Race Forward is proud to introduce nine artists and culture bearers, who are participating in our 2024 Housing, Land, and Justice Artist (HLJA) Fellowship. Grounded in the principles of an abolitionist future and centering movement-building, each fellow is tasked with creating  an original artwork or cultural production that uplifts the core narrative from the housing justice story platform published in the PolicyLink Housing Justice Narrative Toolkit.

The Fellowship emerges from a three-year housing justice narrative collaboration between Race Forward, Community Change and PolicyLink. The goal of the partnership was to develop strategies to change our collective relationship to housing in society, promote popular narratives around housing as a basic human need and not a commodity, and foster the necessary climate for racially just housing policies to be enacted. The fellowship is an extension of Race Forward’s broader work to harness the power of the arts, culture, and media to demand housing policies that see and serve all.

The artistic works produced by the fellows will catalyze deeper dialogues, regionally and nationally, around racial and housing justice and embody the values and themes of:

  • Abundance, Enoughness, and Winning
  • Love and Love as a Verb
  • To Neighbor, Collective Power, and Solidarity 
  • Restoration
  • Safety, Privacy, and Freedom
  • Care, Caretaking, and Stewardship, and/or
  • Joy

Meet Our Fellows

Our 2024 fellows are currently in the process of completing their projects. Stay tuned!

Autumn Breon

What does housing and land justice feel like to you?

Housing and land justice feels like joy, dignity, and safety. Housing and land justice is the right that all folks share to have access to safe and dignified places to call home. The artwork that I make invites folks to collectively imagine futures that actually benefit us, and housing justice is a building block for the joyful and healthy community I want to live in. 

About Autumn

Autumn Breon (Inglewood, CA) is a a multidisciplinary artist that investigates the visual vocabulary of liberation through a queer Black feminist lens. Using various mediums including performance, sculpture, and collage, Breon invites audiences to collectively imagine new systems that make current oppressive systems obsolete. She is an alumna of Stanford University where she studied Aeronautics & Astronautics.

Headshot photo of Autumn Breon

Taishona Carpenter

What does housing and land justice feel like to you?

Housing and land justice looks like abundance. An abundance of resources, an abundance of care, and an abundance of self-determination. When we take care of each other, we are actively working through abolitionist values to create reliable systems of support for our communities to thrive. It smells like native flowering plants once again, it sounds like cultural music coming from every direction, and hearing children and elders laughing in conversation. It looks like cherry pits on the sidewalks, and children learning how to swim at the local park, and the community garden being full of life. Housing and land justice feels like a community in love.

About Taishona

Taishona Carpenter (Portland, OR) is a conceptual artist, organizer and community archivist with a passion for social impact in the realms of art and civil rights. Her work allows her to intersect two passions, art and civil rights by utilizing critical research to facilitate dialogues around art in relation to current social movements. She is the founder of Compose Yourself Magazine, an independent online publication spotlighting music, culture and social justice. Taishona is also currently the Board President of Don’t Shoot Portland, a community-based advocacy nonprofit and Director of The Black Gallery, an experimental arts space in downtown Portland.

Professional headshot of Taishona Carpenter

Danielle Demetria East

What does housing and land justice feel like to you?

Housing and land justice looks and feels like C.A R.E. — community, accountability, restoration, and equity. (derived from the For Everyone Collective)

About Danielle

Danielle Demetria East (Lubbock, TX) is a multifaceted artist, poet, and passionate advocate for her community. Originally from La Grange, Texas, Danielle is the driving force behind East Lubbock Art House (ELAH), a thriving 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a noble mission – to make art accessible to all – as its founder and Executive Director since 2020. Danielle is an active contributor to the arts community in West Texas, holding key positions on various nonprofit boards. She earned her BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Headshot of Danielle Demetria East

Brian Ellison

What does housing and land justice feel like to you?

It feels like controlling the narrative of past, present and future narratives.

