“Is gentrification a municipal crime?”

Reflections and strategies on “Urban Activism: Staking Claims in the 21st Century City"

Keywords: gentrification, solidarity, photography, ethnography, empowerment

In this photographic ethnography, Dominic T. Moulden reflects upon his own organizing experiences with ONE D.C. in Washington D.C.- the capital of empire. He shows homes that have been evicted and scenes of gentrification, while offering the framework that “gentrification is a crime,” an analytic that would benefit scholar activists and community organizers to further explore. Moulden also proposes organizing strategies to address the issues of poor, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and all working-class people’s claim to a right to the city, particularly in Covid-19 contexts. Research and organizing must be brave enough to create zones of contestation and liberation, including ‘No Displacement Zones’ to contest the neoliberal politics and zones of gentrification.

Dominic T. Moulden is a longtime resource organizer at Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE DC), a collectively-led organization that builds people power and economic and racial equity in Washington, DC. He is a frequent lecturer at various universities and conferences regarding equitable revitalization, cooperative economics, affordable housing, workplace democracy, community development, and public policy. Moulden is also a community-accountable photographer and social justice documentarian. A native of east Baltimore, his images celebrate Black love and resilience while providing uncompromising witness to the ongoing displacement of Afrodiasporic people in Baltimore and elsewhere in the Americas. His creative practice and organizing work are both dedicated to fostering a culture of health that includes art, joy, and radical resource redistribution.

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