By Raheem Anthon
As part of the Making The Just City project, Team Shaw, DC and Team Orange, NJ have both been finishing up the last of their interviews with key players within each community. Shaw, which is studying late-stage gentrification, has been studying the effects that gentrification (ie. displacement) has had on residents and business owners in Shaw. Orange, NJ has been focusing on the effects of early stage gentrification (ie. divestment) on their community. Both sets of interviews will be transcribed and analyzed for the purpose of policy work, and also will be archived into the Anacostia Community Museum.
Making The Just City is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is led by the Interdisciplinary Research Leadership team: Mindy Fullilove, Dominic Moulden, and Derek Hyra. Each team is paired with two local community organizers: Serita El Amin and Raheem Anthon from Shaw, DC; and Aubrey Murdock and Molly Rose Kaufman from Orange, NJ.
|Making the Just City leaders conduct a focus group in Shaw|
Making The Just City has been meeting two times a year to discuss what occurrences have happened in each groups’ location. Discussions ranged from building developments and new policies that have helped to reallocate funding away from public housing into the hands of developers, to reports about what type of feedback we are getting from the interviewees. Orange has made trips to DC to see the ongoing displacement that has taken place in the 7th Street corridor and were actually able to speak to some Washingtonians about the oppressive conditions of gentrification. One individual actually approached the group, explaining how she has faced harassment from DC police and developers. The Shaw team also made a trip out to Orange to see the ongoing development divestment of the communities. In Orange, the Shaw team learned how a community feels and looks while still connected to its roots. Through both tours each group was able to gain a deeper understanding of what gentrification looks and feels like in its different stages.
The Shaw team has also been meeting with Marisela Gomez, who is one of the coaches for the RWJF IRL team. She is part of Social Health Concepts and Practice, a community health organization that offers the opportunity for individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to identify and understand the bridge between the health of the individual and society. Within her class, the Shaw team has taken a look at intersectionality and how that plays a role in power dynamics. The Shaw team has also learned that from interpersonal to institutional to structural oppression is how capitalism continues to use these avenues to oppress and exploit the working class. At the end of this training, RWJF is hoping that the Shaw team has a better understanding of how to discuss racial equity.
|IRL Leaders take a learning journey to Portland, OR|
Making The Just City is a study on gentrification and its adverse effects on communities. Gentrification leads to multiple problems, such as displacement and mental and physical illnesses. Both teams have been studying gentrification through the ethnographical method which is conducting interviews, doing on the street observation, and other methods used in what would be considered a routine community immersion study. Our aim is to get as much information from the people truly affected by so-called "urban development" to give a channel to those who have had their voices circumvented by politicians, developers, and others who benefit from having these communities voiceless. We also hope this program will highlight the systemic problems that displacement has on poor communities (majority whom are Black and brown) and place this as a local to national outcry calling for EQUITABLE AND ACCESSIBLE HOUSING FOR ALL!