I would be happier about this if I didn't know first hand how +90% of our Southwest Detroit residents don't feel as if El Club is for them.
When a neighbor tells you they don't want to go with you to a show because they don't feel comfortable, who's at fault? How can we develop inclusively? How can we make it inviting and beneficial to those who have kept up the community you're moving in and the people who are being pushed out?
Sadly, places like this bring in those who find coming to SWD an adventure.
Original poster responds:
Went to El Club for the first time the other week. I really irks me how they appropriate aspects of Chicano/Latino culture as "aesthetic" for the club.
The grill of a classic Cadillac is hanging above the bar. They're not celebrating the culture so much as commodifying it.
I think we're ready for it, we're ready to do it, but this ain't us doing it. There's something to be said about who we're letting lead and benefit.
"I've seen Latinos who've grown up in this neighborhood and want to get out of their parents house and rent a place be completely priced out," says Guzman. "They’ve seen this happen in other neighborhoods, they’ve seen [part of their] neighborhood start to be called Corktown ... so they see this encroachment, and when you begin to erode identity, it's very problematic."
"One of the big issues in Detroit is that people build things thinking they're great but they don’t take the community into consideration," says Guzman. "You [have to ask] does the community want this, will they be involved in the construction or will they be employed there. If only one group of people is benefiting, then that’s not fair to the community in which the business sits. And that kind of inequality is what creates tension in the city of Detroit."
She says she'd also like to see the Vernor Cafe hire Latino staff specifically for front-of-the-house positions to help locals feel welcome.
Flegenheimer says he plans to take such concerns into consideration as he moves forward with the project and has scheduled a Monday, 3 p.m. meeting at El Club to hear what community members want from the space.
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