Here to Stay:
Building a Tenant Association Against Displacement
Inés and Teresa of the Flower Drive Tenants Association in conversation with Ana Vilenica, co-edited by Katrina Albright
Keywords: Tenants Association, Tenants Union, Los Angeles, Evictions
The Flower Drive Tenants Association (La Asociación de inquilinos de Flower Drive) is an entire block of tenants organising against displacement in South Central Los Angeles. Members of the Los Angeles Tenants Union since March 2021, Flower Drive tenants have fought to stay put in the face of a multi-billion dollar development plan to replace hundreds of rent controlled apartments with luxury housing. In the process they have transformed their block of working class Black and Latino tenants into what one comrade described as a “semillero” – a seedbed of tenant organising across South Central Los Angeles. The señoras who lead the Flower Drive TA have also turned their weekly meeting into a co-learning space for the wider community. As many as 60 tenants from across South Central LA gather each week in a parking lot behind the Flower Drive buildings to discuss their rights, share their experiences, and plan direct actions. Tenants support each other through protesting landlords, reversing lockouts, and even confronting domestic abusers. Tenants have also begun to discuss their deeper political conditions, drawing connections to popular land struggles across the world. With covid-era tenant protections ending in Los Angeles, evictions skyrocketing, and the Olympics on the horizon, the tenants of Flower Drive know their fight is only beginning. But by holding their territory against the violence of speculative development, and refusing to follow the lead of nonprofits that would negotiate their defeat, they have turned their block into a militant space of popular education and decision making. That transformation has connected them to a global movement and brought a whole neighbourhood into their fight.