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The Black Lives Matter uprising is a wakeup call for America. It is an essential reminder of all the ways that systemic racism impacts every aspect of Black life, from police violence to the coronavirus pandemic to the housing crisis. As the poet Audre Lorde says, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” To challenge racism requires more than condemning police violence alone, it requires all of us to support Black communities against the looming housing crisis to come.Black communities are disproportionately impacted by the economic recession; they are often the hardest hit and the slowest to recover — as we saw with the Great Recession of 2008. Despite the recent report of job gains as the economy reopens, Black unemployment has not improved and is now at 16.8 percent. These numbers, though, fail to capture the generations of Black exclusion from the job market or the racial wage gap. In places like New York City, rampant racial and economic segregation show just how devastating the coronavirus pandemic has been and remains for Black communities.While the pandemic has resulted in millions of Americans being unable to pay their rents and mortgages, Black communities are particularly vulnerable. The housing crisis is undoubtedly a race issue when Black and Latinx people are disproportionately renters, and therefore they are disproportionately impacted by evictions. To be even more specific, Black women-led households experience some of the highest levels of evictions due to a host of factors related to race and gender, as noted by sociologist Matthew Desmond.During this pandemic, tenant advocacy groups have highlighted the need to protect tenants through a universal eviction moratorium and canceling rents. As housing advocates like to say “housing is healthcare.” The threat of evictions and the struggles for people who are homeless is a public health issue and it has life and death consequences. This is not hyperbole: Black and Latinx communities suffering from the highest levels of coronavirus deaths, further compounding the devastating realities of this pandemic. There is no way to social distance and self-quarantine if you must go to court to fight an eviction or if you are homeless on the street or residing in an overcrowded shelter.In response to the outcry and demands for eviction moratorium of the housing justice movement, temporary eviction moratoria were implemented at the city, state, and federal level. According to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, many of these eviction moratoria are set to expire shortly. In fact, twelve states already ended eviction protections in May. In New York alone, housing advocates predict 50,000 new cases may be filed for nonpayment of rent following expiration of Gov. Cuomo’s eviction moratorium. To return to the eviction business as usual will result in massive evictions and a homelessness crisis on a scale we have never seen before.Once again, housing advocates are demanding eviction moratoria be extended, along with passing legislation to cancel rents and provide tenants with rental assistance. The movement to cancel rent have been growing since March, and it is beginning to fuse with the Black Lives Matter movement. After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police in May, Black Lives Matter has become a rallying cry against the devaluation of Black life all across our society, including in the context of housing and evictions.The property interests of landlords can be sharply contrasted with the Black and brown communities who face homelessness during this pandemic. Black and Latinx people in America are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. In Los Angeles, Black people make up only 8 percent of the total population but 34 percent of people experiencing homelessness. These disparities are true in other cities as well. The Coalition for the Homeless estimates 57 percent of heads of household in shelters are Black and 32 percent are Latinx in New York. The homelessness crisis is a crisis of criminalization of race and poverty—as police arrest and escalate confrontations with people sleeping on the street, in the subways, or in their car.Further, The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition has noted how “landlords have used marshals like their personal police force to evict mostly black and brown tenants.” The story of Eleanor Bumpurs highlights the grotesque intersection of evictions and the ugliness of law enforcement. In 1984, Ms. Bumpurs was shot in the chest and killed by New York Police Department officers in her Bronx public housing apartment. The NYPD was called in response to a scheduled eviction for nonpayment of rent. Ms. Bumpurs was a 67-year-old Black woman with a disability.The only reason to reopen the courts is to resume evictions and to put the profits of landlords over the lives of Black people. Evictions are a form of state violence and are part-and-parcel with systemic racism. The scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore has defined racism as “the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.” Evictions destabilize a person’s employment, education, and healthcare. Evictions also subject Black and brown communities to increased exposure to the coronavirus — the same groups already at heightened risk of death from this disease.When we say Black lives matter, we mean Black lives have to matter against all forms of state violence and all forms of racial inequality. We must demand systemic changes and radically transform our collective priorities, including the looming housing crisis ahead. We need a world that prioritizes Black life above policing, profits, and evictions.Lisa Edwards is a Black activist and civil legal services attorney for the past three decades, and was a former Civil Vice President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325.Jared Trujillo is President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325, a union of non-profits in New York that represents lawyers, paralegals, and social workers that focus on criminal defense, immigration, juvenile rights, parent defense, and employment. He is also a Steering Committee member of Decrim NY, an organization that advocates for the decriminalization of sex work and the empowerment of sex workers. Twitter: @JaredTruEsqueer.Jason Wu is a legal services attorney in New York City, and a trustee for the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325. Follow him on Twitter: @CriticalRace. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Rent Is Due. What If You Can't Pay?These Artists Are Making Art As Political ProtestIf You Can't Pay Rent This Month, You're Not Alone
