Social Justice

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Cyclists Flood Washington Square Park For Die-In Against Rising Bike Deaths

(Photos and video: Mycah Hazel)

Cyclists filled Washington Square Park last night to protest an increasing number of bike deaths across the city. The protesters staged a die-in, laying on the ground for five minutes in silence while several riders held up signs with the names of bicyclists killed by drivers citywide this year. Hundreds of attendees filled an entire section of the park, from the arch to the fountain.         More →

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Sun’s Out, Signs Out For ‘Close The Camps’ Rallies Against Migrant Detention

As Congress shut its doors for the holiday today, New Yorkers convened at the doors of Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village, rallying for the closure of abusive immigrant detention centers. The protest was part of the larger “Close the Camps” movement, a national day of protest pushing members of Congress to stop authorizing funding for family detention, to visit the detainment camps and to push for their closure. Locals, activists and representatives of the organizations leading Close the Camps– including MoveOn, United We Dream, American Friends Service Committee and Families Belong Together– gathered at the steps of Middle Collegiate Church to share personal testimony and their displeasure with the centers. More →

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‘Battle For Bushwick’ Pits Grassroots Anti-Gentrification Plan Against City’s

Bushwick locals are desperately trying to save the neighborhood from the Department of City Planning’s Bushwick Neighborhood Plan— especially since they spent five years laboring to create a plan of their own. The clash of PDFs was the focus of an hours-long meeting on Friday at Bushwick High School. The meeting kicked off the Department of City Planning’s official call for written comments on the Bushwick Neighborhood Plan, a period that will last until July 12th.  More →

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Photos From the Massive Anti-Pride Rally, the Queer Liberation March

(Photos: Amanda Feinman)

Twenty blocks north of the World Pride parade kick-off yesterday, thousands in Bryant Park were singing. Sing Out, Louise! passed out pink-and-black “hymnals”—protest lyrics, set to recognizable Americana (“Somewhere over the rainbow, love trumps hate/Black lives matter to all, and Muslims can immigrate”). When those in attendance came to outnumber the print-outs, latecomers snapped photos of their neighbors’ copies, and followed along on their phones. More →

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The Stonewall 50 Rally Drew Pride Celebrants of All Stripes

Thousands of people from all over the world crowded around Christopher Park on Friday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising, several nights in the summer of 1969 when patrons of the Greenwich Village gay bar and their allies fought back against routine police harassment and ultimately catalyzed the LGBTQ rights movement. We asked the rally’s attendees where they came from, and what brought them to the dive that’s now a national monument and a worldwide symbol of pride and resistance. Play the video to hear their stories.

Video by Doreen Wang.

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Does ‘Artwashing’ Blur the Line Between Beautification and Gentrification?

(Photo:  Ryan Roco)

Bushwick Collective held its annual block party this month in Bushwick, pairing blocks of street art with food trucks and performances by artists like rapper/pear enthusiast Rick Ross. However, cell phones and pot smoke weren’t the only things in the air. Beside the Jefferson Street L train station, the closest station to the block party, activists hung a bright pink banner reading “Bushwick Collective Exploits Artists + Community.” Activists also stood on a rooftop behind the stage, flying a stark burgundy banner reading “Artists Resist Becoming Weapons of Mass Displacement.” More →

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LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Housing Development Cleared For Controversial Elizabeth Street Garden Site

Raymond Figueroa, president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, at a rally to save Elizabeth Street Garden last year. (Photo: Ryan Krause)

In the latest chapter of a divisive issue that has pitted garden advocates against city officials and affordable-housing supporters, the City Council approved Haven Green on Wednesday, potentially cinching the fate of the Elizabeth Street Garden, where the city wants to build the development for senior citizens. Now, the project must win in the legal arena as well, after two grassroots organizations filed lawsuits against New York City the first week of March. More →

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Watching ‘Pose’ By the Piers: A Viewing Party in the Shadows of LGBTQ History

(Photos: Trey Strange)

Last Tuesday afternoon, Thomas Deshields threw on a tee shirt and mid-thigh shorts, left his Jersey City apartment and fled to New York City. The 22-year-old stopped in at a liquor store, splurged for a bottle of whiskey and stuffed it into his bag, then sauntered through West Village gay bars — Monster Bar first, then the Hanger — until finally, the clock neared 10 p.m., and he walked down Christopher Street toward the piers. In front of him was Pier 45, where men who look like him have, throughout history, met to hook up and take shelter, where poor New Yorkers have bought and sold drugs, where trans women have turned tricks for cash, and where rich New Yorkers have paid them for it. More →

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Dancing in Bodega Bags? These Artist-Activists Call It Trashion

Dancers from the Artichoke Dance Company perform at Gowanus Visions. (Photos: Laura Lee Huttenbach)

On the promenade in front of the Gowanus Canal on Saturday, 16 people wearing costumes made of single-use plastic bags performed a dance routine. On the canal, an EPA Superfund site, a mother and her two children paddled around in a red canoe  and lifejackets belonging to the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club.  A storyteller by the name Sweet Aminata recounted her first impressions of the Gowanus Canal when she moved to the neighborhood 27 years ago. “I can recall the smell,” she said. “A thick stench that followed you down the block.” More →

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BAM Is Latest Arts Institution to Face Union Push

(Photo: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons)

As has happened in media, white collar employees in arts institutions are rediscovering the power of organized labor, as efforts to unionize the Tenement Museum and the New Museum show. The latest cultural institution in the city to see employees organize is the Brooklyn Academy of Music; its administrative workers are seeking to join up with the UAW, in a move they say will ensure stable careers with the arts academy. More →