About Brian

(Houston, TX) is a Houston-based conceptual artist and a Creative Coach and Education Program Manager at Project Row House. Grounded in the belief that art is a universal language and a catalyst for healing, he delves into cultural misconceptions such as one-dimensional expressions and emotional inaccessibility. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, including performance art, Ellison captures the intricate facets of the everyday Black experience. Themes of his work span the impact of gentrification on legacy communities, the physical and emotional toll on Black bodies, the lesser-known tales of Black love and solidarity, and the resilient spirit of Black men and women. Brian is a graduate of Morgan State University and holds an MFA from the University of Houston.

Knee up photo of Brian Ellison

Charlyn Griffith-Oro

What does housing and land justice feel like to you?

we are at home in ourselves, shoulders raising arms and hands, unencumbered by trauma and regret. we are safe to touch each other's bodies, which are dreams. streams and rivers, lakes and seas nourish us through mists. work is meaningful, we are weary and waking in a passionate collective push producing what we need to survive in service. suffering, capitalism, and white supremacy live only in spooky stories about the past. we have deconstructed race and class. gender hierarchies are a pyramid built for pleasure, we slide down and climb it in rapture. institutions and monuments are dedicated to novelty and beauty. we are parents, lovers, and siblings to the land, water, sky, and our creature kin. life leaves vibrant flavors on our freedom tongues. 

About Charyln

Charlyn Griffith-Oro (Philadelphia, PA) practices creative abolition, imagining the destruction of capitalism to be symbolic of the dismantling of our own fears of neglect. They prioritize creating systems of care; using food art and communal dining, their project Free Brunch Program is a creative disruption of the invisible pain and isolation of hunger. Their work proclaims "Food Could Be Free" as a call to the imaginations of their community. Charlyn has been a midwife for over a decade, delivering her own 3 children at home with her mother, refusing to have the fate of Black births decided by the public system. They are an "infinite media" artist using sculpture, performance, narrative, and most recently filmmaking to document and illustrate robust, sweet, tender life. Charlyn is a graduate of Hunter College and holds a MS from the University of Vermont – Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Headshot of Charlyn Griffith-Oro

About Andre

Andre Jamora Jones (Oakland, CA)  is a distinguished muralist, public arts director, and the visionary Founder of the Bay Area Mural Program, headquartered in the vibrant city of Oakland, California. With over two decades of unwavering dedication to the arts, Andre has honed his craft into a transformative force, specializing in the creation of expansive murals and public art installations that ignite community engagement and catalyze social change. His murals are resonant expressions of empowerment, social justice, and the profound potential for community restoration. Andre is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Headshot of Andre Jones

Nguyen E. Smith

What does land and housing justice feel like to you?

To me, housing and land justice refers to ensuring people have safe, equitable, affordable housing, and the laws, rules and regulations associated with the aforementioned, are fair, and just. 

About Nguyen

Nguyen E. Smith (Jersey City, NJ) is an artist primarily working in mixed media drawing, found object sculpture, and performance. He is interested in the ways ritual, memory, language, and history intersect with art-making processes that prioritizes previously used materials, the body, and play; through the lens of Blackness. Nyugen is a graduate of Seton Hall University and holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Headshot of Nguyen Smith

About Lauren

Lauren Williams (Detroit, MI) is a Detroit-based designer, researcher and educator. They work with visual and interactive media to understand, critique, and reimagine the ways social and economic systems distribute and exercise power over Black life and death. Through her creative practice and research, Lauren often investigates Blackness, identity, bodiliness, and social fictions to examine how racism is felt, embodied, and embedded into institutions. Lauren is a graduate of University of North Carolina and holds an MFA from the ArtCenter College of Design.

Headshot of Lauren Williams

Anu Yadav

What does housing and land justice feel like to you?

Housing and land justice, to me, is about the complete freedom to live with dignity. It is being right relationship to each other as a human family, all living beings, and the earth as part of our collective liberation. 

About Anu

Anu Yadav (North Hollywood, CA) is a critically-acclaimed Indian-heritage actress, playwright, and cultural worker engaged in community care, poor people's organizing, and liberation. She is a member of the We Cry Justice Movement Arts Collective at the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, and the Poor People's Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds an M.F.A. in Performance from University of Maryland, College Park.

Headshot photo of Anu Yadav