MetroFocus: January 13, 2022

INDEPENDENT LENS: “A RECKONING IN BOSTON”

In the city of Boston, the average household wealth of a White family is $247,000. For a Black family, it is $8. And no, that’s not a typo.  As part of our “Chasing the Dream” initiative on poverty, justice, and economic opportunity in America, we’re talking to the makers of the PBS Independent Lens documentary “A Reckoning in Boston,” which explores how, following decades of red-lining and other racist policies, new forces like gentrification and development are throwing up fresh barriers for Black residents in cities across America. Tonight, the director of the film, James Rutenbeck, and two lifelong Bostonians, Kafi Dixon and Carl Chandler challenge White assumptions about Black urban communities, and show how progress depends on more than good intentions.

For more information on Independent Lens: “A Reckoning in Boston,” click here.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY --

> BOSTON.

A CITY I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED.

LUXURY RESIDENTIAL UNITS.

THE CITY THAT'S CHANGING RAPIDLY.

VERY LARGE MACHINES.

SEVEN YEARS AGO, I ENDED UP AT THE HOMELESS SHELTER.

THESE PEOPLE ARE EVICTED.

WHERE WILL THEY GO?

THIS FILM IS BARING DOWN ON ME.

MAYBE OTHER WHITE PEOPLE NEED TO ADMIT THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN SILENT, TOO.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

WHAT YOU SAW WAS A PREVIEW FOR PBS'S DOCUMENTARY, 'A RECKONING IN BOSTON.'

IT'S A PERSONAL EXPLORATION OF THE REAL-LIFE IMPACT OF STRUCTURAL RACISM AND WEALTH INEQUALITY IN CITIES ALL OVER AMERICA.

FROM THE PRACTICES OF THE PAST CENTURY, TO TODAY'S ENCROACHING GENTRIFICATION, THE FILM EXPLORES THE BARRIERS TO PROSPERITY FACED DAILY BY PEOPLE OF COLOR AS WELL AS WHITE COMPLESTY COMPLICITY IN THE STATUS QUO.

JOINING ME ARE THE DIRECTOR AND CO-PRODUCER, JAMES RUTTENBERK.

WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

AND WE ARE ARE JOINED BY TWO LIFE LONG BOSTONIANS WHO WERE FEATURED IN THE FILM.

FIRST, COFFEE DIXON.

WELCOME.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR AUDIENCE BEING HERE WITH US TODAY.

ABSOLUTELY.

I SHOULD, FOR CLARIFICATION, SAY COFFEE IS JOINED BY ANOTHER ONE OF THE FILM'S PROMINENTLY FEATURED PEOPLE, TOFFEE.

MY LAST NAME IS -- IT'S TOLGA.

IT'S TOLGA.

I WOULD BE REMISS IF I DIDN'T SAY WE ARE JOINED BY CARL CHANDLER, ONE OF THE BOSTONIANS FEATURED IN THE FILM.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

COFFEE AND CARL WERE SUBJECTS OF THE DOCUMENTARY BUT ENDED UP AS CO-COLLABORATORS AND CO-PRODUCERS OF THE PROJECT.

THEY FACED EVICTION DURING THE MAKING OF THE FILM.

THE STORY IS PART OF OUR ONGOING CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE ON POVERTY, JUSTICE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.

I WOULD LIKE TO SAY WELCOME TO EVERYONE.

THANK YOU.

FIRST OFF, I JUST WANT TO START WITH THE FILM ITSELF.

I GUESS FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, JAMES, WATCHING THIS FILM I WOULD SAY AS A PERSON OF COLOR VERSUS WATCHING THIS FILM AS, SAY, A TYPICAL MIDDLE CLASS WHITE PERSON, YOU MIGHT HAVE TWO DIFFERENT REACTIONS TO IT.

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHO IS THIS FILM FOR?

THANKS, JENNA.

THAT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION.

I THINK THAT THE FILM STARTED OUT BEING SOMETHING THAT I WANTED TO EXPLORE.

I WAS INTERESTED IN THIS IDEA OF ENGAGEMENT AROUND THE HUMANITIES AND WHAT THAT COULD MEAN FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD NOT HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO COLLEGE.

