Of El Salvadorian descent, Diana was born in East Los Angeles and raised in Koreatown. She works as a coordinator for the community engagement department in Occidental College alongside student, faculty and staff who are invested in their neighborhood. When Diana isn’t strumming her ukulele or guitar, she’s baking or hanging out with her unfriendly cat, Icarus.
Diana loves her neighborhood. Her little pocket of Koreatown is predominantly inhabited by people of color and working class. However, those demographics are rapidly changing as gentrification sweeps through Los Angeles. She has watched as the shops and businesses she’s been frequenting her entire life close doors and coffee shops pop up in their place. And in her housing case, she has experienced landlords jumping at the opportunity to profit – all at the expense of long-standing community members. This has motivated her to join the neighborhood council, her tenant’s union local, and the community land trust.
Unfortunately, Diana has spent the last 14 years in her current apartment with her mother and brother. They moved into their home as a result of a previous no-cause eviction in Koreatown – a classic case of a change of ownership and the new owners flipping for profit. Sadly, Diana and her family and currently experience the same situation, with the exception that they are currently not protected by RSO laws, making everyone living in the building very vulnerable. She is currently fighting her eviction.
“Just within those first couple of weeks when we got the notice, just seeing my neighbors just disheveled and scared and crying and terrified, and we were all feeling the same things. But what I think I've come to realize is that other folks had the resources to be able to move out. Some folks didn't have children. Some folks lived by themselves and, you know, could find housing a little easier. But I think also the folks that have moved don't have the same roots to the neighborhood that we did. And that's why we're fighting to stay in our homes.”