Defend Boyle Heights is a community coalition committed to fighting seriously against gentrification and its root causes which we understand to be capitalism, white supremacy and colonialism. Organizing autonomously from the state and NGOs, we uphold that building community power is the only way to confront the machine of gentrification that threatens our livelihoods.
Yesterday, we spent the day talking to our neighbors on Whittier and Boyle about their imminent evictions. Then we turned our energies to the stream of galleries opening up in Boyle Heights on Anderson St.
THE COMMUNITY OF BOYLE HEIGHTS DOES NOT NEED ANOTHER GALLERY, ESPECIALLY NOT ONE LIKE PSSST!
The founder of PSSST Gallery, Jules Gimbrone, is a real estate agent and associate of Nicole Deflorian, a notoriously predatory real estate agent responsible for the displacement of Highland Park and Frogtown small businesses. Deflorian brags about her manipulative schemes which she calls “retenanting,” a process where they evict small businesses and bring in others that can pay more. They think the community is ignorant and not privy to this information. They are wrong.
THIS COMMUNITY IS THIRSTY FOR RESOURCES. WE HAVE BEEN FOR MANY YEARS. BUT WE WILL NOT BE FOOLED BY LANGUAGE THAT INTENDS TO MANIPULATE, RECUPERATE CO-OPT OUR DESIRES AND ERASE OUR COMMUNITY FROM EXISTENCE.
PSSST Gallery claims they are interested in providing inclusive programming yet they have not been transparent about their relationship to gentrifiers who we know do not have our best interest in mind. When development happens, we know we will not be the ones that benefit. We look to our old neighbors in Echo Park, Highland Park and elsewhere as examples of how dangerous these kinds of spaces can be. Art matters to this community. It goes beyond what takes place in between 4 walls. Art is life, art is culture. Our communities will not be fooled by progressive sounding language.
PSSST is not the only space that will be targeted. We are drawing lines in the sand because spaces like these are truly dangerous to our community. This community has a historical memory of resistance and we will not back down.