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2017 was just one of those damn years… Of epically tragic proportions socio-politically with all the trappings of an enthralling Ken Burns documentary. It gave us the ‘Marmalade Mussolini’ Presidency which actively obscured barriers between fact and fantastical lies, detracted many from grasping the depths of its treachery with constant blunders of misdirection, and revealed the honest face of a country whose origin story was colonial imperialism and its developing power was nurtured to maturity by fascist oppression.
A ‘lessons learned’ moment in human evolution may come through the children and grandchildren of our time who lived in the maddening tumult, and maybe its the immediate generations after who’ll carry that revolutionary moment towards unshakable foundations of institutionalized equality and social justice. Imagine a world where our ‘what will be’ dreams of the here and now becomes their reality of ‘what is’…
2017 was the year we clawed our way out of but 2018 has already soothed us with a healthy dose of #blackmagic with the release of Black Panther! A decades-old black comic hero finally escaped the confines of print whose cinematic history-making is testament to black creative excellence untethered, as much as it is also glimpses through a looking glass into the diverse dynamism of black experiences only centuries of forced community dismantling and global spreading can create.
Understating the luggage we dragged into the theater before the movie began renders the filtered lenses we engaged it through invisible meaning we bypass opportunities for collective inward critique as a nourishment for our development, only to aim it at a film that was already conceptualized, developed and completed before we were introduced to it!
How much of the movie could we attribute to its creator’s externalization and how much what’s left do we take ownership of as our own projections?
Quite a few were disappointed in the humanity of characters who proved too realistic to sustain deity-like faultlessness, some couldn’t accept the betrayal at the hands of isolationist Wakandan society when their black utopian dreams were dashed, and others walked in thinking the fantasy would baptize our shortcomings while providing a redemptive beacon guiding our way toward what we don’t yet have! We could then see the empty spaces left there for us intentionally to provide room for the provocation of thought, the sharing of reflections and the bravery needed to ask the questions we sometimes avoid.
Our own movement spaces are still in transit from stumbling through the differences and social layers that form barriers to realizing a tangible solidarity that we can carry forth in strength together. T’Challa (the training wheels king raised in sheltered privilege) and Killmonger (the rightfully jaded Oakland-bred orphan revolutionary) could never feasibly reach harmoniousness of political analysis and strategy then convert Wakanda from condescending isolationist nation to refugee-harboring liberator of the globally oppressed masses in 2.25 hours! How many years have we been building movement spaces ya’ll?!
Each of them had their share of getting it right and letting their faults blossom into failures, terminology like hero and villain is too egregiously unfair a description to use… And maybe that’s the question right now, who among us can claim unchallenged rights to the title of hero at the exclusion of the rest? And who among us dares feeling entitled to label the villains in our midst without forfeiting some of their credibility in the eyes of the rest?
Empathetic objectivity doesn’t require us to agree, fully understand or adhere to ideology and beliefs different from our own nor does it make allowing space for potentially damaging differences admirable! But what it does require of us is to maintain enough bravery of heart not to flatten the contradictory layers of complexity everyone exists with, not to eradicate the colorful relevance of anyone’s story by over simplifying and reducing it, as well as allow ourselves to recognize reconcilable transgressions more often through flexible forgiveness and sincerely felt love!
In Loving Peace,
(Program Coordinator, FUREE)
FUREE FEB MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING
Fri, 02/23 (5:30PM – 7:30PM)
FAC (621 DEGRAW ST. & 4TH AVE. – BROOKLYN)
Our next general meeting will focus on steering committee elections, reviewing the 2018 plans & schedule/timeline from our annual strategic planning retreat as well as restructuring committees for our areas of work.
RSVP to Michael Higgins Jr.- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (917) 704-6994
FUREEOUS YOUTH ARTS HOUSE (FYAH) OPEN MIC
Fri, 03/09 (7PM – 9PM)
BK COMMONS (388 ATLANTIC AVE. – BROOKLYN)
MARCH THEME: WOMEN’S HISTORY- The Open Mic Series is a monthly Arts & Social Justice series which highlights the various challenges to young people in public housing and beyond; topics such as suicide prevention, police harassment & brutality, gun and domestic violence. After each monthly performance of poetry, music, dance, and/or video/film FYAH company members will facilitate a youth panel discussion to address the issues presented each evening.
RSVP to Mo Beasley- Email: email@example.com Phone: (646) 322-7121
Advanced tickets can be purchased online here: https://metootimesup.eventbrite.com
Free to youth 25 yrs and younger, $10 suggested donation for adults (but pay what you can/wish!)
FUREE MARCH MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING
Fri, 03/30 (5:30PM – 7:30PM)
LOCATION TBD- STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES!
Our March general meeting will focus on establishing an understanding of FUREE’s inclusion and involvement in various social justice formations, alliances & coalitions locally, state-wide/regionally and nationally with our members and community base. We are hoping to build more consistent active engagement between our members and these spaces in order to continue the building of strong and powerful partnerships for the long term!
