by Rio Contreras
Rio is Echo Park Born and Raised. Resisting Displacement, Aiming to Decolonize, and Youth Educator

Echo Park,

Where the hipsters roam the streets

with a cafe late in the day

and a PBR at night

Eko Parque

Where the vatos still walk home

from a dodgers game

with an Eko Parque pride on their face at night

and an oveworked/not enough work face at day

Echo Park

Where many people who are immigrants work the streets

with an an apron for fruits to sell at day

and an apron for tacos to sell at night.

Rewind to the 1980s…

Eco Parc,

Donde las familia imigrantes bought their first home

With overpacked 2 bedrooms filled with twelve

with broken roofs that let in that once in awhile rain from LA

with thin enough walls to hear your neighbors wail

with overworked faces

with long missin’ mi tierra faces

with stressed out fearfilled faces

with blood shoot eyes

that blanket the gaze

over so many of us kids and abuelas alike

Staying up because the chopper is flooding your patio with a violating light. Searching for a “ganster” and announcing it over a loud as mic.

Fast Forward…

Echo Park,

now seen as the new white

the hip place to move into

the hip place to displace familias

the hip place to step into your new hollywood image.

Hipsters streaming Echo Park pride on their shirts.

The same hipsters back then would have been screaming

get me out of this brown haven because it hurts.

Si, Echo Park

has always been a beautiful brown haven.

A mix of Central Americans, Mexicans, Pilipinos, Chinese and so many others.

The food and culture always abundant, despite the stress.

  • Mexican quebradita parties across the streets
  • Central Americans interchanging tamales weekly
  • Chinese kids going to their Chinese schools
  •     Pilipinos created the lotus festival with an Asian Pacific Islander pride

A glimpse of the world is what we truly received.

A bad name of all being gangsters is what was wrongly perceived.

Si, Original Echo Parque was beautiful then and NOW!


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