publication

Hands Up, But They Still Shoot

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It is said that the NYC police department will be issuing a budget to get body cameras in which police officers will be required to record when interacting with civilians. We live in a country where the Eric Garner murder was recorded, the coroner declared it a homicide, and still No Justice. Mike Brown had his hands up and Darren Wilson still shot the innocent teenager and Trayvon Martin yelled for his life as Zimmerman gunned him down. Along with many other black and brown lives taken inhumanely. Yet America has labeled us the animals.
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To say there is a problem within our policing system would be an understatement. It is corrupt from the bottom up and has always been rooted by a white supremacist system. Black and brown people have a civil right to be treated with equality. People of color should not feel threatened by police presence as opposed to feeling safe. Mothers shouldn’t have to verbally train their sons how to be, act, speak, and react around law enforcement. We are living in an era where you have to teach your children if ever stopped to not resist, to keep their hands where cops can see them at all times. Things that white mothers and fathers are not subjected to as black and brown communities are. The truth in white privilege.
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One of the things that seems to come up a lot during these conversations is “Let’s not play the race card.” I think what people don’t understand is that that’s exactly what people are doing. Playing the hand that was dealt. And if people are tired of hearing about it, imagine how hard it is to live it every single day of your life. Our black and brown communities need to love each other, protect each other, build from the roots up. We have to learn our culture in order to find the truth within ourselves. We have to teach our youth. They are the target and it is our responsibility to give them safe spaces where they can be creative and learn to use their voices.
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Growing up, we learned that history had a way of repeating itself. I think I always knew I’d be a part of something life-changing and altering. My first protest was for the Mike Brown verdict. I remember feeling like it was my obligation, my social responsibility to be there, to be an extra body and voice. A couple of close friends and I walked to the train and for the whole ride I felt pretty numb. My friend asked if I was ok. I told him I was. He went on to explain that i must remain level-headed at all times, and that I can’t let my emotions control my actions. I smiled and recall saying, “I’m good.” He said, “you don’t understand, this is something new to you and very powerful.” I just nodded. Our stop finally came, we got off and approached to street level. Outside you could see a lot of people with signs. Some looked confused, didn’t know which way to go, while others led the way. Three blocks into walking, I heard them. All in unity, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard in my life. It was so powerful and so unified that it brought tears to my eyes. At that moment I felt connected. The more we walked and the bigger we got I started to feel like I had done this before. I have a friend who always talks to me about blood memory. I get so passionate about things and feel so connected to my culture that it makes me feel as if I have been here before. As if I have fought this battle before – and we have. It’s in our blood. We are fighting a systemic form of oppression that has been going on for way too long. Everywhere we turn we have to fight the system in some way, shape, or form. Our families deserve better than that. Our children aren’t animals.
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The system shouldn’t hold the power to decide which of our people live or die!
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In the fight for justice, we hope that the families of the lost ones find some type of peace and, although it may hurt, they are never alone. As a woman of indigenous ethnicity raising a son, I also live in fear of a system run by oppression and white supremacy. We as the people must join forces and learn to value each other as brothers and sisters.

I hope for peace and justice, especially for our youth .
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Yes, all lives matter!
BUT
IT’S APPARENT THAT OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM DOES NOT VALUE THE LIVES OF BLACKS!

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 Written By : Jazo Brooklyn 

Edited By: Madeline Kennedy

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DRTY SMMR, BUSHWICK NIGHTS

by Jaz Colon

Ok, so we know that there are a bunch of boutiques, galleries, and cafes popping up in Bushwick. With four coffee shops on one block, it’s all becoming over-rated. Some people have even said that it’s no longer feeling like a community. Why is there a huge disconnect between the new community that is being built and the pre-existing one that has been around for thirty-plus years? It’s not the new businesses that are creating this feeling. It’s the people who run them. However, this is not the story with every new venture in Bushwick. There are a lot of genuine people doing amazing things through all forms of art, from music, dancing, fashion, and more.

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Alfredo Leijia (29, born and raised in Texas) and Shock Vintage (29, born and raised in Atlanta, GA) are among the many talented. They run a collaborative boutique called DRTY SMMR (DS), which lies on 1198 Myrtle Ave. Being under the loud and constantly running M train gives their storefront a chic, yet edgy look. From the outside you can see at least two racks filled with treasures: evening gowns, vintage findings, and punky, avant-garde styles. Inside are enough beautiful accessories to leave you with a completely new outfit.

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Beautiful murals, along with paintings, dress their walls. DS has it all, but the thing that struck me the most was the vibe I got the minute I walked into the space. It felt inviting. Alfredo and Shock were very warm and vibrant and filled with genuine personality. You could sense their joy in having you there. Their whole essence and how they carry themselves represent community. They really have a passion to build bonds with every one who walks in and out of their shop. Alfredo and Shock are very connected to the local youth group, Educated Little Monsters. Shock came and spent a day with them talking about fashion and design. Alfredo created the costume for their first dance showcase. He took care of them. Knowing that this little shop not only offers unique fashion, but also helps the community is a win for any town. Make sure you come out and give them a visit.

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Here’s a little info about the designers:

Bushwick Bridge (BWB): How long have you lived in Bushwick and what made you choose Bushwick?

Alfredo Leijia (AL): Actually, my first apartment was in Bed-Stuy, in 2010. I left there at the time, because I felt like it wasn’t coming up fast enough. You know, that young creative life. The Bushwick art scene was a lot stronger than it was in Bed-Stuy at the time.

Shock Vintage (SV): I’ve been in Bushwick, on and off, for four years. I chose Bushwick for the prices and distance to the city.

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BWB: How long have you been designing?

AL: Wow, I was about fifteen. I designed four girls’ dresses and my suit for our high school prom. I was sketching at seven years old. I always knew that I wanted to make things with my hands and at fifteen I knew it was my passion. I still have the sketch of an off-the-shoulder jacket I made in red.

SV: I’ve been designing ever since I was about 12-years-old.

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BWB: How would you describe your designs?

AL: They are edgy and elegant. I always feel like I’m dressing up a vampire from the 1920s. I wish I grew up in the 1920s and the 1940s. I love [those eras]. [They] inspire my style.

SV: My designer style is a mixture between urban-wear and athletic-wear. And [it’s] slightly couture, due to the authenticity.

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BWB: How has your experience been overall in Bushwick?

AL: I really like it a lot. It’s one of the best communities I’ve been to. So many mixtures of people. I love the diversity. We get a lot of good feedback from people who come by our shop. We had this one lady–who happened to be a native–who told us, “Thank you for bringing some beauty to our community.” It felt amazing to hear her say that. It’s also an overwhelming feeling to see how happy a new client is when they get something custom-made specifically for them. It always feels like my first piece.

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BWB: Do you think Bushwick fits your style?

SV: Bushwick, like most areas, don’t necessarily fit my style, because I’m extremely unique within my style. It’s never planned. It’s inspired by culture and art and fashion.

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BWB: What do you love most about designing clothes?

SV: Designing clothes is very therapeutic. It’s also exclusive, because you are the only person who creates that design. There is nothing like originality.

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Que Bonita Bandera

Bushwick was filled with a lot of pride this weeknd for the Puerto Rican Day parade. 

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People dressed their cars with flags, waved them out their windows, honked their horns yelling prideful things like “Boorrriccuuaa “.

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One Bushwick family filled their block with music, dancing, family, barbeques and momentum.  Felt so much like community.  The scenery was too beautiful not to capture. 
Hope you enjoyed these pictures of a Bushwick family living their yearly tradition for 30+ years ♥

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