Stories about community | Next Generation Radio at USC Annenberg 2016
March 15, 2016
Photos: What happens when a neighborhood loses its library?
Francisco Martinez, 22, wants to turn the abandoned library in South L.A.’s Hyde Park neighborhood into a youth center. Martinez and a few dozen other young people gathered outside the library Monday to demand that the city reopen the library as a youth center.
The Hyde Park Library closed permanently in December, 2004. The abandoned building has a 8-foot-tall fence wrapped around it to prevent people from trespassing. Graffiti lines the walls and grass grows through cracks in the pavement.
Youth Justice L.A. gathered outside the library Monday to demonstrate. This is the group’s second attempt to push the government to reopen the library as a youth center. According to the group, 40 police officers showed up to their previous protest at the library in 2011.
Protesters believe if this space reopens as a youth center, more young people could avoid gang life and drug addiction.
Protesters urged drivers to honk in support of investing in youth as they passed by the closed library.
Protesters want the city to redirect five percent of the city’s law enforcement budget to youth programs.
Francisco Martinez is now 10-months sober and a college student. He says when he looks at the fence around the library it reminds him of being locked up again.