The forced evictions in Section 14 of Palm Springs began in 1954 and lasted until 1966, affecting hundreds of Mexican and African-American families who are now seeking up to $2 billion in restitution.

Hundreds of Mexican and African American families announced Tuesday the filing of an amended claim alleging that the city of Palm Springs caused up to $2 billion in damage to residents who were forcibly evicted from the downtown Section 14 neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s.

Section 14, a one-square-mile neighborhood owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians was the main residential area for people of color from 1930 to 1965. Evictions began in late 1954 and continued for 12 years until 1966.

Lawyers representing the evicted families held a press conference in Los Angeles to announce the claim for damages.

“My father worked hard and built our house and we had to leave it behind,” said Delia Taylor, who is one of many whose families in Palm Springs were forcibly evicted from their homes.

She was crying as she told her story of how she was traumatized as a child when her family’s home was destroyed.

“We were interrupted and uprooted from our homes. Happiness turned to bitterness.”

Attorney Areva Martin, who represents the families, said the plan was not to provide relocation solutions or financial assistance.

“The plan was to use fear,” he said.

People said they did not receive any notice before some of their houses were demolished and burned. Pearl Deavers was there at the time.

“We saw houses burning all around us, you could smell the smoke, clueless as a child,” he said. “But when I look back and think about it, it breaks my heart.”

“Our estimate of how to fix it is up to $4 billion, and don’t tell me Palm Springs can’t afford it,” said economist Dr. Julianne Malveaux.

The city of Palm Springs said that for the past two years it has been working to correct what happened.

“While this process may seem like it is taking longer than some would like, the City has an obligation, not only to those who have been displaced, but also to its residents, businesses and taxpayers, to fully investigate the history. as it develops remediation programs that are fair to all, the city said in a statement.

A new city council takes office in Palm Springs in mid-December.

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