24.07.2020 Views

A Voice at the Table

An exploration around affirmative space for Black womxn in Roxbury, MA.

An exploration around affirmative space for Black womxn in Roxbury, MA.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

An exploration around

affirmative space for Black

womxn in Roxbury, MA.

March 2020

I


CORE TEAM

Melissa Isidor

Breeze Outlaw

Elaine Limmer

Nayeli Rodriguez

ILLUSTRATIONS

Zulay Holland

ADVISORS

Mary Anne Ocampo

Courtney Sharpe

Sabrina Dorsainvil

Brandi Blessett

Kai Grant

II


A VOICE AT

THE TABLE

An exploration around

affirmative space for Black

womxn in Roxbury, MA.

March 2020

III


IV


1

2

3

4

5

Background

Methodology

What We’ve Learned

Black Futures

Appendix

1


2


1

3


Project Intentions

A Voice at the Table is a research

initiative that explores the role that

affirmative spaces play in promoting

community building, empowerment, and

resilience for Black womxn.

Recognizing the intersectional framework that Black womxn hold in

our current society, this research seeks to empower the Black womxn’s

narrative in the realm of urban planning and design both in Roxbury

and the design practice at large. The intentions of this exploration aim

to unpack how planning and design for communities on the margins

of society helps us better tackle the deep-seated challenges we must

address to create the most inclusive outcomes.

4


Our research process sought to elevate communal narrative and

history into how we conceptualize design principles, processes, and

future developments. Between surveys and interviews collected over

the winter and spring of 2019, this project speaks to the cumulative

voice of 125 black womxn stakeholders in Roxbury, whether they live,

work, organize, or frequent spaces in the community.

The voices shared through this project reinforce that Black womxn

are diverse and multidimensional, and therefore the design of our

communities should reflect this nature as well. Our findings teach us to

strive for deep understandings of social politics and place. Holistically,

this exploration strives to push forward a conversation around the

need to embrace eclectic and diverse design standards, challenging

existing norms that foster exclusivity through homogeneous design

approaches.

5


Definitions

WOMXN // Terminology that is inclusive of femme, non-binary, trans,

and genderqueer people. We use this language throughout the

report to encompass the spectrum of gender identities of individuals

represented in this study.

HOW ARE WE DEFINING SPACE?

In the context of this study, space is defined as communal spaces—

space that is used, shared, and participated in by members in the

community outside of the home. These may take form as spaces for

community gathering, cultural exchange, or leisure, yet not limited by

an inherent utility.*

AFFIRMATIVE SPACE // These are spaces that are safe and supportive

towards Black womxn authentically expressing themselves.

BLACK SPACE // It is important to distinguish that Blackness

encompasses a spectrum of identities across the African diaspora

including but not limited to African-American, African, Caribbean, Afro

Latinx groups. In this study, Black spaces are distinguished as spaces

where the leadership and organization of the space is predominantly

Black-led, thus providing authentic spaces where communities may

find support and visibility of global Black experience.

*Often termed “third spaces,” we refrain from using this term due to the racial and

gender insensitivities, and other limitations around the origination of this term.

6


7


“Black women have had to

develop a larger vision of our

society than perhaps any

other group. They have had to

understand white men, white

women, and Black men. And

they have had to understand

themselves. When Black

women win victories, it is

a boost for virtually every

segment of society.

—Angela Davis

Political activist, academic, and author

8


Why Black Womxn?

This research seeks to bring the Black

womxn’s narrative to the forefront of

the design profession. While the urban

planning and design field faces an uphill

battle in diversifying its practitioners—

current action must work beyond

just diversifying the bodies but rather

also diversifying our thinking, values,

and processes towards planning

and design. This research proposes

that intersectionality serves as a key

framework for how we approach

design for more inclusive and equitable

outcomes.

Intersectionality, n.

The interconnected nature of

social categorizations (i.e. race,

gender, class, sexuality) that

create interdependent systems

of oppression, domination, or

discrimination

The design and planning professions

have a lot to learn from Black womxn and

the intersectional frameworks they are

conditioned in through their daily global

existence. Black womxn’s narratives

consistently consider multi-layered

systematic challenges, yet their voices

are consistently unheard.

Across society today, with the exception

of hypervisibility for commodification,

Black womxn remain underrepresented

and rendered invisible through various

lenses—in the physical realm, media,

historical representation, and beyond.

This ongoing invisibility and silencing

stems from the failure of discussion

around intersectional frameworks

to adequately recognize the levels

of oppression imposed marginalized

identities. Black womxn, especially Black

trans womxn, have constantly been

at the frontlines for racial and gender

justice, but have been the last in order to

both be recognized for their labor and to

reap the benefits of their efforts.

This research was inspired by the

breadth of Black womxn leaders in

the Roxbury community as artists,

organizers, and entrepreneurs who

are at the forefront of advocacy for the

betterment of their community through

each of their respective work. While

this research is specific to Roxbury, we

recognize the interconnected themes

and labor Black womxn contribute to on

a grander scale in communities across

the United States and globally.

9


About Roxbury

Throughout history, Roxbury has always sat at the

crossroads of culture and exchange in the greater

Boston region. Geographically, Boston was originally

a peninsula, which was connected to the mainland by

a narrow bridge of land called the, “Roxbury Neck.”

All land traffic into the city of Boston had to pass

through the town of Roxbury. As Boston expanded

through infilled marshland, Roxbury became

annexed into the city in 1868. Today, Roxbury sits at

the geographic center of Boston.

Throughout its early history, the neighborhood has

been home to waves of immigrants—including Irish,

Jewish, Scandinavian, Italian and Latvian populations.

Starting in the 1940s, Roxbury has grown into a hub

of Black arts and culture in the heart of the city.

Particularly in the 1960s and 70s the neighborhood

was almost entirely Black and sat at the center of

activism and community organizing efforts to fight for

justice and civil rights within the city of Boston and

our greater society.

Over the years and to this day, Roxbury has

served as a testament to the diversity of people

and cultures across the Black diaspora—

including African-American, Indigenous,

Caribbean, and African immigrant communities.

Today, Roxbury remains a predominately Black

neighborhood, yet not as racially concentrated as

it has been in prior decades. Still, the culture and

history of the neighborhood remains strong.

Roxbury is a gem of

Black arts and culture in

the heart of Boston.

52,944

POPULATION

8% of Citywide population

53%

— Kelley Chunn

BLACK/AFRICAN-AMERICAN

POPULATION IN ROXBURY

Second highest neighborhood

concentration of Black residents citywide

10

*Via Boston in Context 2019 Report, 2013-17 ACS Data


hROXBURY

A Nubian Notion, 1980s

Roxbury 1960

Knowledge Is Power, Stay In School by Dana Chandler, 1979

11


Nubian Square (formerly Dudley Square), once the city’s second-largest

commercial district has struggled in recent decades due to disinvestment.

About Roxbury

A NEIGHBORHOOD IN FLUX

Roxbury is a community with great pride, history,

community, and resilience—but experiences challenges

around wealth and resources, poverty concentration, and

racially-motivated disinvestment.

In the 1960s-70s, a significant portion of lower Roxbury

was demolished to make way for the proposed Southwest

Expressway highway. Residents across neighborhoods

were successful in halting the highway’s construction,

yet significant demolition and displacement had already

taken place. During this time, the elevated rail that once

passed through Dudley Square (now Nubian Square) at

the heart of the district was taken down and moved to the

edge of the neighborhood. Today, the city still holds on to

many demolished parcels that have remained vacant for

decades.

READ MORE ON THE FIGHT TO STOP THE HIGHWAY:

People Before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and

a New Movement for City Making, by Karilyn Crockett (2018)

12

Gentrification and property

affordability are identified as key

issues facing Roxbury today.*

Rising property and rental costs are displacing many

former residents, primarily marked by trends of lowincome

Black residents moving further to the margins of

the city, and college students and white millennials moving

into the neighborhood.

Median home values have nearly doubled in the past

five years, from a median sale value of $230,000 in

2013 to $430,000 in 2018.

To this day, city-driven planning processes in Roxbury

have continuously failed to address the core needs of the

community during the strategic development phase, to

empower and assist residents in building stable wealth and

ownership through both home and business ventures.

*Via interview and survey feedback collected in this research


CONCENTRATED POVERTY Roxbury is home to the highest

concentration of subsidized housing in the city.

RISING PROPERTY COSTS The ongoing increases in home costs are

among the highest rates in the city, second only to East Boston.

Boston Median Income

Roxbury Median Income

WEALTH GAP

Sales

$25,937

ROXBURY MEDIAN

HOUSEHOLD INCOME

0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000

$55,777

BOSTON MEDIAN

HOUSEHOLD INCOME

Folks who are not homeowners are

clearly being pushed out and college

students are coming in to rent many of

the spaces. I’ve seen a lot of the mom

and pop shops close down in the time

I’ve lived here.

— Chanel Thervil

Roxbury Median Income

Boston Median Income

LOW RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OWNERSHIP

Home Types

81%

RENTER-OCCUPIED

HOUSING UNITS

Renter Occupied

Owner Occupied

*Via Boston in Context 2019 Report, 2013-17 ACS Data

13


14


2

15


JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

2019

Interviews

Report Development

Review

Survey

Project Kickoff Final Report

Methodology Overview

This research effort was conducted over one year

from January-December 2019.

Our process sought to develop a multi-pronged approach towards information

gathering through both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

We began interviewing early in the process through a loose structure to help develop

and refine our research focus. By centering participants’ lived experience, we were

able to build more open dialogue and reach more personal and honest answers to

our inquiry. Beyond these conversations, the survey helped support, reinforce, and

reach a larger audience for information gathering and feedback.

In total, the project findings and outcomes speak to the cumulative voice of 125 Black

womxn stakeholders in Roxbury. “Stakeholders,” as identified in this project includes

Black womxn who either live, work, organize, or hang out in the community.

16


16 1-ON-1 INTERVIEWS

109 SURVEY RESPONSES

17


Why Interviews?

Interviews were held to explore experiences around access to

space and resources in Roxbury, through the lens of Black womxn

artists, organizers, and entrepreneurs in the community.

Outreach Strategies

REPRESENTATION

Interviews were primarily conducted by members of

the research team who identified as Black womxn. This

strategy helped foster more honesty and openness in

dialogue through commonalities in identity.

SNOWBALL SAMPLING

Our outreach approach for selecting interviewees was

largely grounded in building on established connections

prior to this research, then using the “snowball method,”

asking participants to recommend and/or connect us to

additional interviewees. Through this approach, we found

participants were more responsive when connected

or referred by a trusted mutual contact. Furthermore,

this strategy allowed us to leverage the power of social

networks to identify stakeholders and build a better

understanding of the connections between different

organizers in the Roxbury community.

COLD OUTREACH

To offset the bias that may come in relying only on referrals

to identify interviewees, we also reached out cold to

several potential participants. While responsiveness was

more challenging with this method, it helped diversify our

interviewee pool.

Interview Strategies

FLEXIBLE STRUCTURE

Each interview was approximately 45-60 minutes long,

primarily held in coffee shops, libraries, participants’

homes, or over the phone.

While we developed a pool of questions to ask, we allowed

flexibility to dive into new themes that had been brought

up in each interview. Additionally, we approached each

interview as a conversation, bringing our own narratives

into the dialogue.

The majority of interviews were audio-recorded and

transcribed upon consent from interviewees to better

documentation.

INTENTION SETTING

Before starting each interview, we made sure to clearly

state the intentions of the project as well as personal

intentions driving the work beyond the scope of the

research effort.

18


Interview Question Structure

INTRODUCTIONS AND PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Starting off the conversation open-ended to let participants

guide the narrative from the beginning.

CONNECTION TO ROXBURY

Identifying each individual’s relationship to the community, identifying

neighborhood strengths, and key spaces for communal connection.

DIVING INTO CREATIVE, ORGANIZING, OR

ENTREPRENEURIAL WORK

Understanding the development of each individual’s work, purpose,

and processes. Here, we dived into questions around opportunities

and challenges in each interviewee’s work—including access to

space and resources, and experiences from past and ongoing

efforts.

CONNECTING THE DOTS TOWARDS THE FUTURE

Identifying the draw that keeps people to investing in Roxbury,

core challenges the community needs to address, and

futuristic visions for a healthy community.

19


16 Interviews

Over four months, we held interviews

and conversations with Black womxn

stakeholders across Roxbury identifying as

artists, organizers, or entrepreneurs in any

capacity. The diverse group we spoke to

spans multiple generations, representing

the voices and experiences of womxn in

their 20’s through 60’s.

EKUA HOLMES

Ekua is a mixed-media artist whose

work explores universal themes of

childhood, family, and remembering,

deeply influenced by a lifetime of

moments shared with members of her

community. She also maintains a strong

commitment to arts education and

outreach, serving as Assistant Director

at the Center for Art and Community

Partnerships at MASS Art and

Director of sparc! the ArtMobile.

*We recognize that beyond the scope of this research, there is a breadth of

other womxn in Roxbury doing the work to create change in the community.

We hope that this selection provides a representative sample to speak to the

larger themes and outcomes inferred through this research effort.

20


KAI GRANT

Kai is an organizer and entrepreneur

driven to reframe marginalized futures

through social entrepreneurship.

She the co-founder of Black Market

in Nubian Square (formerly Dudley

Square), a space launched in 2017 to

help eradicate the wealth gap between

indigenous Boston Black families and

their counterparts. Furthermore, the

Market serves to catalyze investment

and transformation of the Nubian area

through economic justice, arts and

culture, and civic engagement.

TYAHRA ANGUS

Tyahra is an artist passionate

about increasing representation of

Black and brown people in media,

particularly Black womxn, and even

more particularly Black queer womxn

like herself. Through her platform

AfroCentered Media, she seeks to

document and publish photos to

highlight, Black & Brown creatives,

spaces, and events throughout Boston.

ALESSANDRA BROWN

Alessandra is an organizer and

entrepreneur seeking to build

resilient community ecosystems

through innovative strategies towards

engagement, entrepreneurship,

and corporate responsibility. She is

the former Director at the Roxbury

Innovation Center where she worked

to build economic development in the

community through resources and

programming for local entrepreneurs.

21


BRIDGETTE WALLACE

Bridgette is an entrepreneur and

planner motivated to build innovative

platforms to create pathways for

marginalized communities to reach

their full potential. She served as

a leader in launching the Roxbury

Innovation Center and as a member

of the Plan Dudley (Nubian) Project

Review Committee. Currently, Bridgette

is developing G|Code House, a coworking

and living space in Roxbury

connecting young womxn of color

to educational and employment

opportunities in the technology sector.

ARIRÁ ADÉÉKÉ

Arirá is an organizer, herbalist, healer,

and wellness-worker passionate

about creating spaces and processes

for healing and community building.

Through her business, Seed of Osun,

Arirá runs a mobile and stationary

apothecary seeking to invoke traditional

medicine of the African diaspora. She is

also the founder of Ile Ase, a monthly

school and sanctuary space for Black,

indigenous people of color.

NAKIA HILL

Nakia is a writer, educator, and

journalist specializing in teaching

womxn how to use writing as a tool

for healing, self-care, and resistance.

Currently, she serves as the director

of the Writers’ Room program at

826 Boston, managing writing

programs for urban youth. Nakia

recently released her second book,

I Still Did It: Stories of Resilience, an

intergenerational anthology featuring

stories written by girls and womxn of

color in Boston.

22


NIA EVANS

Nia is a community organizer with

experience in policy, research,

and education, driven to create

community-led change that allows

marginalized people to live in space

where they are enriched, valued, and

free. Nia is the current director of

Boston Ujima Project, working to

organize neighbors, workers, business

owners, and investors to create a

community-controlled economy in

Greater Boston.

PRISCILLA AZAGLO

Priscilla is a poet, organizer, and

educator inspired to leverage

storytelling as a tool for information

sharing, affirmation, and capacity

building within the community.

Through her practice, she leads

workshops encouraging self-care and

healing through poetry and visual arts.

Priscilla is also the founder of Black

Cotton Club, a monthly pop-up jam

session with a live band creating space

for the community to share their

stories, collaborate, and connect.

SAM CASSEUS

Sam is a writer, organizer, and coder

passionate about creating accessible,

healthy, and safe space for womxn of

color to help them thrive. She is the

founder of Queens Talk, a womxn’s

empowerment meet-up for womxn

of color that is centered on mental

health and wellness. Additionally, Sam

is a full-stack developer advocate

for empowering people of color to

build careers in the coding and tech

industry.

23


CANDELARIA SILVA-COLLINS

Candelaria is an arts administrator,

consultant, and writer working to

bridge the gaps between arts, culture,

and community. She was the first

director of ACT Roxbury—launching

notable programming including the

Roxbury Film Festival, Roxbury Open

Studios, Roxbury Literary Annual, and

Roxbury In Motion.

CHANEL THERVIL

Chanel is an artist and educator

interested in the racialized politics of

representation through her creative

practice. Her use of different patterns,

textures, and materials speaks to the

diversity in the subjects she depicts,

seeking to honor their dignity and

command empathy for their humanity.

DESTINY POLK

Destiny is a dancer, poet, organizer

driven to leverage art, creation, and

movement to spark radical change

in people and communities. She

is the founder and organizer of

RadicalBlackGirl, a platform where she

curates events, creates performances

and short films, and sponsors young

and developing talent in the Boston

community.

24


KELLEY CHUNN

Kelley is a social impact entrepreneur,

speaker, and former broadcast

journalist. She currently leads her

own collaborative consultancy, Kelley

Chunn & Associates, which specializes

in multicultural and cause-related

public relations and marketing. Kelley

also served as the founding president

and now current board member of the

Roxbury Cultural District.

JESSICAH PIERRE

Jessicah is a writer, marketer, and

organizer who is passionate about

creating space for relationship-building

and empowerment amongst womxn

of color. Through her work she hopes

to inspire people towards social and

political change in their communities.

Jessicah is the founder and president

of Queens Company, a network for

womxn of color actively seeking to

advance their livelihoods.

JHA D WILLIAMS

Jha D is a spoken word artist, architect,

and organizer working to inspire people

to speak their truth through creating

spaces for artists, particularly those

that are of the LGTBQIA communities

of color. She is the co-host and founder

of the “If you can Speak it, You can

feel it” Open Mic Movement, as well

as the executive director and producer

of Womxn of Color Weekend

(WoCW).

25


OVERVIEW

The survey is open until May 20, 2019 (11:59PM EST) Participants who register an email are automatically entered into

a drawing to win one (1) of three $40 gift cards to one of the following restaurants: Suya Joint, Soleil, and Oasis Vegan

Veggie Parlor. The drawing will take place in June 2019. The three (3) winners will be contacted via email.

HOW WILL THIS INFORMATION BE SHARED?

Compiled feedback from this survey will be incorporated into a final research report and shared on our project website

in late summer 2019: http://avoiceatthetable.us/

CONTACT

Mel Isidor

misidor@sasaki.com

8) What is one space you enjoy in Roxbury?

(eg: business, performance space, park or other physical location)

1) What is your age group? (check one)

4) What _____________________________________________________________________

is your home zip code?

_____________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

9) Why do you enjoy this space?

5) What is your relationship to the Roxbury community?

(select all _____________________________________________________________________

that apply)

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

2) With which race/ethnicity do you identify?

_____________________________________________________________________

(select all that apply)

spaces, or events)

10) What is one event or program you enjoyed attending

in the past year in Roxbury? (eg: a specific, performance,

_____________________________________________________________________

workshop, class, etc.)

_____________________________________________________________________

6) If you checked “used to live in Roxbury” for the

_____________________________________________________________________

previous question, why did you move out?

_____________________________________________________________________

11) Approximately how often does this event/program

_____________________________________________________________________

occur? (check one)

_________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

3) With which gender do you identify? (check one)

7) What is Roxbury’s greatest strength?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

12) Why did you enjoy this event/program?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________ 1

_____________________________________________________________________

13) What are barriers to you attending events or

community spaces? (select all that apply)

enter buildings).

14) Imagine your ideal vision for the Roxbury community.

What exists in this vision that is currently not present?

(Dream big!)

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

15) What is one question you would pose to the

community in Roxbury?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

16) Choose a color comes to mind when you hear the

word “home.” (Circle one)

17) Describe in one word, what is your superpower?

(i.e. your greatest strength or virtue)

_____________________________________________________________________

18) Enter your email below if you would like to be

entered in a drawing to win one (1) of three $40 gift cards

to one of the following restaurants: Suya Joint, Soleil, and

Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor. The drawing will take place in

June 2019. (write clearly!)

Email: _____________________________________________________________

2

Why Surveys?

DIGITAL

The survey was developed in

conversation with interviews to

help us reach a larger audience

beyond our interview approach.

The survey feedback supported

and built on interview narratives

and understandings through the

collection of qualitative data.

The goal of the survey was to better understand the

strengths of the Roxbury community—both socially

and spatially. Questions were developed to identify

existing physical spaces and programming and the

social value factors that make them successful. We also

posed visioning questions to identify priorities for future

development as well as community conversations to

be addressed in order to overcome current challenges.

Additional questions around color association and the

comforts of home sought to investigate how color theory

may be leveraged as a tool for design solutions in the

built environment.

As shown to the right, we developed the survey

in both a print and digital format to make it

more accessible to different users.

A VOICE AT THE TABLE Research Survey

O 17 or younger

O 18 to 24

O 25 to 34

O 35 to 44

O 45 to 54

O 55 to 64

O 65+

☐ Black/African-American

☐ American Indian/Alaska Native

☐ Hispanic/Latino

☐ Asian

☐ Middle Eastern

☐ Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

☐ White/Caucasian

☐ An identity not listed, self-identify:

☐ Prefer not to answer

O Woman

O Man

O Transgender

O Non-binary

O Genderqueer or gender nonconforming

O An identity not listed, self-identify:

O Prefer not to answer

PRINT

☐ Currently live in Roxbury

☐ Used to live in Roxbury, but have since moved

☐ Work/have worked in Roxbury

☐ Organize events/programs in Roxbury

☐ Neighborhood visitor (i.e. attending businesses, public

☐ Other - Write In: _______________________________________________

O Weekly or more

O 2-3 times a month

O Once a month

O A couple times a year

O Once a year (annually)

O Only once (not a recurring event)

☐ I am too busy/have no free time.

☐ It is too expensive for me to attend.

☐ It is hard to find information about events/spaces.

☐ There is a lack of diversity/representation in the space.

