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Latinas for Housing Justice: The Fight for Rent Control in Unincorporated East Los Angeles


The hyper privatization of housing and gentrification in Los Angeles has dramatically shifted the racial, class, and cultural landscape of aggrieved neighborhoods. The timely need to address housing injustices––eviction, landlord harassment, and drastic rent increases in gentrifying neighborhoods is needed to further address mechanisms of capitalism that dehumanize and commodify housing. In this thesis, I analyze how Latina Mothers transform moments of housing injustices into empowerment and activism Focusing on LA County's rent control campaign led by local Los Angeles tenant coalition, Unincorporated Tenants United (UTU), I highlight the role of the Latina Mother canvassers. It was witnessed and analyzed that the Latina Mother canvassers enacted forms of placemaking, which I describe as homemaking while engaging with vulnerable tenants facing different forms of housing injustices. Informed by previous housing trauma, the Latina Mother canvassers displayed forms of homemaking, that I describe as: testimonio sharing, comadriando (gossiping), and (re)imagination of community through housing justice. Applying a homemaking framework to Woman of Color (WOC) Mother activism in aggrieved communities then allows for a nuanced analysis of social order, mechanisms of dispossession that influence local organizing, and collective community care that sustains a movement.

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