Thursday, January 21st was day two of LaFHAC’s annual fair housing summit, Fit for a King. This year’s event, Discrimination is Deadly, was the first-ever virtual summit.
The session began with a panel entitled “Targeted: Policing, Gentrification, and Housing Injustice.” Participants got to hear from Chancela Al-Mansour of the Housing Rights Center, Professor Bennett Capers of Fordham Law School, and Wendi Cooper of TRANScending Women. These advocates shared information about how policing and policy built on a foundation of racism sparks housing injustice in changing communities.
Professor Capers explained how crime has historically been used as a justification for racial hierarchy and segregation in the United States and the impact that has on communities of color. You can follow Professor Capers on Twitter for more updates from the Center for Race, Law, and Justice at Fordham University
Wendi Cooper gave insight about the higher risk of violence, interaction with the criminal legal system, and housing insecurity that is faced by Black transgender women. To follow Ms. Cooper’s work, check out TRANScending Women at https://www.facebook.com/Transcending-Women-112226620552949/.
Chancela Al-Mansour then spoke about the effects of housing providers’ criminal background policies on Black communities while our criminal legal system disproportionately arrests and incarcerates Black people. For more information on the Housing Rights Center, please visit https://www.housingrightscenter.org/.
The panel was followed by a great performance from Sha’Condria “Icon” Sibley. Sha’Condria is a New Orleans native, poet, and spoken word artist. She uses her art to inspire, activate, and motivate. She has a book coming out this month. To learn more, please visit https://www.icontheartist.com/.
Following the performance, LaFHAC presented its “Fair Housing Hero Award” for Outstanding Contributions to the Fair Housing Movement to Southeast Louisiana Legal Services’ Housing Law Unit. We are grateful for the tireless work of SLLS staff to keep families housed through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Day two of the event wrapped up with a motivating keynote address from Shameka Parrish-Wright, Operations Manager with The Bail Project. Ms. Parrish-Wright shared pieces of her own experience with generational poverty. She emphasized the importance of attacking poverty from every angle with grassroots organizing, reminding listeners that top-down solutions leave out the invaluable voice of experience from those who policies will directly affect. For more information on ways we can address poverty in our lifetime, visit https://bailproject.org/ and follow Shameka on social media.
LaFHAC thanks everyone who participated in making day two of Fit for a King 2021: Discrimination is Deadly a success. Check back next week for a wrap-up of day three and click over to https://fitforaking.org/recordings to watch day two in its entirety.