During the past few months, we have been faced with the global pandemic and the brink of a historic revolution. The Department of Transportation, along with the City of New York has adopted the public painting of “Black Lives Matter” on many streets including the tentative locations, including:
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., running for two blocks, from 125th to 127th St., Manhattan
Fifth Avenue, in front of the Trump Tower
Boro Hall - Joralemon b/t Court and Adams, Brooklyn
153rd b/t Jamaica and Archer, Queens
Morris b/t 161-162 (East Side of Hall of Justice), the Bronx
While this is a step forward in bringing the awareness of fellow Americans, the action is incredibly passive. As each of the above streets are current heavily trafficked streets which run through commercial areas. The Diverse Streets Initiative would effectively turn an open street into an interactive exhibition, to provide Black Indigenous People of Color, People of Color and immigrants a platform to express themselves with their art, music, designs, historical narratives, and personal experiences in the workplace. The Initiative can also serve as an avenue for BIPOC, POC and immigrants to sell their crafts, cooking and works. The public spaces would serve as a bridge between the public realm and reality; as New Yorkers remain fatigued from COVID but hopeful and eager to learn about the Black Lives Matter Movement and the history and plight of other minority groups. And for those who don’t recognize the movement, exploring the space can provide an avenue for learning or cultural exchange.
Establishing a public plaza which would act as a performative learning space that would: potentially employ recently laid off NYC residents, OR (provide unemployed NYC residents with activities during the day); provide a platform for Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) to express themselves with their art, music and historical narratives; provide healing spaces for BIPOC, POC, immigrants and allies; and, provide an avenue for non-BIPOC, POC, immigrants and allies to learn about the experiences of disenfranchised americans.
We are currently a rotating group of activists, artists, designers, planners, poets, musicians and are open to welcoming more!. We would like to expand to include educators, historians and gardeners in the future.