Emergency Town Hall on White Supremacy and Gentrification in Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Crown Heights
Saturday December 1st 1:30-4pm at the Flatbush Library at 22 Linden Blvd
Join the Washington Family and your neighbors to talk about strategies to fight gentrification and white supremacy in Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Crown Heights
We believe that fighting gentrification, racism, police violence, and white supremacy is a fight we all — long-time and new residents, communities of color and white communities, low-income to middle-class people — must be part of.
For more information and to RSVP: B4G@equalityforflatbush.org
Or 646 820-6039
On November 9th, Ann Marie Washington, a Caribbean woman, was beaten and stabbed near Church Avenue by a white assailant hurling racist and sexist insults. Only through the community pressure was the NYPD forced to investigate the assault as a hate crime. To date no one has been arrested for this brutal white supremacist attack.
This crime of hate in our community is unfortunately not an isolated incident. It is a statistical fact that racist white supremacy and police violence are on the rise in cities across the country due to gentrification. Gentrification is the deliberate and permanent displacement of low- to middle-income residents by city government and the real estate industry in order to replace them with residents with more wealth. Since neighborhoods of color are most targeted and impacted by gentrification globally, we believe that at its core gentrification is white supremacy.
In Flatbush gentrification is being advanced by a corporate rebranding of our neighborhood: a concerted effort to erase its Caribbean and the migrant-of-color culture. Over the last five years gentrification has led to the closing of long-time mom and pop businesses, some of the highest eviction and foreclosure rates in Brooklyn, and increased police occupation, harassment, and murder. Since 2012, six unarmed, Black residents of Flatbush, East Flatbush and Crown Heights – Kimani Gray, Shantel Davis, Kyam Livingston, Davonte Pressley, Dwayne Jeune, and Saheed Vassell – have been shot and/or murdered by the NYPD. Hundreds more residents have experienced racial profiling and police brutality.
Just like in cities around the country, the influx of new white residents to Flatbush has led to the creation of new social media pages and blogs that have fueled the fires of white supremacy, pro-gentrification, and racist sentiments in our neighborhoods. These include Facebook groups under the rebranded banners of “Prospect Lefferts Gardens” and “Ditmas Park,” as well as Tim Thomas’s racist, sexist, pro-gentrification blog “The Q at Parkside.” The influx of new white residents into cities has also led to an increase in the weaponizing of 911 calls to the police, especially against Black folks simply living their lives in their own neighborhoods. An example from just last month was when Theresa Klein (aka #CornerstoreCaroline), a white gentrifier in Flatbush, threatened to call the police while falsely accusing a nine-year-old Black boy of sexual assault.
Recently, as long-time residents and anti-gentrification activists organized a community-wide March against White Supremacy and Gentrification in Flatbush, attack after attack affirmed that white supremacy will vigorously defend itself when threatened. In online forums, defenders of gentrification accused lifelong Flatbush residents of going too far by calling out white supremacy in their community. Several residents and activists were harassed and finally expelled from the Facebook group “Prospect Lefferts Garden and Brooklyn Neighbors“ by administrators who rallied to #CornerstoreCaroline and Tim Thomas’s causes. This purging of anti-gentrification activists was an escalation in over 4 years of silencing and tone policing of Black and Brown longtime Flatbush residents by the administrators of this page.
This is because in Brooklyn, as across the country, defenders of white supremacy are entering the mainstream and finding their voice -- from racist assailants like the one who attacked Ms. Washington, to self-professed liberals like Tim Thomas and his online defenders: silencing critics of color, advancing an agenda of pro-gentrification, and promoting anti-Blackness under the guise of “free expression.”
If you believe, as we do, that fighting gentrification, racism, police violence, and white supremacy is a fight that all of us — long-time and new residents, communities of color and white communities, low-income and middle-class people — must be a part of, then join us on Saturday, December 1st.