Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood: The Good and the Bad of a Changing Neighborhood

Usually in the United States, when an urban neighborhood experiences real business development and growth it usually means the displacement of the poorer families who lived in it before this investment or gentrification. These videos show different people’s views on what normally happens:

“Community is only relevant because of people” — Kai, There’s No Place Like Home

“Gentrification is not the same as Revitalization”–Stacey Sutton, “What What Don’t Understand about Gentrification” TEDX

Lord Jamar and Sadat X on Gentrification in NYC , “Where there is more money there is more care for the people.”

But is this what has to happen? The group Purpose Built Communities is trying a different approach using community health, mixed development and a holistic approach to education that focuses on pre-k to early college to revitalize whole communities.

We can do something like this in Baltimore. Watch: East Lake, Atlanta

Join us Saturday, February 21 at the Terra Café in a discussion about community development and putting the neighbor back in the hood.

#cohousebaltimore #GMGPSHOW #ShameekaDream2015 #beautifullbaltimore #PuttingtheNeighborBackintheHood #Terracafebaltimore

–Love Love

Where in the World is Shameeka Dream?

Here’s your first clue:

Here’s your second clue:

If you guessed Jacksonville, Florida you’re right. She’s continuing a tour that started earlier last year to make the Monument Quilt’s goal of blanketing one mile of the National Mall a reality while bringing hope and healing to countless survivors of rape and abuse. Read all about her journey through her own words here.

Help reach the goal of #1000quiltsby415.

Also join us as we continue Conversations Around Consent Saturday, April 4 at Terra Café. This conversation will be focused on helping young people navigate consent and make healthy relationship choices.

#GMGPSHOW #WhereintheworldisShameekaDream #ShameekaDream2015 #conversationsaroundconsent.

–Love Love

We Can Be Neighbors, Cohouse With Us

What is cohousing you ask? The Cohousing Association of the United States define it as “a type of intentional, collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods.” It’s not giving up privacy. It’s private houses with shared open spaces, courtyards and common facilities.

Pedestrian Street, Lancaster Cohousing; Found on reshaped.uk.com

Pedestrian Street, Lancaster Cohousing; Found on reshaped.uk.com

Why do we have to make it work on our own. I agree with Talib Kweli when he said “Get yours first, them other niggaz secondary. That type of illin’ that be fillin’ up the cemetery”. Why do we insist on trying to do this on our own? I want to return to a style of life that embodies the African proverb of it takes a village.

I want to live with and near friends. I want my home, my neighborhood to be a refuge. I want to share in the experience of parenting with like minded parents. I want to walk outside and be in a beautiful place. I want to develop my community.

People all over the world are doing just that. They’re harnesting the power of collaborative planning to develop their own communities in partnership. Examples of this can be found in small communities in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver and Colorado and Lancaster, etc.

If we work together we can create the community we desire. Join us on Saturday, Feb 21 from 1 to 3 pm at Terra Café to discuss community building through development. Let’s discuss Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood:

  1. What’s an ideal community?
  2. How do you buy property as a collective?
  3. What do you need to turn around a community successfully?
  4. What are attributes of an ideal community?
  5. What do you contribute to your current community?
  6. What do you need in a community?
  7. What do you know about community development?

#cohousebaltimore #GMGPSHOW #ShameekaDream2015 #beautifullbaltimore #PuttingtheNeighborBackintheHood #Terracafebaltimore

–Love Love

Urban Cohousing in Portland; Found on capitolhillseattle.com

Urban Cohousing in Portland; Found on capitolhillseattle.com

Read more about cohousing:

The basics

In London

vancouver's low-income housing made of recycled shipping containers; http://www.designboom.com/architecture/vancouvers-low-income-housing-made-of-recycled-shipping-containers/

Vancouver’s low-income housing made of recycled shipping containers; http://www.designboom.com/architecture/vancouvers-low-income-housing-made-of-recycled-shipping-containers

Shameeka Dream joins the Monument Quilt…… An Ineffable Journey

The Monument Quilt Tour – Stop 1.. Arden, NC

Shameeka Dream holding space and performing at Roots Fest in Arden, NC.

Shameeka Dream holding space and performing at Roots Fest in Arden, NC.

