Oakland is a beautiful city filled with diversity in every square inch of its perimeter. It was known since its beginning that Oakland received Chinese refugees from San Francisco that were affected by the San Francisco earthquake” (1906 Earthquake: Chinese Displacement.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.) and also was one of the few cities that accepted African-Americans. The city even made schools that helped African-Americans to have a profession in a time where they were seen as inferior. However, the city is facing a problem that could change all of this in the near future. This problem that the city is facing is called gentrification. Gentrification is when middle class people start moving into areas where low income families live causing an increase in the prices on housing. This process unfairly forces many low-income families of color or individuals to move out of their communities. Consequently, the diversity in Oakland and the quality of life of many people that live in Oakland are endangered. Oakland could become a predominantly upper class city. To avoid gentrification in Oakland, city council should make laws that protect low-income families from losing their homes and the city from losing its culture and history.
Social Justice is the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges in a society. Due to the fact that gentrification is mostly affecting the lower classes it can be considered a social justice struggle. These people are being kicked out of the areas that they have lived in for many years now. In this country, the low income people are usually the people of color. People of color are deprived of knowing their rights as renters due to the lack of resources, let it be internet access, language barriers, or out of complete ignorance on the amount of resources there are for them. If these families can’t afford to live in Oakland and in the Bay Area overall, they are going to have to move out of the area depending their financial status.
Unfortunately, families are being displaced due to all of the new people inhabiting the Bay Area who are able to afford higher housing prices. According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, displacement is “the impact of increasing housing prices in a neighborhood prompted by neighborhood reinvestment, major infrastructure investments, and processes of gentrification.” (“Tool: Displacement Resources.” Tool: Displacement Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.). Landlords are taking advantage and will continue to increasing rent on families who have lived here for many years. Living in Oakland used to be accessible for people regardless of income, but due to the recent changes in standards that landlords have adopted, it is no longer something attainable. For example, one landlord can raise the rent of one house in the neighborhood. Consequently, the houses surrounding said home also raise their prices. This could affect the prices of the houses in the neighborhood because of the sales tax. For instance, if a neighborhood that is predominantly low-income has at least one house — that is built for a targeted group, one with a higher in social status — the whole neighborhood will have an increase in its price. As the PBS article says “Physical changes also accompany gentrification. Older buildings are rehabilitated and new construction occurs. Public improvements — to streets, parks, and infrastructure — may accompany government revitalization efforts or occur as new residents organize to demand public services. New arrivals often push hard to improve the district aesthetically, and may codify new standards through design guidelines, historic preservation legislation, and the use of blight and nuisance laws.” (What Is Gentrification?” PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, 17 Jan. 2003. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.) People are finding themselves having to move out of Oakland because the prices are incrementing to a point that is out of reach for them.
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