ISR hosted two U-M Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium events in January, which drew wide interest from the university community and beyond. The ICPSR planning committee’s inspiration was the University’s 2018 MLK Symposium theme: The Urgency is Now.
“As we thought about the changes in communities around us, gentrification became the obvious topic, and we wanted to provide an opportunity to truly understanding the effects,” said committee chair Rita Bantom. “This led to developing two special events with the shared theme: gentrification.”
“Examining the Effects of Gentrification,” on January 10, had the distinction of being the first event on the University’s 2018 MLK Symposium calendar. A gathering of 125 people convened at the ISR-Thompson building, where a panel discussed gentrification’s roots and impact on communities across the nation. The panel was moderated by Dr. Kesha Moore, a U-M alumna, and Associate Professor of Sociology at Drew University. Also on the panel were Dr. Tam Perry (Assistant Professor of Social Work at Wayne State University and Faculty Associate in ISR’s Research Center for Group Dynamics), Saundra Little (architect and founding partner of Centric Design Studio), Shayna Brown (U-M Stamps School of Art and Design alumna), and Lydia Wileden (U-M graduate student in sociology, public policy, and ISR’s Population Studies Center).
A follow-up event on January 17, which was co-sponsored by LSA Screen Arts & Cultures department, featured a screening of the documentary Class Divide at the Michigan Theater, followed by a discussion with Hyisheem Calier and Yasmine Smallens, who play central roles in the film. Class Divide examines the complex relationship of an elite private school situated across the street from public housing in New York City’s hypergentrifiying Chelsea neighborhood. The discussion after the film was facilitated by author and journalist Peter Moskowitz.
Derrick Darby, a U-M Professor of Philosophy, was among the 122 in attendance. “I truly enjoyed the movie and the discussion,” he said. “This was a story of my life growing up in one of the largest housing projects in New York, and now I am a Professor of Philosophy. Thank you so much for bringing this outstanding event to campus.”
Moskowitz’s book, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood, will be the focus of a Friday, March 23 discussion on campus at 1 p.m. Moskowitz will return to ISR to be a special guest at the discussion with ISR Reads.