Inland Empire’s Warehouse Crisis.

Willie Gates: I’ve been researching with Dr. Yolonda Youngs focusing on the environmental justice of the communities being overrun, mostly brown and black. These areas are mostly blue collar workers & the housing that they’ve worked so hard to own/provide for their families basically loses market value…

Will Jones: Until these corporations can snatch it up & mow it down to build another warehouse. It’s crazy.

All photography by Willie Gates.

WG: It’s known & discussed in other communities that these warehouses are forgotten & left abandoned within 50 years of development. So they’re left with this giant scar from this violent act of relocation.

WJ: It’s like our whole economy now is based around these warehouses. So everyone’s afraid to get rid of them because they’ve provided so many jobs, but it’s more like they’ve mowed down all of our previous industries. This part of California used to be known for producing wine; like how central California is? Napa Valley? That’s how the Inland Empire used to be.

WG: These jobs keep lower income people in lower income structures because there’s no pathway for growth. They stay in the machine & if they want to have enough to buy a home or afford to get out they have to work three or four jobs in these industries, at 3 or 4 different warehouses. I worked in one for like three & a half years, but it’s the amount of people I knew who worked there & clocked out for another shift, which is another warehouse during graveyard shift, & then back to another the next morning, it’s just…

I looked up one of the companies that builds warehouses for my research – actually, it’s the one planning on building in my backyard right now. Their proposed workforce relies on the three colleges in the area. That’s their advertisement. That it was a low-income college area, so the students would basically work at the warehouse. That’s how they’re selling it.

WJ: You’re breathing in dust. Talk to anybody that’s in that industry. I have friends that’ve told me they’d blow their nose after shifts & it’d just be brown. Asbestos, silica, woods… From the community inside these spaces: they don’t even give you proper respirators or eye protection.

WG: A corrupt local government was able to build unchecked, so a bunch of warehouses popped up within the past 10 years. It’s completely destroyed the local ecosystems.

It went unregulated for a while & once the last mayor of Moreno Valley left, they finally slowed it down, realizing this is not good for themselves. It’s kind of silly that those ideas are here now, because he already got his buddy’s warehouses inside Moreno Valley. He wouldn’t want competitors. So sure, the community fighting against it, forsure, but now that they’re finally listening, it’s already damaged & scarred. It’s sad.

WJ: It’s like their lives just get… frozen, I would say. The way these corporations work them, pays them just enough above minimum, & the way the culture promotes the work ethic is just… it’s bad. This is systemically set up inside these warehouses, especially Amazon. Who would’ve guessed it? They don’t care about us. You’re a body & they’re coming to your town.

WG: They claim that it’s bringing jobs, but these jobs are not good for the local economies. They’re basically enslaving the people in the area. But it’s for “the nation’s betterment?”

I would rather burn this shit down than actually have them build another one. I want them to be scared.

There’s been some good pushback recently with one of the biggest warehouses that they’re planning on building; CCAEJ & R-NOW (Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice, Riverside Neighbors Opposing Warehouses) are out here spreading awareness & hosting conferences rallying against this shit. But we need to have more people show up to our local governments. Those are what actually matter. Voting for who’s president only does so much at the community level, but going out to your local government to city council meetings & making your voice heard is the biggest thing that people don’t do.

Want to read more? CCAEJ sent a letter to Gov. Newsom to declare a Public Health Emergency. You can find this letter here:

Flyer by Kromosome3.

Meet the contributors at our July issue release/show at The Smell on 7/8. Gates & Jones will be performing as Smother, bass & guitar respectively, with Sam Chavarin on drums. Proceeds go to CCA Environmental Justice & LA Animal Services. Tickets here.


By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald