Gentrification is Colonialism: Organizing as Anti-Colonialism

Forge Project, a new Native-led arts and decolonial education initiative based in Ancram, is hosting a three-part series of dialogues and intimate conversation sessions, “Gentrification is Colonialism,” between local organizers, community members, and Indigenous activists whose work fights against gentrification, the housing crisis, “sick” architecture, and the ways in which artists and cultural spaces are complicit in their construction.

Forge Project, una nueva iniciativa de arte y educación decolonial liderada por indígenas y ubicada en Ancram, está organizando una serie de diálogos y sesiones de conversación íntimas en tres partes, "La Gentrificación es Colonialismo", entre organizadores locales, miembros de la comunidad y activistas indígenas que luchan contra la gentrificación, la crisis de la vivienda, la arquitectura "enferma" y las maneras en que los artistas y los espacios culturales son cómplices en su construcción.

Moderator: Paloma Wake, Beacon City Council member and Strategy & Operations Manager at Forge Project
Panelists: Tiokasin Ghosthorse (Cheyenne River Lakota Nation), First Voices Radio
Rae Leiner, Newburgh LGBTQ Center/National LGBTQ+ Taskforce
Dioganhdih (Mohawk of Akwesasne), Musician and co-founder of Iron Path Farms

The final dialogue in Forge Project's Gentrification is Colonialism series, “Organizing as Anti-Colonialism,” was opportunity for organizers to find commonalities in their tactics that may benefit their activist work, whether they live locally or across Turtle Island. While anti-gentrification and anti-colonial organizing must address policies and practices particular to its immediate community, this dialogue and following conversation hopes to find actionable insights that can be translated across regions.

El último diálogo de la serie, " Organizando como Anticolonialismo", estará orientado a las soluciones y ofrecerá una oportunidad para que los organizadores encuentren puntos en común en sus tácticas que puedan beneficiar su trabajo activista, tanto si viven localmente como en toda la Isla de la Tortuga. Mientras que la organización anti-gentrificación y anti-colonial debe abordar las políticas y las prácticas particulares de su comunidad inmediata, este diálogo y la siguiente conversación esperan encontrar ideas prácticas que puedan traducirse en todas las regiones.

About Paloma Wake
Paloma Wake (she/they) @palomaharumi is the Forge Project Strategy & Operations Manager, working directly with Executive Director Candice Hopkins and the whole team on the daily functioning of the organization. Outside of Forge, Wake is a councilmember in the city of Beacon where she worked to pass Good Cause Eviction legislation that protects renters in Beacon earlier this year. Their aim in office is to make local government more accessible and collaborative through initiatives like participatory budgeting and public policy forums. Wake is also a member of @Beacon.CAN a climate activist group focused on winning a green new deal locally and @Beacon4BlackLives, a youth led organization supporting Black liberation and fighting against systemic racism.

About Tiokasin Ghosthorse
Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota and has a long history with Indigenous activism and advocacy. Ghosthorse is the founder, host, and executive producer of First Voices Radio (formerly First Voices Indigenous Radio) for the last 30 years in New York City and Seattle/Olympia, Washington. In 2016, he received a Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize from the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy. Other recent recognitions include: Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Fellowship in Music (2016), National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Nominee (2017), Indigenous Music Award Nominee for Best Instrumental Album (2019) and National Native American Hall of Fame Nominee (2018, 2019). Ghosthorse also was recently nominated for Nominee for the 2020 Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities.

About Rae Leiner
Rae Leiner is currently Queer Movement Building and Organizing Director at the National LGBTQ+ Taskforce where they are working to ensure the future of Queer and Trans liberation through community organizing, popular and political education and developing the power of queer people via leadership development. Former Director of Equity and Learning at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, Leiner works at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality to dismantle practices and address systemic oppression to improve patient and staff outcomes. As co-founder and member of the executive leadership team at the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, a queer and trans of color led activist organization in the mid-Hudson Valley, Leiner providers coaching, directs professional development, designs and leads curriculum, trains organizers and leads the legislative agenda work. Leiner is also a former director of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in the city of Newburgh, a former Community Voices Heard organizer in Orange County, and former staff at Critical Resistance North East chapter.

About Dioganhdih
Dioganhdih Hall, Mohawk of Akwesasne, is a Haudenosaunee community member and a two-spirit multi-disciplinary artist based in their traditional homelands in so called "upstate NY." Their medium of expression weaves between ancestral food cultivation, storytelling, community organizing, hip hop lyricism, beat production and sound engineering. Their primary focus of their work is claiming space for native folks to re-indigenize and find movement and joy in the interconnected liberation of our bodies, spirit and land. Dioganhdih is currently working on a food sovereignty project in the Hudson Valley called Iron Path farms (@ironpathfarms).

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