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Authenticity and gentrification: The future of identity in Santa Ana and beyond (#AT30)

The Discovery Cube - Orange County, 2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana

On August 19, as part of AirTalk’s 30th anniversary regional tour, Larry Mantle will be at the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana—a city that is more than 78 percent Latino—to discuss gentrification and the struggle to preserve a community’s culture while also boosting business.

Communities all across Southern California—and beyond—are changing dramatically as new businesses and people move in. But is all this change good? Can a city evolve without relying on outsiders coming in?

The event is full, but the conversation isn’t limited to the room. We’ll be joined on Twitter by a number of prominent voices on this topic, and we want to hear from you. Follow along and weigh in using #AT30. We will be tweeting from @KPCC and @KPCCforum.

The chat will take place starting at 7 p.m. on August 19, but we welcome your tweets ahead of time, too.

Have us remind you

#AT30 Twitter chat participants will include:

@Brigham: Brigham Yen is passionate about urbanism and making Los Angeles a more walkable and transit-oriented city. He is the founder and editor of DTLA Rising, Downtown L.A.'s largest news blog.

@ErikaaAguilar: Erika Aguilar covers Orange County for KPCC. Prior to that she was the station's crime, courts and public safety reporter.

@Gentefy: The company founded by @BarneySantos focuses on accelerating “gentefication” within Latino communities through business advising, investing and development of products and services geared for underserved neighborhoods.

@josie_huang: Josie Huang covers housing and changing neighborhoods for KPCC.

@LURNetwork: The Leadership for Urban Renewal Network works to promote and build places that meet the diverse needs of residents, are sensitive to the environment, and contribute to healthy living and opportunity.

@Multi_American: Leslie Berestein Rojas is KPCC's immigration and emerging communities reporter.

@PB__Community: An environmental nonprofit that has served the northeast San Fernando Valley for more than 19 years, Pacoima Beautiful’s mission is to empower communities through programs that provide environmental education, advocacy training and leadership development to foster a healthy and safe environment.

@PolicyLink: Policy Link is an Oakland-based public policy research and advocacy institute.

**The in-person event has reached capacity.**

Santa Ana has long  been a majority-Latino city, with a population that is over 78 percent Hispanic or Latino and about 48 percent of its residents born in another country. But ever since efforts began to revitalize the city’s downtown area almost 30 years ago, there’s been fervent discussion about its changing demographics and whether Santa Ana should embrace its Latino heritage by preserving it, or favor economic development that could stifle unique cultural expression. The debate raises questions about what it means for a place to  stay “authentic,” and the good and bad that comes with gentrification.

Santa Ana is of course just one microcosm for this shift that neighborhoods are grappling with across Southern California and beyond – such as Boyle Heights, which is wrestling with the development of its Mariachi Plaza and Highland Park, where renters have been squeezed out by new businesses and neighbors over the last several years. Is it possible to preserve a city’s culture while also boosting business? Is change inevitable? These are just some of the issues Larry Mantle and a panel of guests will debate.


Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly Editor and contributor for KCRW 

Ryan Chase, president of Downtown Inc.

Erualdo Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Fullerton and author of the forthcoming book, “The Latino City: Urban Revitalization, Politics, and the Grassroots”  

Hassan Haghani, Planning and Building Agency Executive Director representing the City of Santa Ana

Mark McLoughlin, Floral Park Neighborhood Community leader 

Alicia Rojas, community artist and co-founder of Santa Ana Community Artists Coalition 

Ana Siria Urzua, Campaign Coordinator for Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities

This event is part of the AirTalk 30th anniversary tour.