The Fight Against Gentrification: Qilombo Art Showcase & Gallery

The first thing you need to know is that Qilombo is having its FIRST of MANY Art Showcase & Gallery nights. Our first event is March 4th at 7pm, right around the time when you are winding down (or up) from First Fridays. There will be hella dope art and music, food and beverages, as well as performances. But to add a bit of context…

The question right now should be: “What is a Black Arts District without Black people?”

Last November, Qilombo Community Center of the Afrikatown and McClymonds district hosted it’s first Anti-Gentrification Block Party. The event celebrated the importance of communities standing together in solidarity against gentrification and announced that Qilombo won their fight against their own eviction. Qilombo received a lot of attention for being able to successfully fight to stay in their location— from their neighbors, from the larger Afrikan/Black communities, from dedicated local radicals…and also from the City of Oakland.

Qilombo was paid a visit from a representative from the Planning and Building Department of Oakland. She laid out their thick pamphlet of what Oakland will look like over the course of five to ten years— the much needed bike paths, turning a highway into a lane to increase business, the investors who will build high-rises of new businesses. There was even a Black Arts District. Our volunteers agreed that Oakland needed development, but the kind of economic development that would not displace low-income residents in the process.

And what of this Black Arts District the city is designating if it would be more of a museum to the past? AGAIN THE QUESTION SHOULD BE: “How can you have a Black Arts District without Black people?” These plans are designed around investors and developers and are trying to plug in social justice out of the concerns of Oakland residents rather being designed around human lives. The representative didn’t have any answers to Qilombo’s questions. Rather, she told them to take a seat at upcoming meetings “without any promises” that any of the suggestions from Qilombo and it’s community can be considered due to the City of Oakland’s current development plans.

Instead of attending those meetings, Qilombo decided it’s time to have another war-cry against gentrification. It’s time to make our own Black Renaissance and Black Arts District, one that Afrikans can be able to fight to stay in Oakland to enjoy what we have created.

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Submit your art of any expression (from paintings and sculpture to spoken word and performances). We do not want to put restrictions on your creativity. First place winners will win cash prizes! Afrikatown is dedicated towards making spaces that can economically sustain the most vibrant parts of our community— like the arts! So here’s to making our new Black Renaissance and POC arts thriving.

Guidelines: See the flyer for more information!

1. Artists should submit a high quality image or video of their artwork to info@qilombo.org and include the artists’ name, an art title, and the name of the contest theme they are submitting for. Submission deadline is February 25th at midnight!
2. One must pay a $15-20 entry fee by the deadline via the Qilombo Paypal (finance@qilombo.org) which can also be found at our Qilombo Donate Page (qilombo.org/donate). If you are submitting more than one entry, please pay $20! Entry money will be used for the monetary contest prizes! Waivers may be given to those in true need.
3. Use the contest themes below!! :

• “Colonialism” or “Gentrification”
• “Ceremony” or “Generational Knowledge”
• “Liberate the Land” or “Black & Indigenous solidarity”
• “Resiliency” or “Community Power”
• “Decolonization” or “Resistance”
• “Afrofuturism” or “Indigenizing”

If you are not an artist submitting, please show up on March 4th to support our creative communities! We are putting extra emphasis on those of us whose voices are marginalized and silenced. For those who cannot make it, donate to Qilombo with a note: “for the art showcase” to increase contest prizes. We want to be able to support winning artists with rent or with buying art materials (such as a new camera or canvas set)!

Feel free to contact us at info@qilombo.org with further inquiries!

Afrikatown Presents: An Anti-Gentrication Block Party November 8th 1-7pm

{{brought to you by a community that refuses to leave}}

Qilombo and Afrikatown have never backed down from eviction notices or bulldozers, and WE WILL be around to help our community face down gentrification. We stand by other organizers who ask for Development without Displacement.

But we also know that we can’t fight the plans of developers, investors, banks, slumlords and the city without the strength of the people and all the beautiful communities we come from. Gentrification doesn’t have a simple definition. It doesn’t weaponize the same tactics of displacement each time it hits and it constantly has different faces. But one thing is true: it silently destroys the stability of neighborhoods. It means our children won’t know what homes we grew up in & it means we won’t have inheritable spaces. it means the family homes that could be full of people AND children will be $1000 per bedroom (not affordable unless the kids, Elders, etc can chip in).

Qilombo isn’t going to stand by as property bankers, benevolent slumlords, & slimy politicians take away the little we have. Join us to not only hear from the community we love but to hear from the organizers against gentrification! Let’s bridge communication and share resources!

We will have performers, DJs, vendors, muralists and more! Another amazing Afrikan mural will be put up, this time facing San Pablo as a landmark for a community that won’t be leaving.

We are excited to announce that we will be creating another Afrikan Cobb structure (in addition to our new Cobb oven): small huts that will eventually be a village! Come for our homemade pizza, live music, brilliant speakers and poets, banner-making, mural painting and the love of a Community that refuses to leave!

Folks are welcome to bring knowledges to share, host a workshop in the garden, table for their organization and speak out!

TENATIVE LINE UP:

1:00 QILOMBO
1:10 DJ Jose Arias
2:05 TATU VISION
2:25 Ka’Ra- singer
2:45 Juju (poet)
3:00 QILOMBO ANNOUNCEMENT
3:15-3:45 Anti-Gentrification Panel: Q, Station 40,
4:05 DJ Jose Arias
4:45 CHHOTI MAA
5:00 WCC/SC
5:20 Nancy (hip hop artist)
5:35 Shamako Noble
5:55 OAKLAND MIND
6:20 DJ Destiny
6:50 JASMINE of New World Disorder

Defend the Afrika Town Garden

In neighboring lot next door to the Qilombo, people from the community have come together to create a beautiful community garden and park on the block that is rapidly becoming known as Afrika Town. For many years the lot had been subject to piles of garbage, tall weeds, needles and feces, and the owner of the lot did next to nothing to clear the space. Now that the community has come together to clean it up themselves and build this magnificent garden, the owner of the lot is threatening to evict Afrika Town volunteers and raze the garden.

“Why now?” Linda Grant, a Qilombo and Afrika Town volunteer remarked “Who would care about a lot that’s been empty for 14 years? Someone who knows there’s money coming into this neighborhood. Why else would they care? They haven’t cared all of those years before.” The land is now worth $995,000.

To receive instant updates about Afrika Town demolition please text: 40404 and write Follow Afrika Town in the body of the text.

 

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