Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 Gentrification Conference

Dear Community,

The 2021 540WMain-City Roots Community Land Trust Gentrification Conference is just seven days away and I am a ball of excited, anxious and nervous energy. We have been busier than ever since last year’s conference was postponed and then canceled altogether due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then the 540 team and colleagues have been busy planning for this year’s event, our first ever virtual conference. For the first time ever we’ve had a Project Manager dedicated solely to helping design, develop, and execute the conference. Casey Ryu (3rd year University of Rochester student) has been a rockstar in this role and we literally could not have put together this year’s event without her. This is our first major conference to be delivered completely online and the learning curve has been nothing to play around with. Fortunately, the 540 team is so much bigger than it was when I founded the conference back in 2018 with Shane Wiegand.

We have a planning committee and an amazing co-organizing partner with Graham Hughes and the City Roots Community Land Trust. City Roots is doing some amazing thing in the Rochester community and attendees are in for a real treat when it comes to the breakout session that their team is leading. Now in the fourth year, this year’s conference retains last year’s theme: Resisting Gentrification: Then & Now and presents a historical recap of Rochester’s movements and resistance led by BIPOC community activists around issues related to gentrification, housing injustice and environmental racism and how these movements have continued in the modern era in Rochester and beyond.

We have some amazing sponsors that we thank immensely for their support of this important work. You can learn more about the 2021 sponsors here.

Community Champions

Community Partners              Community Supporters

Our goal in putting this event together is to support and strengthen housing justice movements by providing the people who lead with them a platform to share their work. We hope that everyone who attends our conference this year feels challenged to think differently about injustice in our community and more connected to movements for justice in Rochester and beyond. 

In solidarity,
Calvin Eaton, Co-Founder/Co-Organizer
Graham Hughes, Co-organizer



2021 Gentrification Conference | FAQs

1) When is the conference and is it in-person or virtual?

The 2021 conference takes place April 9 & April 10. Friday, April 9 (5-7:30pm EST) includes an in-person ticketed film screening of Clarissa Uprooted with Teen Empowerment. Tickets for this are limited and can be reserved on Eventbrite. Saturday, April 10 is entirely virtual through the platform Teachable. Networking, a keynote address, and subsequent breakout workshop sessions will take place from 9:15am-3:30pm (EST).

2) Where can I register?

Those who wish to attend the conference can register on Eventbrite.

3) I have a particular workshop I would like to attend. Where can I find what time it will be live? 

You can find a detailed schedule of events at 540gentrificationroc.org/2021-schedule. You may decide to attend sessions based on interest or for the whole day.

4) Do I have to pay to attend this conference?

The conference, like all of 540’s classes, is available to the public using a gift economy pay structure:

  • Pay regular admission ($30)
  • Pay admission & fund someone else ($60)
  • Pay what you can ($1+)
  • Full scholarship ($0)

5) How do I access the conference program?

We will use the Teachable platform and Zoom to deliver self-guided content and live sessions. You must register through Eventbrite anytime before April 10. In the week prior to the conference, you will be emailed the access link to the email address you provided upon registration. For the Friday, April 9 in-person event, tickets are limited and can be purchased through Eventbrite as well.

6) What will I learn at this year’s conference?

  • An understanding of the political and economic systems that cause gentrification, and the major players within those systems that benefit from the process of gentrification.
  • An understanding of several organizations working to combat gentrification and holistically develop communities in the City of Rochester and how to join those organizations.
  • Comprehension of the relationship between historical and contemporary policies and practices that have directly contributed to housing inequities in Rochester.
  • Feel more connected to one another with deeper relationships with the people and communities most affected by gentrification and displacement in our communities.

7) Will there be a keynote speaker?

Yes, the keynote speaker for this year is long-time activist Gus Newport! Rochester-born Gus Newport has dedicated his life to promoting racial and social justice. Beginning his activism in the 1950’s in Rochester. amidst longstanding racial oppression of its Black and Brown residents and the subsequent Rochester Uprising of 1964, Gus became the leader of the Monroe County Nonpartisan Political League.

Later, Gus rose to national prominence as the progressive mayor of Berkeley, California from 1979 to 1986, where he led the city to be the first to divest from companies that supported South Africa’s apartheid government. After serving as mayor, he became involved with housing and environmental justice alongside the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative outside of Boston, MA and served on an advisory board to oversee the rebuilding of New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. In recent years, he has campaigned for his close friend Bernie Sanders.

8) Will ASL interpreting be provided?

Yes, all sessions throughout the day on April 10th will be ASL interpreted.

9) What if I am unavailable on April 10th? Will the conference be recorded? 

Yes. We encourage everyone to register for the conference via Eventbrite even if you cannot attend live. This is so you will receive access to the entire conference via email to replay and review at your own pace.



About the Conference & Presenting Organizations

The 540WMain- City Roots Community Land Trust Gentrification Conference is an annual conference designed to unpack and discuss the topic of gentrification in the City of Rochester. This conference offers hands on community engaged discussions, panels, and action work around the history of gentrification in Rochester neighborhoods and highlights the stories of community members directly affected by gentrification and displacement. The conference was founded in 2018 by Calvin Eaton Founder/Executive Director of 540WMain, Inc. & Shane Wiegand of Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition.

540WMain, Inc. is a 501(c)3 virtual non-profit organization and antiracist education brand that promotes justice for all. The organization encourages individuals to broaden their horizons and learn more about multidisciplinary issues and topics that impact the world.

City Roots Community Land Trust is a community-driven organization that works to establish and promote permanently affordable, equitable housing in Rochester, ensuring development without displacement by empowering neighbors, having the community both own and manage land, and bridging socioeconomic divisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *