By Allison Milton/The AS Review
On Oct. 21, students are invited to learn and discuss social issues in a workshop called Queers, Communities and Gentrification, which will take place at 5 p.m. in the Fairhaven Auditorium. This interactive workshop will address LGBT liberation, anti-racism and combating gentrification.
The workshop will focus on the connections between gentrification in communities of color and issues facing the LGBT community, said Alekz Wray, assistant coordinator of the AS Resource and Outreach Programs’ (ROP) Social Issues Resource Center (SIRC).
SIRC Outreach Coordinator Brittany Otter said the workshop will address two questions about issues in communities of people of color, the LGBT community and issues of class: How do these intersect? What other issues may have intersections like these?
“It is wonderful just to get people to think and discuss these questions,” she said.
Facilitating the workshop will be members of the Steel Strings and Breaks Tour, who will be performing hip-hop and folk-punk at a free show at 8 p.m. in the Underground Coffeehouse.
Both events are sponsored by the SIRC and the AS ROP Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance (LGBTA), along with the Underground Coffeehouse and Queer People of Color. The performance is a collaboration of folk singer Evan Greer and hip-hop band Broadcast Live.
“It is an amazing infusion of talented activists and organizers of social issues from radical hip-hop to punk rock to folk music that serves to support grassroots and social issues efforts through their uplifting and powerful performances,” Otter said.
Greer is a 25-year-old singer/songwriter, community organizer and popular educator from Boston who writes and performs high-energy acoustic songs that inspire hope, build community and incite resistance, Wray said. Live Broadcast, a three-piece radical hip-hop band from Albany, NY, blends indie rock and hip-hop that is heavily influenced by their collective commitment to social justice, he said.
“The wonderful thing about music is that you don’t have to have a certain amount of knowledge or professional outlook on the issues to, on some level, listen and understand the meaning and relevance of the performance,” Otter said. “We hope that everyone will be comfortable and come with a willingness to open their minds and ears and hearts to learning about sensitive issues through the wonderful experience of music.”
Wray said the event will create a safe space for people of color, queer people and their allies to talk about issues of gentrification and to discuss issues affecting the community.
“It works to build connections between communities that, while they are different, share very similar circumstances. This event also serves the purpose of showing the connections to both the people of color community and LGBT community in the area of gentrification, which is generally thought of as a people of color issue,” he said.
He said the workshop will be interesting as well as educational because it is being facilitated by musicians and is not in the typical lecture format.
“Students should attend this event because it’s an opportunity to learn about something that ultimately affects everybody,” Wray said.