The Weekly WrapThe Weekly Wrap

The Weekly Wrap: Maui Residents Face Down Housing Speculators

Also: Free lunch is now permanent for Massachusetts public school students.

Tag at entrance of tunnel that reads, 'Lahaina Strong'

(Photo by State Farm / CC BY 2.0)

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Maui Residents Fear Climate Gentrification After Deadly Fires

Following the deadliest fire in the U.S. in over 100 years, many Maui residents are worried that redevelopment will be focused on building property for affluent out-of-towners rather than resolving the affordable housing shortage that Hawaii residents, including Native Hawaiians, already face. Eighty percent of structures in Lahaina were destroyed in the fire, according to the Associated Press, and the median price of a single-family home on the island is $1.2 million, meaning homeownership is not an option for most people. Governor Josh Green told journalists that he is looking into ways to acquire land for workforce housing for local Hawaii residents, according to the AP.

Youth Activists Win Climate Lawsuit

Youth environmental activists won a lawsuit in Montana, with a judge ruling that the state’s agencies violated their constitutional rights by not considering the environmental impact of issuing permits to fossil fuel companies, according to NPR. The judge ruled that emissions from Montana fossil fuel companies were a “substantial factor in causing climate impacts to Montana’s environment and harm and injury.” Plaintiffs ranged in age from 5 to 22 and addressed poor air quality in the two-week trial in June. Plaintiffs included Indigenous people who testified that climate change was impacting their food sources. The state legislature will be tasked with bringing the state’s permitting process in compliance with the ruling, but the legislature is dominated by Republicans who are friendly to fossil fuel companies, so it may take a while, according to NPR.

Free Lunch Will Be Permanent In Massachusetts Public Schools

All Massachusetts public school students will now receive free lunch, CBS News reports. The program began in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic but was made permanent in this year’s budget, signed by Governor Maura Healey earlier this month. It will be paid for with federal and state funds as well as a millionaire’s tax, the revenue of which goes to both public transportation and education. The program is permanent as of the 2023-2024 school year and will make Massachusetts the eighth state to make free school lunch permanent, according to a press release from food nonprofit Project Bread. It will save families with school-age children around $1,200 a year, according to the organization. The budget will also include $1 million to fight food insecurity among college students and $5 million to boost SNAP benefits.

A Sneaker Campaign Is Accused Of Mimicking 90’s Artwork Addressing AIDS Epidemic

A marketing campaign by the clothing brand Kith is being criticized for its similarity to a 1991 piece of art by Felix Gonzalez-Torres commemorating his partner, Ross Laycock, who died of AIDS that year, Hyperallergic reports. The Gonzalez-Torres piece, still on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, consists of 175 pounds of wrapped, colorful candy arranged in the corner of a room. Viewers are permitted to take candy from the pile, and each piece is replaced so long as the work remains at 175 pounds. The weight may have been that of Gonzalez-Torres’ partner, Ross Laycock, when he died in 1991, according to the Art Institute’s website. Gonzales-Torres also died of AIDS in 1996. Kith’s campaign, which is a collaboration with the sneaker company Asics and a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Marvel’s X-Men comics, consists of a pile of pink, yellow and blue Asics sneakers, each designed to resemble a different member of the X-Men, also piled up in the corner of a room. Kith, Asics and Disney have not yet commented on any similarities.

Legislators Ask For Taxi and Ride Hail Exemptions To Congestion Pricing

A group of mostly left-leaning New York legislators have signed an open letter asking regulators to exempt taxis and for-hire vehicles from the state’s new congestion pricing plan. The letter, directed to the state’s Traffic Mobility Review Board and Chair Carl Weisbrod, asks the body to “limit any congestion pricing surcharges on the industry to a nominal per trip fee on Uber and Lyft rides paid by the riders” during the rule-making process. Legislators say that the fee “cannot be so high as to cause major job loss for Uber and Lyft drivers.” The letter is signed by 24 assembly persons, state senators and councilmembers who support congestion pricing, including several legislators who are members of the Democratic Socialists of America. Congestion pricing was approved in 2019 but has faced numerous delays including federal approval. It is expected to finally be rolled out in 2024.

Curated by Deonna Anderson


  • Here’s what two nonprofits have learned about the impact of tiny houses for the homeless Smart Cities Dive

  • To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the Brooklyn Public Library and Roc Nation released limited-edition library cards with artwork from Jay-Z albums. The library system saw an uptick in memberships. CNN

  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit removed its long-awaited $1.7 billion downtown project from its 20-year financial plan. It was expected to help alleviate a single choke point where DART’s light rail trains converge. D Magazine


  • What if every eligible person in your state received safety net benefits? In a new project, Urban Institute answers this question for each U.S. state.

  • One year ago, the San Francisco Treasurer’s Financial Justice Project launched its “Be The Jury” program, which “increases the daily juror stipend from $15 per day to $100 per day for low- to moderate-income San Franciscans.” Now the project and its partners have released an evaluation of the program.

  • First Five Nebraska launched the Child Care and Public Transit Dashboard, an interactive resource that maps how close child care programs are to public transit routes in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties.


  • The Kehinde Wiley Speaker Series is bringing together activists across generations — Angela Davis, Michael Tubbs, Rosa Clemente, Dorsey Nunn and Lateefah Simon — to discuss resistance to systemic violence in their practice. Saturday, August 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern. You can watch the live stream here.

This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: new york cityclimate changeeducationyouthfood accesswildfireshawaii

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