By Ian Dean

We have a question to all the newcomers to this town. Who are you?

We see what you do, how much money you make, how much power you have… but we still don’t know who you are.

Maybe it’s time for you to know who WE are.

We are Venice.

We are the artists and the musicians, we are the homeless and the performers, we are the lost and the forgotten.

We are the children of the servants when Abbot Kinney won this land in a bet.

We are the brothers and sisters of the gangs.

We are the no good kids who revolutionized skateboarding and turned it in to a multi-billion dollar sport when it was viewed as nothing but a novelty toy.

We are the citizens who made a home in a town that was usurped by Los Angeles and then left to rot.

We are the graffiti writers and surfers who made our home on what used to be the POP.

We are the ones who took the worst of what we were given and made this forgotten ramshackle of a once proud city a place that was ours and no outsider wanted to be because we were “of color” or because we were losers with no incentive to better ourselves.

We are the ones who embraced all who dared to be different or were down on their luck.

We are the ones who called this place home even when Los Angeles wanted nothing but our oil.

WE are Venice.

WE stayed here when no one else wanted to walk even close to Ghost Town.

WE never complained about property values being affected by the homeless.

WE never bitched about kids running amok and doing the stupid things that all teenagers do.

We never bought up giant parcels of land, kicked out families who had been here for years to build a condo or a 5-star restaurant so that money could be made by the very fact that this was Venice… a fact that WE created.

You moved here because of the aura, you moved here because of how happy we were, you moved here to be a part of something yet, little by little, all you do is destroy it.

You want the cool points of living on the beach or by it, where Jim Morrison came to play, where the Dogtown kids were inventive enough to turn decaying asphalt of our broken and run down environment and turn it in to an empire on various levels.

We are Venice.     Who are you?

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