Gentrification, The Circle
Echo Park’s gang injunction was filed in June 2013, and has been in effect since. In a video by YouthCineMedia, Mike Contreras, gang injunction defendant, along with his wife Veronica Contreras, speak about the gang injunction in Echo Park.
Throughout the video, Mike and wife Veronica visit several members of the community to get their thoughts on the injunction and experiences with the police. The Arellano family, consisting of five members, shared their story of how the father, Gabriel Arellano, is currently in jail for a crime he did not commit. Due to Mr. Arellano’s history with the police, the son, Peter has also had multiple encounters with law enforcement. Peter said that the cops called him a “little gangster” and proceeded to call his dad a “gangster” as well. Wife and mother to the three children, Irene, states that she and husband Gabriel have worked hard in instilling a positive mindset in their children to “be a better person” and “have a better life” than they did.
At the time of the injunction, the crime rate in Echo Park was at its lowest since the 1950’s. That being said, some opinions may vary between gang members being forced out, or Latinos as a whole being pressured to leave. The emotions and opinions of residents matter because they know what is going on throughout the neighborhood and are directly affected by major decisions regarding their area.
As the prices continue to rise, Mike Contreras also verbalizes, “you have to have money to live in this neighborhood now…they’re pushing out the Latino families.” This seems to be a primary concern for Hispanic residents.
Just a few years ago, Echo Park was known to be a popular spot to live because of affordable rent, but with continuous increases, only wealthier people can afford the area. According to Zillow, a home values website, “Echo Park home values have gone up 7.2% over the past year,” and is predicted to rise, “2.6% within the next year.” For those who cannot afford the rising prices, where will they relocate to?