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Welcome to how the citizen with Berrytown did a show where we reimagine the word citizen as a verb, reclaim it from those who have weaponized it and remind ourselves how to wield our collective power.
I'm Baratunde. I want to thank you, you in general, for listening, but some use in particular for the actions you've taken or the messages you've shared or just the way you've talked about the show. To the group of American teachers in Casablanca, it's an honor to have made it to your book club and I'm glad we're helping you feel more close to home. Thanks for hitting us up at our email action and how the citizens come to as studios the Valla on IJI.
Thank you for turning our principles of what it means to citizen into amazing and beautiful art and using that hashtag How the citizen we see you. And to Phoebe let at The New York Times, thank you for including us in your piece podcast to inform your vote. Phoebe wrote and I quote, In each episode, Thurston has me and his guests show that the care Americans show for one another every day is reason for optimism. And the show's format practices what the content preaches.
Know, we just got recommended by The New York Times that feels good and just a moment of celebration. All right, back to work. We recorded the episode you're about to hear with our live Zoom audience, which you can join by visiting how two cities in dotcom and signing up for the emails or text in order to get the link. Now, I'm going to pass the mic to myself as we learn to build bridges, not walls.
So far in this series, we have grounded ourselves in love and power, we've explored how the citizen with covid, with public safety and with worker rights. In this episode, we're going to citizen a little closer to home, literally closer to home, part of how the citizen requires us to care about the collective and not just our individual cells, to be concerned with how our actions or the actions of our government impact our neighbors, our communities and our regions.
Another part of how the citizen citizens showing up and participating, being in relationship to others in our immediate proximity, not just our online friends. We are proud to have a guest today who embodies through her art how to citizen in her community. And she's created a profound project that can build bridges in communities around the world. Let me set the scene for you. The south side of Chicago, what images, words, phrases occur to you when you hear that?
Probably, possibly at least something along the lines of criminal headlines and gun violence and maybe Michelle Obama mixed in there, but the image that the media paints is of a community constantly in strife, struggle, maybe even words like carnage. And yet this is also a community of people living and working together to make lives better. No matter what else you see, read or hear about this place. There is another story of this place. I know the story of this person, thanks to you, literally, thanks to one of you who heard our first two episodes hit me up on IJI, I really do read them and said, you need to know about this photojournalist, this visual artist out of the south side of Chicago.
So I want to thank Chris New Rueter for putting me on. Our guest for this episode was born and raised in Englewood, a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. She's a visual artist and photographer. And in 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood. She's also the co-founder of Englewood's Arts Collective. In twenty seventeen, she was featured in Chicago magazine as a Chicago end of the year and in twenty nineteen she was named one of the Field Foundation's leaders for a new Chicago.
That's not enough. Most recently, she was appointed as a member of the Cultural Advisory Council to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by the Chicago City Council. If you can't tell, she is Chicago and she's here with us today to talk more about her project Folded Map, which visually connects residents who live at corresponding addresses on the north and south sides of one of America's greatest cities. We hope she's going to spark your creativity and imagination. Please welcome Tony Johnson.
Hi, welcome to How a Citizen with Baratunde.
Thank you for making time to be here with us. You started this project as a visual investigation of Chicago's neighborhoods. You were using the grid system in this beautiful space time Star Trek like Let's Foldit way to directly compare photographs and videos of north and south side blocks and residents. For those who are unfamiliar, the south side being predominantly black, lower income, the north side being much more white and having many more resources. Why did you start doing this?
What was your motivation as an artist for this work? So there is the inspiration of the idea that started while I was in high school. And then there is the motivation to do the idea. Well, I want it all. So let's go back to high school. So in high school, I grew up in Inglewood and when I was 13 years old, I was commuting all the way to the north side from Inglewood to my high school, which is 15 miles north of Inglewood.
And it is a selective enrollment school, which basically means that it has students from all over Chicago and in the 90s, specifically selective enrollment schools, because they had students from all over Chicago, they were able to curate the racial demographics of their student body to reflect the percentage of the racial demographic in Chicago. So there was equal percentage of each race. But you can imagine being immersed in new friendships from all over Chicago. But alongside of that, every day, while I was traveling from Inglewood, 15 miles north to the predominantly white neighborhood at my high school, then I noticed so many things on that commute.
And one was how different my neighborhood looked from the neighborhood that my high school was. And I noticed that my neighborhood definitely looked disinvested and I noticed that we had vacant lots, fast food restaurants, no franchise restaurants, no cafes. And the neighborhood that my high school was in literally was the opposite. It had so many cool things boutiques, cafes, flowers, tree lined streets. And I also recognized that the streets were named the same on this everyday commute.