☐ It is not physically accessible (i.e. no places to sit or ramps to

☐ It is too far away for convenient travel.

☐ It is lacking childcare or child-friendly activities.

26


Survey Outreach Tactics

SOCIAL MEDIA

We reached people online

through posting across social

media channels.

MEET PEOPLE WHERE

THEY’RE AT

We held a 2-day booth at Black

Market in Nubian Square during

their monthly marketplace to

reach people in person.

LOCAL PRIZES

As an incentive for participation,

we raffled off three (3) gift

cards to local Black-owned

restaurants.

STREET POSTINGS

Posters and stickers were hung on

the streets around Nubian Square to

reach people on their daily commutes.

27


Sample Survey

28


29


New Hampshire

109

Survey Responses

Responses were filtered for participants identifying

as Black/African-American, or Indigenous; and

inclusive of woman, female, genderqueer, and nonbinary,

and gender identities.

New Hampshire

Allston

Brookline

Jamaica

Plain

Fenway

Roxbury

South

End

Dorchester

The survey was open for three weeks in May 2019.

Participation was open to all respondents, for

which we received to 128 total responses from all

ethnicities and gender identities.

Roslindale

Mattapan

Hyde

Park

Milton

53%

of respondents are

Current or Former Residents

For former residents, 50% said lack of

affordability was the primary reason for moving

out of the neighborhood.

Number of Respondents

*Data gathered by zip code

1

2-4

5-7

8-13

14+

30

Roxbury

Connecticut

Rhode Island


An Intergenerational Perspective

Age breakdown of respondents

5% 65+

2% 17 OR YOUNGER

10% 55-64

17% 18-24

19% 45-54

35% 25-34

13% 35-44

Local Representation

with a Regional Draw

Community stakeholders extend beyond the people

directly residing in the neighborhood. Many responses in

our survey were gathered in-person at the marketplace at

Black Market, demonstrating the neighborhood’s regional

draw as a hub of Black culture both in Boston and

throughout Massachusetts.

31


32


3

33



Evolving Design Standards

Our research findings seek to elevate communal

narrative and history into how we conceptualize

design principles, processes, and future

developments.

Black communities, both within the United States and in a global context, are

consistently faced with having to defend their expression and livelihoods both within

the public and private sphere. These conditions shed light on the inequities and

problematic nature of dominant urban planning and design practice that has been

primarily fostered through white Eurocentric standards. Discussion of design values

and approaches often are exclusionary of diverse aesthetic qualities and cultural

customs around the desired needs and uses of space.

This exploration into Black aesthetics teaches us that the landscape tells a continuous

story and therefore its design must be reflective of the diversity of people who call it

home. A diverse cultural perspective adds layers to our collective understanding of

the range of values communities hold in understanding what constitutes good design.

When a community sees themselves reflected in the landscape, they are more likely

to invest back in the space. In this way, equitable and socially sustainable design

approaches must embrace eclectic natures, breaking down uniformity in standards

that perpetuate inequity and exclusion.


Affirmative space for Black womxn is grounded

in the notion of REPRESENTATION.

Representation, in this context, refers to spaces that recognize a multitude of Black

narratives. Through this research, we found that these spaces are predominantly

held or organized by Black womxn or other womxn of color where individuals can

own their narratives while finding support through collective experience. While

not topically “diverse,” these spaces are significant in that diversity extends beyond

political identities and recognizes diverse experiences.

Within a hyper-radicalized political climate, too often Blackness has been co-opted

and misrepresented as a uniform political identity. On a daily basis, Black womxn

are consistently existing in social and professional spaces where their full identities

are challenged through perpetual misrepresentation, stereotypes, and silencing.

These experiences breed negative implications on one’s self-perception, increasing

common feelings around isolation that has a significant impact on one’s mental

health and ability to thrive in all other aspects of their livelihoods.

Affirmative spaces combat these challenges, creating spaces that are safe and

supportive towards Black womxn authentically expressing themselves. These are

spaces where Black womxn are seen, heard, and honored as multidimensional

beings.

36


I feel the dynamic of a room for Black womxn

is different, where they’re very eager to connect,

and relate to one another, regardless of what

they look like. It’s much easier to scratch the

surface in those spaces where the masks are

taken off almost right away.

The key thing that stands out to me is the

authenticity of conversations. I often find

that the nature of conversation around Black

womxn feeling alone whether it’s in their work,

friendships, or just something else they are

struggling with by themselves. And then, within

a group, they feel a lot less alone. They find

support through others that are also able to

relate to their feelings and experiences.

— Sam Casseus

37


It’s a feeling of home. It’s like

the feeling of your bed at night.

Something that’s conforming itself

to your shape. It’s got the right

temperature. It’s got faces that are

smiling and welcoming, who know

you by name.

— Ekua Holmes

I can walk down the street

and see people who look like

me and aren’t afraid of me,

and aren’t surprised to see me

in the spaces where they are!

That’s a big thing that makes

me feel warm and fuzzy,

knowing that I can be myself.

— Chanel Thervil

38


On queer Black spaces...

I feel like connections are easier

because we’re just intersectional.

We know how hard it is and how

easy it is to be misunderstood.

In these spaces it’s just leaving

assumptions at the door with no

judgment because we’re already

judged everywhere else.

— Tyahra Angus

I feel loved and accepted, like

there’s camaraderie in the room

and it’s easier to meet people,

to laugh, smile, and hug—It’s just

love. That’s the best way I can

describe, that it is just a lot of

love that I don’t necessarily feel

in a lot of other spaces.

— Jessicah Pierre

39


Black Spaces Matter

Black spaces are essential to create spaces of empowerment

for Black people BY Black people. Black space is where the

multidimensionality within Black identity is honored. In

essence, they are both a tool of social protest and liberation.

MENTAL HEALTH

Addressing mental health needs in the

Black community goes beyond clinical

therapy which is often inaccessible

due to high costs, non-representative

practitioners, and deep stigmas

against seeking formal help for mental

health needs.

While there is diversity in expression

and experience across the Black

community, all Black bodies

experience anti-Black racism. Microaggressions

and everyday oppressive

conditions whether large or small

take a toll on one’s mental and

physical health over time. Affirmative

Black spaces allow people to find

communal support and release from

these conditions. These spaces are

key to providing opportunities for

self-development while not feeling

threatened, tokenized, or taken

advantage of.

CULTURAL EXPRESSION

AND PRESERVATION

Within Boston and the country at

large, spaces that are not intentionally

Black or brown-centered uphold a

presence of white dominance.

Black spaces are necessary outside of

the white lens for communities to tap

into ancestral roots and alternative

thinking models that build off

historical Black success and struggle.

Black spaces are essential to provide

opportunities for communities to

carry history and cultural customs

into the present. Furthermore, safe

spaces for expression and creation

build opportunity for collective healing

and sustainable platforms towards

collective action moving forward.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

Struggles around race are inherently

linked with inequalities in wealth

and capital. In Boston, the Black

(specifically non-immigrant African-

American) households hold a networth

of only $8 comparative to

$247,500 for whites.*

Overcoming racialized wealth

disparities is rooted in building

stable platforms of exchange and

wealth-building that originates within

the Black community. Black spaces

provide opportunities to challenge

dominant values and practices to

develop alternative solutions around

wealth and capital distribution.

Opportunities for gathering within

Black communities supports the

development of social connections

that lead to collaborations and growth

of entrepreneurial and creative

pursuits.

*via Boston Globe

40


ADDRESSING ISSUES

WITHIN THE COMMUNITY

Black spaces are necessary to hold

safe space within the community

to address conversations around

violence, transphobia, sexism,

colorism, and other oppressive

values that are co-opted from

dominant society. Too often these

challenges within the Black community

are exploited in media or other

destructive means that perpetuate

such conditions rather than building

platforms to overcome them.

As Black and Indigenous

people, we need to create

and hold space to decolonize

our minds and our bodies.

Too often people don’t know

what that means because we

normalize our oppression. So

you actually have to provide

that space of knowledge and

safe expression for people to

address this issue.

— Arirá Adééké

Addressing challenges within the Black

community will achieve the greatest

and most sustainable impact when

also driven and solved within the

community. Spaces are needed that

are sensitive to Black and Indigenous

processes towards conflict resolution

and healing, and psychological

liberation.

41




Overwhelmingly, respondents

described Roxbury’s greatest

strength as its people, history,

and lasting legacy of activism and

cultural expression from the past

into the present.

In Roxbury, historical narratives through lived experience

hold strong. The power of Roxbury’s culture has been

cultivated through generational connections and

knowledge sharing. Spaces for communal gathering—

whether for family, religion, artistic expression, political

action, or otherwise—have helped to ensure that Roxbury’s

history is one that is not lost. The community that holds

strong today acknowledges that their efforts contribute to

a lineage of persistence across decades to maintain and

hold space for full Black existence.

44


The people here are resilient and are able

to push back on forces that are designed to

transform and change the community in a

way that erases its history, erases its culture,

and erases the contributions that were made

to make it Roxbury. I think we are uniquely

positioned to fight in this way, because of

the wealth of people that have lived and

come through Roxbury and who’ve put the

neighborhood on the map because of their

work and contributions to the community.

— Bridgette Wallace

45


People Make Place

The most spirited spaces are nothing without the people

who have shaped them. In this way, we recognize the

role of design as a tool to enable people to empower

themselves. Cities and space are never stagnant, but

rather continuously evolving with the people and

generations who move through it.

Roxbury, like many Black communities across the country,

holds many landmarks that are still named from the

colonial era. Despite this context, the valued spaces

within the neighborhood highlight how the community

has claimed and co-opted space over time in an

environment that was never designed or built for them.

Whether through physical or social intervention, formal

or informal means, the narratives of Roxbury’s residents

have reflected themselves in the landscape.

Roxbury still has spaces

that are for, serviced,

owned by, and allow us

to be unapologetically

ourselves.

— Survey Respondent

46


BLACK-WOMXN HELD SPACE

Through our outreach, we asked Black womxn to

tell us their “superpower” (i.e. greatest strength

or virtue). Results showed that the top response

was CONNECTING, reflecting the nature of being

consistently cognizant and aware of other’s feelings

and how it contributes to the collective energy within

space.

Across interview and survey feedback, spaces

held by Black womxn prioritized recognition of

how experience is built collectively. Furthermore,

this empathetic nature is also a byproduct of daily

experiences in predominantly white spaces, where

one is constantly aware that their own needs may

not be fully seen or accounted for. Spaces held by

Black womxn commonly seek to offer release from

the anxieties and tensions felt elsewhere in society,

acknowledging that our existence and experience

consistently extends beyond the self. In this way,

safe spaces for gathering recognize that healing and

empowerment takes greater form when it happens

IN ONE WORD, WHAT IS

YOUR SUPERPOWER?

Top Responses:

Connecting

Empathy

Compassion

Love

Resilience

47


CARRYING HISTORY TO THE PRESENT

Reclaiming Space

At the root of Roxbury’s rich culture is a lasting

legacy of activism, organizing, and fighting to claim

space through various means.

Throughout the years, Roxbury has been the

grounds to a breadth of leaders for civil rights

and the betterment of the livelihoods of Black

people. These leaders include household names

like Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King,

Malcolm X and Melnea Cass, residents who carry

generational lineage in the neighborhood, and

newcomers who have found home belonging

within the community where they have not

elsewhere in the region.

