Christina Heatherton: Downtown Blues -- A Skid Row Reader
For years, Skid Row has been a national symbol of the battle over public space in downtown urban centers – a battle between very poor, largely homeless population struggling for their civil rights and for dignified housing against aggressive policing and gentrifying developers. The battle in LA’s Skid Row intensified 5 years ago when LAPD announced the Safer Cities Initiative, which represented an unprecedented crackdown on the Skid Row community. As programs like Safer Cities attempt to make homeless and urban poor invisible in the public eye, a new book called Downtown Blues: A Skid Row Reader exposes the reality of life on skid row and the courageous struggles waged by its residents against Safer Cities and gentrification. Downtown Blues: A Skid Row Reader is published by the Southern California and brings together activist scholars like Robin DG Kelley and Cedric Robinson, the activist law professor Gary Blasi and organizers like General Dogon from the Los Angeles Community Action Network. Christine Heatheron, a scholar-activist from USC's Department of American Studies and Ethnicity and the book's editor, talks about the realities of life and organized resistance in Skid Row as captured in the book.