27 Apr. 2021

Housing Struggles in the the Bronx, Berlin and Beyond

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 12:30pm EDT

To open the conference “For a Right to Housing from New York to Berlin”, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung New York Office and the RLS Critical Analysis Department will host a special screening of the critically acclaimed film Decade of Fire (with German subtitles). This will be followed by a discussion with the directors Vivian Vázquez Irizarry and Gretchen Hildebran and producers Julia Steele Allen and Neyda Martinez about racial capitalism, housing and the future of housing struggles in The Bronx

Decade of Fire covers a shocking but untold piece of American urban history, when the South Bronx was on fire in the 1970s. Left unprotected by the city government, nearly a quarter-million people were displaced as their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned to the ground. Decade of Fire also shows what can happen when a community chooses to fight back and reclaim their neighborhood.

Presented by RLS-NYC project manager Kazembe Balagun.

When you sign up for the event, you will receive a link to screen the film online. The film will be able to view from April 26-29.

This event is a collaboration between the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung – New York Office. It is part of the series of events For a Right to the City from Berlin to New York from 27 – 29 April.

The event-series will be held in English and German.

Please register for the event, and direct any inquiries to anastasia.blinzov@rosalux.org

Decade of Fire/USA/75 minutes

(English with German Subtitles)

Directed by: Vivian Vázquez Irizarry and Gretchen Hildebran

About the Film:

Throughout the 1970s, fires consumed the South Bronx. Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed for the devastation even as they battled daily to save their neighborhoods. In DECADE OF FIRE, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry pursues the truth surrounding the fires – uncovering policies of racism and neglect that still shape our cities, and offering hope to communities on the brink today.

Through a rich seam of archival and home movie footage, DECADE OF FIRE confronts the racially-charged stereotypes that dehumanized residents of the South Bronx in the 1970’s, and rationalized their abandonment by city, state and federal governments. Vázquez Irizarry, in her role as the film’s central character and co-director seeks not only healing for her community, but to redeem them from the harmful mythology spread by the media that has continued largely unchallenged to this day. She tells the story of a people who held on, worked to save their community and start anew against impossible odds. The accounts she gathers are supported by extensive research, archival footage, print and broadcast news excerpts, testimonials from retired FDNY firefighters and brass, as well as Bronx historians.

Through exposing the history, and lifting up the stories of survivors whose deep commitment to their homes and communities saved the borough, DECADE OF FIRE offers the emergence of a new narrative for the South Bronx and places like it across the nation.