Here, we recognize that past and present

collaborative efforts amongst Black womxn to

claim space, honor history, and build pathways for

health and healing for future generations. Core

to these efforts is the underlying message that

space for Black womxn is not always going to

be given, often it must be taken and reclaimed

through guerrilla tactics to fully acknowledge

their experiences and needs.

EARLY 1970s FRANKLIN LYNCH

PEOPLES’ FREE HEALTH CENTER

The Peoples’ Free Health Center clinic was organized

by collective volunteers, providing free medical

services to the community—most notably sickle cell

anemia testing. The clinic also held classes to educate

and empower community members to learn first aid

and train as lab technicians. Operated by the Black

Panther party, the clinic occupied a site illegally at the

intersection of Ruggles and Tremont Street on land

that had been seized from the community by the

Boston Redevelopment Authority. Beyond providing

free health services, the clinic was intentionally sited

to reclaim land and block to the proposed highway

route slated to cut through the community.


1974-1980

COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE

The Combahee River Collective was a Black queer

feminist group active in Roxbury and Greater Boston.

Through the development of a collective statement,

their writings laid the groundwork for ongoing

radical Black feminist movements and language

on intersectionality as a framework for liberation.

Beyond writings, the collective was active in political

struggles around police brutality and the public

school desegregation busing crisis. In 1979, the

group developed a series of informational pamphlets

for the community to build awareness and safety

precautions in response to a series of murders

against Black womxn that took place that year.

2019

THE ESTUARY PROJECTS

Carrying on the legacy of the Combahee River

Collective, the Estuary Projects is a guerrilla

installation series to memorialize the lives of 11 Black

womxn who were murdered four decades prior. At

the time of their deaths, their stories were largely

ignored by dominant media outlets. Led by Kendra

Hicks and a collective of volunteers, temporary

memorials were created at each site on the 40th

anniversary of each woman’s passing, remaining up

for 24 hours. At each location, the community held

space through ritual and gathering to memorialize

each woman’s life—making peace with history and

sending lingering spirits into safe passage.


NUBIAN SQUARE

50

Franklin Park

Where are affirmative

spaces for Black womxn

located in Roxbury?

types of spaces

have circle image of different types

(ie church, recreation, park, art, etc.

For a full list of spaces mentioned through this research, please see the appendix.


COMMUNAL SPACES FOR...

Programming &

Cultural Events

Connection to Nature

Art & Creative

Expression

Learning & Knowledge

Sharing

Religion, Spirituality,

& Healing

Food & Nourishment

Shopping & Economic

investment

Physical Health &

Recreation

Child, Elder, &

Family Services

51


Popular Spaces

Museum of NCAAA

Black Market

Haley House

Essential Body Herbs

Horatio Harris Park

Franklin Park

Folsom Street Community Garden

52


Dudley Library

Fort Hill

Hibernian Hall

Dudley Cafe

Frugal Bookstore

Soleil

Suya Joint

53


Space Design

Black Market

2136 Washington Street

FLEXIBLE & MULTI-USE

Across many of the popularly mentioned spaces, common

characteristics were that the spaces were dynamic, flexible, and

evolving with the community. These are spaces that are accessible via

various avenues beyond their inherent utility. Whether a marketplace,

cafe, or bookstore—popular spaces also served as meeting spots for

organizers or as venues for music, spoken word, visual art, and other

creative programming.

These activities create symbiotic benefits between businesses and

community by providing space for communal gathering where it may

be otherwise lacking, and in turn building awareness about each

respective business as organizers and creatives bring new faces

through their doors.

Popular multi-purpose spaces

4%

7%

8%

9%

16%

20%

WHAT COLOR COMES TO MIND WHEN

YOU HEAR THE WORD “HOME”?

Top responses through our survey feedback

were ORANGE and YELLOW—energizing colors

stimulating optimism and creativity.

5411%

6% 4%

17%


Dudley Cafe

15 Warren Street

Haley House

12 Dade Street

Frugal Bookstore

57 Warren St

55


Space Design

ECLECTIC & EXPRESSIVE

Materiality serves as a form of storytelling and self-expression. Here, we

feature a collection of design elements shared in interview commentary

as well as present in Black-womxn owned spaces across Roxbury.

Wood Elements

Foster natural and earthy

tones

White Walls &

Surfaces

For lightness, openness,

and flexibility of space

arrangement

Dark Accents

A grounding nature

on floors, ceilings, or

detailing

Bold Colors

Bring warmth, energy,

and liveliness into space

Black womxn owned or operated spaces in Roxbury

56


Mirrored Surfaces

Add reflective elements

for enhanced light and

openness

Patterns & Tapestries

For softened edges and

cultural expression

Murals

Bold statements that

highlight local artists

Flowers & Plants

Enhance connection to

nature

57


For Black Cotton Club I feel it

is very important for us to not

have a stationary location so

that we're able to challenge

and express ourselves in

different spaces.

— Priscilla Azaglo

POPULAR RECURRING EVENTS IN ROXBURY Organized by Black Womxn

58

Hive Soul Yoga

A weekly yoga class

centering queer womxn of

color

Black Woman is God

An annual space celebrating

and space showcasing Black

womxn performers, visual

artists, and vendors

Ile Ase

A monthly school and

sanctuary of afroindigenous

folk medicine

and ancestral reverence


Space Activation

Programming spaces serve as junctions of

economic and cultural exchange.

Black-centric programming and events are crucial for promoting community building

and economic investment within the community. Within Roxbury, programmed

spaces often serve the dual purpose as market spaces, including pop-up vendors

featuring entrepreneurs from within the community. Inclusion within such spaces

creates accessible marketing and growth opportunities for micro-businesses and

artists where vending spaces are otherwise too costly or non-existent.

Programmed spaces provide opportunities for networking within community

members to meet like-minded organizers and creatives seeking to connect and grow

collaborations.

Black Cotton Club

A monthly curated jam session

featuring local performers and

vendors

BAMS Fest

A free annual art, music,

and soul festival featuring

local and national acts

Roxbury Film Festival

An annual international film

festival celebrating films by,

for, and about people of color

59


WHAT IS ONE QUESTION YOU WOULD P

WHAT FUTURE WOULD YOU WANT FOR YOUR CHILDREN? HOW COULD YOU DO YOUR PART

AND NOT BENEFITING FROM THE DEVELOPMENTS INVOLVED? • WHO SHOULD INVEST IN

DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH PROGRAMS)? • WHY AREN’T WE TAKING CARE OF OUR PUBLIC SP

OR LEADERS TO INVEST IN THE RESTORATION OF THESE AREAS? CAN WE HAVE RUNNING PL

SPECIFICALLY FOR WOMEN-OWNED AND BLACK BUSINESS? • HOW CAN OUTSIDERS HELP? S

MUCH OF YOUR INCOME DO YOU SPEND ON SMALL BUSINESSES PURCHASES? • WHAT’S NE

AREN’T THERE MORE BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES? • HOW DO WE STOP GENTRIFICATION? •

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES HERE FOR FUTURE TEACHERS? • HOW CAN WE FIX THE STR

HOW ARE WE AS A COMMUNITY GOING TO BUY BACK THIS AREA AND MAKE IT GROW? • WH

IS A TRASH CAN? • WHAT HAPPENED? • WHAT IS YOUR HISTORY AND WHY DON’T YOU TEL

UNITY MEAN? • WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING? • WHY DO W

HAVE LIVED AND HELPED BUILD THE COMMUNITY CAN AFFORD TO STAY AND HAVE A SAY IN

HOW DO WE KEEP RENTS AFFORDABLE SO WE DON’T RUN RESIDENTS OUT OF THE NEIGHB

VISION FOR OUR COMMUNITY? • WHO HAVE WE INSPIRED AND WHO HAVE WE ENCOURAGE

TO THE GENTRIFICATION AND POLICIES THAT DO NOT SERVE US AND CHANGE THEM? • WH

• WHY AREN’T THE BLACK CHURCHES DOING ANYTHING ABOUT HELPING THEIR CONGREG

FIGHT AGAINST GENTRIFICATION. • WHO/WHAT IS STANDING IN THE WAY OF WHAT IS NEE

COMMUNITY CAN BE CREATED? BUT IF THE QUESTION IS TO BE ASKED, LET THERE BE PEO

Y’ALL FOOD SO GOOD? • HOW CAN WE SHOW BETTER SUPPORT FOR ONE ANOTHER? • H

CAN WE BUILD FOR US BY US!? • HOW DO WE ADDRESS THE NEED FOR A BROADER RA

COME TOGETHER AND MAKE THIS A SAFE SPACE? • WHAT MORE DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE? T

INFLUENCE WE’LL HAVE. • THE WORLD IS CHANGING, DO YOU THINK THAT WE CAN? • WHY

CAN WE DO BETTER? • HOW CAN WE GROW AND BUILD TOGETHER? • WHAT CAN WE D

CHANGE SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE FOR YOURSELF? • IF YOU WOULDN’T RAISE

GET TO KNOW OUR NEIGHBORS AND BUILD A FRIENDLIER ATMOSPHERE? • HOW DO WE EM

WE WORK TOGETHER TO BUILD EACH OTHER? • HOW CAN WE RECLAIM OUR SPACE IN TH

HOW CAN WE HELP KEEP SPACES? • WHAT CAN OTHER COMMUNITIES LEARN FROM THE W

PREVENTS YOU FROM INVESTING, POOLING RESOURCES, AND BUYING THE COMMUNITY IN W

WANT TO ASK ANYTHING. WHO WILL ANSWER ME EXCEPT MYSELF? • HOW CAN WE COMBA

OF ROXBURY? • WHY ARE WE ALLOWING GENTRIFICATION TO HAPPEN WITHOUT ACTIVELY S

YOU DO IF YOU DID NOT HAVE TO APPEASE ANYONE OUT SIDE OF YOUR SELF? • HOW CAN

INSTEAD OF OPERATING IN SILOS? • HOW DO WE SURVIVE AND MAINTAIN OUR CULTURE IN

DO WE HEAR FROM ELDERS ABOUT WHAT THEY’D LIKE TO SEE RESTORED FROM THE COMM

• WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE IN ROXBURY? • WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR CHILDREN? •


OSE TO THE COMMUNITY IN ROXBURY?

TO BUILD IT? • HOW CAN I HELP? • HOW CAN WE GET MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE OLDER

YOUR COMMUNITIES (WHEN IT COMES TO HOUSING, URBAN RENEWAL OF SPACES, AND

ACES? THERE ARE SO MANY BEAUTIFUL PARKS HOW DO WE GET THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT

ACES? AND COMMUNITY YOGA PROGRAMS? • WHY ISN’T THERE MORE FUNDING AVAILABLE

PECIFICALLY “BLACK GENTRIFIERS”? • WHAT CAN WE DO TO CREATE MORE UNITY? • HOW

XT? • HOW CAN WE COME TOGETHER MORE AND BEGIN TO BUILD COLLECTIVELY? • WHY

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO OFFER MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING? • WHAT ARE SOME OF THE

EETS AND TAKE CARE OF THE SPACES WE HAVE SO WE CAN KEEP THEM IN THE FUTURE? •

AT ARE YOUR DREAMS? HOW CAN WE HELP? • WHY ARE WE TREATING OUR EARTH AS IF IT

L IT’S STORY? • HOW CAN WE CONNECT RATHER THAN BUILD IN ISOLATION? • WHAT DOES

E FIGHT AND BICKER WITH EACH OTHER? • IS THERE A PLAN TO ENSURE FAMILIES THAT

WHAT BUSINESSES COME IN? • WHY IS IT ALRIGHT FOR US TO ALLOW GENTRIFICATION? •

ORHOOD? • HOW DO WE STRATEGIZE AND ORGANIZE TO CREATE/BUILD OUR COLLECTIVE

D? • WHEN ARE WE GOING TO BUY IT UP? • WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO CONTRIBUTE

Y DON’T WE HAVE MORE INDOOR SPACES FOR CHILDREN TO PLAY, EXERCISE AND LEARN?

