Friday, March 1, 2013

Why Rebel Diaz Arts Collective Should Be Congraulated- Not Evicted

Anyone who supports eviction of a community arts group that provides outlets for creativity to young people in one of New York, and the nation's poorest neighborhoods, needs a serious reality check. In communities under stress, suffering both from internal violence and violent crackdowns by law enforcement, nothing inspires and motivates youth, in a positive way, than giving them opportunities for artistic expression. And here is where Rebel Diaz Arts Collective stands out. I have seen, in person, Rebel Diaz bring Bronx youth into the studio to teach them beat making and sound editing- these young people even produced a track on which I rapped! I have been present at Boogie Nights sessions where RDAX gave Bronx youth a chance to showcase their rapping and poetic skills and have watched those young people develop to the point where their talents were showcased at an international cultural festival sponsored by RDAX at Hostos College called "South By Southwest." I have even seen young people from the neighborhood sitting in on computer class at the RDAX community center. *********What makes all these activities all the more impressive is that they are taking place at a time when programs like these are being CUT in the local public schools because of budget cuts and an emphasis on standardized testing. Here you have an organization making an incredible opportunity to community enlightenment, youth development and public safety and how are they dealt with--- They are VIOLENTLY EVICTED by local and federal authorities on the orders of the owner of the building their community center is housed in. *********It is hard to imagine a more short sighted policy for the Bronx, for the City, for the nation. Community arts programs are the hope of the future, especially for disfranchised youth. Those complicity in undermining or destroying them have a lot to answer for.

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