Benito Valez is a 14-year-old 9th grade student from Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) who identifies as Mexican American. Benito was born and raised in Logan Heights and currently attends High Tech High Media Arts, a project based public charter school in Point Loma. He lives in Logan Heights with his mother, older brother, and older sister and enjoys soccer and music such as Hip-Hop and Rap. This interview covered the following topics: community, gentrification, homelessness, activism, family, personal interests, education, and future aspirations. Benito described the effects he has seen due to the increase of gentrification in Barrio Logan. He discussed the large amount of homelessness around his community and proposed possible solutions starting with the need to acknowledge the prevalence of homelessness in and around Barrio Logan. Benito’s deep understanding of the effects that gentrification has had on his community stood out to me because he was able to connect gentrification to an increase in homelessness due to the prices of homes in Barrio Logan rising. I met Benito at Barrio Logan College Institute while volunteering with the 9th grade class. The interview was conducted at Barrio Logan College Institute. I became involved with BLCI through my Race and Oral history class in San Diego at UC San Diego.I was born in Los Angeles and later moved to Desert Hot Springs, a small city in the Coachella Valley. When I first learned about BLCI I was automatically interested in working with them because I related to the BLCI students in that I grew up in an underserved community and found that programs outside of school were the biggest help on my journey to college. I am a LatinX and first generation 2nd year student at UC San Diego who comes from a community similar to Barrio Logan and strives to help minority groups in social and legal aspects.
June 5, 2019