Boyle Heights gallery owner Laura Owens responds to anti-gentrification protests and death threats

Protesters want 356 Mission art and performance space to close

BOYLE HEIGHTS — Artist and gallery owner Laura Owens has found herself in the cross hairs of anti-gentrification protesters who want her to get out of Boyle Heights. As part of their campaign, protesters demonstrated last week during the opening of Owens’ show at the Whitney Museum in New York, chanting “Leave our hoods and do what’s right: Give your keys to Boyle Heights!” This week, Owens responded to those protests.

The protests against Owens and her art dealer, Gavin Brown, in New York come after a year of tension in Boyle Heights between gentrification opponents and the owners and artists involved in new galleries and art spaces, primarily in former warehouse and commercial spaces in the lowlands near the L.A. River. Anti-gentrification opponents who work under names like like Defend Boyle Heights have targeted these spaces, claiming they contribute to the displacement of low-income and working class residents.

In a statement posted on the website of 356 Mission, the art space Owens runs, the artist said efforts to talk with the protesters have failed to yield any positive results. Instead,  she said death threats were left in voicemail messages and demands were made to abandon her space:

“After refusing to engage in a dialogue, the protestors increased their aggressive techniques, by distributing further false information about us on anonymous social media accounts and bullying and threatening our staff and presenters, including people who are themselves part of vulnerable communities. We do things in public; we have an address; we have a phone number; we are open to criticism; and we welcome discussion. This has made us vulnerable to anonymous insults and death threats left on our voicemail …. We hoped to find common ground to work toward the issues facing our community, but all of our ideas, such as working together on community land buy backs, campaigning for specific policy changes, providing laundromat services and sponsoring workshops for kids were rejected. The protestors clearly stated instead that their only demands were that we immediately terminate our activities, dissolve 356 Mission and hand over the keys to them for unspecified purposes. They insisted that any further meeting would only be premised on our agreeing to these demands.”

But it doesn’t look like Owens, who lives in Echo Park, is shutting down her art space.

“After much inquiry, research and discussion, we have always come back to the conclusion that breaking our lease and leaving would not help solve the housing crisis or slow development, Owens said. “I have always been and remain committed to engaging in productive dialogue that results in effective actions to battle the issues facing our communities.”

Yesterday #DefendBoyleHeights and @b.h.a.a.a.d disrupted #Gentrifier #LauraOwens and #GavinBrown at the Whitney Museum in NYC. We delivered and read a letter of the women of the Pico Aliso Projects . We have one clear demand; hand over the keys to 356 Mission!!!! Shout out to the dope homie squad THAT CAME TO SUPPORT BOYLE HEIGHTS AND EACH OTHER! Chinatown Art Brigade, East Harlem Preservation Coalition, East Harlem No Se Vende, Take Back the Bronx, Defend Corona, Queens Is Not 4 Sale, ICE FREE QUEENS, Queens Neighborhoods United, Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, Decolonize This Place, SPARC, Equality for Flatbush, Peoples Power Assembly Queens, Peoples Power Assembly Manhattan, Mothers on the Move, Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine, and more. Read the letter here : http://alianzacontraartwashing.org/en/letter-to-laura-owens-from-the-women-of-pico-gardens-aliso-village/

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  1. This place was an empty piano factory for many years… Why didn’t defend boyle heights rent it then?? The residents of boyle heights had years to do something and what.. now that someone who’s not hispanic comes in and rents it and does something you probably wish you did- I live in highland park and am very happy with all the new clean businesses coming in.

    • I agree with you on certain points – the area of Boyle Heights where the galleries and breweries are opening up is a pretty dead industrial area. This isn’t a gallery opening up in Mariachi Plaza.

      Let’s be honest here – none of these kids protested the opening of the Starbucks in their neighborhood. They prefer to focus on people they can bully and not corporations that truly erase all culture and identity from these unique enclaves.

      • Problem is once the art galleries, micro-breweries and vintage shops show up it immediately engineers artificial rent hikes and starts displacing longtime local residents. Starbucks does not do that but trendy elitist hipster businesses that cater to transplants do. This is how it started in Echo Park, Silver Lake and Highland Park and working class residents of Boyle Heights have a right to resist these unwelcome changes.

