As part of our #ThisIsFilipinotown campaign against gentrification in the neighborhood, we have joined forces to form a broad coalition of community organizations and residents to create the Coalition to Defend Westlake.
#ThisIsFilipinotown is a current project of KmB formed in response to the gentrification observed in the neighborhood in which we organize.
Have you looked around lately? The neighborhood is changing. We want our community to advance, but demolishing existing structures and replacing them with corporate businesses focused on making a profit is not the answer. We need affordable housing and community-centered business models. On the surface, these developments seem positive, but gentrification really means:
1. Displacement of working class families.
2. Closing of businesses owned and staffed by people of color.
3. Increased police presence resulting in more violence towards people of color.
4. Expansion of luxury multi-unit housing that only the privileged can afford.
It’s happening in Boyle Heights. Chinatown. Koreatown. Little Tokyo. It’s happening in Historic Filipinotown, too. Residents should have a voice in what happens to our neighborhoods.
Join the conversation. Contact us and let’s get to work.
KmB is a proud organizer of the Coalition to Defend Westlake. The CDW a partnership between various organizations and individuals with the common interest in protecting the community members, businesses and cultural diversity of the neighborhoods that make up Westlake. Westlake consists of the neighborhoods of Historic Filipinotown, MacArthur Park, Rampart Village and Westlake South. Our neighborhoods have caught the attention of members of city council including Mitch O’Farrell and Gil Cedillo, the LA Department of City Planning and luxury developers for gentrification due to the proximity to Downtown Los Angeles.
These entities have begun the process of attempting to gentrify and whitewash these predominantly immigrant and working class neighborhoods to make room for luxury development, expensive business and other amenities that would displace our residents and businesses, make them feel unwelcome and most importantly, were never requested by the community in the first place. We feel that recent proposals by the councilman O’Farrell such as the North Westlake Design District (which almost completely overtakes Historic Filipinotown) have come about in a top-down manner without consulting with or seeking the input of our community.
Through our canvassing work in the neighborhood we have learned that the greatest need the community faces currently is housing security as many of our working class Latino and Filipino neighbors are already being subjected to displacement and landlord harassment due to the increasing interest in the area by speculative development. We feel that the North Westlake Design District and other such “revitalization” initiatives are the wrong approach to address what our community really needs and will worsen our current problem of displacement. We are not against investment or improvements to the neighborhood and would like to foster a collaborative dialog with resident input to find ways to make Westlake a better community for the residents who already call it home.
This coalition has been organizing and educating the community about these threats to our neighborhood as well as seeking input and engaging in conversations with residents and business owners. We intend to defend our neighborhood through open community forums, direct actions, creative cultural events, education and advocacy efforts so that we can resist a mass displacement process that is already well underway. Our coalition includes the Los Angeles Tenants Union, Kabataang maka-Bayan/Pro-People Youth, the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council, Kenneth Mejia for Congress, students from the Claremont colleges, Unite Here Local 11, the Eviction Defense Network, the Pilipino Worker’s Center and other community partners and individuals.
We invite all community members and anti-displacement allies to participate in our meetings and actions. CDW centers the voices and perspectives of our immigrant and working class neighbors and long term residents. We seek to create a multilingual, safe and inclusive space for our events free of harassment or discrimination.