Together, We Can Move Mountains: Remembering Latinx Geographies of Environmental Justice in Southeast Los Angeles

Authors: Oscar Gutierrez*, University of California, San Diego
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Urban Geography, Environment
Keywords: Environmental Justice, Latinx Geographies, Urban Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In 1994, Linda Marquez organized her neighbors after a 5-foot mountain of concrete rubble was brought into Southeast Los Angeles. The remnants of the 10 freeway from the Northridge Earthquake in California began La Causa, an organization made up of neighbors surrounding “La Montaña.” They demanded an end to the health impacts from the dust and diesel trucks moving through their neighborhood. Years later, their organizing efforts resulted in the removal of the mountain. This paper begins with “La Montaña” to critically examine urban geography as an archive of environmental justice organizing. I position this history by thinking with Youth for Environmental Justice, an organization that meets at the former site of La Montaña inside of the high school that is now named after Linda. This analysis may provide us with a framework of mapping the political geographies 1 that mark particular sites through power and resistance. Moreover, to think beyond a geography that “just is,” as Katherine McKittrick argues against, Southeast Los Angeles geographies of resistance serve the potential in centering spatial forms of generational acknowledgment of resistance. Through archival and ethnographic research, I focus on how urban migrant Latinx communities continue to shape historic, contemporary, and future spatial meaning.

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