East Austin community fighting gentrification to keep Latino tradition

An East Austin tradition is being threatened by residents of a new luxury apartment complex – an effect of gentrification in the historic neighborhood. But Austinites are far from giving in.

For decades, Austin residents have gathered at Chicano Park on the city’s East Side on Sundays to celebrate the culture of the community by showing off their low-rider cars, playing music, and simply spending time with loved ones. Now, the Sunday tradition is under attack.

With the development of The Weaver, a luxury apartment complex that opened last August, some new residents are calling for the tradition to be shut down, citing noise and traffic complaints.

Sunday’s tradition, which functioned more as a rally this time around, comes after Texas Monthly’s Peter Holley wrote about white Weaver residents calling the cops on the Black and Brown car clubs, diminishing them to a “toxic display of masculinity.”

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As a response, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and other local leaders stopped by the park on Sunday to support the community that has made up the neighborhood for decades.

“I think what’s happening here is part of Austin’s history and part of our culture and finding a way to preserve and protect it,” Adler told Austin’s FOX 7.

The culture is especially crucial since Chicano Park, which is reflective of the demographic of the neighborhood, is actually named Edward Rendon Park. Rendon’s granddaughter Bertha Rendon Delgado, a community organizer, spoke at the park on Sunday, saying that the community will keep the “legacy going for generations to come,” according to FOX 7.

Delgado said it’s important that new residents understand and accept the traditions and culture of East Austin. While the Austin American-Statesman pointed out that some Weaver residents were watching the drive-bys and had signs expressing their support of the car club scene, the complaints – which the apartment complex clarified is not on behalf of the Weaver – mean to change the heart and vibrancy of East Austin.

“The call of action today was to let people know we are here to stay and we hope that you can enjoy our culture and embrace it, just like we’ve had to accept you coming in,” Delgado said.

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