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Harlem Residents Are Fighting Back Against Realtors Who Want to Rename Their Neighborhood “SoHa”

For the past several years, predominately Black communities in cities like New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles and the Bay Area among many others, have been feeling the effects of gentrification.

What comes along with neighborhoods being gentrified are mom-and-pop shops going out of business, Black landmarks being shut down and rising rent costs which prices out longtime residents.

In an effort to be trendy and attract new residents, some realtors and store owners are attempting to re-brand a section of Harlem as SoHa. The area in reference are from 110th Street to 125th Street, but longtime Harlem residents and community activists are not having it.

Community activist and board member Danni Tyson, told NY1, “No real estate company, no coffee shop, no business should be using the term SoHa to refer to Harlem.”

During a Wednesday press conference, community leaders called the renaming insulting and said changing the name takes away from Harlem’s history as being the capital of Black America.

“How dare someone try to rob our culture, and try to act as if we were not here, and create a new name, a new reality as if the clock started when other people showed up?” said State Senator-Elect Brian Benjamin.

One woman at the press conference said, “It’s like a slap in the face to me,” one woman said.

Another echoed those same sentiments, saying, “We love it and we don’t need another name. Harlem is Harlem all by itself.”

File this under “gentrification gone bad.”