As we close this unprecedented year, and I near my one-year mark as the executive director of The Laundromat Project (The LP), I find myself reflecting on the spaces in between. Similar to the Japanese concept of ma or the Akan concept of Sankofa, these are the moments of contemplation where I consider what has been and what can be, what appears inevitable, and what is imaginable. This past year has unfolded as a continuous state of in-betweenness, a sensation that can sometimes be disconcerting yet also serves as a potent catalyst for possibility—a force capable of instigating change, fostering transformation, and ultimately leading to personal and collective liberation.
At The LP, in our commitment to nurturing creativity and community, in 2023, we supported four Artists-in-Residence projects. These initiatives honored the voices and stories of long-time Bed-Stuy residents who shaped and defined their communities in big and small ways. They explored a more human and equitable approach to envisioning the design and use of public spaces. They guided us in imagining new worlds and preparing for the possibilities within. They co-created a community-driven and informed toolkit aimed at combating gentrification.
Equally audacious, our Create Change Fellows upheld the importance of investing in, relying on, and affirming the value of assets sourced directly within our communities and from nature for sustainability and wellness. Simultaneously, at our storefront, we cultivated shared spaces for connection and the exchange of ideas and supported the creative endeavors and civic actions of artists and cultural practitioners in Bed-Stuy through funding opportunities. With our Convening, we explored how artistic expression and cultural preservation can serve as powerful tools to challenge oppressive systems.
Throughout all these engagements, I have been moved by those who ignite their creativity and dare us to dream. These individualsoccupy the space in between what is and what is possible, challenging us to view possibility not as a passive longing but as acts of resistance. This radical hope compels us to build a more equitable and passionate future.
Looking at the year ahead, I am excited about the projects we will support, the communities we will engage, the neighbors with whom we will co-create, and the inspired visions for the organization we will put into motion. I am confident that possibility will serve as the flame igniting our collective action, propelling us forward in our mission to manifest a world where equity and compassion are not just ideals but lived experiences for us all. In this space in between, we find the power to transform our aspirations into reality.