The Summer of 2015, I often walked around Lake Merritt to buy groceries. The last segment of my journey took me under an freeway overpass. It was an enormous shadow made of pillars and concrete. Over my shoulder, water sparkled underneath a blue sky.
Have you heard of The Jungle in Seattle? The Jungle I'm referring to is a lawless homeless encampment along the elevated section of Interstate 5 that snakes into Seattle and has become the underbelly where hundreds of people live in tents and makeshift structures.
There is nothing fun about seeing your culture appropriated and owned by an affluent middle class. It's time we stopped this despicable process. We need to stop branding the ideals of displaced people as something edgy.
I hope that the next time you visit, email, or call a Latino family, you have a better speech prepared. "White" people are not the only people that deserve housing, and Latinos are not at the very least deserving of your unsolicited dry speech.
While we can be positive that there are safe spaces for homosexual individuals, can we make similar claims of representation for transgender, gender nonconforming, people of color or even lesbians? Not necessarily.
It's time to shift the conversation from the rages of displacement towards the work of removing institutional barriers to space and capital, and expanding access to capital and networks so that more people of all income levels can make the same choices I made to stay, return or relocate to Harlem.