ONE OF THE -- I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT AN INTENDED AUDIENCE.

I WAS THINKING OF -- THAT IT WOULD BE A FILM THAT WOULD HOPEFULLY REACH A NATIONAL AUDIENCE.

WHAT'S HAPPENED OVER THE LAST YEAR WAS THAT WE HAVE SHOWN THE FILM TO 70 PLUS -- WE HAVE HAD 70 PLUS SCREENINGS WITH PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

IT HAS BEEN A VERY DIVERSE RANGE OF VIEWERS WHO HAVE SEEN THE FILM AND BEEN MOVED BY IT AND ENGAGED BY IT.

SO I THINK THAT IT EXCEEDED MY ORIGINAL INTENTION, THE KIND OF RESPONSE THAT WE ARE GETTING AND THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SEEING IT.

I DO THINK THIS IS ALL ANECDOTAL, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT WHITE PEOPLE -- SOME WHITE PEOPLE ARE MADE UNCOMFORTABLE BY THE FILM IN A WAY THAT PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE NOT, GENERALLY.

I KNOW THAT'S A VERY BROAD STROKE KIND OF THING TO SAY.

PART OF IT COMES FROM ME AS MY CHARACTER VOICE IN THE FILM IS SOMEONE WHO BECOMES UNCOMFORTABLE BY WHAT I'M LEARNING ABOUT THE LIVES OF CARL AND COFFEE.

I THINK SOME OF THE THINGS THAT ARE HIDDEN FROM PEOPLE LIKE ME AND OTHER WHITE VIEWERS ARE REVEALED IN THE FILM.

I THINK IT DOES LEAD TO SOME DISCOMFORT.

AS WE START TO CONSIDER OUR COMPLICITY IN THIS SYSTEM.

YEAH.

OKAY.

COFFEE, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN.

YOU ACTUALLY HAD A HAND IN ENSURING THAT JAMES WAS NOT JUST THE CREATOR OR THE DIRECTOR BEHIND THE CAMERA, BUT ACTUALLY BECAME A VULNERABLE PART OF THE FILM AS WELL.

YEAH.

ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK WE WANT TO HIGHLIGHT WHAT IT IS TO BE BLACK AS A CULTURE.

THERE'S A RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR BLACKNESS TO THE STANDARD BLACKNESS, WHITENESS CATEGORIES OR COMMUNITY.

THERE IS A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GENERATIONAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND WHAT WE SEE AS GENERATIONAL WHITE AMERICAN THAT WE HAVE COME TO A TIME WHERE WE ARE LOOKING AT WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE DEFINITIONS OF WHITE AND BLACK?

HOW DO WE HEAL THAT HISTORIC TRAUMA, HOW DO WE HEAL OUR HISTORY AND HOW DO WE LEAN AND KNEEL TO WHAT BOTH COMMUNITIES ARE ASKING FOR?

AS AMERICANS, WE ARE MORE UNDERSTANDING IN ALLIEDSHIP.

I SAW IT WAS DIFFICULT, I FELT AND EMPATHIZED WITH JAMES AROUND WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN CHALLENGES TO SEE HOW NICE, WELL MEANING WHITE AMERICANS, WHO MAY BE IN THE COMMUNITY WERE ESSENTIALLY VIOLENT TO OUR EXPERIENCES, OUR LIVED EXPERIENCES AS BLACK WOMEN AND MEN.

I WANTED TO TEND TO THAT WITH JAMES.

I THINK IT WAS ACTUALLY A HUMANIZATION OF WHAT ALLIEDSHIP AND A HIGHER FORM OF BEING AN ACCOMPLICE TO COMMUNITY HEALING, LIBERATION AND DESIGN THAT SAID THAT FOR CARL AND I WITH JAMES THAT IF WE WERE TRULY FRIENDS, IF WE WERE TRULY IN THIS WORK TOGETHER, WE NEEDED TO HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH SOME OF THE MORE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS.

THANKFULLY, JAMES -- OUR FRIENDSHIP WAS ABLE TO STAND THE TEST OF WHAT IT WAS TO SIT IN VULNERABILITY AND SHARE EXPERIENCES SO THAT WE WERE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THAT IN THE DOCUMENTARY.

