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Paul Reyes

Paul Reyes is VQR’s Editor and is the author of Exiles in Eden: Life Among the Ruins of Florida’s Great Recession (2010). He has published several articles in VQR, including “Opportunity Knocks,” his essay about the Miami organization Take Back the Land, which was a finalist for a Harry Chapin Media Award. His writing—which has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and The Oxford American—has also earned him a nomination for a National Magazine Award in Feature Writing as well as a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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The Ways of Justice

Fall 2017 | Editor's Desk

We were just three weeks out from closing this issue when the Unite the Right movement—comprising Nazis, white nationalists, and Klansmen, among others—descended on Charlottesville and provoked a weekend of bedlam and terror that left scores injured and three dead. The community here was devastated at first, then rallied behind the loss of its own. But the fact that Unite the Right had chosen Charlottesville to begin with has triggered a painful conversation about the ugly racial dynamics that underlie what’s often referred to as “one of the happiest cities in America.” Many here feel it’s long overdue.

This coming to terms with racial truths—for both the city of Charlottesville and its most powerful institution, the University of Virginia—will be a slow and messy reckoning. It has already been a raw experience, both volatile and illuminating. Actions since that weekend speak to the profound need for redress, which isn’t just political but a fundamentally human need.


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Vultures Rising

Spring 2011 | Essays

On a recent October afternoon in downtown Miami, the same week the robo-signing scandal triggered a nationwide moratorium on foreclosures (a brief reprieve for homeowners, a vindication for their attorneys, and a harbinger of economic paralysis for pundits), I met up for a Sunday drive with Peter Zalewski, a condo-slinger whose company, Condo Vultures, has been feeding on the remains of Miami's real estate implosion. The day was mild, a spotless sky, mythically blue, with a sea breeze brushing the air—the climate around which an entire economy was invented. We drove along Brickell Avenue in Zalewski's Hyundai Sonata, the sunroof peeled open for a better view of the towers that loomed behind the palms along the street. You could see the bay in flashes in between the architecture.

(All photographs by Paul Reyes)

Opportunity Knocks

Fall 2009 | Reporting

This is Rameau seizing the moment: hunting down houses left idle by the banks, or by the city, so that he can take them over. Rameau contends that everyone, no matter what, deserves a home, and he considers the surplus of empty, deteriorating foreclosures a gross waste of a precious resource. “For me, personally,” Rameau says, “it’s about provoking a contentious debate.” And if breaking into a bank’s neglected inventory is the way to get that conversation started, then so be it.