Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
As longtime residents, we do more than live in our neighbourhoods—we build them. But what are the unique challenges certain communities face when it comes to carving out a corner of the city to call home, particularly for Black and other racialized communities? How are we pressured to move on when those with structural and economic power decide to move in? This public conversation considers how the fight to stay put unfolds in racialized neighbourhoods. How do new, wealthier residents weaponize institutional systems, and to what extent are housing development, police brutality and racial profiling heightened by ongoing gentrification? What are the systemic barriers to city resources faced by racialized communities—and how can we stand in defiance of these trends and protect the neighbourhoods we have built?
Bochra Manaï is a researcher and community organiser. She is the Coordinator of Parole d'excluEs, a community group committed to citizenship mobilization in Montréal-Nord, towards social and territorial transformation. She is the author of "Les Maghrébins de Montréal" at PUM and is interested in issues of agency in cities, ethnicity, and dynamics of exclusion and inclusion in urban life.
Gabriella « Kinté » Garbeau is a writer, an anti-racist militant an afrofeminist and the founder of librairie Racines. After studies in social work she worked for many years with youth in Montréal-Nord and with women facing socio-economic exclusion in downtown Montreal. She then founded Racines, a bookstore, out of the deep belief in promoting representation of racialialized individuals through literature and art in all its forms, as an important first step to highlighting their lives and struggles. The shelves of this bookstore in Montréal-Nord are filled with books, art works and craft created by racialized persons.
Ted Rutland teaches in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment at Concordia University. His research examines how racism shapes the way cities are understood and governed, and how racial injustice is woven into the very making of cities. His 2018 book, Displacing Blackness: Planning, Power, and Race in Twentieth Century Halifax, traces the connections between anti-Black racism and urban planning in Halifax. His current work, inspired by activists in Montréal-Nord, traces the history of the war on "street gangs" in Montréal.
Oumalker Idil Kalif is a sociologist and has spent over ten years working in community, private and public sector organizations in Canada. Growing up in Petite Bourgogne (Montreal) and born in Djibouti, Idil is also a project manager and a tutor working primarily with racialized youth in Montreal. She has lived in Montreal for over 30 years and is particularly focused on issues related to racism, immigration, migration, access to quality education and inequalities. Idil seeks to support efforts toward a deeper understanding of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia in Quebec.
This conversation is co-organized with Librairie Racines 2.0