        • Unless you are an owner you have no right to resist anything. Renters have no stake in the neighborhoods they inhabit. They are always 30 to 60 days from being thrown out.

        • Apennyadaymakessense

          Are you saying rents wouldn’t increase if the galleries weren’t there? You’re clearly a real estate amateur. Next time you look at google maps, notice how many freeways pass through BH and how close downtown is…

      • “. . . none of these kids protested the opening of the Starbucks”, which indicates their approval of a Starbucks in their community. Probably because Starbucks has become just another coffee shop not a magnet for the hip gentry, i.e., no longer perceived as an immediate threat to their ability to continue living in their own neighborhoods.

    • This protest is really not just about Boyle Heights but about the whole of the east side of Los Angeles. Native Angelenos can’t even afford to live in Highland Park, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, etc. It would seem the “Manhattanization” of East L.A. is well underway. These protesters are doing the whole of Los Angeles a great service by making these white elites uncomfortable every once in a while. Attacking “art galleries” is also a perfect strategy as these have shown themselves to be simply mercenaries paving the way for opportunistic developers in their efforts to create cookie cutter “hipster paradises”. A really great question is way aren’t underdeveloped areas in South Central L.A. being considered for “gentrification”? Prices are so low in areas of Watts and Compton that I’m sure housing that accommodates both newcomers and long-time residents could be created at a fraction of the cost of development on the east side. But I’m sure the answer is quite evident to anyone watching the whole of this comedy first hand. In the end we all know these spineless colonizers will leave soon enough, let’s just all work together to make their stay as unpleasant as possible. GET OUT OF BOYLE HEIGHTS!!!

      • There is no conspiracy here or mercenaries. These are natural urban trends. The change is already happening and systemic. Protesting a gallery is not going slow rising house prices. Affordably is connecting to the city and national economy and the fact is that Boyle Heights is a downtown neighborhood. It’s gonna change inevitably.

        DBH thinks they know what they are doing, but they are protesting artists while city planners are doing nothing and REAL developers are flipping houses and building complexes right down the street.

      • Anonymous threats. Anonymous protesters. But the gallery owners are the ‘spineless’ ones. Right.

      • You cannot stop the gentrification of Boyle Heights. It is already well underway. Even if you drive out every last art gallery poor working people are still going to lose their homes. There is a severe housing shortage in the city of Los Angeles and Boyle Heights is just adjacent to the Arts District. You cannot move Boyle Heights away from the Arts District. In 5 years they will be calling it Arts District adjacent. Look at what multi family properties on Redfin are selling for. All over asking price and the Ellis Act evictions have started. There are a dozen real estate agents that are selling Boyle Heights and City Terrace as the next Highland Park. Drive through City Terrace and you will see new student housing where families once lived and gentrification fences everywhere. Investors are buying up multi family properties and kicking the tenants out. The coffee shops, art galleries and other businesses come later. Another thing driving gentrification in East LA are young Latinos. Down the street from me a young Latino who owns a couple of start ups evicted 3 families from the home he just bought and converted it back to a single family home and up went the gentrification fence. Asians are also moving here to East LA. We have 2 Filipino families and 1 Chinese family on our street now. Best thing for you to do at this point is hold a fundraiser and start buying and competing with investors for these properties. You have no stake or standing in a neighborhood where you are only a renter. You are at the mercy of your landlord.

      • It’s Boyle Flats not Boyle Heights. Artists have been living and working there for 4 decades.

      • Marz_nicks You are so wrong, Leimert Park is already being gentrified (http://beta.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-leimert-park-20170208-story.html) People like you make me so angry, I grew up in Boyle Heights and live in East L.A. and this wave of gentrification is great for my neighborhood and my property value, I welcome the variety of businesses, I’m sick and tired of tire shops, mechanics, taco stands on every corner, 5 panaderias on one block, liquor stores, discount clothing stores, discount cheap electronic stores, it’s all the same, and you talk about cookie cutter, I just listed a cookie cutter paradise for you, cookie cutter for all the hispanic neighborhoods, don’t forget your street vendors that make the city look like Tijuana. Defend Boyle Heights does NOT speak for me or for the residents of Boyle Heights, they should do a survey of current residents and see if they are for or against changing their neighborhood for the better. You people are an embarrassment to us Hispanics, you act like racists, you act uneducated with your foul mouths and terroristic tactics, this lady Laura offered to sit down and work together with DBH but they are so closed minded that they won’t even give her a chance. So DBH and all you other wanna be MECHA groups are the ones who need to GET OUT OF BOYLE HEIGHTS!!! Also take a look at who’s flipping those houses in Boyle Heights, they’re mostly hispanic realtors.