I joined Force as their Resident Healing Artist for the Monument Tour this summer.  To be clear, I started to be involved in this movement at the first workshop, held at the Spiritual Empowerment Center in Baltimore, where I worship.  The Monument Quilt is an artist collective of stories of survivors of rape and abuse.  As I travel with Founders and Warrior Princesses Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle, I serve to create a safe healing space at each site where the quilt is displayed, and on the journey itself.  If someone needs extra support, be it Reiki, hugs, an ear, or extra words of support and encouragement, I work to provide that to the best of Spirit’s ability.  The additional gift is that I get to meet and engage with new artists at every stop!  Which leads me to our first stop – Roots Fest, held in Arden, NC.

Roots Fest

Roots Fest is a week-long gathering of community artists and activists held annually in Arden, NC, hosted by Alternate Roots, an organization that “supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in community, place, tradition or spirit. [They] are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together.” The quilt was displayed on the community day.  Well, on this first stop, we held the rain until the performance that brought folk to the quilt.  As a group of women in all white sang “No More Auction Blocks” I prepared myself.  They held the space as I performed No Means No and brought the rain as I went through Rise Up.  They held it with their eyes.  And their spirits.  Sonia, and the women who walk with her bring the ancestors to US.  They bring the memories, the lessons, the rope, the chains that we are breaking through collaboration.  They sing, chant, walk, move, stand in silence, demonstrate solidarity, and gave me some of the healing and balance that I needed.

As the rain began to pour down I felt the vibration move to one of true undivided individualism; everyone worked together to bring all of the quilts and display materials to dry space in under 2 minutes.  Afterwards, Spirit came to me in the form of an angel singing the refrain with me- “We are all spirits, this is a body.”  I ran and danced in the rain, allowing myself to be baptized by the aftermath of art in action as healer.

THIS IS NOT WHERE IT ENDED!  I FOUND MUSIC!

Colored Girls Hustle

Jessica Valoris, our contact at Roots Fest, also happens to be one of the members of Colored Girls Hustle, along with Taja Lindley (more like Taj Mahal).  What!  Colored Girls Hustle?!  Yes.  In fact, they do more than that.  According to their website, and what I experienced first hand:

  • Colored Girls Hustle creates and sells handmade adornment that affirms our bodies and encourages us to be our boldest selves.
  • Colored Girls Hustle invigorates and nurtures creative practice and self-expression.
  • Colored Girls Hustle amplifies women of color artists, entrepreneurs, healers and activists who hustle hard for our communities.

They released the Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape on June 19, 2014, and let me tell you, this FREE DOWNLOAD is worth it!  The Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape is using powerful beats and powerful words to catalyze audacious self-expression and authentic living.”  Some of my favorite tracks are the “Colored Girls Hustle Hard Anthem” and “Ooh oh #PirateBooty” (Twerk!).  These two sisters are hip hop afrofuturistic godesses with the truth in hand.  Make sure you listen to the mixtape, download it, and share!  By the way, if you like the Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape, you will also love The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh Mixtape!  When Jessica asked if I had heard of Maimounna Youssef, I was like”Oh my God, we played the mixtape almost the whole way down here!”  Talk about like minds! On a side note- Hannah and Rebecca love Student Loans and Crunch n Grub.  The essence of collaboration, community, and forward progress are throughout all of these artists’ work.

Rising Appalachia

Their website says:

Music has become our script for vision, not for aural pleasure, not just for hobby, but now to connect and create in ways that we aren’t taught by mainstream culture. We are building a community and tackling social injustice through melody, making the stage reach out with octopus arms to gather a great family.

Talk about the truth.  You know when you see spirits walking in physical bodies, and you know they are spirits just walking.  Rising Appalachia is spirit walking on earth.  This band, led by sister duo Chloe and Leah, blessed the Good Music Good People Show with Filthy Dirty South, their fifth cd.  From the first crystal note on the cd, I knew that the Monument Mobile would be filled with musical blessings.  This live recording is replete with native harmonies, highs and lows, subtle warnings- “if you muddy my water I will come after you”.  Since we love music that goes beyond genre, I was pleased to hear traditional Appalachia, gospel, blues, spoken word, east African music, and more all on one cd!

Overall, the first stop was chill, dramatic, invigorating, surprising, and healing.  I think that’s GOOD GOOD!

Back onto the road we go, but first, sleep in a treehouse!

To find/connect with any of the above mentioned artists/movements, see below: