In response to a tense post-election moment in the US, the Metropolitics editorial committee has initiated Rapid-Response Peer Review, with a commitment to quickly reviewing and publishing articles that examine organizing and activism around crucial urban issues. Our second call was for papers related to housing policy. John Krinsky argues for a sustained public commitment to housing at the state and local level—a “progressive federalism”—in order to prevent the worsening of New York City’s current housing crisis. Joshua Akers profiles Detroit Eviction Defense, a coalition that has successfully combined a judicial strategy with direct protest. And Elora Raymond deploys unique research on the location of underwater mortgages to suggest that housing, not jobs, may hold the key to reigniting progressive politics in the Rust Belt.
The recent election and subsequent cabinet level nominations, especially in education, are cause for alarm on many levels. As members of URBAN Philadelphia, we want to provide the space for educators, parents, and concerned residents to engage in conversation about how we can collectively address the challenges that are in store for public education in our city. Please see information on this event below. We hope to see you there. Continue reading
As a network of scholars and activists who link university and community resources in the service of community engaged research, action, and social change, URBAN knows that in this critical moment, we must speak to and fight back against voter suppression and civil rights violations, as well as continue to address systems of racial, gender, and economic inequality.
There is a deep racist structure and narrative in the United States in which poor and working class whites have been organized to express their discontent not against the real sources of their oppression but against African American, Latino, and other marginalized groups in our society. Trump’s victory is the latest iteration and a very dangerous one. As Toni Morrison explains it, the subconscious fear of losing the “comfort of being naturally better than” was a central motivator for many white Americans, particularly white men, who are so afraid of the collapse of white privilege that they ultimately “flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength.”
And even as the election results have stunned many of us, we must remember that Clinton won the popular vote by > 1 million, and the majority of votes from those under age 44. And 46.9% of the electorate did not vote. And 6.1 million incarcerated citizens could not vote.
Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Dreamers, and more than 12 million votes supporting a septuagenarian socialist-leaning candidate—especially among diverse groups of young peoples—are also truly powerful messages about the status quo and the hunger for change.
In a post-factual discursive world, it is essential to engage in critical analyses that help us understand and address why so many deny climate change, or are anti-science. To attend to varied epistemologies (especially those critical of specious claims about big data) –to engage in deep listening and acknowledgment of lived experience, and to theorize on why this disregard of evidence is happening in publicly accessible ways—is radical and useful work. To forward alternate solutions that resonate with our communities—against xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, antisemitism, and hate—is a radical act.
No macro policy changes can be achieved without meso-level, organizational work, nor without micro-level conversations, relationship-building, and self-care. At URBAN, we aim to create spaces, free of political posturing, where we can really hear from each other and affirm one another. We need to be as strong as possible for this journey. And together we stand strong in our condemnation of the hateful acts of intimidation, aggression, harassment and assault that have been directed against so many, including our own members and community partners in the run up to and wake of the election.
Over the coming months, we will work to draw deeper connections across the United States, including the Midwest and Deep South, to learn how we can work with and bolster economic, social, and cultural organizations, researchers, and artists working for social justice. We will call for new approaches to understanding the global ascension of austerity economics in order to serve far-right, fascist movements. And we will continue to ask what can we, as URBAN, do to support community-engaged scholarship and collaborative problem-solving?
In the meantime, as a network composed primarily of university-based scholars, we must stand in solidarity with those whose safety, rights, and dignity are now in added danger. Let us help to set a tone in which hate speech is not tolerated, and all can engage in critical inquiry. At the University of California, Chancellor Janet Napolitano stated that the university “remain[s] absolutely committed to supporting all members of our community and adhering to UC’s Principles Against Intolerance.” Let us urge our respective institutions to make similar statements in line with our missions as institutions of higher education, and to set aside mental health, legal, and other resources for our communities in the upcoming months.
In addition, various mayors and governors around the country have made official statements stating that their city and state administrations will do all they can to protect undocumented immigrants, Muslims, women, and all of us who are currently threatened. Approximately 300 U.S. cities are currently “sanctuary cities”; if more become so, it will become more difficult for Trump to follow through on his threat to withhold federal funding from them.