I was like, oh, wow. Ashlynn in my neighborhood definitely doesn't look like this in the same way that it does on the north side. And so every day for four years, this is what I saw on my commute. And so I just listen to music and look out the window and notice the disparity between my neighborhood and the neighborhood my high school is in. But going to school is when I really felt like I was introduced to Chicago because our friendships are allowing us to explore each other's neighborhoods.
So by the end of senior year in high school, you could have a black boy from Chicago's West Side. So you got his favorite Filipino dish is poncey. So this was the kind of diversity that we experienced. And I knew then that although our city was segregated, that relationships could be built across those racial lines. So that stuck with me and didn't matter to me as I got older. And how many people talked about segregation, I experienced what diversity and integration looks like and feels like in Chicago, and I just carried that with me.
So when I got older and started to do community work and in the twenty sixteen presidential election year came about and, you know, our current president was talking about Chicago very horribly, primarily focusing on the gun violence. And I just felt like that was such a cheap. Way to talk about the larger systemic issues that created an environment for gun violence to become an issue. And I said, you know what? People just only want to focus on gun violence and not the root issue.
Gun violence is not always been in neighborhoods like Inglewood. It had a very clear beginning. And what happened before gun violence became an issue is something a lot of people don't know about. And I wanted to do a project that clearly shows what the present day impact of the historic segregation and discriminatory housing policies, what that made our neighborhoods look like today. And that's what prompted me to start working on a folded map.
Your attempt to recreate connection is only possible or necessary because there was a policy to create disconnection in the past. And you alluded to this already talking about how the present we're living in these decisions that were made a long time ago and you experience it as a high schooler. Can you explain more about the other maps before you came and folded them that defined Chicago and what families could live where these redlining maps? Yes.
So, you know, as people in this day and time are learning about systemic racism, a huge part of how that was able to sustain in our country as metropolitan cities became more populated is the federal maps that essentially outline the neighborhoods and locations and growing cities where the black population was starting to move to and where the white population we're living at and will move to. And those maps, the whole maps, HLC, they basically determine which neighborhoods banks should approve mortgages or business loans, and that ultimately affects how different white and black neighborhoods we're resource.
So in addition to creating this segregation, basically not approving a loan to a black family who were interested in moving into this neighborhood that was defined as a white neighborhood, they also had experience discriminatory lending practices by banks in the neighborhoods that were defined as black. So those distinctions ultimately over the course of those next 60 years has resulted in this disparity in how investment is in these neighborhoods. And so those were the maps that ultimately determine the segregation that we continue to see today replicated in so many different metropolitan neighborhoods.
So not only did they defy the race of neighborhoods, but they also determined. Where banks should and should not approve loans, not just mortgages, but businesses that wanted to get started, and due to the racist climate of that time, a lot of the black neighborhoods didn't receive loans of any kind to invest in their neighborhoods. So those are the maps that I definitely was thinking of in reference to creating and using Chicago's map as a point of healing, because we had those maps that created and exacerbated fear not only for black families, but also white families.
White families were told that black people are moving to your neighborhood. It's going to turn into a neighborhood that doesn't get loans. Your housing values are going to go down. So there were white families who could possibly would have stayed in the neighborhoods to live with black people had they not been scared, you know, to the fact that their housing, the homes that they've invested in were going to lose value. And those maps really cemented segregation into our country.
And that's why it was important for me to use a map as healing.
I really like this idea of a map twin. It's one thing to conceptually and analytically think about, OK, this coordinate has a corresponding coordinate. It takes me back to a geometry class. But there are people at those coordinates who have a story and an experience. And so you have created these really interesting possibilities for pairings of people that you call map twins. Can you explain more about this concept and how that's an entry point to participate in the Fotomat years?
So in Chicago, we have normalized segregation to the point of us joking about it, which that's what happens when you normalize stuff. You end up having weird, unusual jokes about it. And so every Chicago in jokes about the fact that when you take our red line train, you notice the colors. It goes from black on the south side to white on the north side. And so I really wanted us to like as Chicagoans interrupt how we've normalized it, for them to understand how it impacts our social networks.
So I wanted to really utilize Chicago's grid map, something that is uniquely Chicago and the fact that you have those coordinates that, you know, not in a lot of different places. And so I wanted to use our grid map to reveal to people exactly what you said, that these addresses that we mistakenly go to sometimes these addresses that feel like they reveal so much about people's lived experience. But we don't really know how to use those addresses as a way to connect us and to let people know that you do have a very distant neighbor 15 miles away from you on the same street, because we have so many streets in Chicago that run the full north and south of Chicago.
And I wanted people to start thinking about their distant neighbors, regardless of the neighborhood as family. And so I wanted people to connect using the addresses or the neighborhoods that would touch each other if you were to phone Chicago in the middle of but then also to view them as as family, because we are whether we like it or not, we are a family in this city, in this world. And it's best that we start to get to know each other.
