Tamera Wilson-Nein sets up shop every year for the Martin Luther King Day Parade, which takes place in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. However, this year was different. The city now mandates permits for food stands along the parade route, and for many black vendors like Wilson-Nein, that means losing business. The increased permit requirements are the result of concerns from newer white residents in the city. Gentrification in St. Petersburg is on the rise—a huge threat to communities of color.

Gentrification refers to the “arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture.” Middle- and upper-middle-class people often move to these neighborhoods “in response to exogenous city-wide ‘shocks’ in housing demand.” Gentrification has serious socioeconomic consequences, often leading to the displacement of poorer citizens by their richer counterparts. But often ignored are its racial implications. In neighborhoods of color, gentrification endangers residents’ incomes, jeopardizes local culture, and amplifies the risk of police brutality.

In rapidly gentrifying cities such as St. Petersburg, black business owners are seeing troubling decreases in profits. ABC Action News reports that in prior years sales at the MLK Day Parade accounted for 50 percent of many black vendors’ annual revenues. But now, prompted by white residents’ complaints, police surveillance over the event has escalated. Citing “public safety and health concerns,” the St. Petersburg police are cracking down on vendors without proper licenses and permits. This superfluous vigilance creates a hostile environment in which business owners struggle to thrive.

Wilson-Nein, owner of catering business Tamera’s Kitchen, explained that the parade used to create opportunities for emerging small businesses. She lamented the intensifying gentrification of the event, saying, “You have to start somewhere, and when you’re not allowed or given that opportunity to start anywhere else, where else can you go?” Wilson-Nein’s worries parallel many of her peers’ who associate the parade’s gentrification with a “hijacking” of their incomes. To combat this issue, it is imperative for local governments to prioritize economic opportunities for citizens of color.

Gentrification also puts into peril the culture of communities of color, not just businesses. Georgetown University law professor Paul Butler cited an example from Washington, D.C., where drum circles take place every Sunday in Malcolm X Park. A custom observed since the 1960s, these drum circles commemorate Malcolm X’s life and honor black liberation. The neighborhood began to gentrify, however; newer white residents were skeptical of the ritual and made noise complaints. The police put a curfew in place, impeding the drummers’ performances.

Robin Reynolds, one of the drummers, said, “The whole tradition of the African drums is very, very important to our culture. But the most important thing is the sense of community… This was our community before they came.” The gentrification of black neighborhoods has led to the criminalization of local culture and traditions. White inhabitants often perceive the culture that has existed in communities for generations as nuisance; shifting demographics are changing the guidelines for public performances to the detriment of artists of color.

Furthermore, gentrification increases the propensity for police violence. Misconduct by law enforcement is already rampant in low-income communities of color; the influx of gentrification only magnifies this problem. Professor Butler posits that the presence of misdemeanor offenses makes neighborhoods undesirable for incoming white, upper-middle-class tenants. The police respond with a greater “enforcement of low-level offenses against black and brown people.” This style of “broken windows” policing gives the appearance of safety but is inextricably tied to the persecution of people of color.

The consequences of this trend extend beyond prison sentences for minor crimes, such as vandalism or public drinking. In 2014, four San Francisco police officers shot and killed Alejandro Nieto; longtime inhabitants of the neighborhood linked the murder to the gentrification of their community. Abdallah Fayyad of The Atlantic explains that “Nieto was accused of behaving suspiciously in a place where he’d lived his entire life, and it was a new resident who’d made the 911 call.” Nieto’s death demonstrates that gentrification harms neighborhoods of color to such an extent that it even endangers residents’ lives.

It is easy to ignore the racial implications of gentrification. But focusing solely on its economic facets inhibits the finding of an effective solution for this complex and growing issue. Gentrification imperils the livelihoods and heritage of communities of color and puts them at risk of violence and even death. To deal with the impacts of gentrification, systematic racism must be dismantled first.