      • Give me a break. The east side is hardly going to way of Manhattan anytime in the next decade. In fact, the east side up until about 5 years ago was one step above being homeless. People move to the east side of LA because they were priced out of dozens of more expensive neighborhoods. Simply put, its limited resources chasing affordability, not luxury and conspicuous consumption. I mean seriously, stucco shacks with rusted iron gates triggers more memories of the movie “Friday” than “Manhattan.”

      • 48,566 (52.4%) of residents are foreign born, high for the city of Los Angeles and high for the county. Mexico (87.7%) and El Salvador (4.5%) are the most common foreign places of birth.

        Just exactly who are the colonizers? Check yourself.

  2. These protestors went to a museum in nyc to protest development in Boyle Heights? Perverse. You’d think they would want to work with someone like her who has money power resources. In the statement she says she wants to do land buy backs. They should take her up on that offer. Instead they mob on her, and not on the *actual developers* in BH? Um ok

    • They could’ve used the money they spent on flights to do something positive for their communities, could’ve been enough money for them to rent their own space to house community out reach for people that are on the verge of displacement. I can guarantee the people that are on the verge of being displaced don’t care about a museum opening in New York.

  3. It feels that Defend Boyle heights are bullies. my mom came from el salvador with NOTHING and my dad did the same from Mexico. They grew up in poverty in both countries, and instead of looking for hand outs, which they never did, they worked their asses off, started their own businesses and raised me and my brothers. It wasn’t easy but they bought property and are home owners and run their own businesses. We’re they ever displaced because of gentrification? absolutely, but did they spend their time complaining? no they did not, why? because they had bills to pay and mouths to feed, was it frustrating? yes, but they manifested this energy to work harder to buy property, so that they would never be displaced again. Does it suck that people are being priced or forced out? hell yeah it does, but why aren’t they starting a group or opening a community space to help these individuals find affordable housing within their own communities. If they do, they should try to bring those efforts into the public eye, because all their actions paint a bad picture of them.
    Its completely crazy to think that a business will uproot itself to to appease a group of people. How does defend boyle heights feel about all the liqueur stores and check cashing offices that rule the neighborhood. Are they a positive fabric of the community? Why aren’t they protesting these places? how do they feel about gangs and the drug abuse going on in these communities? Everyone has the right to protest, but their efforts seem misguided.
    Can someone also explain the difference to me of this mission space and espacio 1839? Aren’t they both promoting the arts? is it because one is owned by a white person? If so, then its clear that this is just a race issue.
    do any of the defend boyle hieghts own property in boyle heights? if they don’t and are complaining about it, have you talked to your parents as to why they didn’t buy property? do they not know that property in that area could be purchased for the low 100’s 10 to 15 years ago? They would be half way or a third of the way thru a mortgage that would be more affordable then any rent’s they are currently paying. Why aren’t they all banding together to buy some sort of apartment complex or duplex or triplex, so that way they are never displaced and they never have to worry about leaving? do they intend to rent for the rest of their lives? Why aren’t they finding all these landlords that are displacing people? isn’t that the issue? is this gallery raising your rent or a landlord raising rent? There are so many factors that are causing high rents, this isn’t one of them. Things will only get more expensive once the 6th st bridge opens back up. Are they prepared for that? who will they protest against then? Maybe they should be focusing their energy on understanding the ups and downs of home prices and preparing a down payment for a property that will be affordable before the prices only go up.
    Fear is a powerful thing, and it seems that fear of loosing something, that they do not own, is leading their charge, when there is possibly still time to save these things on their own, as opposed to blaming someone else for this.

    • this a great post, you say smart things and ask great questions. I would only say that they don’t seem to be operating purely out of fear, but out of resentment. A lot of the protestors are involved in the art world themselves. it makes people feel incredibly powerful to clobber someone else and do it from a supposed moral high ground.