And so that was the way that I wanted to create maps wins for people to feel some kind of connection to someone who they share a street name with.
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Welcome to Drafted to Drafted on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. There's something that strikes me about the fear that the government planted in white residents to say black people are going to bring your property values down, they're going to bring their neighborhood problems with them. Those are neighborhood problems because of what you did to them. You don't get to blame people for the thing that you did to make the situation be that way.
A map as a tool of healing as opposed to just a tool of division is a really powerful idea. And these pairings that you've helped facilitate are powerful and occasionally awkward. And can you talk through when you get to map twins together, what are you going for? What happens? I mean, I can tell you, I watched a video clip where I didn't know you're going to ask people how much they paid for their houses and when you see people react to each other.
But somebody was like, I was glad to get a deal for five hundred thousand dollars. And the black person was like, oh, it's like we've got to pay thirty thousand dollars for this.
So let's talk about the interaction amongst the twins and what has happened there.
I just always uplift them because these are people who self selected to participate. I did a mass solicitation to people on blocks that I was going to include in the project. So the max winds are the people who said, I want to try this weird thing out and regardless if awkward moments happen. All of them were connected in the fact that they thought it was important enough for them to even participate. And so I think them knowing that with each other, created a sense of trust and a sense of I know that this person wants to improve the very thing that will reveal itself in this conversation as being awkward.
So a lot of the Mark Twain hadn't experienced each other's neighborhoods just on a year resident level. You know, a few of the residents who lived on the north side had come to the south side before, but primarily through volunteering. So they hadn't met someone as just a neighbor. And so a lot of them started to understand who has benefited from the segregation that exists in Chicago. And it is uncomfortable, you know, when you meet someone who you've learned to be interested in and then you all answer the question of what's missing in your neighborhood.
And one person says basic stuff like, oh, better schools, a community center for children, restaurants, grocery store, just the basic needs. And you can't even come up with anything in your neighborhood. You start to develop empathy. And then the person who is saying the things that they don't have in their neighborhood feels as if someone cares, like the people who actually have the very thing that I'm saying we need in my neighborhood who have possibly thought didn't care, they're actually listening.
So it was reciprocal listening and learning. So all of them had that. Even if there were varying degrees of awkward moments, all of them were rooted in that. And I think there are great examples of how to model those kind of conversations. We haven't talked about that with each other before, especially in such as place specific projects like Chicago. And it's going to be weird. It's going to be awkward and unusual. And we need to just get OK with that.
We need to start being OK with saying the prices of stuff, because that is what reveals the true impact of inequity and how it is a barrier to people progressing not only in their life, but, you know, generations from now. And we have to start being OK with saying words like black, white, Latino, Asian, and then also being corrected, you know, so I think the marksman's conversations reveal all of that.
How did you learn to facilitate that sort of necessary but uncomfortable series of conversations?
Well, I would say formally and just creating the questions that is rooted in the fact that I went to college for journalism. And prior to that, in high school, I was one of them weirdo our kids. But my interest was in poetry and and writing articles. So I've always been interested in interviewing people, which really comes down to me just being nosy. You know, I was nosy and people are so interested in me and going to high school with so many different people.
You just like start to ask questions like, oh my gosh, where do you live? Where are you from? What do you like to do? So all of that was carried over into that map. But what was difficult for me to do that I really hadn't learned in journalism school was how to not interrupt people answering your questions that are ultimately in conversation with each other. So I would start by asking them both the same question, questions that I had asked them separately just to get them used to it.
So no one was really going to be surprised by what they were thinking of or how they were thinking of answering the question. You were only going to be surprised by what you heard someone else answering. So for me, I had to learn how to just shut up. Like after you ask the question, let people talk and then when the awkward moments happen. Don't interrupt, like see how they fix it, see what they resort to in order to fix it.
And that was really the goal of the project, is seeing how two strangers interact around these seemingly simple questions, but that clearly reveal a different lived experience. And so I, I have to learn how to shut up and stay out of the way. There was so many times where I understood both point of views and I was and I wanted to explain it like know what you really means is. But I couldn't. So that was a learning lesson for me.
It's an act of journalism, an act of community building, an act of art all in one. How do you see yourself will now change the title of my artist's website so often? At first it was photographer, then it was social justice activists. And I was like social justice artists. Then it was transdisciplinary artists. So I don't know, I change it, you know, according to what people tell me I am, but I just say artist.
And the medium that I use is photography. But even that's changing because I've included video included so many other things like public installations. So just artists. I think that's what I've grown to accept, partly because my neighborhood, like, bestowed that title on me. I was trying to avoid it for so long because I felt like in order to really claim yourself as an artist, you have to have had produced something. And they were calling me an artist way before I had my first exhibition, way before I thought of the map.
