Throughout our meetings, we would discuss about the changes that gentrification caused in our neighborhoods, as well as changes that were occurring to the neighborhood that our school is located in. So while some students would speak about how the Echo Park lake used to be way different and many new residents seemed to have moved in after the fix-up of the lake, other students would talk about how corporate businesses would replace a mom-and-pop shop that they remember seeing as they were growing up, or the empty lot right next to our school that became a luxury housing complex .
Our neighborhood walk was an opportunity to document the gentrification that was occurring on Sunset Boulevard and to see examples of gentrification right in front of us. We gained the perspectives of new residents, long time residents, new business owners, and long time business owners. Even though we came up with four categories, each individual and their stories go beyond just a category.
Before we went on our walk we had to think about what we were going to do. Originally we were just going to walk around and take pictures of the neighborhood but then, a student jokingly said that we should go inside the businesses, take pictures, and ask the owners questions, which was what we ended up doing. After we got over the jitters of speaking to an adult, we brainstormed the following list of goals for our walk.
The student’s initial nervousness in speaking to an adult shows the stigma that is put between an adult and youth.
Often times youth are seen as incapable of being able to create change or even “care” about an important issue. However, our walked helped us know that we are capable of doing so.
by Ana Ortega