When I first watched “Boyz in the Hood” in my early 20’s I didn’t grasp the full concepts of this film. In my mind I was in New York City, times were changing, the time of gangs weren’t heavily spoken about any more, yes there was drug dealing but only seemed to be marijuana at the time. This clip is almost 30 years old (28 years to be exact) yet the message is more prominent now then ever before.
As we are all may or may not be aware, gentrification has displaced so many families, communities, and cultures that have given certain cities and counties a “homely and creative feel”. As the displacement continues, many feel nomadic as the demand for a higher income and better credit becomes the concerning factor of just living in peace.
There is a sheer difference when you walk into communities that are not gentrified to the ones that are.
In low income communities, you are literally two steps away from homelessness. Income had shifted in terms of the paradigm presented years ago. City jobs were readily available with benefits and securing these types of jobs made living somewhat easier. Now the benefits have lessened and are based on longevity or work performance. Most work is now contractual and or temporary as many companies try to escape paying full for services.
Who can work for a long period and perform if the stressor of home being secure is not there?
There is a great need for mental health services, a issue of inhumane living conditions, fractured educational system and along with safety, franchised entities that continue to malnourish folks presented thrice on each corner of the community. The list goes on.
In neighboring gentrified communities, there are neighborhood staples that remain and others that have disappeared into timeless monuments of our former memories. It seems as you’re walking into the twilight zone.
So how do we buy back the community that we’ve invested many ways into? Well to be honest it starts from the root. By the root it’s a call to invest into our communities that need us the most with the faces that it is most familiar with.
Here are some ideas:
Bringing back things that are familiar and in practice:
- Susu (do your research)
- Rent Parties (do your research)
- Looking into non profit grants and stipend within your community to create jobs and maintain or assist in the community. Speak with your councilman and county representatives.
- Start up workshops for adolescents and teens which can promote better community health, safety, internships that can be placed on resumes.
- Collaborating and networking with people in different lines of work which can bring new initiatives into the community.
- Passing along information to assist in financial literacy and producing another source of income.
The possibilities are endless. Begin talking to your peers, building, educating, and progressing together as a collective.
“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable” -Kenyan Proverb