And so once they told me, no, you are you are just accepted. I was like, OK, I am. And me taking on that title because they uplifted me enough to say, no, you are artists and we're proud of you. That allowed me to open my mind up to think of projects you like. Actually doing Foldit math.
I would add to that your medium is far greater than photography, your medium is your city and your medium are these people who you treat with such respect. You create a space for them to have dialogue and then you trust them enough to let them have it. That's art. That is not facilitation, that is not lawyering, that is not conflict resolution that is creating and it's very powerful. So I just want to observe that as an outsider, to tell you what you do, you are an artist, but you are your medium is also us.
And I appreciate it.
Thank you. I'm going to use that.
You should use that. We're recording so you can get it perfect.
There's a quote that we found about you I want to share with you and then ask your thoughts about how this connects to your work. Since then, she has transformed this project into an advocacy and policy influencing tool that invites audiences to open a dialogue and question how we are all socially impacted by racial and institutional conditions that segregate the city. So can you tell me more about how this project is being used as an advocacy tool and how it's affecting policy?
When you create a piece of work like you have no idea how people are going to respond, and so you can't ever foresee what that response will make you do or feel as an artist, what it will influence you to create after that. So I had only seen folded map as an art project like this project that was in my head that I finally got out. And once people started responding and connecting to the idea of a map with the idea of saying, yes, the city is segregated and it has contributed to maybe some racist thoughts I have or yes, it's unfair that this north side neighborhood has exactly what my neighborhood needs.
So it was more of an affirmation that Chicagoans started to use to say, you know, look, this is what it is. And because the response was so great and people wanted to participate, find out if I was going to do more macsween, it really started to generate a larger citywide conversation, primarily through my social media that started to grow and people that wanted to see what I was sharing and then comment on it. And eventually it led to policy influence and organizations becoming aware of it, like Metropolitan Planning Council.
Most recently, our president, Toni Preckwinkle, who ran for mayor. She saw my folded map animated film and quickly identified the fact that it could prove certain policies that she wanted to introduce, that it's a clear visual example, using our great map to demonstrate the neglect and the unfairness of what our city has experienced 50, 60 years ago. And so a lot of organizations and individuals who are working hard and tirelessly to kind of resolve this inequity began to refer to Fotomat.
And so they didn't have to refer to a report primarily with just statistics. They were able to say this report reveals this. But look at this project. These are people who met each other who are clearly talking about the inequity between home ownership amenity. So they started to use coded map as evidence of something that reports just weren't able to translate and also having the photographs. I definitely have started to accept the pioneering impact of photographing Chicago's two different sides and comparing them, because I think in reports that hasn't been done before.
No one really thought of, oh, let's just photograph these streets that are the same and just show the difference. So that is my contribution to understanding the present day impact of segregation in Chicago. And I think all of the reports that have been done was really just missing the the visual and the human aspect to it. And so that's what a lot of policymakers have been using coded map to push their efforts forward. But then also the Fotomat family, as I call in, a lot of them are educators and a lot of them are people who want to learn more.
So. They're also learning about different issues and policies through folded math, so that is how it just transformed into a tool that educators and policy makers are using to push their work forward.
Are there any other outcomes that you hope to see from this project? Yes.
One in particular that I'm holding up, actually is the map action kit. So many people told me they wanted to participate in Fotomat, but I had to let people know, like, I'm not going to do this forever. I can't pair people up. Maybe I can create something where you can do it yourself. So I created the folder Map Action, which is a literal kit that we're mailing to some of the select people on Fotomat contact list. But that will be available for download on Fotomat website, where it's a self guided invite to run errands in your MacSween neighborhood and share back your experience.
I wanted people to be able to contribute to the expansion of Fotomat, but in a more personalized way that would allow them to not enter into a neighborhood with the preconceived ideas or the stereotypes. Because as a photographer, I know very well that what you're told about a location and a group of people will be reflected in what you pay attention to. So it's kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. So if you're told that Inglewood is horrible, you're going to pay attention to things that look horrible to you.
You won't notice other things. And so I wanted to create a project or an activity where it allowed you to meet. Regular residents. And so that's when I came up with the idea to have people run errands in your twin neighborhood and errands that are associated to the very specific inequities. So go buy organic Apple in your macsween neighborhood. Go take out 20 dollars at an ATM, go buy lotion. That's a very different experience in neighborhoods. People wouldn't think it is, but it is.
