Recently, LaVerne Hill, 80, of Austin, spoke to Austin Weekly News about why she loves the community so much.
What do you love about Austin?
I love the community. I remember when my husband and I bought our homes. The Realtor told us, “Whatever you do, keep and maintain your property because you remember the slogan? ‘The Great West Side?’ It’s going to come back, we are going to be the Great West Side again, so I remember that.” That was a memorable statement. That was over 42 years ago.
On changes in the community
Right now, we’re becoming integrated. When we first moved into the neighborhood there were Caucasians but as we moved in they began to move out. Now, they’re coming back in and I think it’s because the properties are increasing in value and people are trying to maintain their property and keep it up. That’s a benefit and blessing to us. I appreciate that.
On housing in Austin
They could do better. We had some abandoned buildings [on our block] and when the building is abandoned it depreciates our community, but now they are being rehabbed and built back up. But there are still too many abandoned buildings and homelessness in our community. We can do better.
On her expectations of local politicians and how crime has affected her
I would like for them to focus on homelessness, because it’s sad to see so many people without housing. It’s so many. And then crime. Crime is sad. The crime statistics between our young Black people is sad. I heard someone say that mothers shouldn’t be burying their children, it should be the other way around. I lost a son 25 years ago to gun violence. He was coming home from college from Malcolm X and he was shot. His laptop was taken, so I’ve been a victim of gun violence. Now, it’s just ridiculous.
There’s a scripture in the Bible that says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” [Proverbs 29:2] In other words, when there’s a righteous person in office, we flourish.