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Getting Up: Gentrification, Gang Injunctions and Graffiti in Echo Park, Los Angeles


In the summer of 2011 the city of Los Angeles granted Echo Park, a neighborhood to the immediate northwest of downtown, a 45-million-dollar renovation grant to clean up Echo Park Lake. During the grand reopening of the park in 2013, the neighborhood of Echo Park was simultaneously met with the Glendale Corridor Gang Injunction, a civil law suit against six alleged gangs in Echo Park. Despite the neighborhood’s significantly decreased crime rate the gang injunction was quietly passed without notification. Using Marcia Ochoa’s methodology of time travel and huecos negros (2016), I examine a long history of dispossession and displacement in Echo Park beginning with Chavez Ravine and continuing into The Belmont Tunnel dubbed the graffiti mecca of the west coast as examples of displacement due to what I call an affective economy of white pleasure. Additionally, I look at how stipulations in gang injunctions by policing what is considered non-normative expressions of femininity and masculinity through style and dress on bodies of color. I argue that graffiti and placas become visual spatial disruptors to ongoing narratives of Latinx erasure in Echo Park.

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