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

Santa Ana has long been a majority-Latino city, but ever since efforts began to revitalize its downtown area almost 30 years ago, there’s been discussion about whether it should preserve its Latino heritage, or favor economic development that could stifle unique cultural expression.

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.

Guests:

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

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

Gustavo Arellano, editor of OC Weekly, author of the nationally syndicated column, “¡Ask a Mexican!,” and the booksOrange County: A Personal Historyand Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America; he’s also a contributor to KCRW

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

Mark McLoughlin, Representing Floral Park Homeowners Association

Ryan Chase,  President of Downtown Inc., mission is to facilitate the enhancement of Downtown Santa Ana as a vibrant shopping, entertainment, business and cultural destination for all

Erualdo Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Fullerton

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