We got problems. Tons of problems. Where do we go for solutions? During the clean up of the blizzard I noticed something when shoveling out my car. I’ve gotta pedal back… In January, I moved to a non-gentrified neighborhood in Bed Stuy. The racial breakdown is mostly African American, West Indian, African and Puerto Rican.
I did not notice it when I moved in, but there is a Jamacian Beef Patty factory directly across the street from the apartment I moved into, which means there are tanker truck deliveries several times a week. The trucks are loud and leave their engines running for hours, not to mention Atlantic avenue is the cross street so there is always tons of car exhaust and traffic noise.
Since I’ve come to this street I’ve had a “aw hell no” attitude when it comes to this nonsense. I pulled out my camera and videoed the loud trucks, rude truck drivers. Contacted CBS local news and the police. The police give the factory $1000 tickets for the truck deliveries coming to a residential area at 3:00am and other inappropriate times making noise. I actually have the officer’s number and text him when early deliveries happen. The city has also installed cameras on our block to keep an eye on the street and the factory. Now I’m not sure if I caused that… but it is a good thing.
I was out shoveling my truck the other day when I moved the snow into a “wrong spot”. A Jamaican woman came out from her house told me to stop, long story short she ended up threatening to beat me up. I did not engage her. One of the guys standing by started telling me about all the problems in the neighborhood saying…”You’re a trouble maker… you get things done. We need trees on the block…the factory stinks like burning meat in the summer, we have no fire hydrants that work here…” He went on and on.
I am moving.
Yes, I am a “trouble maker” but I am not the person to save this street. It takes united effort with strong leaders with people skills to unite them. I am not that leader for this particular street. Yet, I have been here for a reason. I’ve never lived in a working class black neighborhood like this. I now have a better understanding of what it’s like to live in a place where you can’t get a decent night’s sleep because of situations that are beyond you. Not getting that sleep effects my mood during the day. I’m wired it effects my ability to audition well and book the work I need to make money to have a better place. Now my place is infested with mice.
I have empathy for the neighbor who threatened to kick my fucking ass for shoveling snow on her snow pile. I was told that these apartments on the block were built about 8 years ago and they were built cheaply. There are leaks all over the place so when the snow melts all of the basements flood. Couple that with the noise, the pollution, the trucks that come and hit parked cars on the street and do not report the accident…and so many fucked up things that happen in this neighborhood… I can understand why a woman would take her frustrations out on a stranger putting snow from the sidewalk onto her snowpile.
The thing is, I am lucky. I don’t have to stay here. I’m single and I have a loving family who can help me during my time of need. I’ve already lined up a room to rent back in my old neighborhood…which is like living on Sesame street with trees and quiet. There are grocery stores and coffee shops. Nail salons and neighbors for the most part help one another with shoveling snow instead of getting into fights or just watching.
I’m leaving this neighborhood with a better understanding of why people get so angry at seemingly harmless situation. I’m leaving here with a deeper understanding and ability to have more empathy.
Women of color need a space to not only voice challenges, but space to work out solutions and encourage one another to take action.
The burdens we bear are great and individually we are weak. We may seem to be strong, but this life is relentless and we all need support.
So, I’ve created a Facebook community group page called When Women of color unite. So often on Social Media we post the problems and f#$ed up situations. In the comments section people debate complain and vent but very seldom do people come up with solutions for the challenges. When women of color unite page is a place where collectively we can come up with solutions and create action steps and hold one another accountable for taking action. This is where we transform the victim into the empowered woman of color.
Now more than ever we need resources and we need support in being held accountable to take action and create change.
When Women of Color come together…magic happens.
Who is with me?