Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: Gentrification and its Possibilities

Gentrification has been an issue of great debate from both those who agree and disagree with it. It isn’t something many people support because of the possible loss of heritage in a community. Although it can beautify a community and can create a safe environment for people, it also gives tenants the opportunity to raise their rent leading many people to move out because they are not able to pay the high prices. The middle class are able to pay these prices and thus drive out the “poor.”

So where do these displaced individuals go? What happens to them? How can we fix this issue?

Gentrification is nothing new but has recently been on the rise. Although initially gentrification may not be very apparent as it’s taking place in a community new changes eventually become more apparent after only a few months or years. Where I live for example, a new metro station in East LA as well as other city renovations, were put into place, which didn’t concern me at the time.

However after awhile I started to realize that my city started to look more renovated. These new renovations have led me to wonder, “Is our community’s Latino culture going to eventually be forgotten?” Although it may seem a bit far-fetched, given the communities that have been radically changed due to gentrification such as Asians, African Americans, Latinos, and Jews.

I asked myself, “Weren’t there other ethnic cultures before East LA became predominantly Latino?” So what happened to them? Since the Latinos community eventually overtook East LA other ethnicities were driven out.

So just like they were driven out, we will be driven out as well by the middle class. This is threatening to people who live here and they are therefore attacking businesses such as the Weird Wave Cafe in Boyle Heights.

Change can be beneficial, but in this case, our cultural and communal identity is at risk. The issue surrounding gentrification won’t be solved completely until we reach a compromise. Problems create solutions, and solutions create problems. In the end even with a good solution, several people will be dissatisfied, and so with that, how will the ever growing issue of gentrification be solved?

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