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This month is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and right now, access to mental health care for people of color is especially critical. Black people have been watching as a disproportionate number of their loved ones die from the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve watched people who look like them be violently killed or threatened — for nothing more than being Black in public. Finding a psychologist or mental health worker is difficult for many people. Your health insurance may not cover it. There may be no counselors near you. And Black people face another challenge: In the United States, just 5.3% of psychologists are Black; 83.6% are white. That means that if you’re a person of color searching for a therapist or any other kind of mental health resource, it might be difficult to connect with someone who looks like you. That’s a problem, since having a therapist of the same race or ethnic background as oneself tends to provide a better “understanding and acceptance of therapeutic interventions and perceived benefit of therapy,” reported a 2006 study from the American Psychological Association. In other words, it makes mental health care more effective. The organizations below offer a variety of mental health services specifically for people of color. Some make it easier to find a therapist of color; others offer access to communities focused on different aspects of mental wellness; others provide yoga or meditation classes led by Black practitioners. Use them, share them, support them as they do their critically important work. ShineShine is a website and mobile app that was co-founded by two women of color. It was created in order to fundamentally shif representation in mental health, and the platform centers around advocating for inclusion in the wellness industry. The app is home to a number of meditations and stories that are predominantly written by and voiced by Black women. Shine is free to download and offers two memberships: free and Shine Premium, which costs $53.99 for a year or $11.99 if you pay by month. Therapy for Black GirlsThe Therapy for Black Girls site has a search function that can help Black women find an in-person or virtual therapist. Founder Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, a licensed psychologist, also hosts a podcast called Therapy for Black Girls, which discusses a variety of mental health issues. For $9.99 a month, you could opt into a community called The Yellow Couch Collective, which hosts Q & As with experts from the podcast and brings you together with other Black women. Inclusive TherapistsAs the name suggests, this site is a resource for people who are looking for inclusive therapists. “We center the needs of marginalized populations, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, the LGBTQ+ community, neurodivergent folx, and people with disabilities,” reads the website. The AAKOMA ProjectThe AAKOMA Project has many initiatives, including free therapy for young Black people and teens in Northern Virginia. Founded by Alfiee Breland-Noble, PhD, the organization focuses on youth of color, and “works with teenagers and their families to raise awareness, conduct patient-centered research, and encourage young people to begin conversations in their communities,” according to their website. They are also partners of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Africa’s Health Matters, and Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Arlington. Boris Lawrence Henson FoundationThe Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation was launched this past April. Named for the founder Taraji P. Henson’s father, who experienced mental health challenges after serving in the Vietnam War, it was created to provide Black families and individuals who are dealing with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic free therapy sessions. According to its website, the foundation is “committed to changing the perception of mental illness in the African-American community by encouraging those who suffer with this debilitating illness to get the help they need.” Their second wave of registration for free therapy opens up on June 5. Ethel’s ClubEthel’s Club has physical locations in Brooklyn, plus an online community that’s open to anyone who’s seeking out wellness, creative, and cultural resources. The social and wellness club offers wellness and workout sessions, livestreamed classes and salons, and a global network — all for a $17/month subscription. Their website says, “We create healing spaces that center and celebrate people of color through conversation, wellness and creativity.” Black Mental WellnessThe mission of Black Mental Wellness is to “provide resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective, to highlight and increase the diversity of mental health professionals, and to decrease the mental health stigma in the Black community.”The site is a good launching pad. It has info about helpful mental health apps and podcasts and literature about specific behavioral techniques. Black Mental Wellness also offers workshops and presentations. Dive in WellDive in Well actually started out as a dinner series of diverse wellness leaders across New York City and Los Angeles. They’ve since turned those dinners into a movement, and now offer both online and offline experiences, resources, and tools. You can gain access to their e-books on both diversity and allyship by donating to their Ifundwomen campaign.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Nurses On Protesting Amid The COVID-19 PandemicOfficers Who Killed Floyd Have A Troubling HistoryThe Music Industry To Host Blackout In Protest
