Fighting gentrification in New York City

first_imgImani HenryThe following is adapted from a WW interview with Imani Henry, of Equality for Flatbush, on the struggle against gentrification in Brooklyn, N.Y.Brooklyn is definitely ground zero for gentrification in New York City. Gentrification is a global issue. My hometown of Boston is now considered the most gentrified city with the highest rents in the country. San Francisco has priced and pushed out Black, Latino and Latina, and Asian folks for close to a decade. Oakland has a fierce battle with gentrification raging. So does L.A. The bottom line is that Brooklyn is not alone. Many cities are being devastated by rampant gentrification.Specific to Brooklyn is that rents have gone up by outrageous degrees in neighborhoods where the average median income is under $35,000 a year. People in largely migrant neighborhoods are being priced and pushed out by the thousands. The New York Times reported a 400 percent increase in foreclosures. Many white folks who don’t know Bedford-Stuyvesant’s long history as a center of Black culture and revolutionary politics are moving in.Increased tenant, police harassment We see increased tenant harassment in Brooklyn — everything from landlords denying people gas for 3 to 18 months, to getting checks and then taking people to court for nonpayment, to using people’s immigration, racial or gender status against them.We’re currently fighting a landlord who refuses to make repairs for long-term tenants in order to force them out — and then overcharges new tenants. If you just moved to Brooklyn in the last five years and you’re in a rent-stabilized apartment, chances are you’re being overcharged $300 to $400.Tenant harassment is coupled with police harassment. We’ve been able to prove that since 2012, rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods have had high rates of “stop and frisk” profiling. “Broken window” policing has meant summonses for everything from riding bikes on the sidewalk, walking between subway cars, speeding on a platform and being in a park after dusk.“Driving while Black or Brown.” We do so much work trying to stop the level of tickets and summonses written to drivers of color. A checkpoint is set up and a quota set. We have captured video showing harassment of young people. We’ve also documented plenty of white people drinking or smoking on the subway without getting any tickets. There is clearly a double standard for people of color and migrants moving in or trying to live or stay in Brooklyn. Landlords refuse to rent or sell to people of color, and at the same time the police are doing everything in their power to push people out of Brooklyn. We’re back to Jim Crow segregation in New York City.Imani Henry assulted at Mayor’s hearing.On March 23, the mayor’s housing plan was approved by the City Council. This plan leaves out a large percentage of the people of New York, especially families of color who can no longer afford to live in the city. Some 25 percent of the people here make $25,000 and under a year. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan specifically allows rezoning of peoples and communities. We are sitting in our neighborhoods thinking to ourselves: “We want more skyscrapers? That’s what New York City needs? We need more luxury apartments?” Only a small percentage of housing goes toward low-income units. In our own neighborhoods we are considered minorities.People who can afford market-rate apartments become the majority in a building. That is ridiculous. The vast majority of the people who live in New York City are low- to middle-income. We should have the majority of the housing.The housing crisis means that 80 percent of the people spend all their money and resources on paying rent. It is time to have rent regulation universally in New York. The vast majority of people live in unregulated housing, and we should turn that around. We don’t need new condos and luxury developments. What we need is real affordable housing for everyone. We’re seeing people new to New York City who don’t know their rights and don’t know they’re in a rent-stabilized apartment. They’ve been told lies like “You’re getting preferential rent,” so they think they’re getting a deal. But the truth of the matter is that the landlord is ready to jack up the rent on them at any time. Part of rent stabilization is having a lease with succession rights and repairs that are covered by the landlord. When you’re an unregulated tenant, you’re at the mercy of your landlord. People with big apartments whose rent is low because they have a lease and have been there for 30 years are being taken to landlord-tenant court. Sometimes they are elders in hospice care who have younger relatives living with them to take care of their dying loved ones.Developers and the de Blasio administrationAt the end of the day the de Blasio administration is beholden to the developers. Capitalism is about profit. Progressive journalist Aaron Cantu has written about the developers behind de Blasio’s pro-gentrification housing plan. Our community boards must be elected and have veto power because the borough president, who is in many cases tied to real estate money, appoints a community board that then is beholden to him and not to the community. The developers then come to our neighborhoods and get licenses to build. The mayor has made it easier for them to rezone our neighborhoods.The Equality for Flatbush campaign is partnered with large, affordable housing tenant groups and small grass-roots groups. More protests are being planned. We will be launching a campaign demanding elected community boards. Groups are bringing lawsuits against community boards and the city administration for their role in tenant harassment and discrimination. We must turn the tide around and make sure that tenants, homeowners, small businesses, people of color, migrants, LGBTQ people, elders, people living with AIDS, disabled people and victims of domestic abuse — all can stay in their homes.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Charles Bradley Returns With Extensive Summer Tour Plans After 2016 Cancer Diagnosis

