Santa Ana is a changing place, and one resident who has lived here since he was a child has seen it coming. Enter, young Erualdo Gonzalez who has had this premonition since he was a child. His mother Margarita Romero Gonzalez worked two jobs to support her family and then managed a shoe store as well. After this she went on to own two different clothing stores and befriended different business owners in the small downtown of Santa Ana, with all of its rich history.
Young Erualdo Gonzalez has since aged and is now 41 years old and is a faculty member at the Cal State Fullerton school. He was born in 1974 and lived in this area his entire life. Gonzalez has reminisced about the good old days and how he used to roam around the streets up and down Fourth Street where his mother worked.
He remembers the days of his Latino culture growing in number and having a large influence on the area. Without any sort of segregation the area grew in a positive way that made way for progress and the spreading of cultural ideals.
Looking Forward to the Present & Future
Now he is an associate professor in Chicana and Chicano studies, something that is clearly important to a lot of people in the area. He researches topics that include developing the community and urban planning methods and health around the residential area.
Something that he has taken note of lately is gentrification or what he thinks it is. During the 1950’s and 1960’s there was an influx of Caucasian people leaving the area, which was replaced with Latinos from all different regions.
Following this there was an economic downturn that left the area to others in its wake. It was the immigrants and Mexicans who began to infiltrate the area and began to change the area to a more flourishing community as the shift changed.
Gonzalez talked about how the Chicano culture was prevalent during this time and it was a time of achievement for his culture and community. Gonzalez’s pursuit of retaining this area is completely altruistic in regards to retaining his culture. He just released a new book called “The Latino City: Urban Revitalization, Politics, and the Grassroots,” which will be coming out late this October. The book goes into details about the redevelopment of the area and what can be done to change it as he lays out his well thought out plan.
Gonzalez in his own words says, “What I wanted to get across is that this whole idea to redevelop that prioritizes a demographic other than the Mexican immigrant, other than the working class in the area, this has always been going on.” Urban planning in the area has been a point of contention. Some do not believe that what is happening is all that bad and instead a push for change and progress. There can be some truth in the opposition as Gomez takes a nostalgic approach to the days that are now changing.