From the Chicano artists’ depictions of the highway in East Los Angeles to second-line jazz parade in New Orleans, Avila illustrates how performative activities pleasure and protest by inhabitants remediate the spaces near highways to promote and reflect their own diverse perspectives, practices, and lived realities. East Los Angeles serves an important example of a racialized working-class community threatened by the construction of freeways. In the 1960s, the 60, 10, 101, 710, and 5 Freeways were all extended to cut through the East Los Angeles neighborhood. This environment spawned what Raul Homero Villa has coined as East LA’s “expressway generation,” from where some of East LA’s finest muralists emerged. Throughout the 1970s, ASCO, one of the area’s most important Chicano art collectives, used the walls of the freeways as a canvas to paint political slogans, like “Pinchi Placa Come Caca” (Fucking Pigs Eat Shit), “Gringo Laws = Dead Chicanos”, “Kill the Pigs,” and “Comida Para Todos” (Food For Everyone). ASCO turned these geographical sites of state power, the freeways, into forms of communication that expressed the relationship between spatial formation and racial tension.
The Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles has strategically returned to freeways. The press release for a December 23, 2015 protest that shut down a significant section of the 405 Freeway in the city’s Westchester neighborhood explains the reasoning behind blocking freeway traffic. It states, "On one of the busiest travel days of the year, Black Lives Matter is calling for a halt on Christmas as usual in memorial of all of the loved ones we have lost and continue to lose this year to law enforcement violence without justice or recourse; (McReynolds, 2015). Pete White, an organizer with Black Lives Matter and the L.A. Community Action Network, told local news, "In this Christmas season, we're saying there is no mistletoe in our neighborhood, and it's not going to be business as usual"; (McReynolds, 2015). Black Lives Matter actions in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 have all resulted in successful and strategic blockages to major thoroughfares, clogging the arteries of the city, and bringing major media and popular attention. The tactical retaking of freeways in a notoriously automobile-driven city is symbolically and materially significant.