ATION MEMBERS TO KEEP THEIR HOMES? I FEEL THEY WOULD BE INSTRUMENTAL IN THIS

DED TO OWN YOUR SPACE? HOW DO WE MOVE IT/THEM SO THAT INCLUSIVE AND PROUD

PLE TO PUT REAL AND PERMANENT ACTION BEHIND THE ANSWERS/SOLUTIONS. • WHY

OW CAN WE UNITE TO SAVE THE ROOTS AND HERITAGE OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD? • HOW

NGE OF ECONOMIC DIVERSITY TO SUSTAIN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? • HOW CAN WE

HE COMMUNITY IS SHIFTING AND THE MORE PEOPLE THAT COME TO THE TABLE, THE MORE

NOT CAST A BIG NET AND THINK BIG? • HOW CAN WE BECOME SELF-SUSTAINING? • HOW

O TO ATTRACT MORE MINORITY BUSINESSES? • HOW CAN YOU WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO

YOUR CHILDREN HERE, DOESN’T IT MEAN IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE? • WHAT ARE WAYS TO

BED OWNERSHIP, EDUCATION, AND CULTURAL SPACES IN THE COMMUNITY? • WHY CAN’T

E BURY? • HOW DO WE CREATE MORE COMMUNITY LEARNING AND HEALING SPACES? •

AY ROXBURY RESIDENTS HAVE PRESERVED AND LOST HISTORY AND RELEVANCE? • WHAT

HICH YOU LIVE? • HOW DO WE KEEP OUR COMMUNITY CLEAN? • I’M NOT SURE IF I EVEN

T THE VIOLENCE? • WHY ARE AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLKS AGED 30-55 BEING PUSHED OUT

TRUGGLING AGAINST IT? • ARE YOU COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SPACE? • WHAT WOULD

WE LEVERAGE EXISTING RESOURCES AND BUILD PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN STAKEHOLDERS

THE FACE OF GENTRIFICATION? • HOW DO WE NOT LOSE OUR CULTURE AND VOICE? • HOW

UNITY’S PAST. IF WE DON’T RECOGNIZE OUR PAST, WE CANNOT BUILD A STRONG FUTURE.

HOW DO WE STAY UNITED? • WHY DO WE NOT INVEST IN OUR COMMUNITY, OUR HOME?


Experiences & Challenges

Space Accessibility

SCALE

Diversity in access to a variety of spaces types remains

a core issue. For permanent rental space, there is a lack

of diversity in the scale of access to commercial space.

More specifically, there is are limited options for microbusinesses

to access permanent vending spaces. The

majority of existing and new development is at a scale

that excludes smaller businesses that may only have 1-3

employees. Thus, there are limited growth options for

businesses trying to scale up from temporary pop-up

vending or online shops.

COST

Beyond space types, high costs of permanent space

remains a top challenge. There are limited regulatory

measures at a city-wide scale creating affordability of

business and commercial space. Property owners serve

as gatekeepers to permanent space access, often setting

a steep barrier of entry for permanent space rentals in a

neighborhood with the lowest income levels in Boston.

Average commercial rents are consistently on the rise

despite ongoing vacancy and poor street maintenance

from the city and property owners. With the influx of

new and prospective development in Lower Roxbury,

commercial rents are pushing an average of $38 per

square foot.

Challenges: Multi-scale space access, from micro-space to large scale

62


ACCESS

Amongst organizers using space for temporary programs,

common challenges included lack of information on

affordable spaces access within the neighborhood.

Businesses do not always clearly advertise space rentals

and rates so one must be proactive in seeking access.

Many connections to spaces had been made through

existing relationships and word of mouth.

In seeking venue spaces, organizers have prioritized

seeking out Black or minority-owned businesses to hold

space, for a multitude of reasons:

From the beginning I was

reaching out to different

Black-owned businesses

and even if they did not fully

understand my vision they

would still take a chance

and open up their space.

— Priscilla Azaglo

(1) Investing back within the community

(2) Often the only spaces providing free or low-cost access

(3) Less bureaucracy or regulations around space use

However, this results in constraints in space variety

because there is a limitation of venues across different

scales. As organizers have scaled events, growth becomes

a challenge as there are limited Black or minority-owned

spaces to hold larger gatherings. At a larger scale, costs

substantially increase and prioritization of minority

ownership becomes compromised.

63


Resources & Financing

LACK OF MICRO-BUSINESS SUPPORT

Beyond direct space, access to grants, funding, or loans

for start-up capital is a core challenge for Black womxn in

Roxbury. Compared to the rest of Boston, Roxbury has

one of the highest concentrations of small businesses,

averaging approximately 10 employees per establishment

(BPDA, 2019). Still, these figures do not account for informal

organizing and entrepreneurial efforts, where people

may not go through formal business registration if they

are operating on an individual basis. Funding sources that

require formal business registration are one of the barriers

to access to capital.

I go out and talk to entrepreneurs,

many of whom are not people of

color and they question why I am

investing my own capital and not

operating off other people’s money.

And then you have to explain to

them, “Well, it’s either I invest in

myself or it may never happen.

— Bridgette Wallace

SELF-FINANCING

Across feedback from research participants, womxn

commonly self-financing their space, business, or other

work. Funding support for emerging businesses and

organizing efforts are either non-existent, inaccessible due

to bureaucratic constraints, or poorly advertised and not

reaching the communities that need the support the most.

On a larger scale, access to investment capital is still

highly racialized. Platforms that explicitly target uplifting

marginalized populations (i.e. Black, womxn, queer, trans)

struggle to access investment dollars from sources that

are largely held in white control. Even though some

entrepreneurs have seen national support through media

and press, investment dollars are still slow to follow

through. This poses an ongoing barrier for Black womxn

entrepreneurs to tap into the marketing strategies to

secure higher funding without compromising the integrity

and core values of the work.

RESOURCE BEYOND CAPITAL

When we asked participants where they sought

resources in the early stages of development,

responses largely commented on personal

relationships and social networks as core to

early support. Friends, mentors, and volunteers

who gave their time, advice, or provided

connections were recognized and valued

beyond any financial considerations.

64


Photos by Tyahra Angus

INTERGENERATIONAL COLLABORATION

In speaking with multiple organizers, valuing experience

and history is crucial for collaboration. There are challenges

around harnessing the knowledge that sits within the

elders of the community in partnership with the optimism

within the youth.

Existing community tensions revealed challenges to

overcome competitive dynamics around degrees of

suffering and experiences around race relations. Growing

up in different conditions and experiences around race

relations, it takes more work to unpack experiences and

struggles between generations. Support and accountability

are needed on both ends of the spectrum, with the

acknowledgment that folks across ages all contribute to the

collective community change.

Building intergenerational space was

more challenging in the beginning based

on communication barriers—but has

evolved over time. Within our workshops,

creating small group discussion has

allowed everyone to be heard while

there is less pressure of expression on

a large platform. I’ve seen that younger

folks are happy to see and hear from

older womxn in the space.

— Sam Casseus

Within intergenerational spaces, it takes more time and

consistency to build trust and collaboration. Fostering

such spaces must overcome technological communication

barriers as well as barriers in language and experience.

Intentionally facilitated spaces for intergenerational

exchange are key to ensure that the historical efforts that

impact communities today are carried with momentum

instead of creating perpetual cycles and stagnancy based

on broken chains of knowledge.

65


WHAT ARE BARRIERS TO YOU ATTENDING EVENTS OR COMMUNITY SPACES?

Hard to find information about events/spaces

56%

Too busy/no free time

38%

Lack of diversity/repre se ntation in space

26%

Too far away

19%

Too expensive

12%

Lack of childcare or child-friendly activities

10%

Physically ina ce ssible

2%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

56% of survey respondents said

the difficulty of finding information was

the primary reason for not attending

community events and spaces.

66


Information Access & Sharing

INNER-COMMUNITY COMMUNICATIONS

Accessibility of information was identified as a top

challenge for people in the community attending spaces,

programming, or participating in community organizing.

Feedback from interviews and survey participants

highlighted that community information is highly

decentralized and pocketed across social networks.

Social media and personal references were identified as

core avenues for communications. These conditions pose

a particular challenge for information sharing between

generations. Social media was a preferred avenue of

communication amongst younger residents while email

and local newspapers remained popular amongst older

generations.

Individual and micro businesses and platforms are

challenged with the capacity to uphold a marketing

presence across the breadth of communication channels.

Strategies to overcome these challenges may include

collaborative channels for marketing and branding to

collectively elevate multiple businesses and platforms.

EXTERNAL INFORMATION ACCESS

Beyond inner-community communications, access to

resources and information with the city or other private

organizations remains a further challenge. Social media

platforms from outer-community organizations are

challenged to reach the audiences they claim to support.

Furthermore, marketing approaches limited to social

media are challenged to achieve true trust amongst

community members. Within Roxbury, word-of-mouth and

personal reference remain strong sources of connection to

opportunities and resources.

Given the breadth of resources available at a city-wide

scale, external organizations should center efforts on

building a better understanding of existing social networks

to create improved support systems for Black and brown

people to navigate bureaucratic barriers. Successful

approaches must foster engagement through both

physical and digital spaces.

The city has a lot of resources

but does a poor job of

connecting resources to people

who need them the most. You

have to be connected via word

of mouth to find out about

many opportunities.

— Jessicah Pierre

67



4



is at the root of

As a culmination of this study, our team

developed a design framework through Black

womxn’s narratives that considers both the

PRINCIPLES and ACTIONS to inspire how we

build more inclusive approaches towards

design and planning processes.

At large, this framework seeks to unpack how the design profession can better

leverage community voice to develop place-based design standards. In order

to create better design solutions, we need to diversify our principles, values,

and thinking. The root of change begins with developing interventions within

standard workflows. Core to this notion is the importance of elevating the

design process over outcomes as a framework for design justice. We must

acknowledge that expertise in the field extends beyond those with accolades. A

wealth of knowledge is held amongst Black womxn and other communities that

navigate systematic challenges on a daily basis. We hope this framework sparks

acknowledgment of Black womxn’s presence and contributions to our cities,

and pushes the principles to ground our approaches moving forward to build a

more just society.

71


Design Principles

As shown in the diagram to the right, our framework

highlights four core principles that were prioritized

amongst the work and experiences of the Black womxn

interviewed in this study: (1) Ground Intention, (2) Honor

History, (3) Uplift Underrepresented Voices, and (4)

Rethink Ownership. Visually represented and read from

the bottom-up, this diagram emphasizes that the most

impactful work grows out of a firmly rooted purpose.

These four principles serve as a conceptual framework

to build more mindfulness and conversation around

the values driving each project. Within a hyper productoriented

environment, it is crucial to build space for deeper

questioning around what drives our work, and who is it

truly for?

