Student Writing Wednesday: Luis’s “East Side Stories”

Gentrification is taking away the roots and driving out the bloodlines of Boyle Heights.

Gentrification is a big problem in low-income communities. Especially Boyle Heights. It is taking over our normal and friendly neighborhood stores and friends. The problem with gentrification is that it renovates old and frail low-income houses with low-income families living in them and increases rent on the newly-remade homes, so they cannot afford them after. In which case, this kicks them out. This also goes for not just homes, but stores and shops we all depend on. If there is a neighborhood-friendly grocery store where we can all get our healthy fruits and vegetables and it gets gentrified, then we lose that food source and would have to start looking elsewhere for healthy foods. Losing a major healthy food source will cause a lot of families to travel or even move to look and shop elsewhere, which will also cause us to get in our cars to drive to farther locations for healthy foods. That causes another even bigger problem with toxic fumes and pollution. Gentrification is like a domino effect. Sooner or later, gentrification will make all the pieces fall and start new problems like pollution and poverty.

There is only one good thing about gentrification. And that is that it can be stopped. There are many ways but there is one main and simple way to stop gentrification. It is called community stewardship. It’s when a community comes together to make a change and resist a certain issue or problem. Gentrification is a great reason to come together against something, especially when it is considered a threat. When people are getting forced out of their homes and onto the streets to a life of poverty, it calls for a big resistance of the community. Community stewardship starts with gathering the community and addressing the issue. Talking about what is to come if we don’t do something is a great way to stir people’s emotions into being all about stopping gentrification. Then to discuss how they will resist this issue.

There are different ways of resisting an issue. Actually there are different types of resistance. There is transformational resistance, conformist resistance, self-defeating resistance, and reactionary behavior. The type of resistance people need to have to fight gentrification is transformational resistance. It means that when people have this resistance, they know what the issue is and what they need to do to stop it. It also means that people do something and want to do something to solve the problem. So everyone needs to be committed to stopping gentrification.

I think students should know about living this kind of life. When there is a life-threatening problem crashing into their world, they should know how to stop it. My opinion about gentrification is that it’s a terrible and depressing thing to happen to such a happy and thriving community filled with so much culture and happiness.

Gentrification has to be stopped.

In the Ethnic Studies course called Boyle Heights and Me created by three teachers working for equity and excellence in education, Roxana Dueñas, Jorge Lopez, and Eduardo Lopez, 9th graders at Roosevelt High School engaged in a year of conversation critiquing and challenging what is often accepted as the norm, or “just the way things are.”

This is My Revolution is a collection of honest and inspirational stories that depict the power of transformation and healing that comes from knowledge of self.

Interested in helping students write stories like these? Become a volunteer.

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