Living Next to a Killer

Aug. 9, 2012 / By

Dasire’e Pangelinan-Norman, Long Beach, CA., is a graduate of the Youth Institute, Long Beach Y and was a participant in a Media Boot Camp in San Diego as part of VoiceWaves. 

This my my street: Gale and 33rd. The wall in the background separates my neighborhood and the 710 freeway.

I have lived in Long Beach for over 10 years. I have recently been accepted into college and I am on my way to California State University, East Bay. I am an eager 18-year-old looking for the right place in life. I see myself doing something that impacts my community in the future. If I decide to pursue art or film I definitely see myself making a systematic change to better the lives of many.

Because I have lived in Long Beach for such a long time, it is my home. It is what is closest to me. I have always felt there is a need in my community, but I saw no direct change thus far. Focusing on West Long Beach allowed me to see that we were indeed in the dark. My journey began along the highway running through the bustling city of Long Beach. I followed the sound and the smog into my neighborhood and finally, into my own home, where my grandparents have been residing for over 35 years.

I interviewed Joan Norman. She told me, “My eyes used to run from the smog. It was really bad. It was like fog. You could see smog in the air.” Living right next to the 710 freeway is “hell.” The sound, the rumbling, the dust. I told her that Long Beach has one of the most dangerous smog issues according to government reports. I asked her what she thought about the problem and she shared, “I would have have never bought this house”.

Many people are unaware to the dangers of the neighborhood they decide to live in. The real question is, why? Many times it is due to necessity, such as in Joan Norman’s case. It could be due to affordable housing and possibly a good school district. Although, Mrs. Norman recognizes the issues now, she says she would not move simply because she is comfortable. I asked her if she would do anything about the air quality if new regulations handling it comes to the ballots. She replied: “I’d vote for change.”

Long Beach’s continuous flow of commercial traffic. Oil refineries line our coast polluting our beaches, wetlands and air


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