72


RETHINK Ownership

UPLIFT Underrepresented Voices

HONOR History

GROUND Intention

73


GROUND Intention

Leading with intention allows us to unpack the principles and values

that drive the work we wish to see through. Intentions are expansive

and help us envision larger societal impacts beyond conditional

constraints such as budget or client desires.

Intentionality challenges us to move past projecting goals that only

consider a snapshot in time. As planners and designers consistently

look forward to the future, it is crucial to remember that space is

transient and never stagnant. The value of design is not to reach a

point or outcome, but to consider how the interventions we design

within the environment shapes the way people continuously live,

experience, and move through the world.

Within a team, intentionality helps to build consensus and collective

understanding before any collaboration unfolds. Grounding intention

teaches us to be more present in our work and pushes our thinking

to consider how actions and processes shape design outcomes.

74


At the beginning of each group

session, we set our ground rules—

that we talk about our intentions

and expectations within the space,

and what we hope to get out of it.

That has a huge impact because it

gives clarity about what the tone

will be, and that we all came to a

collective understanding of how the

space will be held.

— Sam Casseus

75


When we know our history, we are

able to know the things that our

ancestors and generations before

us have accomplished. It helps to

empower us to know what exactly

we can accomplish. Learning from

the struggles and victories of the past

informs people to know what they’re

capable of how we can better create

change in our communities.

— Jessicah Pierre

76


HONOR History

In the spirit of Sankofa,* we must fully acknowledge and learn

from the past to build a strong future. Our present existence is a

manifestation of history—one that cannot be erased. As planners

and designers within the United States, this considers acknowledging

how both the theory and practice within the profession has been

built through a culture of uniformity and dominance that historically

and to this day perpetuates a system of excluding underrepresented

people, voices, and cultures in the design of our cities. If we choose

to uphold dominant design standards, we are choosing to ignore the

ugly truths of our past, thus creating fragmented visioning and the

continuation of ongoing inequalities in future space.

The lived experience of Black and brown communities teaches us

that history and the legacy of traumas are never buried. An equitable

future is one where history and culture are not erased. It is a future

where society builds strength and resilience through honoring,

reconciling, and healing from past successes and struggles to

develop more informed and innovative solutions moving forward.

*Sankofa — a term from the Akan tribe of West Africa, meaning that we must

consider our roots and history in order to move forward

77


UPLIFT Underrepresented Voices

Diversity and representation in planning and design extends beyond

tokenizing people based on politicized demographic markers (i.e.

race, gender, age, sexuality). Learning from Black womxn teaches

us that these identities do not holistically define a person. Elevating

underrepresented voices must also consider diversity in lived

experience and thinking.

Here, we must acknowledge that we all hold biases and blindspots

in how we understand and experience space. Uplifting

underrepresented voices helps to challenge and evolve from

existing processes, values, and systems that were designed to

exclude. Building a team of designers and decision-makers who

represent diverse narrative, thinking, and identity helps to foster

more innovative design solutions that address issues through various

perspectives.

We must also challenge and expand who we consider stakeholders,

designers, and planners of our cities. The experts and holders of

the most inventive ideas may oftentimes not be the people with the

highest titles or accolades. They may not even consider themselves a

planner or designer at all. The more proactive we are about elevating

underrepresented voices, the more we broaden the coalition for

support, engagement, and trust within communities.

78


I look for those people who are

marginalized and forgotten, almost

invisible because I know the value

that lies there. There are many

voices that should be not just

included at the table but should be

driving lots of the conversation and

innovation and development and

design. People often discredit the

knowledge that is gained from the

lived experience of learning how to

survive and move within the system.

— Bridgette Wallace

79


There's an aspect of vulnerability

and humility that you must have

in leadership so that in essence

the people lead themselves. You

give them ownership. You’re not

trying to tell them what to do.

You’re creating an environment for

people to empower them to build

experience and evolve.

— Ekua Holmes

80


RETHINK Ownership

As visionaries of cities intended to serve all people, we must

recognize that the work is larger than ourselves, our teams, or a given

site. Here, we must challenge our understanding of ownership not as

inferring domination or exclusion, but rather considering ownership

within a community as a framework for empowerment and collective

engagement. If people are empowered as owners of the places

in which they live, they are more likely to hold accountability, take

action, and invest in their space over the longevity of time.

When we think about ownership, it is important that we understand

the value of planning and design as a strategy to support

marginalized communities to physically own physical space and

assets as a tool for liberation. Within the United States, Black and

brown bodies inherently experience space differently because they

are living within a landscape that was rarely designed or built for

them.

We must also actively recognize design as a process to create spaces

where people can own themselves, their stories, and livelihoods. We

must always consider how the interconnectedness of systems plays

into design outcomes. For example, recognizing that polished designs

may also warrant increased surveillance and police presence. A

society where Black and brown people are thriving is not one where

they have just been given the same things that white people have.

It will look different than what we have all come to know. Rethinking

ownership reminds us that amongst our diverse society we are not all

looking for the same physical things, but rather collectively we are all

seeking to own our narrative, histories, and cultural practices in how

we design, develop, and use space.

81


Design Actions

The following actions build off design principles to provide

space to allow us to envision what a future looks like where

Black womxn are thriving.

RECLAIM History & Legacy

TRANSFORM Health & Wellness

82


These four themes as depicted below serve to illustrate actionable strategies

that demonstrate affirming spaces for Black womxn in the future. The

depictions captured within this framework were largely derived through defining

affirming space for Black womxn based on interviews and survey feedback from

the womxn who participated in this study. As a collective, we practice in this

realm of Black futurism as exploratory. This implies that there is no one way that

Black futures can be predicted, however, there are elements necessary for Black

futures to thrive.

LEVERAGE Economic

Collectives &

ELEVATE Art & Culture

83


84


RECLAIM

History & Legacy

INVEST in preserving and building key physical

sites of Black & Indigenous histories.

SUPPORT past and present movements into

future developments.

MEMORIALIZE communal journeys in physical

spaces—honoring both the successes and

struggles that are rooted in place.

INTEGRATE history and education into

the public realm to foster more accessible

platforms for knowledge sharing.

LEVERAGE new technologies to bridge the

gap between neighborhood history and future

progressions.

85


TRANSFORM

Health & Wellness

BUILD flexible spaces to integrate diverse

practices toward health and wellness.

BRIDGE approaches to encompass mental,

physical, and spiritual well-being.

ELEVATE spaces that promote connection to the

earth to promote self-care and healing.

HONOR evolving practices of religion and

spirituality within the Black community.

DESIGN public spaces and connections that

promote physical activity and movement.

86


87


88


LEVERAGE Economic

Collectives & Collaborations

REINFORCE existing spaces, programs, and

organizing efforts.

DEVELOP infrastructure to promote collaborative

approaches towards communal wealth building.

INTEGRATE scaled economic models inclusive of

micro-businesses and informal pop-up ventures.

ENVISION long term interventions that promote

generational growth over short-sighted gains.

EMBED culture into economic strategies to innovate

more sustainable and place-based solutions.

89


ELEVATE

Art & Culture

UPLIFT local artists and creators as key

leaders to understand culturally sensitive

dynamics in place.

SUPPORT local artists in developing works

that bring the community together and foster

connection within the public sphere.

INCENTIVIZE interventions that activate

underutilized spaces to foster momentum

around community-driven investment.

PROMOTE cultural spaces that support the

past, present, and future preservation of

place.

90


91


92


APPENDIX

93


References

‌Pages 10-13 — About Roxbury

Roxbury Historical Society. (2014). About Roxbury - Roxbury Historical Society. [online]

Available at: http://roxburyhistoricalsociety.org/about-roxbury/

Boston Planning & Development Agency (2019). Boston in Context - Neighborhoods

(2013 -2017 American Community Survey). [online] Available at: http://www.

bostonplans.org/getattachment/8349ada7-6cc4-4d0a-a5d8-d2fb966ea4fe.

Now and There. (2018). The Conscious Artist: Identity and Social Responsibility in

Boston’s Black/Brown Mural Arts. [online] Available at: http://www.nowandthere.org/

blog/2018/3/19/the-conscious-artist.

Acitelli, T. (2017). The 5 Boston neighborhoods where prices increased the

most since 2012. [online] Curbed Boston. Available at: https://boston.curbed.

com/2017/11/21/16685644/boston-neighborhoods-where-prices-increased-most.

PropertyShark Real Estate Blog. (2017). Boston’s Top 5 Fastest-Rising Neighborhoods

in 2017 | PropertyShark. [online] Available at: https://www.propertyshark.com/Real-

Estate-Reports/2017/11/21/bostons-top-5-fastest-rising-neighborhoods-2017/.

Page 36 — What makes a space affirmative?

Agunloye, K. (2019). True Racial Representation Won’t Happen If the Nuances Are

Disregarded. [online] Adweek.com. Available at: https://www.adweek.com/digital/trueracial-representation-wont-happen-if-the-nuances-are-disregarded/.

Page 40 — Black Spaces Matter

Blackwell, K. (2018). Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People. [online]

The Arrow. Available at: https://arrow-journal.org/why-people-of-color-need-spaceswithout-white-people/.

94


‌Pages 48-49 — Reclaiming Space

Crockett, K. (2018). People Before Highways. Amherst University Of Massachusetts

Press.

Bassett, M.T. (2016). Beyond Berets: The Black Panthers as Health Activists. American

Journal of Public Health, 106(10), pp.1741–1743.

COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE. [online] Available at: https://combaheerivercollective.

weebly.com/

Gray, A. (2019). This Boston Collective Laid The Groundwork For Intersectional Black

Feminism | The ARTery. [online] Wbur.org. Available at: https://www.wbur.org/

artery/2019/06/10/boston-combahee-river-collective-intersectional-black-feminism.

Morales, K. (2018). Art project to memorialize lives of slain Rox. women. [online] The

Bay State Banner. Available at: https://www.baystatebanner.com/2018/11/15/artproject-to-memorialize-lives-of-slain-rox-women/

[Accessed 17 Feb. 2020].

‌Pages 62-65 — Experiences and Challenges

Boston Planning & Development Agency (2019). The Importance of Small and

Micro Businesses in Boston. [online] Available at: http://www.bostonplans.org/

getattachment/5d541617-a78e-4dab-b191-6b127f42b030.

‌Page 77 — Design Principles: Honor History

Carter G. Woodson Center. (2016). The Power of Sankofa: Know History - Carter G.

Woodson Center. [online] Available at: https://www.berea.edu/cgwc/the-power-ofsankofa/.

95


Survey Responses Open Data

See page 26 for more background on the survey.

