1) Please tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from and what you’re passionate about!
My name is Anthony Rosado and I am a Queer Afro-Puerto Rican born, bred, and living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This neighborhood is my passion. It has been and still is my only connection to my Puerto Rican-ness. As a second generation Nuyorican, I spent my high school and college years accessing every resource possible in effort to learn my native language and cultural history. Following my graduation from Trinity College in Hartford, CT I moved back home to Bushwick. The careers I accessed post-college privileged me to afford to live in this rent-spiking neighborhood.
As I create and curate in my community, I engage with native domestic businesses, community organizations, and new arts collectives to bridge connections within our community. I have faith that through unity and solidarity we will be able to comprehend negative effects of gentrification, ideally working together to dismantle outcomes like the physical relocation of native residents, tax breaks for luxury homes, and the erasure of the hirstory of a culture that worked hard to culminate the Bushwick we communally inhabit.
Most importantly, the passion driving my creative and curatorial forces are youth. Specifically, Bushwick youth. They are inherently the future and it is up to us to remind them of their value. Furbished streets, homes, and businesses in response to the presence of a white community within Bushwick will reduce feelings of value for youth who’ve lived in our community pre-furbishment. On top of the Eurocentric education we had to learn, Bushwick was for me (and I’m sure it is for native Bushwick youth today), and still is, the sanctuary that holds my connection to my Puerto Rican-ness.
I believe through conversation, honesty, and love we will cultivate a New Age for Bushwick that considers and offers to resources & aide to all members of our community.
2) What do you think some of the positive things are that exist in Bushwick right now? (art, humans, events, organizations)
My abuela is still here, living on the same corner I grew up on: Wyckoff & Greene.
I have met incredible organizers & artists who are down for bridging the community (The entire Make The Road NY staff, Julian Padilla, Bianca Perez, JenDog LoneWolf, Danielle De Jesus, Jazo Brooklyn of Bushwick Vendors Market, Jordan Melendrez, Nyssa Frank, Lindsay Cornelio, Kunal Gupta, Christopher Stout, Sarah Quintor, and many more names I can’t remember at the moment). These humyns affirm my hope for the New Age of Bushwick.
Summer is time for the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Although Puerto Rican communities who attend the annual event have depleted by the hundreds in the past eight years, those remaining still engage with the Parade.
Summer in Bushwick is the most positive. It is time when people are out, able to encounter one another and bridge connections. Our connections encourage access to all spaces, native & new, in Bushwick.
3) What are some important things that people who just moved into Bushwick should be aware of?
In effort to raise my own awareness on changes that happen within our community, I ask myself “What do I not see?” Much of our perception of place is considering that which we see day by day. When visiting new galleries & cafes & restaurants, what do you not see?
If I do not see native members of our community and/or or black & brown bodies in either of these spaces, I ask myself “Is this space inclusive in its efforts to invite all of the community it resides in?”
To raise my awareness further, I ask myself “What is the hirstory of the community I live in and directly affect?” I then seek to learn it.
Most importantly, I ask myself “Does my existence harm more than help the community I live in?” I think about the ways I engage with and fight for my community.
I love Bushwick. Ask most native residents and we will tell tales of a Bushwick not too long ago, that was enriched with black & brown bodies unable to afford rent elsewhere, so they made it home.
4) What advice would you tell someone who has lived in Bushwick his/her whole life and feels anger toward the newer residents?
I would tell her/him, “I understand. I feel you. The reality is we can not go back. We can not kick them out. We can not relocate families who have been moved out, and find the ways to aid them in affording the current Bushwick prices (We can do this, of course. But it would not be fast enough.). There are now apps to find apartments, and Vogue has deemed our community 7/15 ‘Coolest Places to Go in the World’.
As condos pop up by Myrtle-Wyckoff and luxury homes with tax breaks name themselves ‘Colony 1209’, we need allies.
I believe if you take the time to consider their lack of knowledge of the way Bushwick was before the day they moved in, then they will consider your feelings. If we share our stories, they will inevitably gain knowledge of what Bushwick was and a glimmer could spark in their eye.
This glimmer is not similar to the one they had when they decided to move to Bushwick. This glimmer shines light upon a New Age of Bushwick, one where we work together to make sure the remaining families, community centers, and native businesses are not gentrified from their home.
I know it is scary. If we are vulnerable to them about our experiences, I believe they will gain courage enough to vulnerably confirm their privileges with those who are similarly privileged. This affirmation of privileges will increase their awareness on they ways they directly impact our community.
I believe through patience, a deep breath, and inherent love for each humyn, we can really listen to one another.
Listening will incite a revolution of natives & allies. One aiming to dismantle the negative effects of gentrification and live up to the now popular slogan “Bushwick is a Movement!” Listening will also lead to more conversation, which will expand all our knowledge on the many restaurants, galleries, community centers, and all other spaces in Bushwick we have access to.
Have patience. I have love for you, and I am here for you.”
5) What advice would you tell someone who just moved here and wants to be a part of the community, both old and new?
I would encourage them to ask their selves the questions I ask myself (response 3).
I would encourage them to support native domestic business.
I would encourage them to encourage new businesses to hire native residents, so we can return to a flow of capital from the community for residents within the community.
I would encourage them to get to know their neighbors; to have patience with residents who feel animosity; to make a large effort (in light of the negative effects of gentrification) via baking cookies or inviting neighbors to a barbeque.
I would encourage them to learn Spanish. There are free classes at Make The Road NY and many other organizations in Bushwick.
I would encourage them to refrain from exotifying the name of Bushwick further. If your organization, collective, or magazine uses the word “Bushwick”, please make clear the ways in which your organization, collective, or magazine engages with all members of the Bushwick community. What does it do for the community of Bushwick? Let the name be more than cultural capitol. It will pain me to see Bushwick as cool as Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, which also experienced a mass depletion of native Latin@ & Black residents.
I would encourage them to consider Bushwick before the population of Latins & Black peoples. Italian peoples fully populated Bushwick pre-1940s, however they fled as soon as the community’s population of black & brown bodies increased. Prior to the Italians, the Dutch were native to Bushwick. The land we live on has strong hirstory, wherever we are in the world.
I encourage the value of the importance and relevance of all our ancestors’ hirstories.
I encourage you to consider inherently having love for each humyn you encounter.
6) Tell us about some of your own projects, past and future!!
I curated a live performance, visual, & multimedia art series in November 2014 at Make The Road NY on Grove & Knickerbocker. It is titled Universal Humyn Love and will return to Make The Road NY late June 2015 (exact date soon to be posted on my website).
I am curating a live performance, visual, & multimedia art series in collaboration with 7 artists at Loisaida Center in the Lower East Side early June (exact date soon to be posted on my website).
I am performing a solo curated by Jaamil Kosoko of ‘Dancing While Black’ for Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance’s ‘Boogie Down Series’ at 8pm on May 1st and 2nd.
I am in the process of continuing to collaborate. Please stay in touch through my website: