Residency Update: L’Merchie Frazier

“Home is Where I Am” is a project of the Stable Ground residency that directs our attention to creative art-making and building for consciously considering components of the space we occupy as home.  The project through poetry and image making exercises ponders the questions of community resistance and protest to invisibility and erasure.  Through the apparatus of community and collective agency we seek to explore our awareness of individual and organizational power to combat the trauma associated with issues of homelessness, foreclosure, eviction and neighborhood gentrification to gain access to asserting citizens voices to support housing equity, and challenge current housing policy.

In Component One we will work with the agency, CityLife Vida Urbana, that is celebrating its forty-fifth anniversary.   We will serve its constituency with a series of workshops in “PowerUp” poetry, interviews, data collection and image making that will promote empowered individual and collective voice, display and exhibit the products of the workshops during their anniversary celebration of community activism and empowerment.  To accomplish this, we have been meeting with CityLife administrators and staff to plan our involvement in their festivities and art-build.  We meet with and observe Tuesday night meetings with their constituents that CityLife organizes for those seeking assistance with their housing issues of ownership and rental as they consult with lawyers and law students to develop an appropriate approach to possible resolution and safety.

In Component Two it is our intention to expand the net of community members by planning and staging a timeline of activities and events with Violence Transformed in open spaces in the communities of Dorchester and Mattapan.  For use in these public events we will design a tool kit for families and their children, as future citizens, to prompt early conversations of parents with children to support and gather their voices on what home means to them. We intend to engender the support of local policy makers for these occasions.

Component Three will engage the NULawLab staff, facility and its students with opportunities to expand their intellectual capacities and vocabularies that work toward better analysis, mapping and support of advanced thinking about healthy and equitable housing policy development in our neighborhoods.

The key word common to all of the work and activity generated in this project is “stable”.  With stability we will succeed.

 

L’Merchie Frazier
Stable Ground Boston Resident Artist

Feb.14, 2018

Next week the Stable Ground Team will be meeting with the  Community Engagement Manager at the Lena Park Community Development Corporation. We are also excited to meet with the Director of Community Engagement at Urban Edge.  We will be learning more about the perspectives of each organization and the community based  issues that each organization feels are most prevalent.

We are beginning a robust round of outreach to many community based organizations and organizers.

We will also be attending Toward Sanctuary Summits is organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics in association with The New School Sanctuary Working Group and The Zolberg Institute Working Group on Expanding Sanctuary.  This Friday, Jules Rochielle will be attending an all day workshop with Jeanne van Heeswijk, artist and initiator, Philadelphia Assembled and Michael O’Bryan, Director of Youth and Young Adult Programs, The Village of Arts and Humanities, Philadelphia. We look forward to learning from other organizations.

Jan. 2018- Feb. 2018 Project Highlights

Our Legal Designers have been quite busy the past couple months!

Dayle Duran has, with minor help from the team, created a draft for a Stable Ground Boston (SGB) Trauma-Informed Advocacy guide and has been able to digitally map more than 100 subsidized housing units in the greater Dorchester area (which is currently available to see on the website). She has conducted outreach to the Ujima Project, Health Resources in Action, Dorchester Community Development Corporations, and various other housing experts in the city of Boston. She has attended housing policy conversations with the Boston Foundation and the Office of Housing Stability.

Mark Martinez has taken on the task of creating all video content for the project and did the introduction videos for both the Legal Designers and the Artists in Residence. He also was in charge of creating a summary of the most relevant Massachusetts Housing Laws for the SGB team. He has also been a crucial part of helping the team understand the local law.

Daniel Espinoza’s work has mostly been out of the office. Along with Mark, he has done a walkthrough of most of the Dorchester area to get a feel of the neighborhood, has been to community conversations with the City of Boston, Vida Urbana, and Tran’s housing group, Dorchester Not For Sale. Additionally, along with Mark and Dayle, Daniel has been to several public hearings at the State House dealing with housing issues. He has also compiled and summarized housing reports from the last five years.

Together, our Legal Designers have been compiling a list of all current and proposed bills that touch on housing. Dayle has been focused on the city level, Daniel has been focused at the state level, and Mark has been looking into what other major cities across the country have been doing in regards to housing. In addition, the Legal Designers completed a high-level clinic with the Domestic Violence Institute on the key tenets of trauma-informed legal services.

Our team is excited about having laid down a great foundation for our artists and we look forward to the future of this project!