first_imgLast summer, after touring through Europe and playing a handful of high-profile domestic festival dates, Charles Bradley, the “Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was forced to cancel upcoming tour dates due to “serious illness.” Later in the year, it was revealed that Bradley had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Subsequent dates were eventually scheduled, but those too were forced to cancel due to Bradley’s health issues.That’s what makes today’s announcement from the soul singer’s camp so exciting: This summer, Charles Bradley will return to the road with His Extraordinaires for several festival appearances including Sasquatch Festival and Bottle Rock Festival this weekend. The soul great is also set for NYC-area performances at Governors Ball and a Governors Ball pre-party at Brooklyn Bowl, as well as the inaugural Arroyo Seco Festival in Southern California, and more.The dynamic live performer has successfully completed treatment and has been given the go-ahead by his doctors to return do the stage following a stomach cancer diagnosis last fall. The 68-year old singer made his first live appearance post-treatment last month at the High Water Festival in Charleston, SC, and is ready and excited to get back out on the road.As Bradley notes in a statement about his return to the stage, “I am so grateful to my beautiful fans and touched by all the love and support they showed me through my crisis and time of sickness. They truly lifted me up and kept me going. I am honored and glad to be back and am going to give you all of my love.”While Bradley took time off from the road over the last few months, he was still very much present in pop culture. Three of his songs were used in the HBO hit series Big Little Lies, with additional high profile placements coming soon. He also appeared in last year’s Netflix series Luke Cage and in a spot during CBS Sports’ March Madness coverage. Bradley’s 2016 appearance on CBS This Morning: Saturday (interview, “Changes” // “Ain’t It A Sin”) was nominated for a 2017 Daytime Emmy award for “Outstanding On-Camera Musical Performance in a Daytime Program” earlier this year, and he has been nominated for several A2IM Awards including Best Live Act and Best Blues/Jazz/R&B Album (Changes).Charles Bradley released his critically lauded third album, Changes, on Daptone Records in April 2016. He performed shows across the globe and made a number of national television appearances including Conan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He also returned to Austin, TX for SXSW where he delivered a show stopping set for NPR Music, had a touching conversation with NPR Morning Edition’s David Greene, and gave a politically-charged interview to Pitchfork, who named his cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes” as a “Best New Track.”You can check out a full list of upcoming tour dates from Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires below. For more info, or to purchase tickets, head to bradley’s website.CHARLES BRADLEY & HIS EXTRAORDINAIRES TOUR DATESMay 26 George, WA – Sasquatch FestivalMay 28 Sonoma, CA – Bottle Rock FestivalJun 01 Brooklyn, NY – Governors Ball Pre-Party @ Brooklyn BowlJun 02 New York, NY – Governors BallJun 03 State College, PA – Happy Valley Music FestivalJun 10 Asbury Park, NJ – Punk Rock Bowling @ Stone PonyJun 16 Monterey, CA – Monterey Pop 50th AnniversaryJun 22 Detroit, MI – Chene Park Amphitheater (with Joss Stone)Jun 24 Pasadena, CA – Arroyo Seco Music FestivalJun 30 Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Jazz FestivalJul 01 Waitsfield, VT – Friendly Gathering FestivalJul 04 Montreal, QC – Montreal Jazz Festival @ The MetropolisJul 07 Des Moines, IA – 80/35 Music FestivalJul 13 Chicago, IL – House Of VansJul 15 Birmingham, AL – Sloss Music & Arts FestivalJul 16 Louisville, KY – Forecastle FestivalJul 29 Philadelphia, PA – Xponential FestivalJul 30 Oro-Medonte, ON – WayHome Music & Arts FestivalAug 03 – 04 Portland, OR – Pickathon FestivalAug 05 Whister, BC – Wanderlust FestivalAug 06 Kaslo, BC – Kaslo Jazz FestivalAug 12 Missoula, MT – Travelers’ Rest Festival @ Big Sky Brewing CoAug 19 Wellston, MI – Hoxeyville Music FestivalAug 26 Pine Plains, NY – Huichica East FestivalAug 31 Salt Lake City, UT – Twilight Concert Series (with The Roots)Sep 04 Montauk, LI, NY – The Surf LodgeSep 16 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Rock In Rio 2017Sep 29 Lincoln, NE – Lincoln CallingOct 01 Long Beach, CA – Music Tastes Good FestivalOct 07 Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival[Cover photo via Rex Thomson]last_img read more

