(See how I share a version of these words above, or you can skim through and read the script I started with below. It has links to some of the things I talked about in the video.)
Hi Guys. Kristen here and when I come to the end of another month and the end of another calendar season I wanted to check in and think a little about the past month.
First off, I think I do my best to write these newsletters on a monthly basis and then give more time and energy to my virtual classrooms and offline design and art projects. So if you want to hear more from me you would like to join me in one of my online circles / schools. I’ll talk more about updates to these in a moment.
If you are reading (or looking at) this and are already in a circle, I will be sending you special versions of this message on September 1st. If you are reading or looking at this on September 1st, go there first! It’s in your email! Share this with people who need and want to join a circle!
The measures taken this summer in relation to racism and other marginalization in the design world were long overdue.
I have to admit that I didn’t realize that despite all the work I had online for over a decade, along with the speaking and some online activity, there were still many places that didn’t listen and didn’t change I was unfortunately not aware of what was going on.
But then again, I didn’t notice because I knew. I’ve known for a long time and I thought more people would know too.
I realized in the spring of 2010 when I saw how an episode of poor mental health in my father’s health could destroy his mobility and that of many other people with a red light. While he shouldn’t have crashed his car, he shouldn’t have been punished with hour-long bus rides, lack of public bathrooms to help him out as he walked around town, and so few sidewalks and so many six-lane thoroughfares our hometown of Greensboro, NC.
And as I mentioned earlier this summer, when I heard the news of George Floyd’s death, my father’s death was not due to police brutality, it was violent. Without knowing exactly who did it, I didn’t want to speculate and pin a suspect on a rumor. I had learned this lesson back in August 2008 when I was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a “luxury” apartment complex in South Durham and I couldn’t see his masked face until he turned and tapped me on the head Barrel of his gun. The person was prosecuted two years later, but not by me when I named them in the list I was supposed to make that night.
When I saw a lack of care, diversity, and inclusion in the representation of blacks in academic materials in my graduate program in public administration and politics at a public university in October 2010, I went back to those moments and decided it wasn’t It is not enough to write a blog about urban planning, education, the media, and other diverse topics under one name that could have been anyone.
Hence the name The Black Urbanist.
I saw a statistic earlier today that said less than 5% of all media companies are black-owned. It was up an Instagram post AprhoChic, one of the few black-owned design-centric media companies that I hadn’t even noticed was still publicing, but glad they are. One of the founders shared in another Instagram post Before they could focus entirely on design and media, they were political advocates.
This is the story of many of us who have jobs by day and design and art by night, suffer from work in offices, committees, or elsewhere without adequate pay or support. Because the funding and support for black media, black art and design, and building and maintaining black neighborhoods and resources for black people is tiny.
That’s why I’m proud to be mentored by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in their first Maynard 200 program.
That is, why The most recent statement from the black planners that I signed was powerful, not just as a show by planners but also as a show by black-owned design media.
The black-owned, operated, and underfunded equivalents of Planetizen, Next City, AmazingReveal, and others who may have black board members, donors, and columnists but no ownership, creative, and editorial control – which is what Black Power’s enforcement is at this point and Black Key is vital is liberation.
If you’ve seen my byline on a publication, or if you’ve read my expert commentary, I can only tell you a quarter right now if not half of those opportunities have been paid for.
I have received royalties for most of my speaking and appearing for the past two years, but this has not always been the case and I have not always had a guarantee.
Nevertheless, I have observed many urban and non-urban media, how they emerged, expanded and grew. I’ve been part of some media projects that I have absolutely no creative control over and haven’t seen a dime for my work and words.
And with a similar lack of queer-led media capable of elevating my partner Les’ vision on their latest podcast It was crucial to bring the design world and everyone else in the LGBTQIA + world together, especially other black men from lesbian and queer women.
As I said last month, there has been a lot of media attention lately on black designers and planners, as well as urbanists and community activists, but what happens when the cameras and pens and clicks from those white-guided and win-and-image-driven Publications disappear? who think that it is enough to do the one story or takeover or painting? What if you’re not on social media 24/7 and can spice up your community, cause, and work?
I know Many of us have struggled with the word urbanist this summer. However, I’ve been concerned for years that in a world that thinks it’s okay to call black music and black culture and even black neighborhoods, regardless of their typology urban, the words black urbanist take together and run roughly and black voices exclude and create further misinformation.
I got that fear again when I googled the word urbanist and recently published one of my posts on page four after looking through many white cis blogs, articles, and academic papers by male urbanists. Only one focused on queer issues and only one other focused on feminism of any kind.
All of this is why I am once again in full solidarity with the Design as Protest, BlackSpace and the full Movement for Black Lives platform and with all grassroots and mutual aid efforts.
I was also complicit in doing isms, attitudes and actions that I am not proud of and that have not helped the cause of black, queer and trans liberation and ensuring access across all economic classes. This note only exists in writing and audio, but without the American Sign Language, which is standard.
That needs to change.
Because of this, I create and teach a curriculum that focuses on the stories and scholarship of women and non-binary people of the Black Queer Feminist Urbanist, with the types of affinity group and identity gatherings that enable people to learn to process, transform and come together A path that is aligned with justice.
And why I don’t believe that black, indigenous and other marginalized / colonized people will pay for opportunities and their healing spaces when they cannot do it sensibly. But I also believe in bold spaces. Hence why The Mighty Networks area is just an invitationbecause at the moment I can only make sure of it that way. And if, as a BIPOC colleague or media (or both) world person, you are able to go out of your way financially to help me hold this space, you can definitely do so via Patreon or mine Cash app or mine Venmo.
And I believe our white colleagues can raise and pay the price for this work individually as well as at the corporate and institutional level to practice direct reparation for this work. Hence the Patreon Campaign and my new Teachable School, which will start next month.
Existing patreons at the $ 40 level along with anyone in the BIPOC area will be given first access to this school.
I would like to extend a special greeting to everyone in your workplaces, professional associations, schools, families, and on the street, to make everyone known that Black Lives Matter is important across the board.
Not Black Lives Matter unless you ask for equal power and pay. Black Lives Matter as long as buildings are not destroyed, even though they represent slavery, segregation and classicism. Black Lives Matter is reorganizing both secular and faith-based charity and government systems for grassroots action and mutual aid pending the abolition of the police force, encompassing all genders, sexualities, economic classes and skills.
I make The Black Urbanist a synonym for the liberation of the Black Queer Feminist, who is not deliberately performing, classicistic, fat-phobic and any other marginalization that is against all people who are their full and healthy selves.
And although I can’t guarantee that 100% of the time because I’m an imperfect person, I can at least keep the brands and the online handles and the website addresses and keep heteropatriarian, capitalist, imperialist thinking away from family, village. Community and pod creation.
These villages, communities, pods and families that form the basis of human urbanization. Anyone can do it. And created.
Finally, you can leave a comment below, reply to this email @blackurbanist and if you call the phone number, the text or me.
I’m also looking for voluntary advisory board members, social media ambassadors and research assistants. I want to pay each and every one of these people, especially if they are black.
I am on the shoulders of my elders and ancestors and inhabited by the Spirit, and I hold them all in great awe and gratitude.
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