Gentrification-- I didn't know about it until a few months ago. It's interesting because the teens who hang out in Chinatown, going for the bubble tea or pho, don't see the problems in the residencies they pass by. In the skit our group did, we acted out a scene where 2 young professionals were looking for a place in live in an apartment that was already full. The owner then told some tenants that rent would be raised and if they couldn't pay, they'd be kicked out. The tenants then rushed to the community organizer for help. While acting as one of the young professionals, I realized that I'd much rather have been the community organizer helping out the tenants. It felt wrong asking for the space, knowing that there was a family I'd be kicking out. I wonder how much this scene applied to real life, and if, in reality, the tenants would have been kicked out. Here in the scene, there was a happy ending because the apartment was rent stabilized, but I've heard of other ways to get the family to move (e.g. not doing the proper repairs).
We were asked about our roles in the community for fighting gentrification. I think mine is to be informed about the issues at hand. The ideal would be for more teenagers to get involved with CAAAV, but I think a simpler/ much needed starting point is to inform my peers around me about what gentrification is and current efforts against it. How does gentrification affect my life even though I don't live in Chinatown? Hm.
To view what we did during the session, click here.
Click here to view the pictures.