Recommendations for Oxy to be more accountable to the community
As one of the largest institutions in the community, Occidental holds tremendous local purchasing power. Institutional contracts and choices made by offices, organizations, and individual students, staff, faculty, and staff about where to spend money are choices about the kinds of businesses to support in the community. In the discussion with Highland Park community members that followed the performance of “Gentrification is Colonization,” a number of recommendations emerged about how Occidental community members can be more accountable to the Highland Park community. In particular, choices to spend money at new businesses that have no connection to the older local community can contribute to the displacement of longer-term businesses that provide services, goods, and support to long-term residents. Beyond choices about spending money, accountability also entails learning about the community, including its history and cultures, and being aware of how one’s own behavior affects its residents.
- Learn about the history, cultures, and peoples of Highland Park to understand the community and dynamics within it
- Understand how both behavior and purchasing choices affect community members and dynamics
- Learn what gentrification is and how it affects community members
- Avoid the white savior mentality; don’t approach the community with intentions to “save” gentrified people or to reduce experiences to pity
- Listen to the community.
Support anti-displacement work in the community
- Learn about and support organizations such as Occidental Students United Against Gentrification (OSUAG) and Northeast L.A. Alliance (NELAA) in their educational work about gentrification and their efforts to support community members
- Assist with anti-eviction work with organizations such as Eviction Defense Network (EDN) and NELAA.
For Administration, Staff, Faculty
- Marketplace items: Contract with vendors in the community who invest in and support long-term Highland Park community members rather than gentrifying businesses (point to list of factors to consider, businesses)
- For events, use businesses in the community who invest in and support long-term Highland Park community members rather than gentrifying businesses (list of factors, businesses)
- When making decisions that affect communities beyond the campus, have a clear, transparent process and timeline. Engage community members in decision-making processes, providing specific mechanisms for community input. Support the community principles drafted by a committee of Occidental staff, faculty, students, and community members
- Provide training for student organization treasurers and other leaders about working with their organizations to make decisions about businesses they support in a way that is responsible to the long-term community.
- Re-work lists of “go-to” businesses.
- Develop policies that incentivize using long-term businesses and businesses that invest in and support the long-term community
- Revise the lists of recommended restaurants on the College website (including the “Good Eats” and “Local Dining Options” on the Commencement page) and other College materials to include long-term businesses
- Be aware of how your spending choices affect the community
- Support businesses that serve and sustain the long-term residents of Highland Park
- Talk with friends about how Oxy students' choices affect the community. Encourage them to learn about the community and to support the work of OSUAG, NELAA, and other organizations that support long-term residents/businesses and do anti-displacement work
- Attend Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council meetings to learn about what is happening and the work of committees
- Bring this awareness to your home communities. Dynamics of gentrification and displacement are happening all over the world
Things to consider in choosing businesses and restaurants:
- Do they hire local people, including youth?
- Are they affordable for long-term community folks?
- If the business offers discounts for Oxy students, do they also demonstrate support for long-term residents and students? (such as student discounts for elementary, middle school, high school students, students who live in the neighborhood but attend other colleges and universities?)
- What demographics are they targeting? Do they target an upscale market?
- Do they serve Spanish-speaking customers?
- Do they invest in the community (such as supporting youth sports teams, local school events, etc.)?
- How long have they been in the community?
- Do they have ties to the local community? Is the owner located in the community or away from it?
- Do they provide services, goods, food for the historic community/long-term residents?
- Do they use local cultures in a way that appropriates it for the sake of sales
Concerns about these restaurants. Ask them the above questions:
- Town Pizza
- Berry Bowl
- Donut Friend
- Civil Coffee
- Café de Leche
- Block Party
- Highland Café
- The York
- Kitchen Mouse
- Greyhound Bar & Grill
- Chez Antoine
- Sonny’s Hideaway
Support these based on the above considerations (suggest adding these to Oxy’s lists of recommended places to eat):
- Arco Iris, 5684 York
- Las Cazuelas Restaurant & Pupuseria, 5707 N. Figueroa
- Italiano’s, 6500 N. Figueroa
- Folliero’s Italian Food and Pizza, 5566 N. Figueroa
- Delia’s Restaurant, 4501 York
- Panaderia Delicias, 5567 N. Figueroa
- Antigua Bread, 5703 N. Figueroa
- La Palapa, 5560 N. Figueroa
- El Pescador (?), 5230 N. Figueroa
- Via Mar Seafood (?), 5111 N. Figueroa
- My Taco (?), 6300 York
- La Estrella Taco Truck