You’ve seen it in the headlines. You’ve heard it mentioned everywhere from tv shows to political speeches.
Gentrification. It’s impacting cities throughout the entire country.
But what does it really feel like for the people who are living with it each and every day? For the people who are being pushed out of their family homes? Who are losing their communities? Who no longer have a place to call home?
These are the questions local filmmaker Tia Williams explores in her upcoming web series “Gentrified.” The scripted drama series follows the lives of people of color as they grapple with the rapid changes gripping the city of Austin, Texas.
“For Austin, a lot of the reasons that people have moved to Austin is because of the culture part of it, the arts… that vibe,” explained Tia in an interview with the Austin EcoNetwork. “But not really considering that the people who have created that art and that vibe are the exact people that you are now pushing out of the city.”
With this film project, Tia hopes to shine a light and put a real face on those people who are most affected by gentrification.
“I know a lot of people of color who were born here… I’ve witnessed that pain when they talk about how things aren’t the same,” Tia said.
In particular, Tia shared the story of a friend of hers, a poet, who said that,”she feels like an other or a stranger in the city where she was born.”
By creating a story about people of color (written by and performed by people of color), Tia hopes that the black community will finally feel heard.
“Imagine owning a home… that has been in your family for generations…and you’re losing it and… what’s gonna happen when you lose it is somebody is going to come behind you and create a house that looks exactly like the house next to it, more than likely someone from a completely different city is going to be living there, they’re not really thinking about the person that just lost their home,” Tia said. “I think that’s the pain that people are kind of forgetting about. A lot of people just look at it as, oh it’s a nice trendy area.”
Interested in this project?
“Gentrified” is currently running a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo and through the Austin School of Film in order to complete the project. You can donate to the Indiegogo campaign (and earn lots of great perks) here. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Austin School of Film “Gentrified” fundraiser here.
Cheer Up Charlies is hosting a fundraising party for “Gentrified” on Sunday, March 3rd from 4pm to 8pm. The event will include live performances, guest speakers, drinks, and good vibes. The event is free with a $5 suggested donation. You can get your ticket here.
Want to learn more?
You can listen to the entire interview with Tia Williams and AEN Editor-In-Chief Amy Stansbury below.