Making Space for Activism in Our Changing Neighborhood

(CHELSEA COMMUNITY NEWS) Scott Stiffler on May 13, 2019

BY GLENNDA TESTONE (a member of The Women’s Building Advisory Circle and Executive Director of NYC’s LGBT Community Center) | It’s no surprise our city is changing. From Hudson Yards and Industry City, to the conversion of the High Line, New York continues to greet a flurry of real estate endeavors—some met with more enthusiasm than others.

Our neighborhood is no stranger to these transformations, and we will continue to face them, with the High Line now providing a direct link between Chelsea and Hudson Yards. As our neighborhood continues to change, it will be important to consider what types of developments we want to cultivate. Because, as we know well, our community is more than just luxury apartments and high-end shopping.

The Chelsea and West Village communities have long been home to sites of progressive activism. It’s a history in which all of us take great pride—and for good reason.

From abolitionist Abby Hopper Gibbons offering her Chelsea home as a refuge to those fleeing slavery, to volunteers operating the activist nexus that was the Women’s Liberation Center, to those who carry forward Stonewall’s legacy today, our neighborhood has long understood the importance of prioritizing spaces that serve activists, organizers, and oppressed peoples.

Activism and architecture are interconnected. Activists and organizers need affordable, physical spaces in which to do their work—spaces that are often the first to go at the hands of developers.

So as our neighborhood changes, and our community’s progressive spirit is challenged, we will need to remain firm in our commitment to creating and supporting the movement-building spaces so central to our neighborhood and its history.

Source: Chelsea Community News