Walking in the Dark: we need representation to improve infrastructure in Eastern Coachella Valley

By Rosa González Andrade

My community is beautiful. The people from the Eastern Coachella Valley  (ECV) are comforting and kind. I’ve lived in Thermal my entire life. I’m used to the way my community looks so it took me a while to realize how much our community was missing. I see the Western Coachella Valley and I envy their smooth roads, their sidewalks, their crosswalks at every corner. But why should my community be at a disadvantage because of infrastructures? Why should my classmates and I be envious of such simple things?

My daily routine consists of a lot of walking, especially in the morning. I walk through dirt roads out of my neighborhood and across streets full of holes and gravel. While walking I encounter speeding buses and cars, all in a school zone. Some cars slow down and honk. Some even follow me home in the afternoon. I don’t feel safe walking to school or back home. I’m thankful there’s a sidewalk but there isn’t a crosswalk near the school where I can safely cross the street. Instead, I have to wait for speeding cars and buses to pass. I have to run across the street to make it to school safely. When I cross the street, there isn’t a sidewalk on the other side until I reach school. 

We know what we need. We live in the ECV, so we experience many injustices daily.

-Rosa González Andrade

I’m not the only student who has to walk but many students are driven to school. Their parents drive them to school because they feel taking them would be a lot safer than sending them walking. Unfortunately, both my parents work early in the morning so I’m forced to walk to school. I love walking but not through a place where I feel my life is in danger. In the ECV, sidewalks are limited so many are forced to walk on gravel near the road. In the evening, people who walk are forced to do so in the dark since there are no streetlights. We are forced to walk with a limited light source and the danger of wild animals. Walking in the dark makes it easier for suspicious cars to approach you or even run you over. A person’s life can be cut short because of the lack of safe infrastructure.

Car drivers also experience injustices while on the road. Many roads are run down and full of potholes and you can see the difference as soon as you drive into Coachella, where the roads are a lot smoother and a lot newer. The limited amount of adequate roads we have are constantly shut down to provide a place for a bicycle tournament that consists of many people from the Western Coachella Valley. The residents here can’t even get out of the ECV without waiting in a line for 20 minutes for traffic control to let them through or for cyclists to finish passing. It’s either that or they have to go around the entire Eastern Valley. 

“How can this change?” you may ask. Well, the solutions include a spread of information and a battle to end corruption. Information that can be spread would be the Census, which lets the government know where to send resources.

Some youth councils like Youth Organizing Council are successfully spreading information about the Census, which is exactly what the community needs. Since the Eastern Coachella Valley is composed of many unincorporated cities that don’t have a mayor or a city council, an alternative could simply be paying more attention to ECV necessities.

We can’t let our voices be shut by the dominant narrative any longer. We have to rise together to end the injustices that we have constantly and unfairly experienced.

-Rosa González Andrade

The people of Thermal, Mecca, North Shore, Oasis and Salton City can elect someone to represent them at the county level. These representatives can advocate for a change in infrastructure or even request funding for community improvements.

Overall, the urge for change has to come from within us because only we know what we need. We live in the ECV, so we experience many injustices daily. We have to unite to be heard and ultimately create a positive change in our community.

We can’t let our voices be shut by the dominant narrative any longer. We have to rise together to end the injustices that we have constantly and unfairly experienced.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *