Would You Live in a Neighborhood Called “SOLA”?

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This is South Los Angeles:

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You probably remember it as South Central Los Angeles.

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It’s where movies like Friday, Menace II Society and Boyz N The ‘Hood took place.

It’s home to the Watts Towers and Art Center…

Watts Towers

And Prestigious USC.

USC campus Doheny
Photo Credit: digitonin / flickr

READ: Pupusas, Empanadas and Churrasco: There’s More than Mexican Food in L.A.

It was also one of the areas most affected by the Los Angeles civil unrest in 1992.

South Central LA unrest
Credit: Inglewood63 / YouTube

In 2003, South Central Los Angeles was renamed South Los Angeles to cast away the neighborhood’s “infamous” reputation.

Now, L.A. Councilman Bernard Parks wants to rebrand South L.A. once more.

Bernard Parks
Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III / Getty

 K, what’ve you got in mind, Mr. Parks?

SOLA map South Los Angeles

Credit: Google Maps

Inspired by neighborhoods like NYC’s SoHo and L.A.’s NoHo, Parks believes SoLA will make South Los Angeles sound a little more hip.

SOLA?

Latina mom reaction

Some L.A. residents worry the name change could result in gentrification. But wait – has anyone told Mr. Parks that the Spanish translation of “sola” means “a woman who is alone”?

Yes.

Jaime Regalado Cal State L.A.

Credit: HLN / Cal State L.A. / YouTube

Jaime Regalado, a political science professor at California State University, Los Angeles, told the L.A. Times that “sola” could be interpreted to mean “a woman in sexual need.” K, maybe that’s a bit much. But Regalado also said Parks should have consulted with the Latino community first: “It’s not a proper word to use to describe any section or community of Los Angeles. It really is not wise at all, and it means vetting really has not taken place at the community at large.”

K, so how did Bernard Parks respond?

Bernard Parks
Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty

Parks didn’t think it was a big deal. He told the LA Times: “If you really search hard, almost any word that you have in English and you translate it into another language could have another meaning. I think we’re still in America and we’re speaking English. So that’s what we tried to come up with.”

“I think we’re still in America and we’re speaking English.”

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Parks is still working on the name change, but he’s running out of time – his final term as a councilman ends this month.

What do you think of renaming South Los Angeles to SoLA? mitú wants to know.  Leave a comment below.