The number of residents of the Audre Lorde co-op, which can house 15 Queer and Transgender People of Color, shrank to one lone member following issues within the Madison Community Cooperative organization.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
Co-op organization’s ability to accommodate marginalized groups questioned
The Audre Lorde Housing Co-op — a tall, pale green house on North Frances Street — stands like a lonely relic of its former self, now home to only one person rather than the 15 members that it holds when at full capacity.
The 11 housing co-ops that
While all MCC co-ops aim to be inclusive, Audre Lorde is specifically intended to be a home for people of color, queer and transgender people. Katherine Charek Briggs, the assistant
Without Audre Lorde as a housing option, students who identify with these underrepresented categories have one less safe space and affordable housing option on a campus many already find unwelcoming.
A chain of events going back several years sparked Audre Lorde’s collapse, highlighting problems within the MCC organization.
In 2013, a fire at the Lothlorien co-op sparked an argument over whether MCC would make repairs or sell the property. Steve Vig, who has been MCC’s membership officer for five months, said the dispute “caused quite a schism in the organization as a whole.” In response to this unrest, many houses in MCC went on strike. They still paid rent to their respective houses, but refused to give money to MCC.
At Audre Lorde, the rent strike prompted residents to question a different organizational problem — that of MCC’s openness towards people of color. Consequently, Audre Lorde began to disengage from the overarching organization of MCC.