“We must use all the tools like music and protest to promote an equitable housing recovery and prevent people from being priced out of their neighborhoods.”
It goes without saying that HONK! is not your average music festival. Or a typical parade. Far from it.
As organizers put it, since starting in Somerville in 2006, this “longest-running festival of activist brass … has traveled as far as São Paolo, Brazil, and Australia” as a “running celebration of music and activism,” with “bands from all over the world participating.”
This year’s focus, meanwhile, is “rent control and immigration,” and will of course feature the “giant puppets, brass bands marching, multi-generational supporters and signs, banners, and a variety of colorful props” that HONK! is known for.
More from HONK!’s partners at the housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana below …
On Sunday, October 9th, the last day of the Boston HONK! Festival, the parade of tenants, small owners, and allies will debut their support for rent control as elections approach in the state of Massachusetts and march from Davis Square, down Mass Ave, and into Harvard Square. Rent has skyrocketed in recent years in many cities and towns across the state, making it more vital than ever to lift the ban on rent control and pass rent control through the local options bills across Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is in the worst renters crisis of this generation. The percentage of residents in MA who rent their homes is rising, while nearly half of all renters and over 70% of very low-income renters are burdened with unaffordable housing costs. Since 2010, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom in MA has increased by 55%. A recent report by rental listing site, Zumper found that rents in some Massachusetts cities increased 30% in the last year. Rents in Quincy, Revere, Haverhill, and Medford experienced the largest monthly growth rates of nearly 6%. This forces too many families to live in overcrowded conditions, drains resources from local economies, and pushes people out of their neighborhoods.
It is time for Massachusetts to respond to the call for rent control to protect tenants from skyrocketing rents and displacement. We must use all the tools like music and protest to promote an equitable housing recovery and prevent people from being priced out of their neighborhoods. We must ensure that our residents’ housing rights are protected during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. We need MA legislators to allow cities, towns, and the people to do what is best for their communities and lift the ban on rent control now.
“The HONK! Festival is an opportunity to connect our fight decades-long fight for rent control to the rhythm and power behind the music,” Roxbury organizer Paula Coar said. “Sunday is an opportunity for us to connect housing justice and the importance of rent control to broader social movements like those that advocate for immigrant rights and are not fighting for drivers licenses for all.”