    • Yes, it is because the owner is white. That’s all. All white people = “rich, hipster, yuppies” to DBH. It’s why so many people are not sympathetic to their cause: they’re oversimplifying a very complex issue. Or in short, they’re bigots.

  4. Harsh tactics but neccassary before it is to late for local residents who want to avoid getting priced out of their own neighborhoods by transplant trust-fund dependent hipsters and gentrifiers. Otherwise eventually Boyle Heights and even East LA will end up colonized and white-washed just like Silverl Lake and Echo Park did.

    • Cool. Looking forward to the border checkpoints at which all who dare enter Boyle Heights will soon be forced to “show their papers” to prove that they:
      a) were born and raised in Boyle Heights
      b) are not Caucasian
      c) do not have a trust fund.

      Any other requirements?

    • Hispanic Jew, no one owns a neighborhood, they are not getting priced out of “their own neighborhood”. Do they own the houses they live in? If they do, then they have nothing to worry about. You sound like you’re full of resentment and jealousy of these “trust-fund dependent hipsters” maybe you should work hard and try to better your life so that your kids will also be as lucky as these “trust-fund dependent hipsters” You can’t hate someone because of their race and their wealth. You are being ridiculous, what does “white-washed” mean anyway? clean streets, less crime and better stores? I’ll take “white-washed” anytime over the current version of the hood.

  5. It’s funny how whites in many places around the country are protesting that immigrants (mostly people of color) are displacing them and taking over their neighborhoods and jobs, and then we have the Boyle Heights folks claiming the same thing, that whites are displacing them from “their” neighborhood.

    No one owns a neighborhood. Demographic and Economic factors cause all sorts of movement of people, employment, etc.

    Boyle Heights Defenders just like Trump Supporters are on the wrong side of history.

    • You obviously feel that everything you do in your path is right, and there’s an explamation for everything that you do. You move to Echo Park and it’s super hip now when you’re fabulous. Your anti-trump and liberal and whatever you feel is absolutely right. Anyone defending a neighborhood that you could potential he gentrify is wrong. Let’s just face it, you know everything, and you’re right. The problem is, this is open to opinions. I’m happy to see that most comments here are able to at least understand both sides of the story, except you. You really should read through everybody’s comments and really reflect on yourself.

  6. You mean like when the Eastern European Jews got displaced out of Boyle Heights by working class Latinos and the Japanese? Just think if they had “resisted” against those changes instead of accepting progress and moving forward – you probably wouldn’t be a “Hispanic” Jew now.

    • Jews were not “displaced”. They simply abandoned neighborhoods that were designated for the racially undesirable and moved to more upscale neighborhoods. After all, it’s not as if Jews were transported from one “ghetto” to another. Moreover, they’re welcome to return and live next to “latino” neighbors. Unless that’s what encouraged their self-“displacement” in the first place. Btw, “latino” history precedes Jewish history on this continent NOT the other way around.

      • Do you know the origin of the word “ghetto”? It’s Italian. It was a place in a city, usually walled up and squalid, where Jews were allowed to live. The walls were there to keep them from leaving, or they were killed.

        Personally, I have no idea why Jews left Boyle Heights. I suspect it was for many different reasons. But I’m glad to hear they’re welcome to return.

        • In the common American vernacular, ghetto means a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups. That is the gist of my comment. It’s a “varrio” to many who live there now and distinguished by their history. Personally, I can relate to parents wanting more or “better” for their children and know that it’s a common reason for leaving Boyle Heights. Those who remain out of need, custom, or preference, refuse to be displaced by nothing more than cold and calculating “change”. Hysterics aside, it’s amounted to little more than protest, which is tepid compared to the real violence that occurs on those streets. There is obviously minimal “hate” involved in these protests. Only simmering rage and resentment at being excluded and displaced by the “change” occurring in their community. There doesn’t have to be anything “right” or “wrong” about it. It’s encouraging to see that there are still people willing to defy and fight back.

          • A ghetto is a neighborhood predominately populated by a single ethnic group. You can have rich ghettos and poor ghettos.

        • Jews left boyle heights because of redling. They could not buy property there. And as they improved their social standing they moved out, in order to buy homes, since they were not able to buy in boyle heights because of housing covenants.