1. Total Responses

109 responses

2. What is your age group?

Value Percent Count

17 or younger 1.80% 2

18 to 24 16.50% 18

25 to 34 34.90% 38

35 to 44 12.80% 14

45 to 54 19.30% 21

55 to 64 10.10% 11

65+ 4.60% 5

3. With which gender do you identify?

Value Percent Count

Woman 96.30% 105

Non-binary 0.90% 1

Genderqueer or gender nonconforming 0.90% 1

An identity not listed 1.80% 2

4. With which race/ethnicity do you identify?

*respondents can choose multiple answers

Value Percent Count

Black/African-American 96.30% 105

American Indian/Alaska Native 6.40% 7

Hispanic/Latino 9.20% 10

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific

Islander

0.90% 1

White/Caucasian 1.80% 2

An identity not listed 5.50% 6

5. What is your home zip code?

Zip Code Percent Count

02119 17% 18

02124 12% 13

02121 9% 10

02126 6% 7

02118 5% 5

02130 5% 5

02122 4% 4

02115 3% 3

02125 3% 3

02131 3% 3

02136 3% 3

02302 3% 3

01904 2% 2

02169 2% 2

02199 2% 2

02215 2% 2

02351 2% 2

96


02368 2% 2

01604 1% 1

01701 1% 1

01742 1% 1

01841 1% 1

01970 1% 1

02072 1% 1

02120 1% 1

02129 1% 1

02134 1% 1

02143 1% 1

02150 1% 1

02180 1% 1

02186 1% 1

02188 1% 1

02301 1% 1

02445 1% 1

03060 1% 1

48505 1% 1

02114 1% 1

02494 1% 1

6. What is your relationship to the

Roxbury community?

Value Percent Count

Currently live in Roxbury 26.40% 28

Used to live in Roxbury, but have

since moved

25.50% 27

Work/have worked in Roxbury 26.40% 28

Organize events/programs in

Roxbury

Neighborhood visitor (i.e.

attending businesses, public

spaces, or events)

22.60% 24

47.20% 50

Other 13.20% 14

7. If you used to live in Roxbury, why did you move out?

Response

The owner of my family's then home didn't renew the lease,

and raised rent.

Rent was raised

I had went away to college and when I came back could

only find affordable housing in mattapan.

For work

I was younger and therefore didn't have a choice. I would

love to move back.

Change in household

My family lived in Roxbury before I could remember. My

younger sister and I were displaced for personal reasons.

Parents moved

High rent

Because we sold our family house

I moved out of Roxbury in 2014 and have since lived in

Jamaica Plain and Dorchester

My family purchased a house in Dorchester. Would have

loved to stay in Roxbury but it's too expensive.

Cost less

Moved over 30 years ago to Randolph. More affordable

housing at the time.

I used to live in Roxbury but moved because of the money

issue. It is too expensive

I moved outside the USA

My family bought our first home in Dorchester.

I was young and living with my parents

Toxic home environment

I couldn't afford any apartments in the area. However it's

where I feel most at home.

Parents

I went to college

gentrification

Got a new place and couldn't afford Roxbury

Could not afford to purchase a home here

Suitable living options

97


8. What is Roxbury’s Greatest Strength?

Response

Accessibility to the rest of the city and upcoming community

businesses

Amazing people, beautiful parks and educational institutions.

Black (illegible)

Black owned businesses

Black people who can and should unite

Black people!

Blackness!

Bring diversity together

Central location dead in the middle of the city of Boston--can get

anywhere from the Bury

Central location in the city and historic black community

Community

Community Culture

Community and retained cultures is an asset

Community bonding

Community events, awareness of self (i.e. Community)

Community pride

Community, love

Community. Lots of diversity and culture

Cultural vitality and social capital; black-owned businesses; culturally

relevant products I.e. food hair products

Culture

Culture

Culture

Culture

Culture and sense of community History

Culture, programming for POC, roots

Culture, strength, and talent

Diverse community of color close to downtown

Diversity History Location

Easy -- its Black roots, history and community

98

Everything is possible and strong no matter the consequence of it

Family

Food places

Growing community

History, ability to be diverse.

History, legacy, and community resiliency

How it really ties community and BIPOC together. It's cool because

that's one of the more cultural spots of Boston. A lot of small

businesses owned by BIPOC there!

how we stick together and the deep reep rooted history

I live on the border of Dorchester and Roxbury, I call both sections

home.

I love Roxbury for the community, even when you're not "from

here" you feel like you belong.

I love the history of the neighborhood. Walking around, you can

feel the vibrancy in the people, the architecture of the buildings,

the local restaurants and the street art.

If you are black and native to Boston you know in Roxbury you

can find it all, food, hair stores, black owned businesses, malcom

x's old stomping grounds, black history clothing stores and most

importantly a sea of brown faces.

It's diversity, history, and representation, especially for black folks.

It is a place where I feel seen and that I belong as compared to

other predominantly white parts of the city. Also the parks/green

spaces are nice.

It's families

It's history/legacy

It's incredibly rich cultural assets and it's history. There are so

many untold stories in Roxbury. About diverse communities

living together happily that no one ever talks about. It's greatest

strength is its people.

It's neighborhoods, transportation (Dudley Station), Old homes

and buildings with beautiful design (very historic) Near Franklin

Park Downtown

it's people and culture! Always a friendly face and feels like true

community

It's people It's land It's rich history It's activist spirit The arts

It's proximity to the city. It's the easiest place to commute to and

from. I think it also is it's worse attribute.

Malcolm X and his legacy Black Market Black Business It's

people and long term residents deterring to stay put. Masjid

Alhamdulillah


Many people that talk about diversity forget about the

strengths that belong to homogenous communities of color.

Roxbury still has spaces that are for, service, owned by, and are

unapologetically Us.

my people

Our people! But we can also be our weakness. So much culture

and diversity.

People

people of color

People Unity

People who care and it's rich history of arts and activisim.

Proximity to Boston

Resilience

Resources

Rich history, strong community, people potential

Roxbury's greatest strength is its rich diversity--present and

past and the role it holds as a cultured compass to Boston's

communities of color

Roxbury's strength is its history and community.

The ability to come together for great events like this (Black

Market)

The Black community in Roxbury is different from Any community

in Boston. The history of Roxbury and the fight for better in your

black community

The black culture that fosters, celebrates, and elevates resilience

through art education

The Black people that live there.

The community is resilient.

The community is strong with powerful voices that bring

awareness

The community really comes together and supports each other

through everything!

The culture

The culture and pride of black people and history! You gave us

Bobby Brown!! Malcome X !!

The culture and pride!

The culture, small businesses, mom and pop stores Location,

history, and people!

The diversity and strong community involvement

The greater community

The history and African American community leaders in and out

of Boston

The history and the people

The history of struggle

The long standing history and power of the Black community. It is

geographically the heart of Boston and the strength and resilience

of the Black community is inspirational.

The love and unity, along with the compassion

The name, community, people

The natives are passionate, community-focused and know the

essence of Roxbury

The people

The people

The people

The people

The people and strong community. There are always people there

for you.

The people have seen and experienced a great deal and would be

perfect to provide insight to community leaders and officials on

projects impacting their space

The people of color

The people, so much potential, just need the resources to tao into

the energy

The residents

The sense of community and the togetherness. Also how it keeps

true to its root.

The sense of pride

the strength in the bonds of the people who live there

The strong sense of community, strong diverse black community

and I am so happy to be a part of it. My neighbors are amazing

and wonderful reprieve from the rest of segregated Boston.

The support of community community iinvestment

Unity

Unity of black people

When people come together united in the spirit of one, we are

strong!

Youth policing programs

99


9. What is one space you enjoy in Roxbury?

Response

Ashur Restaurant

Black Market

Bruce Bolling Building

Church on Dudly Street

Daily Table

Department of Transitional Assistance

Dewitt Community Center

Dudley Café

Dudley Library

Dudley Square Area

Egleston Square Library

Essential Body Herbs

Family Homes

Fasika Café

Fort Hill Park

Franklin Park

Franklin Park Zoo

Frugal Bookstore

Grove Hall Senior Building

Haley House

Hibernian Hall

Ideals Children Services of Roxbury

Inner Sanctum

Joe Steak and Cheese

Kroc Center

Lgbt center Boston glass

Malcom X Park

Michael Biven's Park

Muesum of NCAAA, “Big Head Museum””

Northeastern University

Paige Academy

Parker Hill Branch Library

Reggie Lewis Center

Roxbury Community College, Media Center

Roxbury YMCA

Silver Slipper

Slades

Soleil

Southwest Corridor

Suya Joint

The Freedom House

Tropical Foods

Washington Park Mall

First Church In Roxbury

Africa is the Beginning Mural

St Mark Congregational Church

Horatio Harris Park

First Christian Union Church

Boston Youth Fund (BCYF Youth Engagement & Employment)

Heritage State Park

Melnea A. Cass Recreational Complex

John Eliot Square

AAMARP

Folsom Street Community Garden

Maxine's On Saint James

Shirley Eustis House

Kaba African Market

Madison Park Community Center

Roxbury Boys & Girls Club

Ugi's Subs

Grove Hall Community Center

Shelburne Community Center

826 Boston

Fairmount Innovation Lab

100


Fort Hill Bar & Grill

Mad Music Mill

Z Gallery

Faith's Nauturals (Out of Neighborhood)

10. What are barriers to you attending

events or community spaces?

Value Percent Count

I am too busy/have no free time. 39.80% 37

It is too expensive for me to attend. 12.90% 12

It is hard to find information about

events/spaces.

There is a lack of diversity/representation

in the space.

It is physically accessible (i.e. no places

to sit or ramps to enter buildings).

It is too far away for convenient

travel.

It is lacking childcare or child-friendly

activities.

53.80% 50

24.70% 23

2.20% 2

19.40% 18

10.80% 10

Other 3.20% 3

11. Imagine your ideal vision for the Roxbury community.

What exists in this vision that is currently not present?

Response

Clean streets, open grass areas to relax (outdoor community

spaces), emergency cares, stores with fresh produce... all of these

thing show investment in the community and it's people which

we do not have. It's disheartening to see the amount of trash and

abandoned lots in the city. There is so much potential but not

enough monetary investment and effort.

Minority-run shops lining Dudley Square. - More micro-businesses

and opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow from the ground

up - Opportunities for property ownership and economic

empowerment for residents - More afrocentric public art in the

neighborhood - Leveraging art as community engagement

The wellness center I want to use - Social clubs without ethanol -

Evening dining/ fine dining - women's clothing limited

A 3-level lounge to host a jazz club, dance lounge, and hookah bar

A Children's Museum, Skyzone and roller skating rink. It's terrible

these spaces do not exist in Roxbury

A community in which everyone contributes to changing their

community for the better and encourages each other to grow

A community space that is open 24/7 or close to it for people to

eat, hang out, and network, etc

A green space with innovative areas that would allow for local

talent to mix with imported talents. A place that has it's own art

district that shows Boston is home to brown people and always

has been. I would hope it's a place people would proudly say

they are from and knowing the history of how this space became

known as Roxbury. Bring back the Mecca!

A safe and cultural environment that celebrates black culture and

identity. A space just for us

A socialist, anti-racist economy and social structure that prioritizes

and gives power to the working class nationally oppressed people

who live here

accessible community art spaces and more black businesses

thriving

Active shopping centers, increased homeownership instead of

displacement, more public art displays, increased art spaces

Advertised

Affordable housing

Affordable Housing

101


Affordable housing! Community center closer to Dudley station.

African centered pedagogy

All owned and operated by people with Melanin. People taking

care of the space they occupy. Better food options. More

opportunities for the community (employment and creativity)

All the amenities that are located in the South End, eating,

shopping, drinking (lounges)

All the black people All the black business All black love! Healthy

relationships!!!

All the vacant stores fronts are filled by diverse entrepreneurs

who have ownership in the property and are dedicated well-being

of the community as it is now.

An art center, visual and performing Art studio for local artists

Beautiful, diverse, strong, vibrant community w/ businesses

owned by POC, excellent schools, housing we can afford with

opportunities to build community wealth

Better access/transportation Frequency of the 42 bus Extend

silver line, connect 1-3 4/5

Better housing

Better store shopping along with the mom and pop stores. Make

sure the stores in this area don’t leave.

