By Diana Martinez

Home is where, every morning, I wake up and start my day with my mom — and at times my aunt — hot coffee and laughter. Nothing beats a Mexican pastry freshly made. We talk for a good hour and then go our separate ways. I then proceed to water my orchids, aloe, zebra plant and hydrangeas, as well as begin getting ready for work. 

I have always lived in that little three-bedroom house with my parents. Funny how they found the house, since it used to be our neighbor’s. While my mom was pregnant, my dad’s coworker at the time, who later became our neighbor, mentioned he was selling his house after moving to the house next door.

Census tract 1035 breakdown:

Total population: 5,695
Male: 52%
Female: 48%

Race
White: 12%
Asian: 1%
Hispanic: 73%
Black: 14%
Two or more: 1%
Native: 0%

Age
0-9: 19%
10-19: 19%
20-29: 20%
30-39: 12%
40-49: 8%
50-59: 9%
60-69: 9%
70-79: 3%
80 and older: 1%

Education
No degree: 50%
High school: 30%
Some college: 18%
Bachelor’s degree: 1%
Post-graduate: 2%

Public schools within 2 miles

My parents did not hesitate in purchasing it — after all, they have the American dream of owning a home and making a better future for them and me. 

The house I grew up in watched me grow. The neighborhood was an area that no one seemed to ever want to live in, with its many conflicts such as gunshots and break-ins. With all the chaos going around, my parents pushed through and guided me to the right path.

My mom would take me to her job, where I would help her clean houses. There I met her boss, who told me the benefits of going to college and not having children at a young age. She is the inspiration that helped my mom, who only went to middle school, push me through in making something out of myself.   

Now, a 23-year-old who still lives at home, I’ve noticed a sudden change around the neighborhood. 

The neighborhood that was never wanted is out-of-nowhere wanted. Houses are being sold and updated and sold at a higher price than what they are originally worth. Random calls from various companies asking my parents to give them an offer, to buy the house that I grew up in. They question where we put our for-sale sign. Call after call from various people — it’s annoying, especially since this is the house that my parents have dreamt of as well the house I grew up in. 

Gentrification has become a big term around the area. In the South Side of Fort Worth, you will see that big signs of “Hemphill No Se Vende” have spread over like a virus. You can see Fort Worth is growing, but it seems to want to push people out of their own home, making new renovations around the low-income areas where people question if they can afford the taxes.

The neighborhood I live in is the area where many families are living the American Dream. 

However, there is no dream if they are slowly being taken over by companies wanting to flip houses to sell at a high price. 

Home, to me, is being able to wake up every morning and not have to worry about a random call asking if we are selling. The answer is no. 

Diana Martinez has lived in Fort Worth since she was born. Martinez is a senior at Tarleton State University. 

To tell the story of where you live, please send your essay to hello@fortworthreport.org and Managing Editor Thomas Martinez at thomas.martinez@fortwortheport.org.

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