The Powerful Porch-Front Politics of Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ – CityLab

Front_Porch_Research_Strategy_WWAV

Just to start though — it is impossible to read this article and not think about and appreciate the organizing work and social justice research praxis folks at Women With a Vision, Inc. of New Orleans have been doing with their Front Porch Research Strategy.  Folks like Shaquita Borde, Mwende, Deon Haywood, Laura McTighe, Nia and Mindy Chateauvert. WWAV, Inc. is queer and trans poc/gnc of color/black femme/black womyn led, centered, and facing in the goals they have, the work they do around the city, and in their organizing process. Their Front Porch Research Strategy emerges from that centering: 

“In 1989, Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV) was just an idea, thought up by eight Black women on a front porch in Central City New Orleans. From their various health and human services posts across the city, WWAV’s foremothers saw how HIV/AIDS was devastating the Black community. They also saw that not one of the city’s agencies had made the health and wellbeing of Black people a service priority. If their community was going to have access to health promotion tools, the WWAV foremothers knew it was up to them. And so they continued to meet at dusk, after long days of work, to make harm reduction and wellness packets. Into the late hours, they walked the streets of the neighborhoods in which they were raised, talking with those who had at best been forgotten and at worst had been left to die. In this intimate space, they brought people into relationships and into care. They turned neighborhood bars into underground needle exchanges; they brought hope to people who had too little. In so doing, they pioneered a model of community-driven outreach that continues to guide public health research today.”

They recently presented at the Anna Julia Cooper Center’s #KnowHerTruths Conference, and have launched a website and Facebook page here. Go there. Then go read this article at City Lab, where Brentin Mock thinks through the politics of the front porch and public housing in New Orleans:

“The mixed-income apartments and townhouses that replaced public housing projects opened after Katrina with rules about who could occupy the new units and what activities they could and couldn’t conduct. Much to the chagrin of many returning residents, some of their long-cherished activities were no longer allowed. In some of the new housing developments, there are restrictions on the number of people who can gather on the front porches and lawns…

“A property manager for Abundance Square apartments, which replaced the Desire public housing projects, tells Citylab that she doesn’t allow more than three people at a time “hanging out” on a front porch. More than that would be considered loitering, said the property manager, who would only identify her name as “Ms. Davis.” She says she has personally broken up groups on front porches, and that violating the policy would lead to the tenant earning an “infraction” on their file. More than two infractions would be cause for eviction, says the property manager…

“Limiting the number of people who can dwell on the front porch, or relegating visitors to the back porch seems counterintuitive, though, if the idea is crime control. It seems you would want more people on their front porches, putting the proverbial “eyes on the streets” Jane Jacobs spoke of. But these kinds of porch restrictions are less about controlling crime than they are about controlling the movement, the activities, and the visibility of black bodies….”

Read it all: The Powerful Porch-Front Politics of Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ – CityLab

 

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