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If you’re feeling young, scrappy, and hungry - or just hungry - while awaiting the Hamilton premiere, look no further. We’re here to help you make the story of tonight a success in a way that would make our Founding Father without a father proud. Sure, you could entertain your premiere party guests with Hurricanes to drink, A Winter’s Meatball dip, A. Ham-burgers from the grill with a side of You Will Never Be Satisfries, and end the night with a World Turned Upside Down Cake. The Hamilton food puns are plentiful. But history has its eyes on you, so let’s take a look at what the esteemed Alexander Hamilton might have feasted on while watching his eponymous musical. While historians may not know much about what the first U.S Secretary of the Treasury actually ate - his writings rarely mention food - we can assume by his location and circumstances what he may have enjoyed throughout his life. From the West Indies to New York City As a child growing up relatively poor in the West Indies - first in Nevis and then on St. Croix - Hamilton likely would have been raised on stews, rice & peas, fresh island fruits, conch, and a cornmeal flatbread like Johnny Cakes. Variations on Johnny Cakes - known by a myriad of names - can be found from the islands of Hamilton’s youth on up the Eastern seaboard all the way to Canada. When Hamilton arrived in New York City in 1772, it’s likely he would have discovered an adaptation of this island staple. What would a Johnny Cake have tasted like in Hamilton’s time? Thankfully, there’s a cookbook to tell us. American Cookery, published in 1796, is the first known cookbook written by an American. Its author, Amelia Simmons, describes herself as “an American orphan” and was likely a domestic worker somewhere in New York’s Hudson Valley. The book features recipes for early American staples pumpkin pie and suggests serving cranberry with turkey. It also includes a “Johny Cake, or Hoe Cake” recipe. Simmons’ recipe below uses shortening and molasses, something you won’t find in many Johnny Cake recipes today. Tastes like 1776, New York City. Working in the nation’s early capital - Philadelphia Though Hamilton called New York City home for most of his adult life, he spent a considerable amount of time working in Philadelphia, even residing there temporarily while the city served as the nation’s capital. While it would be years before Hamilton could have enjoyed an iconic Philly cheesesteak on his lunch break, he most certainly would have savored its popular predecessor, Pepper Pot Soup. “Pepper Pot is the most famous soup in American history that most people have never heard of,” remarks Tonya Hopkins, food historian and Foodizen podcast host. “It originated in Africa, bloomed and blossomed in the Caribbean, and became the first signature dish of Philadelphia.” “Pepper Pot women” were among the earliest street vendors in the city, lining the streets along the port. “Pepper Pot was made and sold for pennies per serving, almost entirely by free black women,” Hopkins continues. “This was the street food of Philadelphia at the time.” There are many renditions of Pepper Pot Soup available online. Campbell’s even offered their own canned version from 1899 - 2010. Most recipes are similar in that they utilize affordable cuts of beef, leafy greens, lots of herbs, spices, and chili peppers native to the Caribbean. Hopkins, who comes from a long line of cooks, says her recipe was based on a version she sampled at Philadelphia’s City Tavern, but then took on a life of its own. “When I make a soup, I’m not the only person in the room,” says Hopkins. “It becomes a medium for me to communicate with my ancestors. The soup starts to make itself.” Dinner in “The Room Where It Happened” What would a Hamilton premiere menu be without a dish from “The Room Where It Happened”? This musical number tells the story of the Compromise of 1790, made over a fabled dinner where Thomas Jefferson and James Madison met with Alexander Hamilton to discuss his federal taxation plan. As stated in the song, the men walked into dinner ‘diametric’ly opposed, foes’ but left with Madison agreeing to back Hamilton’s policy in Congress. In return, Hamilton would support moving the nation’s capital to the Potomac, so the Virginians could ‘work a little closer to home.’ Often considered America’s founding foodie, Thomas Jefferson was known for his elaborate dinner parties, prepared by enslaved James Hemings, the nation’s first French-trained chef. Hemings had traveled to France with Jefferson to study the culinary arts and served as the chef de cuisine at America’s first diplomatic embassy there. He is credited with introducing classic foods like French fries and ice cream to the fledgling nation upon his return. Based on historical records, we know much of what was on the dinner menu on June 20, 1790, including capon stuffed with Virginia ham, boeuf a la mode, and a take on modern day profiteroles that author Charles Cerami describes in his book “Dinner at the Jefferson’s,” as such: “At the precise moment when the evening was approaching perfection came the universally favorite dessert — the delicious vanilla ice cream that still seemed like a miracle, for it was enclosed in a warm pastry, like a cream puff, giving the illusion that the ice cream had come straight from the oven,” Cerami writes. “It never failed to elicit cries from the groups of diners at Monticello, and it did not fail now. Even Madison gave a small squeal, and Hamilton positively exulted." The recipe below pays homage to the dessert served as this famous