COFFEE, I JUST WANT YOU TO -- ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK IS SO CRITICAL WHEN AMERICA IS ENGAGING IN THESE CONVERSATIONS IS TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR.

WHEN YOU SAID THAT HOW WELL-MEANING WHITE PEOPLE CAN ENGAGE IN VIOLENT BEHAVIOR TO BLACK PEOPLE'S EXPERIENCES, I WANT YOU TO BE VERY CLEAR.

IT'S VERY EASY TO SAY, VIOLENT, I HAVE NEVER RAISED A HAND OR PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED ANYONE.

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT VIOLENCE, WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU MEAN?

WHEN I TALK ABOUT VIOLENCE, I'M TALKING ABOUT THE SPECTRUM OF VIOLENCE.

WHITE PEOPLE -- THIS IS A VERY BROAD BRUSH.

FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED VIOLENCE OF WHAT IT IS TO BE A GENERATIONAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN, WE THINK VIOLENCE IN TERMS OF A NOOSE.

RIGHT?

WE THINK OF VIOLENCE IN TERMS OF A KILLING, A PHYSICAL ASSAULT.

WE DON'T EXPAND THE SPECTRUM OF VIOLENCE TO BE INCLUSIVE OF CLASSISM, GENDERISM, IMPLICIT BIAS.

YOU MAY BE A VERY WELL-MEANING PERSON, BUT YOUR CLASS DICTATES THAT YOUR IMPLICIT BIASES IN A SPACE AGAINST SOMEBODY WHO IS NOT PART OF YOUR COMMUNITY AND DENIAL OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS IS VIOLENCE.

PEOPLE DID NOT UNDERSTAND WITH THE KILLING OF TAMIR RICE, GEORGE FLOYD AND SO MANY OTHER BLACK AND WOMEN THAT THERE WERE SPECTRUMS OF VIOLENCE THAT WERE PLACED ON THE HEADS OF THOSE COMMUNITIES AND THOSE FAMILIES AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS PRIOR TO A KNEE ON THE NECK, PRIOR TO A GUN BEING PULLED.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THIS DOCUMENTARY ASKED US TO DO AND OUR WORK HERE ASKED US TO DO IS EXPAND THE IDEA OF WHAT VIOLENCE IS AND TO SIT WITH THAT AND TO LOOK AT THE SPECTRUMS OF VIOLENCE AND START IN SUBTLE FORMS OF DENY OF ACCESS, OR COLORISM, OR CLASSISM, AND TO EXTEND THAT SPECTRUM TO UNDERSTAND IT'S THE SAME AS A KNEE ON THE NECK, THE SAME AS STATE SANCTIONED POLICE VIOLENCE, IT'S THE SAME FOR THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA.

WE ARE TETHERED IN THOSE RELATIONSHIPS AND THOSE ARE DEMANDED TO BE HEALED.

CARL, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN.

THE FILM STARTS OUT EXAMINING THE STUDENTS AT THIS NIGHT SCHOOL AND YOU ARE STUDYING THE CLASSICS AND AMERICAN HISTORY AND ALL OF THESE RICH PARTS OF, I GUESS, CULTURE ARE BEING STUDIED.

THROUGH YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT BENEFIT -- A LOT OF PEOPLE OFTEN SAY, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE POOR ANYMORE, JUST GET AN EDUCATION.

WHAT BENEFIT DOES ENGAGING IN THAT COLLEGE LEVEL OF EDUCATION, WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOU?

IN MY CASE, IT DID A COUPLE OF THINGS.

IT INCREASED MY PERSONAL CONFIDENCE.

I THINK ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT AFFLICTS MINORITY COMMUNITIES -- SO-CALLED MINORITY COMMCOMMUNIT BLACK, BROWN, INDIGENOUS, IS DOUBT.

BEING ABLE TO MASTER A COURSE LIKE THAT, THAT ELIMINATED DOUBT.

ONE OF THE INTERESTING BYPRODUCTS OF THE EXPERIENCE IS, CLEMENTE DID A SURVEY WITH SELECT PEOPLE.