Those are your local post office, local library. So people can as close as possible feel what it is to walk in their neighbors shoes. But that is something that I am excited for Chicagoans to do and for. People in other cities as well, it's an activity that can be applied to so many cities in our country and I really just view Chicago as a microcosm of what is really going on in our nation because segregation inequities, that is just what it is and a lot of metropolitan cities.
And so that's what I'm hoping with the expansion of folded map into this action, that people will enter neighborhoods in a way that isn't just gazing, you know, that they can actually create some empathy to the neighborhoods that they visit that don't have the resources. And then for the people who visit neighborhoods that are a resource for them to think about, wow, this neighborhood has things that I'm entitled to. Some people don't know how over resource other neighborhoods are, and unfortunately, they can start to think that that's the norm, that my neighborhood being disinvested is how it's supposed to be.
And so that's my goal with the activity, is to have this conversation become more personalized. I want you to dream with me for a second, Tony. I love Chicago and I've never been a full time resident visiting a lot, spent a summer there. I like to claim my little peace. But as you said, our whole nation is segregated and. Has been pulled apart by various maps of division rather than maps of healing. What other elements could you see emerging from this?
Maybe you've got a hint of it. Maybe you just had some advice for the non Chicagoans out there about principles they could apply to proceed on their own down this path. What do you say to that? You can connect with people through your passion, and I think that's something our country has not had the opportunity for individuals to experience, we we've associated our where we should live based on class, you know, the amount of money we make. Now, just imagine if people determine where they live based off of the community of people they shared a passion with.
And I just hope that people take away from Foldit math that they can apply to where they live is just meeting people through your interests and your passions. Not focusing on people who have the same lived experience is you, because passions cross the racial divide, the geographic divide, and it allows you an opportunity to see someone from a different lived experience as your equal because you have a shared passion. And so I just hope that people really start to think about how and why we're divided racially, because I know that there's a huge population of us who don't want to interact that way.
We don't want to be divided. We see the value and the benefit of connecting with people from different lived experiences.
And is following is so far to learn other people's culture and to see what's different. To see what you view is weird or what you don't like is fine. And it also expands your world view. And we're in a place in time where it's global. You know, we're not living in places where it's just people who look like us. And so that's what I would hope people would take away, just the curiosity of getting to know history, the curiosity of wanting to get to know other people.
I've got one more for you, and then we're going to go open up the floodgates of questions and comments. The strong foundation that this show was that we see the word citizen as a verb rather than strictly as a legal status. If you interpret citizen as a verb, how do you define what it means to citizen?
I would say to learn about your life and your family's history and how that connects to. Our larger history, because sometimes when you learn history in school, you don't feel the immediate connection to your present day life, and sometimes we go and look for stories of how to humanize history in books and other people. And really it's just already within your family, you know. So I would say one easy way to citizen is learn your family history and learn how that has impacted.
Maybe decisions you've made in your life. And beliefs that you have or that you disagree with now, but really your family history.
Yes, that was great. I feel so vindicated, too, because I told somebody something like that the other day and then this dope artist just said it.
So now thank you. It's not about me, but thank you.
I'm happy that you share the same thought in. On this season of unobscured with experts to guide us, we will go back to the streets of Victorian Whitechapel to follow the trail of Jack the Ripper. For almost 100 years, the police files from that investigation were sealed behind closed doors. Plenty of time for the legend to grow will join the police in their attempts to solve a series of brazen and brutal murders. We'll see through the eyes of London's East Enders as they try to make sense of the violence taking place right in their midst.
And we'll explore the alleys, yards and homes where a series of monstrous murders became the most infamous true crime story of modern history. Unobscured Season three premieres on Wednesday, October 7th. Subscribe today on Apple podcasts, either radio or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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There is a comment that I pull from one of your videos that I want to get to as a guy named Wade, who I saw in one of your videos, is one of the map twins, Wade. Yes. Your smile and then recognition. And you asked Wade or someone asked Wade about would you encourage people to take part in the folded map project? And he said, quote, Having an open mind and being willing to do something new and get out of your comfort zone is important if we're going to become a more United City.
And as citizens of the city really have a connection with the entire city and not just half of it, you've got to sometimes take the initiative and do the uncomfortable thing. I want to encourage anyone who wants to bridge that gap that we all know was there. You should just do it. That's my boy, right? Like I said, that's your medium.
I got to set this up. This is exciting because this is the person who actually first mentioned Tony Johnson in the fold a map project to me. So, Chris, new router is in the house. I'm Chris Maroota.
I'm a middle aged white lady who lives on the north side. I'm in a weird neighborhood called Bowmanville, which is pretty close to Edgewater, which is sort of the north side focus of folded map. My day job is in forensic engineering, so I have like an architectural background. And I first fell in love with folded map because of the beautiful sort of architectural photos that that Tanika took. And so I went down to Englewood, branded and saw the exhibit after hearing it on NPR.