We feel upset, angry, and scared, thinking about our students, families, friends, and others. But perhaps, sometimes, the real revolution lies not in the push but the push-back. ¡Pa’lante, siempre pa’lante!
The URBAN National Planning Team
Some resources for university professors:
Teaching Resources for Difficult Times: http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/teaching-resources-difficult-times
Trump Syllabus 2.0: http://www.publicbooks.org/feature/trump-syllabus-20
US Human Rights Network, http://www.ushrnetwork.org/
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, https://www.nesri.org/
Peoples’ Decades for Human Rights Education, PDHRE, http://www.pdhre.org/
Oomen, B. Davis, M. & Grigolo, M. (2016). Global Urban Justice: The Rise of Human Rights Cities. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Philadelphia Teacher Action Group:https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/173YRNe1euFhHI36C387s2xYZnZuvuGgAwyyPmh3_gPQ/mobilebasic
The URBAN newsletter is now available here, and it includes updates about national URBAN events and node activities during the 2015 – 2016 academic year.
Urban Research-Based Action Network (URBAN) Gathers for Third National Meeting at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
On Thursday, March 31st and Friday, April 1st, nearly one hundred scholars, activists, and artists gathered for the third national URBAN conference at the CUNY Graduate Center: Critical Solidarities and Multi-Scalar Powers. Continue reading
The Education node included a lineup of AERA events in the program this year in Washington D.C.. Thank you to all who presented, chaired, discussed, mentored, attended, and otherwise contributed to the sessions. It was a very rich series, with a powerful Presidential session, a well-attended fireside chat, a couple of inspiring off-site events, where we learned from local community activists and school administrators, and several substantive and generative roundtables and symposia. We again extend our warm congratulations to Researchers for Fair Policing, represented by Brett Stoudt, Darian X, and Caitlin Cahill, who received the inaugural Truth to Power Award for Excellence in Collaborative Research at our business meeting. Thank you to all who participated! Continue reading
THE AFRICAN HERITAGE STUDIES ASSOCIATION
Founded 1969 In Collaboration with the Ronald Walters Leadership
& Policy Center, Howard University Annual Conference
“SCHOLAR-ACTIVISM IN AFRICA AND THE DIASPORA”November 3-5, 2016
CALL FOR PAPERS
Submission Deadline – June 15th 2016
The URBAN network continues to expand with the formation of the Hartford node, chaired by Dr. Paige M. Bray, Director of the center of Learning and Professional Education under the Institute for Translational Research http://www.hartford.edu/enhp/community/itr/learning/. The creation of the Hartford URBAN node offers the opportunity to expand connections within academic and community-based arenas for collaborative purposes. Establishing a formal link between Urban Research-Based Action Network (URBAN) and Institute for Translational Research further vitalizes our existing interdisciplinary res
You can follow the Hartford node on twitter: Follow @URBAN_Hartford
A Special Issue of The Black Scholar
In the past 15 years, a careful but primarily historical re-evaluation of the Black Power movement in the United States has emerged. We have seen a proliferation of anthologies, case studies, and essays devoted to outlining its major trends and themes, with an emphasis on marking both its continuities and discontinuities with the Civil Rights Movement. Such scholarship joins recent work on earlier legacies of black radicalism, stretching back to the beginning of the 20th century and highlighting the relationship of African American activists to the labor movement, socialism and communism, feminisms, and anti-colonial struggles worldwide. This work has helped transform the conventional and flawed narrative that depicts the trajectory of black struggle following the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 as one of decline and outright failure. Indeed, the increasing frequency of riots, the armed nationalist militancy of groups like the Revolutionary Action Movement and the Black Panthers, and the seemingly separatist turn of organizations like SNCC were interpreted as forms of radicalism incompatible with mainstream paths to racial and social justice. These new studies have forced us to account for the multiple and often divergent ways in which calls for Black Power qua self-determination and autonomy were taken up in specific contexts and conjunctures, spanning the terrains of education, community control, urban housing, guerilla warfare, entrepreneurial endeavors, and more.