Moses Simon: A New Lease of Life

first_imgAfter failing to establish himself in the Levante’s starting 11 last season, Moses Simon decided to take his trade to French Ligue 1 side, Nantes, and the move is proving to be a success story-from banging his first hattrick to being voted Player of the Month   Nigeria international, Moses Simon has been impressive since joining FC Nante on loan from Spanish side, Levante. Only last month, he scored four goals including a hat-trick against FC Paris in the French League Cup and it therefore came as no surprise when he was voted the Player of the Month.Simon revealed he was thoroughly enjoying a new lease of life in France. “I am more relaxed and settled at Nantes, no pressure. I am also playing to my full potentials because here I am a very offensive winger,” he explained.“At Levante, I had to fall back to help out in the defence. Now, I am a winger in a 4-3-3 formation as against the 3-5-2 we played in Spain. And so the goals and assists are coming now.”Simon is however optimistic his current scoring form for FC Nantes will continue with the Super Eagles.The on-loan Levante forward, who made his Eagles return in the Africa Cup of Nation qualifiers against Benin after missing the last friendly with Brazil through injury, told from his base in France that he now aimed to take his current form to the National team.“It’s been an amazing season for me so far here in France; the team is doing well and I hope to also take the same form to the National team, especially with the AFCON qualifiers fast approaching,” Simon said.The 24-year-old, who is expected to earn his 30th cap if selected against Benin Republic, however stated that he hoped to mark the landmark appearance with yet another international goal but posited that the team’s overall success remained the goal for him and not personal glory.The pacy winger has been a revelation since completing a loan move to France in August as he has scored five goals with two assists in 10 appearances across all competitions, with Nantes sitting second on the French Ligue 1 table with 19 points after 11 games.Simon moved to Levante UD for about five million Euros, which is a figure far from the 20 million Euros a top official had predicted KAA Gent will eventually sell him.Gent sports director Michel Louwagie proudly predicted that his club would break transfer records when they eventually sell the Nigeria winger after they bought him from Slovak club AS Trencin for 650,000 Euros in January 2015.“The transfer record in Belgium will have to be shattered when we sell Moses. We will be talking of about 20 million Euros,” Louwagie predicted. The prediction was prompted by the fact that Moses was an instant sensation in Belgium.But the player will go on to suffer injuries and lack of consistency for such huge hope not to be fulfilled in the three and a half seasons he was there.Altogether, he scored 21 goals and provided 18 assists in 136 appearances for ‘The Buffaloes’.He was handed a five-year deal by Levante to finally live up to his potentials in Spain.He won the Belgian league with Gent in his first season after his transfer from Slovak club AS Trencin.KAA Gent paid glowing tributes to Simon after the player secured a move to Spanish club, Levante.“He leaves the club with his head up and will forever belong to the select group of players who won the first league title in the history for our club and then became part of a historic Champions League campaign stamped in the collective Belgian football memory. The following season, he was also a member of the group of players that beat Tottenham at Wembley in the Europa League,” the club said in its official website then.“Immediately after his transfer, he was the only player who spoke openly about obtaining the title “with the help of God”. It turned out to be prophetic words.“Moses started as a whirlwind in the Belgian league and played regularly for KAA Gent from January 2015 until the start of the playoffs in the same season in the race for the championship.“During his time at the Buffalo’s, he was feared for his vicious dribbles, his incredible speed and his hard shot and loved because of his cheerful personality and his generous smile. He was often the creator of important goals, like last season when he scored the only goal in the penultimate match of the playoffs in the 1-0 victory against Anderlecht.When Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr rolled out his 30-man provisional list for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with Simon included, the player believed he was just inches away from achieving his long-time dream of playing in the World Cup. But it was not to be as injury ruined his dream.Simon sustained a thigh injury in his second training session with the Super Eagles in Uyo and his World Cup dream was shattered. “It is unfortunate Moses Simon will not be travelling with the team to London because he is down with an injury. The nature of his injury is such that he won’t be recovering quickly enough to make the World Cup. We are looking at three to four weeks and thereafter, rehabilitation training will start before getting to match fitness level. You can see that the situation is not good for him and for the team as well,” Rohr had said.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more