Crenshaw District, Los Angeles, CA ━ Today, we remember the inspirational leader and activist Malcolm X, on what would be his 96th birthday. To honor his legacy, a broad coalition of local residents, activists, business leaders and property owners are urging the Los Angeles City Council to approve the addition of his name to the 5-mile stretch of Crenshaw Blvd south of the I-10 freeway. Co-naming Crenshaw Blvd with Malcolm X Blvd honors a profound Black leader, symbolizes the deep cultural significance of the area, and the importance of stabilizing the last major concentration of Black residents in the city of Los Angeles. Downtown Crenshaw is proud to stand with the Malcolm X Blvd Coalition in this incredible quest.
Downtown Crenshaw has a vision of Crenshaw that honors Malcolm’s core tenets of Black self-determination. In seeking community ownership of the Crenshaw Mall, we assert our collective right to control Black-centered spaces and ensure that they are made by us, for us. We refuse to let predatory development groups control the direction of the communities we live in.
Some of the most powerful real estate companies in America – including CIM Group, LivWrk and now Harridge Development Group – all are attempting to displace long-time residents and mom-and-pop businesses in our community as they’ve been provided the opportunity to purchase the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. This is despite Downtown Crenshaw’s repeated, competitive offer that is higher and with better terms than Harridge’s offer. Malcolm X made clear that the predatory practices of gentrification continue to oppress Black communities. This struggle for collective ownership of Black communities isn’t just a question of civil rights, but also one of self-determination and freedom.
On Malcolm X’s birthday, there is no greater time to stoke the fire that drives the Crenshaw community. As Malcolm X said, “Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.”
And revolutionize we will. We will never stop fighting for our land and for ownership of our community. We refuse to be displaced and erased – the people of Crenshaw are here to stay.