**The Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement (BHAAAD) has recently joined the Defend Boyle Heights coalition.**
Time and time again, the Boyle Heights community has stressed that there is no need or desire for the newly opened breweries in our neighborhood. These businesses, such as Indie Brewing Company and Dry River Brewing, that have opened up during this current wave of gentrification accelerate displacement of long-time residents and true community-serving businesses. These breweries usually have one or two employees, and they think that gives them the right to claim that they are serving “locals,” but, in reality, invite more affluent, higher-income hipsters to cross the L.A. River into our community. Dry River Brewing, for example, openly advertises to rich people who attend art gallery openings on Anderson St. and Mission Rd. They even have a beer called “There Gose the Neighborhood” that openly mocks the struggles of tenants to remain in their homes. These hipsters attract the attention of developers and real estate agents who set their hungry eyes on Boyle Heights—upon what they see as a gross opportunity for unaffordable, luxury real-estate development. Their “urban revitalization” and development is our violent displacement.
Both Dry River Brewing and Indie Brewing Company have organized a very expensive hipster party, the 1st Annual Boyle Heights Beer Festival, that is taking place this Saturday, June 9th, at a private Catholic school, Our Lady of Talpa. The event will charge $40 for guests to drink “UNLIMITED” amounts of beer. This event will attract hundreds of sloppy, thirsty patrons stumbling around with no regard for the struggle against displacement and gentrification in Boyle Heights.
The women of Pico Gardens and Aliso Village have been fighting for decades to reduce harm in their neighborhood and to bring peace to the community. By permitting this event to take place, the city and the organizers of this festival essentially ignore the problems around alcohol that have impacted this community and other low-income communities of color. Two years ago, a drunk driver killed one person and injured nine people who were standing by a taco stand in Boyle Heights. The local newspaper Boyle Heights Beat has shed light on the issue of alcohol in our community in their 2012 article on the concentration of liquor and alcohol-serving places in the area. Even with longtime activism and advocacy to keep liquor stores from opening near public schools and the tragedy and pain experienced by neighbors who combat alcoholism and addiction within their families, the disrespect from hipster investors and craft beer jocks continues. On June 9th, they will come encroaching upon the neighborhood with their glasses half-full of ignorance towards residents.
Boyle Heights DOES NOT need more alcohol. WE NEED: emergency and long term housing for the poor (including shelter for those experiencing homelessness), childcare / daycare centers, job centers for the youth, laundromats, and day labor centers. Say “NO” to craft beer and “YES” to community demands!
Recently, breweries have also been known as breeding and meeting grounds for white supremacist (or, alt-right) types, indiscriminately serving hateful patrons merely because they are paying customers. Despite the seemingly benevolent gestures of “fundraising” and “community-building,” the beer festival and its organizers signal that they are putting the economic interests of outsider businesses such as Indie Brewing Company and Dry River Brewing over the needs of the most marginalized members of low-income communities of color. City officials welcome these events in an attempt to redefine a place that already has a long-standing tradition of community, as well as history of art and culture.
Like massive sporting events and international art fairs, cultural festivals that claim to bring in business and diversion simply stroke the egos of those who already wield enormous power and expedite the process of gentrification.
Defend Boyle Heights is BOYCOTTING the 1st Annual Boyle Heights Beer Festival and DEMAND that Indie Brewing Company and Dry River Brewing GET THE FUCK OUT of Boyle Heights. We encourage vendors to pull out of the Boyle Heights Beer Festival and take their business elsewhere, and we encourage our neighbors in the community to TAKE ACTION by CALLING and EMAILING the organizers and hosts of this event to CANCEL the event. For vendors and breweries that do not pull out—our coalition and allies will NOT FORGET who you are and your complicit action in gentrification.
[GENTRIFYING BREWERIES IN BOYLE HEIGHTS]
INDIE BREWING COMPANY
DRY RIVER BREWING
[OUR LADY OF TALPA: SUGGESTED PHONE CALL SCRIPT]
OUR LADY OF TALPA CHURCH: (323) 268-9176
OUR LADY OF TALPA SCHOOL: (323) 261-0583
“Hello, my name is ________ and I wanted to leave a message about the Beer Festival that your church & school is sponsoring on June 9th. I am extremely worried that Our Lady of Talpa is supporting an event that will be attracting hundreds of people to get drunk. As advertised, people will be allowed “UNLIMITED BEER TASTINGS.” To the people from the community, who have fought for decades against alcoholism in the neighborhood and in our families, who have seen children literally die due to drunk driving in recent months, and who believe that events like this, especially at a church & school, encourage our children to drink, are confused as to why you would allow such an irresponsible event to take place in our neighborhood. What are you doing to make sure that neighbors are not disturbed with public urination or drunk driving? What are you doing to make sure that families and children are not harrassed in the park across the street? Why would a church okay any of this? Especially when LAPD so oftentimes uses drunk driving as a tactic in our communities to go after undocumented families who are simply driving. Does money take priority over our morals? Is this what the church teaches us? Please re-consider sponsoring this accident of an event waiting to happen and cancel the event. Thank you!”
“Hola, mi nombre es ______ y quería dejar un mensaje sobre el evento de cervezas que está pasando el nueve de junio. Estoy preocupada/o que su iglesia, Nuestra Señora de Talpa, está apoyando este evento donde va haber tanto consumo de alcohol. Según lo anunciado, se permitirá a las personas “DEGUSTACIONES DE CERVEZAS ILIMITADAS.” A las personas de la comunidad, que han luchado durante décadas contra el alcoholismo en el vecindario y en nuestras familias, que han visto niños morir literalmente por la culpa de personas que conducen borrachos, y que creen que eventos como este, especialmente en una iglesia y escuela , aliente a nuestros hijos a beber, están confundidos acerca de por qué uds. Permitirán que ocurra un evento tan irresponsable en nuestro vecindario. ¿Qué están haciendo para asegurarse de que los vecinos no sean molestados por borrachos que estén caminando o, peor, en carros? ¿Que están haciendo para asegurarse de que las familias y los niños no sean molestados en el parque al otro lado de la calle? ¿Por qué una iglesia apoyó esto? Especialmente cuando LAPD persigue a las familias indocumentadas que conducen usanda la táctica de alcohol para pararlos. ¿El dinero tiene prioridad sobre nuestra moral? ¿Es esto lo que la iglesia nos enseña? Por favor reconsidere patrocinar este accidente de un evento que está por ocurrir y cancele el evento. ¡Gracias!”
[EMAIL SUGGESTED SCRIPT TO SCHOOL]
> Go to their website (link)
> Click on “Contact Us” on the top middle part of the website page
> Drop in the message below:
Hello, my name is ________ and this email is about the Beer Festival that your church & school is sponsoring on June 9th. I am extremely worried as that Our Lady of Talpa is supporting this event that will be attracting hundreds of people drinking alcohol and inviting people to get basically get drunk. The festival advertises that people will be allowed “UNLIMITED BEER TASTINGS”—can I ask you what the school is doing to make sure that neighbors are not disturbed with public urination or drunk driving? I’m really confused why a church / school would host an explicit alcohol event in a community that struggles with alcoholism—and there is lots of talk in the community about the purpose behind this event. Please reconsider sponsoring this accident of an event waiting to happen. Thank you.