Aleiya Evison, MDes ADPD 2020
Organization: BlackSpace, Brooklyn, NY
Sponsor: Greater Boston Area Community Service Fellowship
“This week began with a beautiful and inspiring BlackSpace event at the historic Langston Hughes House in Harlem. Mr. Hughes, a brilliant creator and legendary leader in Black thought, spent the last 20 years of his life in this gorgeous brownstone, which stands as a living testament to the Harlem Renaissance. The surrounding neighborhood continues to exist at the intersection of cultural preservation, the radical Black imagination, and community justice. Harlem offers critical insight into the history of Black urbanism and liberation in the United States, something that we are always trying to uplift and preserve here at BlackSpace. The space holds a tangible magic, and as you walk through the door, you can feel the weight and brilliance of Mr. Hughes legacy. As a young designer, creative, and organizer, I was humbled to be in a space that both physically and spiritually represents the multitude of ways that the Black community has shaped our nation.
Today, the Brownstone is stewarded by the I, Too, Arts Collective, the organization that we had the honor of partnering with for the event. I, Too cultivates creative spaces and opportunities for communities of color to deepen their creative practices in community. Since the beginning, BlackSpace has been committed to partnering with organizations such as I, Too that align with our principles and mission, creating a community of mutually supportive organizations and creators throughout New York City and beyond. These partnerships serve as an opportunity to expand and grow our reach, while also strengthening our work by partnering with other creative initiatives and organizations.
During the event, we paid tribute to Toni Morrison through a reading of her poetry, facilitated a discussion around our favorite places in New York City, and created space for folks to simply build community and dream about future endeavors in urbanism and design. The goal of events like this Happy Hour is to create supportive, imaginative opportunities for Black designers, planners, and creative professionals to exchange ideas, network, and reflect upon the importance of Black spaces throughout our communities. As gentrification ensues across the city, supporting organizations like I, Too demonstrates the critical importance of not only acknowledging, but supporting and preserving the Black spaces throughout New York and beyond that have helped to shape the Black experience, movement-building, and cultural heritage.”