. On Wednesday, March 30, Heidi Hartmann, Chandra Childers, Charmaine Davis, and Gina Brown will be featured in a webinar titled “Race and Gender Below the Mason-Dixon: The Status of Women of Color in the South.” Registration is required.

5.  Washington DC Student’s Winning Google Doodle Depicts Her Black Girlhood

“Akilah, a sophomore at Eastern Senior High School in Northeast Washington, has just been named Google’s big winner in the national contest, topping the 53 state and territory champions, whose work had been culled from about 100,000 student entries…This year’s contest theme was: ‘What makes me…me.” Akilah drew a box-braided Doodle, titled “My Afrocentric Life,” using color pencils, black crayons and Sharpie markers. The Doodle includes symbols of black heritage and signs representing the Black Lives Matter movement… ‘As a child, I attended Roots [Public Charter School] and Roots [Activity Learning Center], so I was raised in the ‘Afrocentric lifestyle,’’ Akilah told The Post, referring to educational institutions in Northwest Washington that tout ‘culturally relevant curriculum’ and the aim to serve ‘the specific needs of children of African heritage.'”

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