Slide Show: In Gentrified Williamsburg, Latino Community Fights to Maintain its Identity

Fi2W is featuring the work of students in the Feet in 2 Worlds course at The New School. 

Watch the slide show

Fi2W Los Sures from Ground Floor Films on Vimeo.

fi2w-williamsburg

Old time residents of South Williamsburg playing dominos on the street. (Photo: Sara Loscos)

Since 1972, the non-profit organization Los Sures has been helping to rebuild the south side of Williamsburg, a Brooklyn neighborhood undergoing rapid gentrification.  Los Sures offers affordable housing, social services and legal assistance to old time residents who do not want to give up their homes.

Ramon Peguero, director of Los Sures, says gentrification is positive in some aspects, and since most of the long time residents are immigrants themselves they are very welcoming because they know what it takes to be accepted. “However, one thing is to open your arms and a different one is when someone tries to erase your identity,” Peguero says.

Preserving the neighborhood’s Latino identity is one of the goals of the Los Sures museum, which opened last year at 120 South First Street in Williamsburg.

In this audio slide show the director of Los Sures guides us on a walk through a neighborhood full of contrasts, recalling the story of the Hispanic community of South Williamsburg since the 1970s.  Peguero highlights the determination of Latino residents to stay in the area and hold on to their identity.

“The people who are coming in are standing on the shoulders of people who gave their lives, some of them gave their sweat, some of them gave their families up… and this is very precious. So to give it up, to allow this to be taken without a fight… I don’t see that happening in this community,” Peguero says.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

 

  • uglyamerican

    “However, one thing is to open your arms and a different one is when someone tries to erase your identity,”
    Interesting that a Latino neighborhood doesn’t want to lose it’s identity to gentrification while at the same time Latinos are trying to change the identity and language of the USA.

  • americansareugly

    Change what? USA has always been a multilingual and multiethnic country that grew by conquering/ destroying other plural societies. Latinas/os are reclaiming the USA. You don’t like it? Go back to Europe.

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  • uglyamerican

    And where do you think the Spanish language originated from? Hint; it wasn’t Mexico. The accepted language here is English. and has been for more than 300 years, just as Spanish has been in Latin America (settled by the Spanish). Without knowing it, people are at a severe disadvantage here. What Mexicans are doing here foreigners are forbidden by law to do in their own country.
    Think there is a reason for that?