De-Gentrifying Portland has concluded and we wish to thank Program Coordinator and artist Sharita Towne and participating youth: Hayley Bauske, Donovan Smith, Mia Robinson, Baqi Coles, Diamond Ferguson, Jonny Cool Star Gazer, Llondyn Elliott, Savanna Carter and Sam Graves. The program provided instruction and resources for predominately African-American youth to explore urban development and gentrification through filmmaking. Know Your City wishes to thank program collaborators and partners: Portland African American Leadership Forum, Self Enhancement, Inc and Portland Community Media, the project funders – Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods and Regional Arts & Culture Council, as well as the many guest speakers and those who provided input along the way –Lisa Bates, Avel Gordly, Mic Crenshaw etc (too many to name here!).
The program culminated in two public screenings: one at Rosewood Community Initiative (thank you Jenny Glass!) and the other at the Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge (thank you John Bryant!). Thanks to everyone who came out to both screenings, which showcased “I Am Your Neighbor” – a zine produced by students, the student films, several films made by local artists and educators, a collaborative T-shirt project, local spoken word and hip hop, and a panel and community dialogue after the screenings. You can watch the final videos from the screenings below the cut.
A special thanks to all the contributors to the “I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” zine (produced in a PhotoVoice workshop with PAALF and SEI): Ciara Niece, Kahedja Burley, Rose M. Hall, Mon’et Franks, Dezhae Moreland, Robert White, Asia Savage, Deshawn Spencer, Sabrin Sanders and Leroy Lott. View the “I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” zine here. A second edition of the book is being printed and will be available at the talk back and future screenings (see below).
Here’s a few last thoughts from Donovan Smith (Ignorant Reflections), a participating artist in the program:
Gentrification is over! Well…not really…at all, but the De-Gentrifying Portland project working to shed light on the the various effects that this process has on people has wrapped up.
The two screenings at Sons of Haiti and Rosewood Initiative went extremely well; packed houses at both venues. The youth filmmakers were on hand for a panel-style discussion following both presentations where audience members were able to pick the brains of the young geniuses. From films and music, shirts and posters, and good conversation the city was left with more tools to use while considering gentrification and other issues from both a local and national perspective.
While the De-Gentrifying Portland program has concluded, there are a few events in the works that carry on the program’s message. Know Your City will host a members Talk Back event w/ artist Sharita Towne (and Emily Squires) on Tuesday, February 3rd, 5:30PM-7:30PM at Union Station. Sharita and Emily will discuss their respective programs and share highlights, and there will be drinks and refreshments. This is a special opportunity to meet other Know Your City members who care about art and social justice and deepen your connection to our vital community work. RSVP recommended; more info here.
Additional screenings are being confirmed at SEI and Rosewood Community Initiative. More details coming soon. Watch the videos and see more photos from the North Portland De-Gentrifying Portland event, taken by Elijah Hasan, December 13th, 2014 at Sons of Haiti Lodge after the jump.