And I just fell in love. And I have a comment and then some questions. One of the things that is really great about me is that there's so much joy and celebration of these communities, whether it's North Side, the overall resource neighborhood I live in or South Side communities like Englewood that frankly are getting just horrible media coverage. And it bothers me as a Chicago in Who Loves My City that, you know, it's described as a war zone.
And we forget, I think, that people live in these neighborhoods, even if there's a gang problem on a block. These are thriving neighborhoods that people live in. And we need to start measuring our communities only in terms of, you know, monetary wealth. And that's what I really love about this project. In particular, one of the questions I had for Tunica is how do you see this being applied in other communities? I see a lot of the chat was really focused on that.
Thank you for asking that question. I've been thinking a lot about that, and when I've spoken in other cities, other states, I've always ended up saying. Every place has a foldes, so that is going to be the next guide that I create after I commit to getting this action kit out in two weeks is a fine, trifold. And it doesn't matter what kind of mapping system your city has, there is segregation and there's usually a street house, a landmark, something that divides.
And I want to help people know that you don't need an exact grid map to do this or replicate this in your city. Just your reflection about where the divide is. Foldit right there, even if it's in a classroom or a lunchroom, there is usually a divide, a fold. And so I want to be able to encourage people to. Five fold and use art to think of the folds like it doesn't have to be so rigid, you know, conceptually it could be a fold in instruments.
Certain students in class pick it. There is always something that is a division. And the goal of folded map is to use that divide to bring people together. So I am definitely going to create Find Your Fold guide explaining to people my process and how the folded map and give them the instructions on how to do it in their location. So that's soon to come. Maybe the twenty twenty one drop.
All right. We've got a live question from Mama Sarah. Great. Thank you. Hi, I'm from Rochester, New York. The folks here in the city Roots Community Land Trust in Rochester have been doing tremendous work around educating about redlining, how our city was divided. And I'm just curious who you're connecting with around efforts to educate beyond your project, into how your communities can rebuild from the grassroots, maybe through a land trust or other things.
So beyond the folded map, I'm definitely connected with community organizations that are trying to really specifically increase home ownership in neighborhoods like Englewood. Land Trust is one of the tools that people are talking about. But then there's also the other issue of repurposing schools that have been closed in neighborhoods like Englewood. So all of those things are definitely being talked about and explored. But since neighborhoods in Chicago are like a universe of their own, you can't apply one strategy to all of these neighborhoods.
Each neighborhood is very unique. An example I can give is there is another South Side neighborhood called Auburn Gresham and Chatham. And these are neighborhoods that have a strong home ownership base, but they're mostly older black people. And so their neighborhoods, even though they have high home ownership, they don't have the other amenities that, you know, this aging population deserves. And so they don't have grocery stores in abundance. So their effort is going to look different from a neighborhood like Inglewood.
Foldit map has definitely been included in those conversations of how people can be helped. And so that is one of the other primary things that's being discussed publicly in Chicago is just the banks, you know, banks still not offering fair lending practices to the neighborhoods that were red line. And then also, you know, even beyond Landro, conversations about the appraisal process, how that also hinders home ownership value increasing in certain neighborhoods. So all of those things are in conversation and on the table.
So, yes. Thank you for the question. Thank you so much. I want to read a question from Aaron Masked, some of which you addressed. He asks, How do we bridge the gap? This gap between that I quoted Wade referring to how do we bridge that gap? How do we talk to people who don't think that gap exists? You don't solve the root of the gap. You just don't waste time with it. Another thing Wade said that really stuck with me.
He said, you know, dismantling racism and segregation seems like such a big thing that you just can't fix. And he said Foldit map provided him a way to feel like he was. And this is what I want to remind people, that we're still struggling with racism and segregation and systemic racism, although we have policies and laws. But that doesn't work. It has to be through our personal lives, like we have to make it personal. That's the only way that systems can stop becoming systems because we have to change the thoughts is the thoughts that are systemic.
What people think of each other is systemic. And the only way you can change thoughts is by changing yours. And the only way you can do that is by getting to know other people and how you choose to do that. Can be up to you, but it is a very real way that words, I don't want people to minimize the impact of literally getting to know someone who has a different lived experience is powerful. It's been proven that that's a guaranteed way to develop empathy.
So, you know, there is another version of a parent out there in some other neighborhood, you know, and just imagine if you all met each other. You know what? The issues that he has will become important to you, and that is the goal of the map, is to help people become more empathetic. So that's what I would suggest. You know, just keep it simple if you find someone interesting who is different than you. Strike up a conversation.