    • @javi The need for affordable housing is a massive issue that isn’t solved by death threats and boycotts to artists, art galleries or other businesses. So cool your condesending tone and take your issues to the city, the mayor, the governor instead.

      I moved to echo park because it was the only area i could afford, not because of some bs marketing about hippness.

      I dont live in all sorts of places i want to because i can’t afford them, that’s just life.

      No one owns a neighborhood, like everything else it changes over time.

      If anything, one could argue that “whites” should be boycotting latinos, since latinos have “taken over” half the population of LA. The “Latinofication” of LA has been going on for decades.

      • Exactly.

        Excerpt from article on Hyperallergic website link:

        “BHAAAD: Our hoods all face challenges of poverty, displacement, homelessness, deportation by ICE, harassment and killing by the police.”

        Art galleries are not causing increases in poverty, displacement or homelessness. Deportation of illegal immigrants by ICE needs to happen for several reasons, one being the burden that illegals place on citizen taxpayers. Do Boyle Heights residents really not see how millions of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles affect all of our livelihoods? Harassment and killing by the police? The LAPD seems to bend over backwards to avoid harassment of illegal immigrants, kowtowing to the mayor and ultimately to Brown. If they didn’t, the violent Boyle Heights protesters would not have been allowed to threaten business owners and patrons, nor to trash their businesses.

        Regarding police “killings,” there have been twelve killings in Boyle Heights over the last twelve months, with police involved in only one, that being of an armed man about whom neighbors had called police due to hearing shooting: See Los Angeles Times Homicide website, Boyle Heights.

        Between October 31 and November 6 there were 15 Violent Crimes and 52 Property Crimes:
        See Los Angeles Times Crime website, neighborhoods,Boyle Heights.

  7. All I can say after reading all of this is that the Eastsider has some really great readers and EVERYONE makes great points. This is the sort of discussion that the Defend Boyle Heights group seems unwilling to engage in. It strikes me as childish to not engage in communication and respond to some of the questions posed, even if unwilling to sit down directly with Owens. Still, great discussion here, I tip my hat to everyone!

    • Unfortunately, Owens is a businessperson not interested in reaching any compromise that would either result in her leaving or restricting additional instances of gentrification bleeding into another working-class community. In which case, what is their really to discuss? It would only result in a suspension of hostilities that would give even more businesses to establish themselves until they reach a tipping-point that cant’ be resisted. At which point, I guarantee that Owens will no longer be interested in “discussing” the matter.

      • Or perhaps the organizers aren’t organized at all. Having grown up in Berkeley and endured the nonstop protests, sure looks like that to me.

      • Wrong. The Defend Boyle Heights losers are the ones who refuse to compromise.

      • I wouldn’t characterize Owens as a “businessperson” in running her gallery, she’s an artist. As explained in her statement and on the 356 website, her gallery is non-commercial, it is an artist-run space in which she donates her time and resources to support free arts exhibitions and programs for any and all who wish to attend. All of the money collected by 356 is put directly back into their free public programming. She states in her letter that every year their expenses are greater than their income, and that she has covered that deficit personally. That is not what “businesspeople” do, because it’s not financially sound. It is what artists do because they are idealists and believe in art’s ability to benefit communities. It sounds like she has sought compromise and collaboration but the protesters are only interested in one thing–her personal humiliation and destruction. But why???

        • Seeking Owen’s personal humiliation and destruction is WRONG, Period, but it also reflects the sense of urgency and desperation these people must also feel. Compromise is the only solution and better messaging and outreach. After reading your post, I think a mutually-beneficial compromise could be reached with like-minded people and artists who already live in that community. Unfortunately, that is the element that always seems to be missing in these ventures, which is what distinguishes them as outside “gentry” in the first place. Perhaps that is the compromise.

      • she is not a business person — she’s an artist. You can read about her here, in this extensive profile: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-radical-paintings-of-laura-owens

        356 Mission doesn’t make a profit. it’s not a business, in that sense. it’s an art project that she partly funds, with her paintings.

  8. As a Mexican American who grew up in Boyle Heights I am saying this behavior is completely embarrassing. In our household we spoke English, my grandparents only spoke Spanish when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying. Going up some kids took offense to the fact we were Mexicans who didn’t speak Spanish. Whatever! Our great grandparents were happy to be here and become American, I have uncles who faught in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Grandparents, and great grandparents have passed but the properties are still in the family. My ex was born in Japan and my daughter has mixed Mexican and Japanese heritage, the most beautiful child, my new husband is Jewish! Did I navigate toward these people because I grew up in Boyle Heights? Maybe? But I didn’t meet them there. Point is, this is a bunch of nonsense from stupid uneducated people, are they Mexican-Americans, I don’t know? But certainly give us a bad name. Do they even understand the dynamics of the diversity there that once was?/ You don’t see this behavior in Korea Town where it’s booming, property values going sky high. If these people were smart they’d understand the value of the opportunities becoming available to them there, not shut it out. This is reverse discrimination on the sickest level. And I honestly don’t think these people have roots here past 2-3 generations..

    • This is a class NOT racial conflict. What’s embarrassing is the way Americans are conditioned to shoe-horn every conflict into a racial context. Btw, your comparison to K-town is a false equivalency. Korean immigrants and investors are not poor peasants scraping by on minimum wages, e.g., how many Korean valets, dishwashers, or car-washers have you encountered in your lifetime? Think about it. We don’t share a common border with Korea and it’s not as if they can illegally swim across the Pacific to establish roots on another continent.

      • Wrong. The Defend Boyle Heights gang has repeatedly used racial slurs. They have totally made it a racial conflict.

      • You couldn’t be more wrong. Many of the original Korean immigrants came here as refugees from the Korean war. They had nothing. They opened businesses and built prosperous communities. If you ever visit K-town, you will find many low wage jobs are filled by recent Korean immigrants. The difference is most of them don’t intend to stay in those jobs for the rest of their lives.

        • Opening businesses and building prosperous communities isn’t unique to just one group of immigrants. However, common sense dictates that a common border will result in a constant flow of immigrants from the neighboring country. I’m also familar with K-town and while I’ve never been in the kitchens all of the valets and security are either black or hispanic but I’m only assuming that it would be the case in the kitchens, loading docks, and storage rooms.

          So I’m actually pretty right while your convenient lapses in logic and honesty only serve to undermine your credibility.

      • As soon as “no white art” was scrawled on a wall by DBH, it became about race.

        • The scrawl was actually “F*** White Art,” I do believe, quoted here in the Eastsider and elsewhere.

          • Even the class argument, about these divisions, is partly wrong, given that many of the DBH core organizers are privileged, educated people who have taken it upon themselves to speak for the poor of boyle heights.

        • Precisely what distinguishes it as “white art”? Are all of the artists associated with this gallery literally all “white”? In a community that is currently 94% “latino”? Could that be the source of the tension?

          “white” = exclusive, therefore “F*** It!”(?)

  9. The building was empty for a long time. Years ago it was a saddle factory. Here is Huell Howser visiting https://youtu.be/F3nE6WXcACs

  10. why do you protest against people opening interesting businesses in east los angeles? everyone has the right to open up a business wherever they want. instead, go to the city council and protest against ridiculous high rents and to clean up the city of trash and ugly graffiti.

  11. Defend Boyle Heights is a misguided group of bullies. It really stings to see them get so much attention brought to them — why not use all of this time, energy and strength in numbers to band together and campaign for something productive, like rent control for all? As a 10-year resident of Highland Park, I get that “hipster” culture is an easy target, and not without some blame. But it’s not the galleries and coffee shops that are raising everyone’s rent; it’s the exploitative landlords. The fact that rent control only applies to specific buildings — that landlords can double a 20-year resident’s rent at the drop of a hat — is ludicrous and inhumane. I’m not saying this change would immediately solve displacement, but it’d surely be a much more direct, humane and results-oriented route than bullying, threatening and harassing new residents.

  12. Good for her. The American dream is the freedom to start a business wherever you want and can afford. She’s going to get a ton of support now from everyone who believes this just like that little coffee shop did and business will be better because of it.

  13. The irony is that due to gentrification Owens can’t afford to open an art gallery in her own community. So she is now transmitting the same virus to Boyle Heights. Accordingly, I applaud the efforts of this young people who are dedicating their existence to resistance.

    • Virus? Wow are you special. It’s called playing your hand. To bad the protestors don’t use their energy for their own positive change. Nah, it’s easier to play victim.

