neighbors to the cool is an initiative that proposes to the inhabitants of Lavapiés something as apparently simple as staying in a neighborhood square at dinner time to get to know each other by sharing food, concerns, joys and sorrows; life, ultimately.
This Wednesday, at 8:30 p.m., it celebrates its second edition, after the inaugural and successful one last 10a somewhat impromptu appointment that to the cry of ‘Take the fresh one’ brought together a good number of residents in the Plaza de Arturo Barea and, above all, generated illusion in the face of the continuity of the proposal.
“They want us roasted and scattered. They will have us together and taking the fresh air ”, was said in that first call that ended in an impromptu potato omelette contest and with neighbors signing up for it, lowering tables and chairs from their houses.
More corral life
But where does it come from? neighbors to the cool? One of the spokespersons for the driving group of the initiative explains it to We are Lavapiés very clearly: “Part of a meeting in a bar between neighbors who do not like the direction the neighborhood is taking. We want to bring to the streets the way of life of the old corralas of Lavapiés, places where people shared everything and where a support network was created that made life easier; where they welcomed and showed solidarity with the rest of the people”.
“We want to think of a neighborhood different from the one we have, providing solutions together. We believe that there is a need to see it in another way and that those of us who live here get to know each other and sit down to talk. The ideal place to do this is one of those hard squares that have left us in the neighborhood and that our proposal humanizes”.
The meetings of neighbors to the cool They also intend to be “a game between neighbors” and this Wednesday there will be an informal tapas contest in which each participant in the meeting is expected to bring a small culinary specialty to share with the rest of the people.
Another way to protest and create support networks
The vindictive component of these meetings, casual and cheerful, is strong, so that no one is fooled by, for example, the fun posters they use to publicize the calls. Protests and calls for attention do not always have to be accompanied by long faces.
These neighborhood meetings are “contact shots”, the first steps to create structures of people “who want to do things”. “Let everyone know each other, then we will see what happens,” say the organizers.
behind the primal neighbors to the cool There are people who have lived in Lavapiés for many years, capable of making a brief and critical review of the recent little history of the neighborhood and firm defenders that the problems that the area has are not solved with police measures.
“Security in a neighborhood is knowing your neighbor and neighbor,” they say. “The neighborhood lives inwards and what we want is for people to relate to each other, something that is not easy when many are just weekend residents”, they indicate in relation to the large number of tourist apartments in the area .
“Filling the neighborhood with police, as has been done in recent times, has not improved life in Lavapiés, which has a social problem and suffers from institutional abandonment. There are many neighbors with few resources who are abandoned, without social intervention.
“Lavapiés has experienced several processes of expulsion of lifelong residents that have been undermining the strong social fabric characteristic of the area. From the subsidies given by the City Council at the end of the last century to renovate the apartments in the neighborhood, which ended up generating unaffordable income for people with fewer resources, to its conversion into an unlivable industrial estate during the 2000s and the sharp rises in prices rentals of homes in the area that we have been suffering for years. There has always been drug dealing, but drug floors are also a gentrifying focus that generates the march of the neighbors, especially the elderly”.
neighbors to the cool it is a call to the resistance of a neighborhood under a mask that is as deliberately naive as it is rebellious.
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