Culture

A Police Department In California Is Suiting Up Its Officers In Charro Uniforms

With efforts to better connect with it’s largely Latino community, the Salinas Police Department is trying on a new look in the form of a charro suit. Robert Hernandez was one of several police officers that donned the traditional Mexican outfit at the California Rodeo Salinas back on July 16-19. But if Salinas police are looking for any signs that the outfits were a success, their Facebook page has since been flooded with community support and appreciation for the gesture. 

The charro outfits represent pride, tradition, and chivalry in Mexican culture. So for many in the Latino community, the suit went a long way in bridging a relationship with local law enforcement. 

Credit: @KRON4News / Twitter

This is the first year that police officers wore the charro outfit and helped patrol the rodeo, which is the largest event in the mostly agricultural city. Police Chief Adele Fresé said that by having officers put on the charro suit she hopes many in the community see themselves when they interact with authorities. 

These efforts are emboldened by recent tensions between police and communities of color across the United States and President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. 

Salinas, where more than three-quarters of residents are Latino, has had its share of tensions between residents and police. Back in 2014, major demonstrations erupted when police shot and killed four Latino men. All of the officers involved in the incident would eventually be cleared of any crime. The shootings proved to be a sour moment between community and police officers as many pointed to the case as an example of the excessive force and prejudice in the department.    

“We’re going to recognize, by wearing this charro suit, we’re validating our community’s heritage and culture,” Fresé told the Californian. And we’re going to demonstrate that we value the rich history of the people we’re sworn to protect and serve.”

One officer wasn’t too sure how to feel about putting on the outfit at first. But after seeing a positive reaction from the community, he knew it was the right choice. 

Credit: @mentalammo / Twitter

When Officer Hernandez’s parents went to see their son on duty at the rodeo, they were shocked. He didn’t have his usual black police outfit on and a giant sombrero had replaced his regular cap. Hernandez’s parents were in tears after seeing him in the charro outfit. 

“When they came here, that was for me and my siblings to have a better future and have a better success than they were in Mexico,” Hernandez told the Californian in regards to his parents. “For me to represent that, it was an honor not only for them but me as well.”

But for Hernandez, donning the traditional outfit wasn’t an easy choice. He told the LA Times he was a bit worried at first at what some people’s reaction might be to the new look. 

“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous,” Hernandez said about putting the charro outfit on at the rodeo. “We didn’t want to offend anybody.”

When he saw men, women, and children lining up to take photos with him, he knew how special the gesture meant to the community. Hernandez also realized that many community members aren’t able to return to their birthplaces and families because of their legal status. So the charro outfit in many ways reminded them of home. 

“Our main goal is to get involved and build a relationship with the community,” Hernandez said. “This is so they feel right at home more finally, and go right from there.”

The Salinas Police Department already has plans to have officers don the outfit at another event in September. 

Credit: @mmcphate / Twitter

With the positive reaction the police department has received in the community and on social media, there is plans to bring back the charro suit in September. Hernandez is expected to wear the blue outfit once more at a Mexican Independence Day event called “El Grito” on Sept 16.

While the charro suit was donated to Salinas resident Ricky Cabrera’s late father, Alfonso, who was a charro himself, the department plans to return it. The plan is to hopefully receive donations for two new outfits, one for both male and female officers for next year’s rodeo. 

The police department feels that the outfit is the first step in the right direction when it comes to rebuilding community trust. Fresé hopes people see these efforts for what they are and can start a longer conversation between police and local residents. 

“Pretty much most of my life has been in the Hispanic community, and I have a good grasp of our culture and what people appreciate,” Fresé told the LA Times. “I do believe there’s a hunger for validation. I hoped the community would understand this is not a novelty.”

READ: An Autopsy Reveals Harrowing New Details About A Guatemalan Teen Who Died In Border Patrol Custody

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A Long Beach Street Vendor Was Attacked And The Community Is Showing Up To Help Him

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A Long Beach Street Vendor Was Attacked And The Community Is Showing Up To Help Him

GoFundMe

In 2020, we saw several street vendors attacked while trying to make ends meet. As the pandemic drags on and people are desperate, the attacks on street vendors have not abated and a Long Beach street vendor is the latest victim.

A street vendor in Long Beach was brutally attacked while working.

@moisesthechosen1

please spread awareness and Hispanic Lives Matter 😭😭😭. It happened on LB Blvd and Burnett today. #vendor #mexican #awarness #hispanictiktok #help

♬ original sound – Moises Rodriguez

Gerardo Iván Olmeda Del Pilar, 22, was working as a street vendor in Long Beach when he was attacked by two people. The vendor, according to LA Taco, was later than usual in setting up after dropping of fellow street vendors on his way.

Del Pilar was at the intersection of Burnett Street and Long Beach Boulevard on Saturday Jan. 16 when it happened. The street vendor was approached by two men who seemed to be regular customers when they attacked.

“Everything was calm, then I want to say four hours passed when two men came towards me and like any other customer they asked me for an order of fruit,” Del Pilar told LA Taco

Del Pilar is not letting this stop him from what he has to do to survive.

Del Pilar has been a street vendor for a while. The man, who is from Veracruz, Mexico, was suckerpunched and attacked. According to LA Taco, Del Pilar was giving the men their order when one punched him in the chin to knock him down. They then both started to attack him until they got his wallet and ran away. The men stole $500 from him.

Del Pilar told the Long Beach Post that there was not much he could do while being attacked. He was left with a swollen face and horrific bumps on his face from the vicious attack.

Two friends have set up GoFundMe accounts to help Del Pilar out.

Both Alex Diaz and Marissa Gomez have set up GoFundMe pages to help the young man. Combined, the two GoFundMe pages have raised more than $10,000 and are still accepting donations to help Del Pilar.

“While he was cutting up their fruit, one man reached into his backpack and took out an object and used it to punch him in the face. They broke his nose and lumped up his face and then dragged and kicked him while he was on the floor,” reads Gomez’s GoFundMe. “This man was an innocent victim just trying to provide for his family. All donations will go to replace this man’s lost income. There is no such thing as a donation too small anything is appreciated.”

READ: Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Brent Stirton / Getty Images

The world is racing to vaccinate everyone to put a stop to the relentless Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., states and counties are rolling out their own plans based on suggestions from health experts. California, home to the largest population of farmworkers, is making them a priority.

California has laid out their vaccination plan and farmworkers are being prioritized.

California is facing a relentless Covid-19 surge of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. According to The New York Times, California has the second-highest level of infections per capita in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have died of Covid in California and the vaccination effort has been severely lagging.

California’s vaccination plan has been criticized for its very slow roll out.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 816,000 doses of the virus have been given to residents. There have been more than 2 million vaccine doses shipped to California. Currently, California, the most populated state in the country, is still in Phase 1A. Phase 1A is for healthcare workers and long-term care residents. The Vaccinate All 58 campaign claims that there are 3 million people in California in Phase 1A. Almost 40 million people live in California.

Activists have been calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to make sure that farmworkers are prioritized.

California is home to the largest concentration of farmworkers in the U.S. The Center for Farmworker Families claims that 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, or about 1/3 to 1/2 of the farmworker populations, live in California. Seventy-five percent of farmworkers in California are undocumented.

As the rest of the state was able to shelter in place, farmworkers did not stop working. They provided a necessary lifeline to the nation in keeping the food supply running. Farmworkers are more likely to contract Covid because of their living conditions. Studies show that the low wages that farmworkers are paid means that many live in crowded conditions.

READ: As The U.S. Rolls Out The COVID-19 Vaccine, What’s The Future Of Vaccine Access In Latin America?

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