Black ownership! I want to see more of it. People working together

and more unity

Black people being able to stay in their community

Black people can afford to live and do business in the community

Black-owned business and more housing, better rents

Black-owned community and helping to heal the community with

our culture

Block parties, annual art shows, more outdoor events

Boston as a whole has a history of segregation even within

communities of people. As a transplant to Boston (I moved from

Detroit 10 years ago), it can take time to feel like you've integrated

into a community because of this. Also, there isn't any uniform

platform that exists yet to bring people and information together

due to a number of things: one being access to technology that

takes into barriers such as age or language. I'm currently working

on a website with friends that aims to do such that and find ways

to overcome these obstacles and bring people together.

Choice of places: - have breakfast/coffee - a nice meal - listen to

music - art/performance space

102

Clean community center, green spaces, decent housing for

homeless, poor people, and elders. Public bath and restrooms for

everyone

Dinner venues, speakeasy, shopping. Affordable housing. Land

that is green, flowers, waterfalls, sculptures, etc.

Every black-owned business coming together as one

Expanding on the QPOC spaces that already exist. A Roxbury

that values the prior contributions of Black folx and recognizes

that this was ours first. Doesn't try to change the essence of the

community. And affordable housing!

Hm, maybe more ownership of property. More venue spaces.

I vision a museum of Black people

I want the area to be like Black Wall Street--Black excellence in full

I want the violence to decrease and the community to get closer.

I'd love to see more housing opportunities, at the age of 21 I'm

not sure how likely it will be for me to live here when I start my

career

ideally, spaces in Roxbury would engage the community in

conversations and connections with each other. To hear each

others stories and to celebrate the history of this important

place. Discover Roxbury is now closed and it was an important

organization for telling Roxbury's History. The libraries could hold

History days where the seniors and others in the area could come

share stories so they don't get lost.

Improvement of physical green spaces and buy in of abandoned

properties. I wish these abandoned, empty buildings would be

owned by business owners that live in Roxbury! This would allow

for opportunities for the community to grow and gain property

value and income

Investment for our people by our people without the government

It could be a great arts and business district for POC, like Harlem

for instance, but there are many abandoned businesses and

homes. Those businesses and homes could be used to house

people or house business people.

Less drug use. Current challenges are people on drugs. You cannot

come out of your house without seeing someone on drugs

Less gentrification More black spaces

Less gun violence, more awareness to young children and most

importantly less gentrification.

Less violence

Making events affordable to people that live in the community.

More art spaces, Beautiful public spaces, Open markets, Clean

sidewalks, Murals and sculptures


More black businesses and affordable housing;livable wages.

More black-owned and female-led businesses

More black-owned businesses, lower cost of housing as well as

buildings for leasing

more community gardens, youth cultural/arts center, summer

dance festival with outdoor dance performances

More diverse opportunities for residents and homewonership

More foot traffic, diverse businesses, Juice bar, Ice cream shop

Restaurants, dry cleaners

More green space, pools, more businesses, resources for

homeless people with less opportunity than others

More green space! More consistent and well-publicized events

More homeowners and renters meeting on a regular basis to discuss

community issues Current meetings should be more widely

publicized to boost attendance

more housing and cleaner streets more jobs and training in the

community

More Lgbt safe spaces. More grocery stores

More open spaces for community members to lead programs

More spaces for black folks specifically queer women of color

More teen clubs, specifically for teen outings/parties

More unity Safe spaces daily

More variety of thriving local businesses. Initiatives that support

businesses within the Dudley area specifically. Dudley is the

economic center of the community and it seems like businesses

struggle to be successful here.

More ways for locals to get together and support each other

More. Lack owned business

Multi-dimensional space

My ideal of a better us new and improved is owning our own,

growing our own food, and having our own wealth and homes

My vision is that we support small businesses and close the

wealth gap

No one leaves that wants to stay (anti-displacement). Thriving

businesses; supportive spaces that promote cultured expression

Affordable and stable housing commercial space

Open garden space, outdoor events, strong community events,

investment in public recreational spaces- food pop ups etc

Parks. Green open spaces without "purpose."

Poetry, radical tender black femme healing spaces and art all the

time!

Programs that encourage and foster home ownership and culturally

significant business building

Public and private spaces that are community owned and operated

for business and culture that keeps people out in real life

connecting and creating with others, and off of their cell phones

Really revamping Dudley Square. Honestly, I would push white

people out of the " Egelston Square/almost JP area" because they

are really coming from both sides and I hate it. This might sound

segregated but Boston NEEDS an all black community. Only. We

should be able to strive without other people.

Spread of wealth Black Wall Street

Studio spaces for artists! More public art! It would also be great to

see a Roxbury Festival featuring the local businesses and nonprofits

in the area.

That it remains a Black space. I would like to see upwardly mobile

Black graduates moving, buying homes, creating businesses, etc.

The Black Wall street takes over a strip in Roxbury

The community having access to new developments and affordable

rent

The support and concern for issues that only we can fix

Thriving businesses owned an operated by black people;

Affordable housing; Welcoming and safe space for families; Fun

and exciting spaces for entertainment

To be able to collectively use the resources in the community to

take economic ownership

To stay black

Unity

Unity No Violence Patience Acceptance Understanding

Unity of people and community

We need more unity and harmony. The same offers as the suburbs

have--such as schools, community activities, better housing

options

103


12. What is one question you would pose to the

community in Roxbury?

Response

Are you comfortable in your own space?

for us by us!!

How are we as a community going to buy back this area and make

it grow?

How can I help?

How can outsiders help? Specifically "black gentifiers"

How can we become self-sustaining?

How can we combat the violence?

How can we come together and make this a safe space?

How can we come together more and begin to build collectively?

How can we connect rather than build in isolation?

How can we do better?

How can we fix the streets and take care of the spaces we have so

we can keep them?

How can we get more people who are older and not benefiting

from the developments involved?

How can we grow and build together?

How can we help you keep your spaces?

How can we leverage existing resources and build partnerships

between stakeholders instead of operating in silos?

How can we reclaim our space in the Bury (A peace of the Rock)?

How can we unite to save the roots and heritage of this neighborhood?

How can you want someone else to change something that you

can't change for yourself?

How do we address the need for a broader range of economic

diversity to sustain the business community?

How do we create more community learning and healing spaces?

How do we embed ownership, education, and cultural spaces in

the community?

How do we keep rents affordable so we don't run residents out of

the neighborhood?

How do we not lose our culture and voice?

How do we stay united?

104

How do we stop gentrification?

How do we strategize and organize to create/build our collective

vision for our community?

How do we survive and maintain our culture in the face of

gentrification?

How much of your income do you spend on small businesses

purchases?

I can't say right now

I would like us to always show support for one another any way

that we can.

I'd want to hear from the elders about what they'd like to see restored

from the community's past. If we don't recognize our past,

we cannot build a strong future.

I'm not sure if I even want to ask anything. Who will answer me

except mmyself?

If you wouldn't raise your children here, doesn't it mean it's time

for change?

Is there a plan to ensure families that have lived and helped build

the community can afford to stay and have a say in what businesses

come in?

Let's keep our community clean

The world is changing do you think that we can?

Unity

What are some of the educational opportunities here for future

teachers?

What are ways to get to know our neighbors and build a friendlier

atmosphere?

What are your dreams? How can we help?

What can other communities learn from the way Roxbury residents

have preserved and lost history and relevance?

What can we do to attract more minority businesses?

What can we do to create more unity?

What do you want for your children?

What does unity mean?

What future would you want for your children? How could you do

your part to build it?

What happened?

What is your history and why don't you tell it's story.

What more do you have to lose? The community is shifting and

the more people that come to the table, the more influence we'll

have


What needs to change in Roxbury?

What prevents you from investing, pooling resources, and buying

the community in which you live?

What will it take for you to contribute to the gentrification and

policies that do not serve us and change them?

What would you do if you did not have to appease anyone out

side of your self?

What's next?

When are we going to buy it up?

When are we going to get more affordable housing?

When are we going to offer more affordable housing?

Who have we inspired and who have we encouraged?

Who should invest in your communities? (When it comes to

housing, urban renewal of spaces, and development of youth

programs)

Who/what is standing in the way of what is needed to own your

space? How do we move it/them so that inclusive and proud

community can be created? But if the question is to be asked,

let there be people to put real and permanent action behind the

answers/solutions.

Why are African American folks aged 30-55 being pushed out of

Roxbury?

Why are we allowing gentrification to happen without actively

struggling against it?

Why are we treating our earth as if it is a trash can?

Why aren't the Black churches doing anything about helping their

congregation members to keep their homes? I feel they would be

instrumental in this fight against gentrification.

Why aren't there more black-owned businesses?

Why aren't we taking care of our public spaces? There are so

many beautiful parks how do we get the local government or

leaders to invest in the restoration of these areas? Can we have

running places ? And community yoga programs?

Why can't we work together to build each other?

Why do we fight and bicker with each other?

Why do we not invest in our community, our home?

Why don't we have more indoor spaces for children to play,

exercise and learn.

Why is it alright for us to allow gentrification?

Why isn't there more funding available specifically for womenowned

and black business

Why not cast a big net and think big?

Why yall food so good?

Why you so far away?

13. What is your superpower?

Response

Ability to connect with others

Ability to listen and engage

Able to distill big complicated terms so that everyone can understand.

Affirming friend

AM

Ambition

Artistic vision

Assessing others' needs and helping them connect to the resources

they need and their sense of seld

Being a black woman

Being able to connect with others.

Being myself

bing me

blackness

Boldness with love

Bounce back magic

Brain

Brainstorming

Caring

church

communication

compassion

Compassion

compassion

compassion

105


Connecting

Connection

Creating opportunities to learn

Creative

Creativity

Culture/Heritage

Emotional intelligence

Empathetic

Empathy

Empathy

Empathy

Empathy

energy fixer

Exploration

Forgiveness

Friendly

Good judge of character

graciousness

Hard worker

healer

healing

Helping others

Humility

I get things done and can ride any wave

I have them all I am a goddess

Intensity

Intuition

Intuition

Kindness

Knowledge

laughter

Leadership

Listening

106

Love

Love

Love, Divine

Loving our people and getting along with them

Magic

Make everyone feel like they're at home

melanin

My heart!

my personality

My shine! Love for the people

My smile

My voice

My voice

organization

Organization and event planning

passion

Patience

Patience

Personable

Player

Power to bring people together

Powerful

Recuperation

Resilience

Resilience

Resilience

Resourceful, connecting with others

Smile and my ability to connect with all people

strength

Strength, resilience

Stubbornness and passion

Super vision

supporting and networking

synthesizing ideas


Talking

Tenacity

The ability to create

To tap the pulse of the people

vigilance

Visionary

Voice

vulnerability

Wisdom

Choose a color comes to mind when you

hear the word “home”?

9%

4%

7%

8%

20%

16%

11%

6%

4%

17%

Value Percent Count

Red 8% 8

Orange 20% 21

Yellow 17% 17

Lime Green 4% 4

Green 6% 6

Blue 11% 11

Turquoise 16% 16

Violet 9% 9

Pink 4% 4

Purple 7% 7

107


108


109


110

March 2020

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!