A story buried in history is finding new ways to be told.
This time, it’s in the form of billboards.
“We launched a campaign in October to get the word out,” Palm Springs Section 14 Survivors President Pearl Devers explained. “The billboards are targeted to not only the local people, but primarily also the snowbirds or tourists that come and spend millions of dollars here in the city of Palm Springs. We think it’s justified that they understand the city that they visit.”
The billboards, part of their “Know Before You Go” campaign, are placed on all main roads leading into Palm Springs, but installing them now has a bigger purpose.
As countless visitors are pouring into the desert to enjoy the cooler months, they hope to educate more people about what happened 60 years ago.
“They need to know what the city has done and also to be of support to rectify the harm that was done to the Black and Brown families here in the city,” Devers continued.
For the survivors and descendants, seeing these billboards showcasing the story they have fought to tell for decades is yet another step in the right direction.
“My eldest brother was outside on his little bike and noticed the fires. My mom had to get him and hold him because he was so scared, looking at the fires that were happening,” Section 14 Descendant Christina Genera shared. “We want other people that are coming into Palm Springs for vacation or [have] a second home to know that this happened here and that we need help with this.”
“We were respected here in our community. We were happy. Then all of a sudden, the city came and decided to burn our homes and leave us homeless,” Section 14 Survivor Margaret Godina Genera continued. “We have a voice. Now we’re telling our story to the people out there so they can listen and help us. We need somebody to help us. We need a voice.”
The attorney representing the Section 14 survivors and descendants says the billboards have received a great response.
Now, they are growing their coalition in an effort to continue to push Palm Springs for reparative justice.
NBC Palm Springs has reached out to the city and have yet to hear back.
To learn more about Section 14, click here.