Upon hearing about the Feds and NYPD coming down and violently evicting Rebel Diaz and the Artist Collective from an abandoned space in the South Bronx, that they painfully transformed into a first class community center is beyond angering. It’s beyond frustrating..These folks did everything we say we want the ‘youth’ in our community to do.. They did everything we say Hip Hop is supposed to represent.. They didn’t wait around for a savior, Rebel Diaz saved themselves.. They brought the community in who also saved themselves.
The RDACBX is a space in which damn near everyone in that South Bronx neighborhood where it’s located can lay claim that they had hand in helping build it.. I recall Rodstarz explaining how folks who were homeless, but had various trade skillz, were inspired to clean themselves up and proudly put in work. Local youth who were being attracted to the lure of the streets, flipped their lives around and partook in the various workshops and programs put on by Rebel Diaz.. many of those youth eventually became part of the collective and put on workshops themselves..
Instead of waiting around to be invited to yet another showcase or music convention that left them dissatisfied, RDACBX put on their own landmark convention South By South Bronx and invited the pioneers of Hip Hop to speak. The RDACBX is where they had former members of the Young Lords, Black Liberation Army and political prisoners speak to standing room only audiences about Black Brown unity… This space was home to countless book readings, movie screenings and epic showcases.
But as you build community in a city and space where they are trying to keep you marginalized, you can bet that outside forces will try their best to shut it down..You can count on those who find politicized Black and Brown youth doing for self to be something not celebrated but crushed..Now that the South Bronx has been lovingly transformed, developers, the city and others wanna come on in evict, co-opt shut down and take over.. This is a pattern we see happening from Coast to Coast From the Art Murmur in Oakland to whats going in the South Bronx. It’s the same predictable playbook..
However this time is different..a building is not the movement.. A building is not community.. It never was.. It’s the people and the love and respect they have for one another that makes this space so special.. Rebel Diaz will not go out or be shut down.. you best believe that.. We should all be aware of whats going on, support them in the best ways we can.. and continue to build and re-strengthen our respective local communities.
RDACBX Shut Down by Federal Marshals and NYPD. Rally Today 3/1 at 6pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
South Bronx community center Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) shut down by Federal marshals and NYPD. Rally to be held denouncing lockout and forced eviction.
March 1, 2013- After a violent daytime raid yesterday, Thursday, February 28, 2013, on the warehouse turned arts space at 478 Austin Place in the Bronx, members of Hip-Hop community center RDACBX are denouncing their forced eviction at a rally to be held at 6pm today in front of their locked out building.
The building landowner, local commercial developer Marc Pogostin of Austin Property Corp., had for months stalled negotiations on a new agreement with the RDACBX after the group’s original lease expired this past November. Despite diverse support for RDACBX from local politicians, churches, and community organizations in the area, Austin Property Corp. eventually refused to renew the lease, citing concerns about the group’s political murals, and prompting the surprise eviction yesterday.
“The violent actions taken yesterday are an attack on young people, artists, and Hip Hop culture,” says RDACBX co-founder RodStarz. “In a time where budget cuts, stop and frisk, and gentrification are affecting our communities, it’s a shame we are being treated like criminals. There is no justification for this eviction.”
Karen Louviere, 19, a past participant in RDACBX youth programs, expressed her disappointment at the violent shutdown of the space. “They came in with armed officers into what is supposed to be a safe space for the community. A space that has served as an alternative for young people in the area, helping develop their talents in a positive way.”
The internationally renowned RDACBX, host to weekly cultural performances and educational workshops, had recently announced plans for the creation of the Richie Perez Radical Library, as well as the continuation of their widely recognized Boogie Mics open mic series, and the SxSBX Hip-Hop Festival.
“Despite the violent removal of RDACBX from its space, RDACBX will continue to work on its development, as it strives to be a resource for the community. There is a need for this organization to exist in The South Bronx,” says Claudia De La Cruz, a member of the collective.
What: Press Conference/ Rally to Defend RDACBX
When: Friday, March 1st, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: 478 Austin Place, Bronx NY 10455
Gonzalo “G1” Venegas
(646) 431 – 7037
Rodrigo “RodStarz” Venegas
(646) 250 – 4405