ONE YEAR AFTER GRADUATION AND THREE YEARS AFTER GRADUATION.

PEOPLE'S CONFIDENCE AND HORIZONS HAD EXPANDED MORE AFTER THREE YEARS THAN A YEAR, WHICH IS KIND OF COUNTER TO WHAT YOU MIGHT THINK.

YOU GO THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE IN A YEAR AND THEN YOU SORT OF FADE AWAY.

IT WAS DIFFERENT.

IT'S A NEW WAY OF THINKING.

IT WAS FOR ME, ANYHOW.

IF YOU ARE A FAMILY PERSON, WHEN YOU GO TO A CLEMENTE COURSE, YOU SHARE THE EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR FAMILY.

IT'S NOT JUST YOU GOING TO SCHOOL.

YOUR FAMILY IS THERE WITH YOU.

YOU BRING HOME THINGS THAT YOU DISCOVERED.

YOU SHARE IT WITH THEM.

I THINK THE MAIN BENEFIT IS MY INTELLECTUAL HORIZONS WERE BROADENED EVEN MORE.

I MEAN, I'M WELL READ, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN.

CLEMENTE GAVE ME A LITTLE BOOST IN MY OLD AGE.

I ALSO WANT TO BE, AGAIN, VERY EXPLICIT WITH YOU.

BECAUSE FREQUENTLY, PARTICULARLY NOW, HIGHER EDUCATION IS OFTEN LOOKED AT AS, AGAIN, A PATH TO A BETTER JOB.

I'M WONDERING, WHAT -- I UNDERSTAND THAT BY THE END OF THE FILM WE LEARN THAT YOU ACTUALLY ENROLLED IN HARVARD, WHICH, OF COURSE, IS THE TOP -- ONE OF THE TOP SCHOOLS IN AMERICA.

ARE YOU MORE ENGAGED IN THIS FOR EDUCATION FOR THE SAKE OF EXPANDING YOUR HORIZONS AS YOU SO BEAUTIFULLY PUT IT, OR IS THERE AN END GAME TO THIS, THE WAY A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT APPROACH HIGHER EDUCATION, MEANING, I'M DOING THIS TO GET THIS JOB?

I'M 73 ON MONDAY.

GETTING A JOB ISN'T ONE OF MY PRIORITIES.

I'M THINKING MORE OF A ROCKING CHAIR.

I'M PART OF A TEAM.

OKAY?

MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE INDIVIDUAL INTELLIGENCE, WE HAVE COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE.

I WAS INTO IT FOR PERSONAL EVOLUTION.

WHATEVER I WAS GOING TO LEARN, I WOULD SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY.

OKAY?

IF I BETTER MYSELF, THE PEOPLE THAT I SEE EVERY DAY HOPEFULLY, WHAT I HAVE LEARNED AND I SHARE WITH THEM, HELPS THEM TO BE INTRIGUED OR CURIOUS AND GO AND PURSUE THINGS.

MY DAUGHTERS ARE VERY BRIGHT.

THEY ARE WHAT I CONSIDER LIFE LONG LEARNERS.

HOPEFULLY, WHAT I SHARED WITH THEM IS HELP TO MOTIVATE THEM OR AT LEAST, YOU KNOW, REMIND THEM OF WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF.

JAMES, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK.

SORT OF ASK -- BECAUSE PART OF THE REASON WHY I WANTED TO GET SO CRYSTAL CLEAR WITH OUR GUESTS IS BECAUSE ONE OF THE THINGS THE FILM DOES AN EXCELLENT JOB AT REVEALING ARE THESE SUBTLE WAVES THAT A LOT OF THE DOORWAYS TO PROSPERITY IN AMERICA ARE GATE KEPT, WHETHER PEOPLE REALIZE THEY ARE DOING THE GATEKEEPING OR NOT.

WAS THAT INTENTION OR WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU SORT OF STUMBLED ACROSS AS YOU WERE MAKING THIS FILM?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN EXACTLY?

WHAT ARE YOU REFERRING TO?

