It was the summer of 2017 when Me’Lea Connelly and I had an intense conversation about how we’ve observed, repeatedly, Black folks being displaced from their homes and neighborhoods. We knew that Blexit’s paradigmatic organizing strategy paired with economic resistance could create real alternatives to gentrification, but we also knew that gentrification was an oversimplification of the displacement happening to our friends and neighbors. Hotboxing, as Me’Lea described, is a concept that demonstrated how gentrification was the result of a process that was repeated time and again.
Intrigued, I wanted to learn more about hotboxing and shine a different light on gentrification. During my final year of studies at the University of Minnesota, I studied the topic intently. Hotboxing describes the systematic and predictable steps leading to gentrification. When we frame the concept in a way that says gentrification is predictable, it means that communities have the opportunity to interrupt, and prevent, the hotboxing cycle from occurring in their neighborhoods . Hotboxing advocates for each individual’s freedom to choose where they want to live and confronts the forces of displacement.
To those impacted by lack of access to affordable housing, gentrification or urban development, I warmly invite you to engage the topic of hotboxing on this website and within your own work. I ask you to follow Blexit’s work on hotboxing and contribute to developing solutions that can change the paradigm for Black people who are frequently hotboxed. New information and research will be posted here as it is developed, and I’m excited to read your comments if you have something to share. I am hopeful that we can work together to end displacement ensure people have the freedom to live where they want to.