Sigh. Gentrification. A topic so multi-layered that its core is an accurate representative of deep space. It is defined as “the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals, raising property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses.” Every observation outlined by some of my favorite television series such as Shameless and Insecure is like a stroll through almost any U.S. major city, including my own. My early non-profit work was to provide the resources needed to build a local business for the neighborhood lifers, but instant wealth swarmed into their spaces and won over too quickly to create that foundation. Turning Kensington/Fishtown into “New Fish” if you’re in Philly like me and the stakes seem even higher in New York, the historical epicenter of artistic prosperity where Brooklyn tenets are forced to take landlords to court who are systemically striking on duties to receive renters willing to pay the upwards of $3100 a month.
The above, ranty boiling point is a peek into a hot energy that is calculated, that houses a negativity that is desperate for a safe house. The anger, my anger at the insistence of these practices that are fundamentally inequitable and leave many who began with less opportunities, resources, and the longer ladder to climb for stability treated as less than and then displaced makes my head spin. Like many others I’m certain, a release for what can’t be solved with immediacy is necessary.