      • “Play victim”? So what is it? “Bullies” or “victims”? Because a victim can’t be the bully and the bully isn’t the victim. Whatever they are they aren’t only sitting on their asses farting about it and that seems to be everybody’s primary grip(?).

        • It’s both, firstly playing victim to a perceived invasion; using statements with no basis like “gentrification is the new colonialism” (whoever came up with that wins the broad contectual leap award) or “you are the reason my Abulita is homeless” both of which are a joke.
          Then they bully those who won’t punch back, a coffee shop and an art gallery?? They should try the Whitecapp construction supply on 1rst and see how quick that last, that’s a new business and it is actually providing most of the construction supply required for gentrification.
          Just wait til the high rises start in the Art District at the behest of Chinese-Canadian multi international companies. The whole area Boyle Heights and beyond are destined fir change, DBH are nothing more than sqawking birds that will be long since forgotten.

    • She has every right to open a legitimate enterprise. Take your protests to the city to get legislation pushed to make building afforable housing more enticing to developers.

    • Stating the Obvious

      356 Mission is NOT a commercial gallery. It was rented as additional studio space and eventually became the artist run space it is today. These protests have exceeded the definition of harassment at this point. There are so many other things these so called protestors could be focused on that aren’t the handful of artist run spaces/galleries on mission road and the adjacent Anderson street. Some of the main faces you see over and over again associated w DBH/BHAAAD (they change their names even though it’s the same cast of characters) are art students, artists, or people who felt “disenfranchised” by the art world. You should all take a look at the Facebook page Defend Boyle Heights from Defend Boyle Heights, they’re calling out the disengenuity of these protestors who have hijacked an important conversation for their own BS activism as art agenda.

      • The left has almost always held an intellectual and moral advantage in that its model of the world and of power was truer than that of the status quo or the right. To see young leftists embrace the tactics of a disingenuous post-truth present, and exploit very real concerns of displacement and economic injustice for cheap, bogus, cosmetic, self-serving, and meaningless wins is disappointing.

        • Like the saying goes… Liberals worry about all the right problems, but come up with all the wrong solutions. Conservatives have all the right solutions, but worry about all the wrong problems.

          We need more politically agnostic thinking in this country. Neither side has all the answers, and blindly following one side or the other like it’s our religion or home team just makes it easier for the oligarchs to divide and conquer.

    • What qualifies as “her own community”?

  14. The area that Owens opened her gallery has historically been known as Boyle Flats. There have been artists living there for the last 40 years. If artists and galleries are the vanguard of gentrification, they are surely the slowest moving shock troops in history. No one cared about us when we were cleaning the excrement or blood off the streets. Where were these protestors when we were sweeping up condoms and needles? Well many of them weren’t even born yet and now after we cleaned things up they want to lay claim? I don’t think so.

  15. Defend Boyle Heights is tilting at windmills going after artists and galleries. Even if all the galleries and the artist in residence buildings go away, rent will still rise and people will be displaced. This is because the problem has only a superficial connection to artists. The problem is zoning. During the latter quarter of the 20th century there was a movement to downzone all over the city. It used to be that someone could buy a bungalow and then as it became more valuable, they could turn that into a quadplex and become a landlord. In this way the city used to be able to add many units and empower the working and middle classes. After downzowning, the locations available for multis was remarkably limited and NIMBYs are still trying to downzone properties even in the face of the housing crisis. Because of this the only places to build multis are properties that are very expensive thus limiting development to higher value units. Unless these structural issues are addressed, gentrification will continue apace. The proper foci for gentrification protests are City Hall, the Planning Department, and the NIMBYs that drive these zoning regulations.

    • Indeed… Make affordable housing profitable for mom and pop landlords and small investors to build again and we’ll see lots of it built.

  16. Make Boyle Heights Native-American Again. Latinos are just another in a long line of gentrifiers.

  17. Gee, where were they when Hyperloop opened their office in Boyle Heights? Or when Warner Brothers bought all those buildings on 7th St?

    Ohhh, that’s right. Those companies (the ones with tons of money who are actually causing gentrification) have lawyers. Small businesses don’t, so they’re easier to bully. How ethical.

