Echo Park Gang Injunction Video Interview with Mike Contreras

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In this video, Mike Contreras is interviewed as he discusses the Echo Park Gang Injunction, his experience with it, and his views about how it impacts Echo Park, Los Angeles.

We see different shots of Echo Park as MIke takes us to his old childhood home, and to familiar areas such as Sunset Blvd and Echo Park Lake.

In the video, Mike clearly opposes the gang injunction and the consequences it has brought to the Latino population in Echo Park.

I don’t think their motivation is to get rid of the gangs. I think it is more to get rid of the people. – Mike Contreras

The video has a couple of edits that support Mike’s views on the gang injunction as it shares that crime in Echo Park is currently at its lowest levels since the 1950’s.

Mike shares a bit of his history and involvement with gangs and the lifestyle he lived as a younger man. He also shares that he lost a brother to gang violence in the past.

Still, he believes that the gang injunction’s purpose is not to drive out gangs, but to force out a group of people and welcome a lifestyle that traditional residents cannot afford.

Official Video Description:

In 2013, a Los Angeles County court issued a permanent gang injunction in Echo Park despite crime being at it’s lowest since the 1950’s. Youth CineMedia interviews one of the defendants of the injunction, Mike Contreras, who describes how a historical Latino community is being displaced by upper class “hipsters”, and how generations of families can no longer afford to live in Echo Park and are being “pushed out” because of gentrification and things like the Echo Park gang injunction.

However, despite the obstacles, various community members and organizations are fighting back! But is it too late, and will the rest of Los Angeles fall victim to the ongoing displacement of immigrant communities and people of color? Organizers and lawyers say that gang injunctions take away civil liberties, promote racial profiling and criminalize the youth. It has been proven that gang injunctions are used as a tool for removing a certain group of people from their communities and replacing them with others who are more affluent – they turn streets into prisons without walls.

Youth CineMedia 2014
Production team:
Osiris Castañeda
Sharis Delgadillo