RSVP to Michael Higgins Jr.- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (917) 704-6994
FUREEOUS YOUTH ARTS HOUSE (FYAH)- FEB OPEN MIC- HAITIAN REVOLUTION & BLACK LIBERATION
“…We shut up at the wrong time and speak up only in our minds… we punch before we hug… and when we forget we stop caring…” -Snippets of beautiful Black History Month Reflective Magic by one of Brooklyn’s youth!!
#fureeousyouth #fyah #youthpower
(Rendering of 120 3rd Ave. and Jed Walentas- Credit: Aufgang Architects/Michael McWeeney)
In September 2015, FUREE began a campaign in response to the announcement that Wyckoff Gardens had been one of two developments across the city selected by NYCHA to house new buildings with market rate units without the expressed consent of current residents.
What initially was a group of lobby meetings informing tenants at the existing 3 buildings turned into a 6-month workshop series to provide further clarity of the project within the authority’s wider Next Generation NYCHA fiscal sustainability plan to developing a community vision for what the buildings would include and what repairs the developer’s fee should be spent on.
These recommendations were eventually shared with the authority’s chairwoman Shola Olatoye and some were included in the Request for Proposals (RFP) that was finalized for developers to bid on. In late January, the chosen developer became public as well as some of the terms for the project.
Please read the following excerpt for further info:
“City officials have selected Two Trees Management and Arker Companies to build a pair of 16-story apartments with 500 units at the New York City Housing Authority‘s Wyckoff Gardens in Boerum Hill. Half of the units will be affordable, and half will be market rate, according to the New York Daily News. NYCHA has been attempting to raise funds for improvements at its properties by granting developers 99-year leases on empty space in exchange for payments for repairs. Two Trees and Arker will pay NYCHA $37 million, with $18.5 million geared toward Wyckoff Gardens.”
CITY COUNCIL HEARING: NYCHA’S FAILURE TO PROVIDE HEAT!
On Tuesday, February 6th, NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye testified in front of the Public Housing and Oversight & Investigation Committees on the recent wave of developments that went without heat throughout the city.
During the hearing, it was announced that upwards of 320,000 residents in 140,000 units have lost heat or hot water during this heating system starting from October 1st to January 22nd.
GOWANUS HOUSES PRESS CONFERENCE
On February 5th, residents of Gowanus Houses as well as the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice (GNCJ) were joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for a press conference criticizing the inadequate response by NYCHA to boiler failures and tickets closures for heat and hot water complaints in public housing across the city.
Featured during the press conference were residents Stephen Henry, an original resident at Gowanus Houses, Tracey Pinkard, Vice President of the Gowanus Houses Resident Association, and Margaret Brishbon, FUREE member. Ms. Brishbon’s struggles with heat in her apartment were covered on numerous news segments.
If you would like to get involved in the fight for heat in NYCHA communities, send a message to Mike at Michael@furee.org.
**NOTE: FUREE’s monthly newsletters are scheduled to publish every third Friday of the month in print, email blast and website blog form. If you wish to include announcements, updates, etc. regarding particular events/meetings, community initiatives, etc. please email us at: email@example.com no later than the third Monday of the month to have them included here in our community announcements section.
Make sure to include all relevant information/web links, pictures/graphics (jpeg or png files acceptable) as well as contact info for the public and for us to follow up with questions if necessary. PDF flyers will not be accepted as we then have to take additional time to convert the file for formatting!
Brooklyn Task Force: Discussion on Broken Leases
Thurs, Feb 22, 2018 (3:00pm-4:30pm)
150 Court St. 2nd Fl. Conf Rm.- BK
Topics to be addressed:
– When do penalties apply to breaking a lease?
– Different rental agreements and their
corresponding notice requirements
– Security Deposits and broken lease agreements
Coffee, Refreshments & Light Fare will be provided
**For Inquiries, please contact: Maritza Henriquez- Brooklyn Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Practicing Justice’ Retreat
SPACES ARE LIMITED– APPLICATION DEADLINE MARCH 15th 2018 7PM
Practicing justice retreats uses a somatic lens to un-layer, unpack & reveal the many ways oppression limits our ability to align our leadership with the values & principles that drive our work. This retreat is open to anyone interested in deepening self-knowledge & tapping into their full leadership potential!
Rusia N. Mohiuddin & Rev. angel Kyodo Williams
Apply here: www.universalpartnership.org/apply-pj/ Have questions? Email: email@example.com
SPOTLIGHT ON NYC & STATE SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FINANCING
WED, MAR 7TH 2018 (4PM)
NIXON PEABODY- 55 W. 46TH St., NY
City and state agencies as well as developers and social service providers will lend their perspectives and shed light on the various financing initiatives offered by the city and state, and their thoughts on best practices…
Register/More Info: Scott Cavallo- firstname.lastname@example.org 617-345-1174
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH EVENT!
Sat, Feb 24th 4:30-8PM
Brooklyn Memorial Baptist Church- 484 Washington Ave.- BK