MEANING THAT THERE ARE WAYS LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO SOME OF THE LAND USE MEETINGS OR WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO THE HOUSING COURT WHERE -- I DON'T WANT TO GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY IN THE FILM.

BUT THE FACT THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO SEE THINGS THAT YOU WOULDN'T OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE HAD YOU NOT BEEN MAKING THIS FILM, BUT THERE'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE IN THE FILM WHERE -- I DON'T WANT TO GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY.

YOU, JUST BY YOUR PRESENCE AT A CERTAIN MEETING, IT CHANGES THE OUTCOME OF A HOUSING SITUATION THAT HAD YOU NOT BEEN THERE MIGHT HAVE HAD A NEGATIVE OUTCOME.

IF THAT'S NOT TOO VAGUE.

NOT AT ALL.

THOSE ARE ALL THE THINGS THAT SORT OF LED TO MY -- THERE'S A POINT IN THE FILM -- THERE WAS A POINT DURING THE MAKING OF THE FILM WHEN COFFEE SAID TO ME, JAMES, I JUST WANT TO SHAKE YOU AND WAKE YOU UP.

RIGHT?

I THINK THAT THOSE EX -- COFFEE IN A WAY REALIZED THAT I WAS OPEN TO THIS AS A FILMMAKER.

I WANTED TO MAKE AN AUTHENTIC FILM.

I WANTED TO UNDERSTAND HER LIFE AND CARL'S LIFE IN A DEEPER WAY.

COFFEE VERY GENEROUSLY ALLOWED ME TO ENTER INTO THOSE SPACES WITH HER.

WHEN I WENT THERE, SOME OF THESE THINGS THAT SHE WANTED TO -- ME TO LEARN, SHE DIDN'T NEED TO SHAKE ME.

ALL SHE HAD TO DO IS TAKE ME.

I WAS ABLE TO SEE MY INFLUENCE, YOU KNOW, HOW THINGS ARRIVE S YOU KNOW, HOW THINGS ARRIVE CH WHEN I ARRIVED IN SITUATIONS, LIKE THE HOUSING AGENCY IN BOSTON.

ALL THOSE THINGS WERE PART OF COFFEE AND CARL'S LIFE THAT AS A WHITE PERSON LIVING IN A NEARBY SUBURB OF BOSTON, WERE HIDDEN FROM ME.

I COULDN'T SEE IT.

IT'S ALMOST LIKE WE ARE LIVING IN PARALLEL SOCIETIES IN A WAY.

SO SEEING ALL THAT, SEEING HOW COFFEE AND CARL WERE BOTH HURT BY THE SYSTEM IN DIFFERENT WAYS, BECOMING COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS WITH THEM OVER TIME FORCED ME IN A WAY TO BRING MY FULL HUMANITY INTO THE FILM AND TO RESPOND TO IT IN A WAY THAT WAS MORE THAN JUST AN OBSERVER.

SO I THINK THAT'S WHAT CHANGED WITH THE FILM MAKING.

IT STARTED OUT AS AN OBSERVATIONAL FILM THAT I WAS BEHIND THE CAMERA, THAT I WAS INVISIBLE, I WAS MORE A WITNESS TO THEIR LIVES.

WHAT HAPPENED WAS, COFFEE, CARL AND SOME OTHER COLLEAGUES OF OURS SAID, THAT'S NOT ENOUGH.

WE HAVE BEEN VULNERABLE FOR YOU.

YOU NEED TO BECOME VULNERABLE FOR US.

IT'S NOT JUST OUR STORY.

IT'S ALL OUR STORIES.

WE ALL LIVE -- WE ALL LIVE WITHIN THESE SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURES.

BUT I NEVER WOULD HAVE DONE THAT -- I NEVER WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO BE A CHARACTER IN THE FILM.

IT'S, LIKE, THE LAST THING I WANTED TO BE OR WOULD EVER WANT TO BE.

BUT I WAS CHALLENGED BY COFFEE AND CARL AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE.

THE FILM WASN'T REALLY COMING TOGETHER AS -- IN A WAY A FILM SHOULD.

WE WERE STRUGGLING WITH THE STRUCTURE AND THE NARRATIVE.

SO I JUMPED IN.

