The Housing Industrial Complex Pt. 3

The reason why I decided to write this series, is not because I like telling my business, but rather my housing situation has truly been surprising to me. I thought I did everything the “right” way. I got the degrees, I didn’t have a child until I was in my 40’s, and I have stayed out of trouble. I have applied for job after job after job, yet I struggle.

The fact that I experienced homelessness for over six months was frightening to me. Even in my 20’s, when I was the brokest of the broke, I still found a way to keep a roof over my head. It’s not as easy these days, with increasing rents, gentrification, and unsympathetic landlords excluding working poor communities.

GENTRIFICATION SPOTLIGHT: How Portland Is Pushing Out Its Black Residents

In my current city, Portland, Oregon the displacement of communities of color, especially Black folks has been alarming. I relocated to Portland spring of this year, after my ill-fated attempt to make home in the Deep South. When my roommate and I were given an eviction notice due to an accident, I had had enough. I tried to get acclimated to my new southern town,  it was hard. Like most kids who were raised in the north, but shipped to the south during the summer months to spend time with family, it was different living there full-time as an adult.

The “red stateness” of it all made it unbearable. The limited access to social services, poor public transportation, and proud “rebels” was a bit much. I had to witness a pro-confederate flag rally once a month, when I rode the bus to work. The rally was held right next to the civil war museum downtown. I’m sure you can guess which side the museum wished won.

I decided to return to Portland, after our landlord was committed to kicking my roommate and I out. I packed up my son and our belongs and the little money I had saved and got out of dodge. But as the saying goes, “jumped from the frying pan into the fire.”

SEE ME Housing Support https://www.gofundme.com/woczinefoundersupport

Continue reading “The Housing Industrial Complex Pt. 3”

Ghost Summer Stories

I couldn’t sleep for weeks after reading Tananarive Due‘s “The Good House.” It was a deliciously disturbing book. I soon became a huge fan of Due’s work. Due tends to be lumped in with science fiction writer Octavia Butler, but Due dabbles more in the supernatural/thriller genre. Her work stands on its own.

When a good friend asked me if I wanted a book for my birthday (she knows I love to read), I said “Ghost Summer…please.” I’ve been itching to get this book. I was excited when it finally arrived in the mail the other day. The book contains 15 short stories. A perfect read for a new mom like myself.

I’m scared already 🙂

 

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy is not for the faint of heart.

I try to be a radical activist. I try to push the boundaries in the things I say/do, because I think it is a perilous time for Black women/black folks/ and even non black folks.  I love Octavia ButlerDr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs has described Butler as a prophet. If you read Butler books, you will understand what Dr. Gumbs is talking about. A lot of what Butler writes about (the destruction of our society due to the continuing oppression of folks of color, women, the poor, etc.) is coming to fruition. The gap between the have and have-nots has grown worse (read her two-part book series Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents to see how bad things will get).

Things will continue to spiral out of control if these issues aren’t addressed. You can’t keep oppression/degrading a portion of folks and expect the country to thrive. It doesn’t work that way.

Dr. DeGruy is an activist I have much respect for. She wrote the book “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” to give space to the pain that black people have endured in America:

“While African Americans managed to emerge from chattel slavery and the oppressive decades that followed with great strength and resiliency, they did not emerge unscathed. Slavery produced centuries of physical, psychological and spiritual injury.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can use the strengths we have gained to heal.” http://joydegruy.com/joy-de-gruy-books-cds-and-dvds/

I have attended a Dr. DeGruy lecture before, and she keeps it 100. That’s why I say she’s not for the faint of hurt. If you truly believe that we live in a post-racial society, your world will be shattered after hearing one of her lectures. It’s why I love her work, she forces people out of their comfort zone. It’s something I try to do in my activism.

Check out one of Dr. DeGruy’s lectures:

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

If  you consider yourself an avid reader, yet have never read or heard of Octavia Butler, for shame! No, but seriously, Octavia Butler should be on every reader’s book list. She was a gifted writer (sadly, Ms. Butler passed away in 2006), who used her talents to tackle issues on race, gender, class, sexuality, etc., within science fiction books. I understand everyone doesn’t like sci-fi, but I challenge folks to read at least one book by Octavia Butler. You will not be disappointed. I think a good starting point would be Butler’s “Kindered.” It’s a quick and easy read.

My favorite books by Octavia Butler:

Kindred

Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Sower

Xenogenesis

There are two young black women writers, working on a book, in honor of Ms. Butler. In the writers own words:“It’s an anthology of radical science and speculative fiction written by organizers and  activists.” If you can, support their Indiegogo campaign….

Happy reading!!  I will be sharing other summer book recommendations. Keep an eye out 🙂