By Deborah Cobourne, staff reporter
Gentrification. An enterprise where low income neighborhoods are renovated so that it conforms to a middle class taste. Coffee shops and fancy restaurants start to open up. The area is becoming safer and things are being improved.
Places where fried chicken restaurants with bulletproof windows have been replaced with cupcake shops and bubble tea shops. Black owned businesses that thrived off the locals are now being driven out; replaced with footlockers, Starbucks, and other mainstream businesses. Residents who have been in the area for decades are forced to move out of the home they grew up in.
Some argue that gentrification isn’t bad, that it is actually a good thing, in which some cases it is true. Better housing, safer neighborhoods, public projects, improvement of the economy, increase of diversity in the area, etc.; However the cons aren’t as delightful causing an uprises in communities, people have watched the home they once knew, change into something they don’t even recognize.
Gentrification is all about profit. Replacing a local restaurant that caters to the people with a starbucks is only to benefit the corporations. They don’t care about other small business that thrives off of the people.
One person who had a first hand experience with gentrification speaks about her experience and what she had seen.
WJPS English Teacher, Shari Marks says, “I lived in Hoboken which is mostly Hispanic and Italians who were low income lived there. I was paying $1000 a month in 1992 which is a lot back in that time. Then I moved to Jersey City where I was living a middle class lifestyle, meanwhile longtime residents were living in poverty.”
Long time residents who’ve grown up in a neighborhood where they were surrounded by people they grew up with and relate to. Gentrification has been going on for quite some time now. It is seen as an endless, useless cycle that will just divide the people more and more.
Photos by Deborah Cobourne