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reelaviolette botts-ward, Zachary McRae, and Rasheed Shabazz

Black Girls, Black Voices, Black History with reelaviolette botts-ward, Zachary McRae, and Rasheed Shabazz

Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

View the event recording and more on our Berkeley Arts + Design YouTube channel.

Enjoy a special showcase of three ongoing projects at the local and national levels around the theme of Black girls, Black voices, and Black history. Graduate students from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design (CED) reelaviolette botts-ward, Zachary McRae, and Rasheed Shabazz will share their projects, then host a discussion and Q&A. Moderated by Charisma Acey, associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Presented by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, the Arcus Endowment Diversity Platform Committee, and the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality, and the Built Environment.

For this panel, reelaviolette botts-ward will discuss Blackgirl Quarantine: An Exhibition of #BlackWomxnHealing in the Wake of 2020, an exhibition organized and curated by Botts and Leticia Carpenter. Blackgirl Quarantine invites Black womxn into collective mourning, grief work, and healing in the wake of 2020. Breonna Taylor, Oluwatoyin Salau, Dominique Fells, and countless Black womxn mourned through #SayHerName2020, compounded by the loss of beloved artists like Brax and Chynna Rogers, only exacerbate Black womxn’s intimacy with mortality in this season. As we reflect on our gendered, racialized, embodied and ancestral experiences in the midst of global catastrophe, we center our right to be well. To name harm. To mend wounds. To be unapologetic in our rage. To reflect each other’s suffering. To be held close, and to find restoration in the safety of sacred sisterhood. 

McRae will talk about the monthly podcast Community Visions: Reimagining Planning through the Liberation of Black Communities, which features Black CED alumni, faculty, and graduate students and community leaders to discuss politically-pointed issues, such as race and class struggles within the planning and built environment. The six episodes, delivered throughout the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semester, will cover topics like the Black Trans Lives Matter movement and its implications for urban design and planning; gentrification and how it results in the criminalization of space, incarceration and death; as well as the celebration of the next generation of Black professionals in planning and design occupations.

Shabazz will highlight his ongoing project Negro Piedmont: Race, Redlining, and Black History in Berkeley, a digital history website exploring the impacts of systemic racism and the historical development of unequal geographies in Berkeley. Through the curation of primary documents, the website makes visible the historic roots of racism in Berkeley in the early 20th century. The project will feature digitized historic maps, news articles, links to oral history interviews, and a timeline of key historical, planning, demographic events and changes in Berkeley, such as: zoning ordinances, city plan, BART, school integration and busing. The hope is this website will provide a virtual space and future repository for the histories of Black Berkeley.

Moderated by Acey, an associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her background includes work, research and travel to countries in West Africa, southern Africa and Central America. Her work focuses on local and regional environmental sustainability, with a focus on poverty reduction, urban governance, environmental justice, food justice and access to basic services. Her work relies on both quantitative and qualitative, community-based research approaches. Current and past research projects, teaching and service learning courses have focused on addressing barriers to sustainable development such as human-environment interactions at multiple scales in urban areas around the world, poverty and participation and voice in local governance and development, the financing and sustainability of publicly provided services and utilities such as water and sanitation, sustainability of local and regional food systems, and environmental justice domestically and globally.