My Name is Dr Mark Naison and I am RDAC
I was there in Berlin with Rebel Diaz when the idea for a hip hop community center in abandoned and neglected space was inspired by the example of the Hip Hop Stutzpunkt, Cafe Zapata and a wonderful community arts center in Kreuzberg
I was there when a broken down paint factory on Austin Place was occupied and painstakingly transformed into a people's space with the help of volunteer painters, carpenters and plumbers from the Hunt's Point community
I was there when a performance space with a stage was created where poets and mc's and film makers and b boys and b girls from the Bronx and around the world could show case their art.
I was there were a state of the art music studio was created in the center and young people from the community were trained in the art of music production
I came in, as Notorious Phd, and recorded two tracks under the direction of sound engineers from the neighborhood aged 13-17
I was there when the first mural went up, which could be seen from the Bruckner Expressway, with the slogan
"No Human Is Illegal" and proudly posed in front of it with Rod and G-1
I was there when a group called the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective was formed to administer the facility and was proud to see two artists I admired greatly, Patty Dukes and Rephstar, and two of my former students at Fordham, Charlie Johnson and Karla Rodriguez, become members of the Collective
I was proud to invite members of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, including the brilliant young MC Y-C the Cynic, perform at Fordham showcasing progressive hip hop.
I was proud to bring my own students to RDAC on numerous occasions, and invite groups from all over the world I was hosting to make RDAC one of the sites on their tours of the Bronx.
I was there when the "I am Troy Davis" mural went up and spread the beautiful song Rebel Diaz produced "Troy Davis Lives Forever" far and wide
I was there, in the RDAC Studios, filming a video for the Badass Teachers Association, wearing the BTA tee shirts which RDAC produced for me, which are proudly worn by teacher activists all over the country.
I swelled with pride when Rebel Diaz produced a song " Chicago Teacher" to support the heroic teachers in that city, wearing the BTA tee shirts that they produced for me
I was there when RDAC stared "Boogie Mics" a show case for young hip hop talent from all over New York City, especially the Bronx
I was there at the amazing South By Southbronx Hip Hop Festival at Hostos College, where I was given the honor of introducing hip hop pioneers Cindy Campbell and DJ Kool Herc
I was there at the Rally and Block Party the night after RDAC was evicted, telling these heroic young sisters and brothers that they were setting an example for the entire world in standing up for the disfranchised and giving young people an opportunity to express themselves through the arts
I am RDAC
And today, I pledge to do whatever is in my power to help RDAC acquire another space, and take their programs to a new and higher level.