  18. Short memory: the BH protesters seem to forget about who *they* displaced when *they* moved in.

  19. No one is entitled to live where they want to live. If you rent, the benefit is a cheaper cost of living, letting your landlord take care of all those pesky maintenance issues. The downside however, is the lack of security you have.

  20. neighborhoods change.

  21. DBH are despicable and shameful representation of us eastside natives. Shame on them.

  22. I’d say DBH has done more to attract new people to Boyle Heights than they’ve turned away. Gentrification protesters are a prelude to an increased wave of gentrification. They’re broadcasting that the neighborhood is desirable and about to get more expensive… it’s obviously not their intended message but it is going to be the net result.

  23. Of course there are >60 comments on a few idiots in Boyle.heights who make racist threats and highlight their lacking economic and socioeconomic education. Will any real leaders of the working class in Boyle heights stand up to this self defeating idiocy?

  24. Remember a couple years ago when protesters marched and put up eviction notices on “white businesses” on York in Highland Park? Haven’t heard a peep from them since and more and more hip restaurants and stores are opening every day. Fig is swiftly becoming the hottest street in LA. I have to believe that these protests at best do nothing and at worst actually sped up the thing they’re trying to prevent. Viva la causa!

  25. DBH did start it as a race issue and openly disparagred white artist at a rented gallery space in Little Tokyo , this is where the “Fuck White Art” crap started. It was literally titled “fuck white art”. Which is amazing because unless you are native Aztec, Mayan ,Chumash, or Tongva chances are you have A LOT of European blood aka White blood, even if you are 100% Mexican chances are you are of at least partial Spanish colonial descendant, just like all the “white” people in the United States.

    Most Irish have Spanish blood, just like the self appointed “first peoples” of Boyle Heights, even though the beautiful come dilapidated Craftsman and Victorian houses were built by Jewish Europeans; you’d think Montezuma himself built Boyle Heights with some of the rhetoric being thrown around.In fact there are more people in South America who have family trees that show they owned slaves than all of the USA territories combined.

    The idea that you can claim ownership to a neighborhood you never invested in is a putting your own ignorance on display. If you have lived in an area that you find pleasing you and your family should have pooled resources together and purchase when it was cheap. If you have arrived in the USA or California after areas of the Eastside started being invested in and can’t afford it than you have no basis for complaint, you are as new as the people doing the investing , just unlucky to not have the resources, and that sucks. That is not a race issue that is poverty issue and one that exist across the shades of melatonin. DBH frames it as race issue and lacks the foresight and education to see beyond socialist anarchistic diatribes which will NEVER effect change.

    I have heard the “tip of the spear” argument that targets galleries and coffee shops and find it to be the most laughable logic one could embrace. The embarrassing part of this is that you will hear this from adults who you would think have the capacity to think beyond community college level socialist. One of the leaders of La Union de Vecinos who championed this idea and led protest against the Weird Wave coffee shop conveniently tells other people to boycott “hipster” businesses but yet frequents the Frogtown Hipster outdoor bike cafe. See it’s an Instagram Twitter perception game and as long as you look like you a championing the “people” you don’t have to put the hard work in.
    So go on fighting”White Art” and “hipsters” it didn’t work in Silverlake, Echo Park, Art District, Highland Park, Frogtown and now Lincoln Heights or soon Cypress Park. The real steps are within your own communities by voting establishing landmark status to buildings, voting out council members who just because they have a latino name, they get your vote. Identity politics is what you protesters are playing , just like the Trump people, and it’s to your detriment.
    The double standard is a gross affront to the exchange of rational debate and makes the phrase “white privilege” a great punchline when hash-tagged on $500 iPhones.
    I applaud this gallery for standing their ground in the face of ridiculous demands like “turn over you keys” , that is hilarious and disturbing because an adult wrote that.
    Other posters have been right about Boyle Flats . I’ve had a shop in the Art District since the early 2000’s when it was trash strewn wasteland Boyle Flats was even worse , Night of The Living dead like, not even an exaggeration. You could light a car on fire and no one would show up to put it out. All the while hardworking artist and musicians labored their way into seeking out a living among the industrial plots and and illegal dumping and foul river smells, globalization comes into fruition and these little emo farts wanna show up and tell us how we are the problem, guess what you and your xenophobia are the problem.

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