EVEN AS I WAS ENTERING INTO THE FILM, I WAS WORKING IN A COLLABORATIVE WAY WITH COFFEE AND CARL AND OUR TEAM.

I WANT TO GO BACK TO -- SINCE WE WERE TALKING ABOUT SOME OF YOUR EXPERIENCES THAT WE SEE IN THE FILM, COFFEE, ONE OF THE SCENES OR THE SCENARIOS WHERE YOU AND -- I BELIEVE, TAGO, YOU WERE THERE, YOU ARE AT A LAND USE MEETING WITH THE CITY.

THE TWO OF YOU -- IF YOU CAN REMIND ME THE NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION.

YOU WERE HOPING TO GET FROM THE CITY TO BE ABLE TO CREATE A SAFE SPACE FOR, I BELIEVE, ORGANIC FARMING FOR BLACK WOMEN IN BOSTON.

THE POINT THAT WE ARE ABLE TO SEE THROUGH THE FILM IS THE WAY THAT THERE WERE PERHAPS CERTAIN GATEWAYS OR CERTAIN ACCESS ROUTES TO OBTAINING THE LAND THAT YOU WEREN'T PRIVY TO INITIALLY WITHOUT HAVING TO FIGHT FOR, THAT PERHAPS SOMEONE ELSE MIGHT HAVE BEEN OPENLY GIVEN.

THAT SEEMS TO COME TO LIGHT IN THE FILM.

THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE OPENLY GIVEN AND PROVIDED.

THEY DON'T LOOK LIKE WOMEN LIKE TOGA AND I.

A LOT OF -- FOR MANY YEARS I HID THE STRUGGLES FROM TOGA.

IT WOULD ONLY COME OUT OVER COFFEE AND A RANT OF WHAT THE HELL IS THE PROBLEM?

THE NAME OF THE PROJECT IS -- THE NAME OF OUR ORGANIZATION IS THE CO-OP.

THE PROJECT IS THE COMMON GOOD PROJECT.

WE ARE ACTUALLY AN URBAN FARMING AND HEALTH PROGRAM FOCUSED ON WOMEN.

I WANTED TO BRING TOGA AND SHARA AND MANY OTHER WOMEN THAT I BECAME A MORAL WITNESS TO THEIR LIVES AND WE HAD SHARED EXPERIENCES, INTO THIS SPACE FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND, NOT WHAT I WAS UP AGAINST, BUT WHAT WERE THEY UP AGAINST.

AGAIN, SORRY, BUT JUST TO BE CLEAR, WHEN YOU SAY THAT SPACE, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE MEETING WITH THE -- I BELIEVE ALL --

THE CITY OF BOSTON.

THE POWERFUL PART ABOUT THAT MEETING THAT THE AUDIENCE SHOULD UNDERSTAND IN SCREENING THE DOCUMENTARY AND HOPEFULLY PARTICIPATING IN THE DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE ON MLK'S BIRTHDAY, IS THAT THAT ONE CONTROLLED ALL OF THE HOUSING FOR THE GREATER CITY OF BOSTON.

THERE'S NOT A COMMERCIAL OR RESIDENTIAL THAT'S NOT GREEN STAMPED OR RUBBER STAMPED BY HER.

SHE'S A KIND WOMAN, BUT THERE ARE BLIND SPOTS AS WE ALL HAVE BLIND SPOTS IN UNDERSTANDING AUTONOMY AND COMMUNITY DESIGN AND VOICING ADVOCACY FOR SOMEONE WHO CONTROLS THE HOUSING FOR THE ENTIRE CITY OF BOSTON.

EVEN MORE INSIDIOUS IS THAT THAT DEPARTMENT DOESN'T JUST CONTROL THE HOUSING FOR THE CITY OF BOSTON.

THEY TRAVEL AROUND THE COUNTRY AND HOLD BOSTON AS A BEACON TOWARDS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND ALSO TO INFORM OTHER DEVELOPERS AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES.

WHAT HAPPENS IN BOSTON RIPPLES THROUGH THE UNITED STATES.