Talk to them and just pursue the relationship. Yeah, I'm going to do a potentially annoying thing here. But I'm to quote myself, which is in my TED talk about deconstructing racism. I made this comment that systems are just collective stories we all believe in. And what you've answered to Aaron's question, Tony, is reminds me of that in a different way. If enough people do believe the gap exists and enough people work to build that bridge, create that dialogue and establish a relationship that can become the new system.
It's almost a numbers game. And there are many people who are interested in doing that. We may not all be aware of how many of us there are. I'm going to read a question from Betsy from the great NYC. Are you creating programs that teachers can use, like a teaching guide?
Yes, I'm actually doing that right now. So one of my goals was to have quality might be a curriculum in Chicago public school system, but my collaboration with them, a partnership was kind of interrupted by them adopting New York Times 16 19 project, which is amazing. So I still want to teachers and educators to be able to access not only just the material from Fotomat, but from my other projects interviews. So I am in the process of creating a website that educators or just the public in general can access and use as instructional resources for existing curriculums.
So the goal is to eventually have a Fotomat curriculum. But until then, I want to make my interviews, the clips I have of Inglewood, the photography, the Maximilien interviews, all of those things from all of my collective projects available for the public to use as instructional tools for whatever it is they're doing, because there's a lot of great curriculums already out there. And I know that people and educators are constantly looking for resources to support or to make their curriculums fresh.
So I just decided to kind of go that route and we will be hopefully making that website available in twenty, twenty one.
Thank you, Betsy, from the great NYC for that great question. And now we're going to hear from Ned.
All right. I'm not kid. I'm calling from Madison, Wisconsin. We have a definite divide in my child's school between families live on one side of the street. That's mostly apartments, mostly black families, mostly poor families. On the other side of the street, it's houses, mostly the white folks who go to the school. The school itself is incredibly diverse. We don't live near each other. Right. And one of the things that I guess just as I've been listening and I've been thinking about these clips, when I think about the issues of like low income housing solutions, other things.
The question I want to ask you, though, is, as you've been working on this project, how have you personally seen your concept of what racial justice, social justice in some of these issues like housing and other things? What does that look like for you? How is this were impacted you personally and your thoughts on those things?
Yes. So thank you for the question. One specific example I can give is when I expanded the project to include Matt Twins' from the western side of the city, which is very different from the north and south side. So Chicago is like a triangle, you know, like north south. And then it extends here. And then there's a western part. It's that western part. It's still the north south racial divide, but it's just 10 minutes apart as opposed to our park.
And so when I interview those maps where they talked about gentrification, which wasn't something that was brought up in north south Maxwell, because that really happened from white to black communities. Traditionally in Chicago, Latino neighborhoods get gentrified. And because of that gentrification, they move into neighborhoods where they can afford, which is generally black neighborhoods. So the maps, we started talking about gentrification and it's always people against the gentrifiers. And so I've used that conversation to help people understand how we have to redirect our anger and we have to redirect it to our elected officials and the people who create the housing policies that determine Low-Income High Income Neighborhoods, because at the end of the day, the white people who are viewed as gentrifiers to whatever neighborhood.
Honestly, they're viewed as dollar signs by the developers and corporations, and they can't really help that wherever they move or affordability, businesses just follow them like everything they ever want, just follow them. So I just told people, you know, that if we are going to continue having this conversation about gentrification, we cannot be blaming, you know, of course, once gentrification happens, the people who are new to the community should pay attention to the community that existed there before.
But the issue does not start with people who move into a neighborhood and then eventually the neighborhood changes, not as a result of what they said they want, but because of what follows them, which is resources, which is money and development. And so the only way we can tackle that is becoming unified and addressing that, saying, no, it's not fair that neighborhoods where young white professionals move because they want to live someplace to that they can afford that the neighborhood starts to change because of developers and corporations who view them also as dollar signs.
And so that is one way that we've been kind of having that conversation in Chicago that kind of addresses the class part of it, because at the end of the day, people move to neighborhoods that they feel like they can afford, how they determine the criteria for the neighborhood deals. There's a lot of other stuff, but remembering that commonality that people live where they can afford and we have to question. What goes into making a neighborhood affordable or not, so that's just very general, conceptual answer, but, you know, that's just part of the conversation that has to happen for people to even think differently about the income gap.
Thank you for an excellent question from Madison, Wisconsin, and an excellent answer to Niko Johnson from Chicago. I just want to say what an incredible pleasure this has been. I knew from seeing the project from the outside, this was something special, we had a brief call with Teleca a few weeks ago. It was clear this was special. And I think what's remarkable is some of what we've already heard that is your medium is also the people that you've imbued a level of trust in us to go through this process and not try to fix everything like the mess is OK and it's a part of the process.