dinner, with a modern day adaptation of Hemings’ ice cream recipe, and nod to Hamilton’s love of caffeinated beverages in the coffee fudge sauce. This dessert is sure to please even those who will never be satisfied. Regardless of what’s on your menu, be sure to raise a glass - or a shot - to freedom this weekend and enjoy Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece. Hamilton will be released on Disney+ at 12 AM PST (3 AM EST) on Friday, July 3rd. Featured Recipes JOHNY CAKE, OR HOE CAKE Adapted from Amelia Simmons, American Cookery Makes 12 cakes Ingredients: 2 cups cornmeal 1 cup milk 1/2 tbsp molasses 1 tbsp vegetable shortening 1/2 tsp salt Directions: Mix salt and cornmeal in a medium bowl. Scald milk (bring to just below a boil) and remove from heat. Whisk in molasses and shortening until dissolved. Let cool slightly. Pour milk mixture into cornmeal and stir to thoroughly combine. Spoon mixture onto baking sheet in 12 2-3 inch circles. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. PHILADELPHIA PEPPER POT SOUP Recipe by Tonya Hopkins Makes about 6 quarts Ingredients: 1 large cassava (peeled, cored and cut into chunks) 2 small sweet potatoes, diced 5 strips thick-cut bacon, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces 1½ pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 or 2 inch cubes 3 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste) 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon ground cloves ¼ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 1½ teaspoon onion powder 1½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon tapioca cornstarch 1 medium sized onion, diced 1 bunch scallions, greens diced, whites chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 poblano pepper, diced 1 each (small) red, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced 1 habanero* minced (don’t discard seeds to stir into simmering stew if you prefer more heat) 1 small to medium jalapeno minced ½ pound leafy greens, such as collards, kale, callaloo) stemmed and cut into strips 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme Beef Stock (about 32 ounces or more to cover) ¼ cup dry red wine (optional) Directions: In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, allspice, cloves, paprika, onion and garlic powders. Season beef cubes with half the mixture, and set aside. Peel and cut cassava, discarding hard, fibrous parts. Bring a medium size pot of salted water to boil, then add cassava chunks. Simmer until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, coarsely smash to chunky consistency. Set aside. While the cassava is cooking, brown bacon on both sides until just crisp in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove and set aside, leaving the rendered fat. Lightly dredge seasoned beef in starch, then brown beef on all sides in the bacon fat a single layer in the pot. Brown beef in batches if necessary. Add sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, peppers to the pot, sprinkling in the seasoning mix on top. Stir. Cover and let simmer until vegetables soften and become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in additional starch (up to 2 teaspoons) for thickener, stir well. Stir in stock, wine, fresh thyme leaves and cassava mash. Bring to just under a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add bacon pieces, scallions and seasoned greens and continue simmering until greens are tender. Remove from heat and let the soup rest for a few min before serving. Remove thyme stems before serving. Adjust with any additional salt, pepper and other seasoning to taste. PROFITEROLES WITH CHOCOLATE COFFEE SAUCE Serves 6 Pâte à choux: ½ cup water ½ cup flour ¼ cup butter 2 eggs Vanilla ice cream: 1 qt heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup sugar 3 large egg yolks 1 vanilla bean, halved with beans scraped Chocolate coffee sauce: 1/2 pint heavy cream 1/2 cup sugar 2 tbsp butter 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, like Scharffen Berger 2 tbsp cocoa powder, like Valhrona 2 tbsp espresso powder ½ tsp vanilla extract Pinch of salt For the ice cream: In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine cream, ½ the sugar, and vanilla bean (including the pod). Stir to combine and bring the mixture just to a boil. In a metal bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks with the remaining sugar until the mixture thickens and pales. Pour 1/3 of the hot cream mixture into the eggs yolks, whisking constantly. Then add another ⅓ of the hot cream mixture, continue whisking. Return this mixture to the saucepan and continue whisking over low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then at least 2 hours or overnight. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and then freeze according to ice cream freezer/maker instructions. For the sauce: In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine heavy cream, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and whisk in chocolate. When chocolate has melted, add cocoa and espresso powder and whisk until no lumps remain. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat before serving. For the pâte à choux: Combine butter and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms into a ball. Remove from stove and add one egg and a time, beating until fully incorporated. Spoon dough onto a greased cookie sheet in circular shapes with the center slightly raised, 1 ½ inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then continue for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Once slightly cooled, cut in half and serve with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with the sauce.
For anyone who's been paying even the tiniest bit of attention to social media lately, it’s been hard to miss the increasing flood of "Karen" videos — footage of angry, dramatic, sobbing white women getting called out for scolding, spitting at, cursing at or even pointing guns at people — displaying a sense of entitlement, privilege and racism.