My name is Marta Juarez: I am an immigrant; I came to the Mission neighborhood in 1986. When I arrived in this neighborhood, I was very excited to find a place where the people and small businesses were predominantly from the Latino culture. Having contact with our Latino community is vital for an immigrant because it makes the adaptation into a new culture less difficult and sad. Unfortunately, in the Mission district the Latino community is being punished with the displacement of its residents and by the increase in the number of bars in the neighborhood.
Approximately 12 years ago, residents and business owners who invested their money and worked for so many years to improve the Mission community are now being displaced. Block by block and house by house; the displacement of families can be seen right now. The white culture is becoming predominant in the Mission, leaving only a “Latino neighborhood” in name.
In my opinion, the greedy urban corporations backed by politicians who approve unjust laws in favor of their earnings are the ones who are responsible for allowing the construction of expensive condominiums, which increase and stimulate the displacement of our Latino community. This makes it more difficult for residents with few resources have access to dignified housing.
Not only is displacement used as a strategy to divide and minimize the residences and small businesses in our community, but the increase of bars in each block of our neighborhood is causing pain to members of our family. Kids and young people are growing up with constant messages about illegal and legal drugs such as alcohol.
Alcoholism not only divides and debilitates the individual, it also divides and debilitates entire communities and societies. If you are a good observer you will see that in residential areas where people with money live there are supermarkets, and special places for childcare such as daycare and plenty of playgrounds, instead of bars. The specialized care of children and young people are necessary tools so that any community can transform itself economically and politically as a model for other communities.
It’s time to wake up and leave behind our indifferences to the evictions of our Latino families and to the increase of bars in the Mission neighborhood. We should unite with agencies and community organizations such as Causa Justa :: Just Cause. This way, we can assume the responsibility of educating ourselves in favor of our existing rights so that we can intelligently detect the problems that affect our community. Together we can fight against all of that which violates and destroys our rights.
—Translator Yaya Ruiz