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Attendees watch as the Dia De Los Muertos procession continues down the Alazan-Apache neighborhood  in San Antonio, TX on Nov. 1.

On the margins of downtown San Antonio, a maligned neighborhood mobilizes to save itself

Born of segregation and redlining, the near West Side has long been mostly Latino, mostly low-income. Redevelopment pressures are closing in, and neighbors are working to keep it affordable for some of the city’s poorest residents.

Reclaiming the West Side

Graciela Sanchez, director of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, poses for a portrait outside of the Rinconcito de Esperanza in San Antonio, Texas on Nov 30. Behind her, a portrait of her mother (middle)  hangs on the wall.
Photo banners stretch across the wall of the Rinconcito de Esperanza as part of the "En Aquellos Tiempos: Fotohistorias del Westside" project started by Esperanza in 2006. It depicts the long-time residents of San Antonio's Westside.
Evening light hits the Rinconcito de Esperanza Nov 30. Esperanza purchased the buildings in 2002 and 2007, transforming it into a cultural community hub.
Irene Aguilar, a traditional ceramic artist from Oaxaca, Mexico, speaks at a meeting hosted at the Rinconcito de Esperanza Nov 30.
Irene Aguilar, a traditional ceramic artist from Oaxaca, Mexico, speaks at a meeting hosted at the Rinconcito de Esperanza Nov 30.

Code enforcement reform

A sign reading "Mi Barrio No Se Vende" sits on a window of a home in San Antonio, Texas. The home was recently acquired by the Esperanza Center as part of their "Mi Barrio No Se Vende" coalition.
A partly demolished house in San Antonio's Westside, one street over from the Rinconcito de Esperanza. A stop work order was posted to the front wall of the house, citing there was no permit in place for its destruction.
A partly demolished house in San Antonio's Westside, one street over from the Rinconcito de Esperanza. A stop work order was posted to the front wall of the house, citing there was no permit in place for its destruction.
Attendees watch as the Dia De Los Muertos procession continues down the Alazan-Apache neighborhood  in San Antonio, TX on Nov. 1.
A procession, organized by the Esperanza Center, makes its way towards the Alazan-Apache Courts, a historic public housing neighborhood in San Antonio's West side.
Volunteers at the Esperanza Center in San Antonio's West side welcome attendees to the Dia de Los Muertos event with food and drinks.
A cra passes by La Popular Bakery in San Antonio's Westside Nov 30.
Photo banners stretch across the fence bordering the Alazan neighborhood as part of the "En Aquellos Tiempos: Fotohistorias del Westside" project started by Esperanza in 2006. It depicts the long-time residents of San Antonio's Westside.

A dam against displacement

Residents of the Alazan-Apache Courts watch as the Dia De Los Muertos procession continues down the street in San Antonio, TX on Nov. 1.
Monica R.M. poses outside of her home in the Alazan-Apache Courts of San Anotnio, Texas. She has lived there for five years, carefully tending to her front-yard garden where she grows flowers and serrano peppers. Monica would like these apartments to stay as there are, only adding necessities such as a dryer connection.

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