I WANT TO MAKE THIS POINT AND HOLD MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, UP IN SOLIDARITY, AS THEY ARE FIGHTING BACK RIGHT NOW FOR A BOSTONIAN WHO IS BUYING UP THEIR LAND.

A GENTLEMAN FROM BOSTON WHO HAS REPLICATED BOSTON'S ABILITY TO BE -- TO EXCLUDE.

HE IS ACTUALLY THE HEAD OF A WEBSITE.

BUT WE HAVE THE COMMUNITY IN SAN JOSE WHO SITS IN THE SAME MEETINGS AND TO PUSH BACK AGAINST A DEVELOPER FROM BOSTON WHO SAYS THEY ARE DEVELOPING FOR THE GOOD OF ALL.

I WANT TO ALSO HOLD UP OUR SISTERS IN FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA, WHO ARE ADVOCATING FOR THE EXPERIENCES OF BLACK PEOPLE WHO CAME TO ARIZONA AS FORESTERS AND NOT ALLOWED -- HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND SPACE.

THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THIS UNITED STATES WHO ARE SAYING A PART OF HEALING THE VIOLENCE IS REPARATIONS TO AN EXTENT BUT A REPARATION AND RECONCILIATION.

SITTING IN THAT SPACE AND HAVING TOGA IN THERE AND TRYING TO HUMANIZE OUR EXPERIENCES, NOT EVEN FOR ME, BUT FOR WOMEN WHO WEREN'T THERE, AND SAY THAT AS YOU GIVE LAND TO OTHERS BASED ON YOU HOLDING THEM MORE IN COMMUNITY, THEN YOU HOLD US.

THERE'S AN INHERENT DEHUMANIZATION THAT'S HISTORIC THAT WE ARE ALL PLAYING A PART IN.

THAT IS THE GATEKEEPING, THAT IS THE RESOURCE PROVIDING, THAT IS THE COMMUNITY BUILDING THAT SEEMS ALWAYS OUT OF THE REACH OF THE COMMUNITIES WHO LIVE IN THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS AND HAVE --

COFFEE, I'M SORRY, I HAVE TO CUT YOU OUT.

WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

I JUST WANT TO BRING YOU IN, CARL.

YOU WERE MAKING EXCELLENT POINTS.

CARL, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN.

WE HAVE A MINUTE LEFT.

TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY'S ROOTS IN THE CITY OF BOSTON.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN PART OF THE FOUNDATION OF A COMMUNITY FOR GENERATIONS TO BE DISPLACED?

WHAT DOES THAT DO TO A LARGER COMMUNITY?

WE HAVE SECONDS LEFT.

FAMILIES THAT HAVE DEEP ROOTS IN A PARTICULAR PLACE SHOULD BE A RESOURCE FOR THE LOCAL COMM COMMUNITY.

MY FAMILY ACTUALLY IS MULTI-GENERATIONAL NEW ENGLANDER, VERMONT, MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, RHODE ISLAND.

A FEW OF US WANDERED INTO MAINE.

IT'S LIKE A FORM OF DISRESPECT.

WHAT HAPPENS IS, THE YOUNGER PEOPLE HAVE THE PERSPECTIVE IN A FAMILY LIKE MINE OF KNOWING FAMILY HISTORY.

WHAT HAPPENS IS THE FAMILY HISTORY DICTATES TO THEM, WELL, WE'RE NOT GETTING THE DEAL THAT WE SHOULD.

WE'RE GOING TO MOVE SOMEPLACE ELSEWHERE WE ARE RESPECTED.

MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER IS LIVING IN PHILADELPHIA.

NEXT ONE IS THINKING ABOUT GOING DOWN THERE HERSELF.

THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS TO A PLACE IN A PRACTICAL SENSE LIKE BOSTON TO LONGTIME PEOPLE.

YOUNG PEOPLE GO AWAY.

THEY LEAVE.

OF COURSE, AND THAT IS A SUBJECT WE SEE OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

THIS IS A CONVERSATION WE FLEED -- WE NEED TO CONTINUE AND WE WILL.

I WANT TO THANK MY GUESTS FOR JOINING US AND FOR THE FILM 'A RECKONING IN BOSTON.'

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY --

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