And it ties back to so much of what we believe in this show, that relationship building is key to citizens. And so you've demonstrated a really beautiful, literally artistic way to do that. That adds a third dimension to the reports of what our communities are like and gives us a bit more language and imagination to create the communities that we actually want to live in. All that is tremendous and remarkable. And thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We're going to find Nfld. Yes.
We are beyond grateful to Tony Johnson for joining us. You can follow Tony Jay on Instagram, Tony K.A. Jay and visit Folded Map Project dot com. Find this episode a full transcript show notes and more at How to Citizen Dotcom. And please show your support for the show in the form of a review and or a rating makes a big difference with these algorithmic overlords. But now for the fun part, this episode's actions. We start off with our internal actions, there's three of them.
The first pretty light and they get a little heavier from there. I want you to listen to another podcast, This American Life, not the whole series. That's like thousands of hours to episodes that sit under the title House Rules. These two episodes examines segregation in the United States in a beautiful way. You can find the link in our show note on the website of the digital scholarship lab for the University of Richmond in Virginia. You can explore this interactive map that lets you see where segregation got planted in the United States in so many ways by looking at the loan rating codes from the Home Owners Loan Corporation around the time of the New Deal.
Find your city and look at that history and think about is it still reflected today? The third internal action has a lot of detail, I want you to find out how to citizen dotcom, but I lay it on you pretty simply like this. We think we came up with a way for you to explore a folded map like experience for those who don't live in Chicago without having to move to the city of Chicago, which is a great place. But that's a big commitment for a podcast where you are.
Try this instead of that first step, reflect on your neighborhood and write down the things you love, the things you depend on, the specific places that you frequent, the library, the grocery stores you go to, the cultural institutions you value, the new sources you trust at a very, very local level. Then I want you to think about the neighborhood, you don't go to think about that part of town that you think of as too dangerous or too bad to visit, or maybe it's too wealthy and too unwelcoming to visit.
Either way, there's a part of your town or your region that you do not frequent. I want you to picture this place, find it, name it, and then I want you to explore it using the same lens you used to think about your neighborhood, find a restaurant there that serves the food you love and order takeout or delivery, find a library there and compare its programming to the one offered by your own library. We're in covid time, so I'm not going to encourage you to physically explore a bunch of neighborhoods in indoor spaces, but find artists and cultural institutions and local news sources in the part of town you never go to and tune into that.
Our goal is to help you become a better citizen of your own neighborhood and your greater city and regional area, not just your neighborhood on the external front. For those who live in Chicago, you better sign up for that folded map project Dotcom, do it. Now, Monica has finished the action and it is available for you. So please check that out. And whether you live there or not, if you know an educator, share this project with them.
In particular, folded map project dotcom slash video has resources designed specifically for educators. So download the action kit and try to do it, try to do it. And if you take any of these actions, as always, share them with us by sending an email to action at How to Citizen Dotcom, put the word bridges in the subject line. That will help us sort this out and brag online about your citizen using the hashtag How to Citizen. You can also send us general feedback or ideas to comments at how to citizen dotcom.
And you can text me to go to eight nine four eight eight four four. Drop the word citizen in there. So I know how you found me and I'll give you extra special attention and alerts. How does a citizen with Baratz, India's production of I Heart Radio Podcast executive produced by Miles Gray mixed up Elizabeth Stewart and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joel Smith. Edited by Justin Smith.
Powered by you. Hey there, it's Mangosta, part time genius, co-founder of Middle Class, and like many of you, I'm one of the 21 million people that have picked up gardening in the past six months. That's why I'm hosting the brand new podcast, Humans Growing Stopped, brought to you by Heart Media and your friends at Miracle-Gro.
And just like you, I'm here on this growing journey to learn more, but not just tips and tricks, even though we'll hear from plenty of experts. I want to ask people why they garden, how it inspires them and what keeps them going. Their proof of life like we're all being held hostage in these plants are like they're the markings on the doorframe that show that time is passing. They're continuing to live.
Failure is not a bad thing at all. And failure in gardening is very natural and it happens a lot.
Listen to humans growing stuff on the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. It'll be the most human podcast about plants you'll ever listen to.
You know how they say history repeats itself, we've allowed ourselves to be so divided, no one can disagree anymore without hating on the Frost Tapes podcast will be sharing interviews from legendary TV host David Frost, who sat down with some of the most influential people of the 60s and 70s.
A time of great upheaval in America, a time that feels so much like today.
I did not elect Nixon, but I'm a black American and I know something about the crime of silence.
It's funny, isn't it, that there aren't any women in the executive positions of this company? I think it's really sort of involves the national purpose, almost the soul of the country. Or when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.
You won't find these tapes anywhere else. So join me, Wilfred Frost, as we turn back the clock on the frost tapes. Listen to the frost tapes on the radio are Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.