A Boyle Heights coffee shop at the center of anti-gentrification protests over the past two years was vandalized for the ninth time, its owners reported on Thursday.
An unknown suspect splattered blue paint on the storefront sign for Weird Wave Coffee on East César Chávez Avenue, the shop wrote on Instagram.
Weird Wave co-owner Jackson Defa said he’s filed at least eight other police reports since the shop opened in June 2017. Vandals have broken windows, spray-painted the words “get out” on the building and smashed Weird Wave’s sidewalk sign, Defa said. The shop’s front window was shattered in July 2017 and again in September 2018.
Local activist groups fighting rising rents and displacement of residents have made the coffee shop a focal point of protests, saying it will encourage further development targeted toward wealthy, white outsiders. They include Defend Boyle Heights and Unión de Vecinos, which are part of a broader coalition called Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement that has also protested numerous art galleries in the area.
Defa said he didn’t know if the recent vandalism was connected to the protests. Defend Boyle Heights and Unión de Vecinos did not respond to requests for comment.
Defa and his co-owner John Schwarz, who are white, partnered with El Salvador-born and Inglewood-raised businessman Mario Chavarria to open the shop, which they say provides jobs to the local community. The vandalism has actually helped draw more business to Weird Wave, Defa said, adding that his customers are largely locals.
“I didn’t come to Boyle Heights to change Boyle Heights,” Defa said. “I came to sell people coffee.”
Photo: Members of Defend Boyle Heights protest in front of Weird Wave Coffee Brewers. Photo by Ernesto Orozco.