The residue of gentrification is disturbing the culture of longtime residents in Oakland, California. According to reports by SFGate, a Black church is being threatened by city officials for singing gospel music.
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church is a Black church that has served the West Oakland community for 65 years. However, new residents have complained to city officials about the choir singing that occurs at the church. The church members believe the complaints are from White residents who have moved into the neighborhood over the past few years.
City officials sent Pastor Thomas A. Harris III a letter, which stated that the church’s organ, drums, and choir singing violated the city’s noise ordinance. The church faces a $500 per day fine and could be given a $3,529 fine if the music isn’t kept to a minimum.
Due to the economic prosperity in Silicon Valley, prices for homes and apartments have skyrocketed in the Bay Area. As a result, White residents are buying property in Black neighborhoods in West and East Oakland.
But the newcomers are attempting to change the culture of communities without respect for the residents who have lived there for decades. Moreover, White residents are also calling the police on innocent Black people at alarming rates. Oakland Police get over 700 calls per month on suspicious vehicles and people where it turns out a crime didn’t occur.
The “Columbusing” of Black culture from a style and entertainment standpoint has been a big issue for socially conscious blogs and Black Twitter users over the past year. However, the “Columbusing” of Black neighborhoods is much more serious.
Gentrification could possibly work if the newcomers cared enough to be a part of the communities that they join. Instead, it appears that their only focus is to siege land, disregard those who inhabit the land, and completely take over. Again, history repeats itself.