Laquisha Jones has been sentenced to 15 years for the physical attack on 91-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez in Willowbrook, California on July 4, 2018. The attack was witnessed by a passing motorist who took video of the bloodied Rodriguez and snapped a picture of Jones for police.
Laquisha Jones is facing 15 years in prison following a brutal attack last year.
Jones was charged with felony elder abuse in December following her attack on Rodriguez in July 2018. Jones attacked Rodriguez with a brick claiming he tried to touch her daughter as he passed them on the sidewalk. According to ABC 7 News, Jones was on probation after being convicted for making criminal threats. As part of a plea agreement, Jones pleaded no contest to the charge of elder abuse in order to avoid the heavier charges of attempted murder and elder abuse with a hate crime component, according to the New York Times.
Jones was facing a possible hate crime charge added to her case because she was reported to tell Rodriguez to “go back to your country” during the attack. The attack left Rodriguez with a broken jaw, broken cheekbones, broken ribs, and bruises all over his body.
Rodriguez claims there was a group of men that helped Jones in the attack.
Rodriguez and a witness of the attack, Misbel Borjas, told authorities that four men joined in on the attack. According to Borjas, Jones told the men that Rodriguez tried to touch her daughter and they joined in attacking Rodriguez.
Immediately after the attack, Borjas took video of a bloodied and bruised Rodriguez as he laid on the grass. She also took a photo of Jones holding the brick used in the attack to turn over to the police.
A photo of the woman taken by a witness was a pivotal part of finding and arresting the man’s attacker.
Jones was booked and the bail was set at $1.1 million because of the assault and violation of probation. Despite trying to hide from her attorney in the news footage, Jones was held accountable for her actions in the end and entered a plea deal that lowered her crimes.
The attack garnered national attention because of the victim’s age and number of attackers.
Jones was arrested just days after the attack in July 2018 and was in county jail waiting for her court date in December. The unprovoked attack made headlines since Rodriguez was visiting his family from Michoacán, Mexico, which he frequently did.
Rodriguez is pleased with the decision in court.
According to KCAL9, Rodriguez said he is “happy and good, thanks to God” after the sentencing. He continued through an interpreter that “everyone makes mistakes. We have to forgive each other because God forgives us.”
Yukaima González is making headlines for becoming the first indigenous woman to be crowned “Queen” of the 2019 Nayarit State Fair. The 18-year-old beauty pageant winner is from La Yesca and is a member of the Wixárika community in the mountainous municipality of Guadalupe Ocotán. The news is notable as, historically, indigenous women haven’t typically participated in past pageants. This year saw two woman with indigenous background compete with González taking the crown and making history along the way.
An indigenous woman breaking through and winning the crowd is a major moment for this beauty pageant.
González being crowned Feria Nayarit queen is something that should be acknowledged and commemorated. Beauty pageants have often been criticized for supporting eurocentric beauty ideals or simply preferring “fairer skinned” contestants. This is a problem that plagues most pageants in the world.
To even participate in the beauty pageant, González had to leave her native community and move to Nayarit. There she began working as a nanny to help her pay for school as she pursues a degree in Physical Culture and Sports at the Autonomous University of Nayarit.
When González first heard about the beauty pageant she knew she had to participate in the pageant to represent her home of La Yesca. Her ethnicity, roots, and culture are a source of pride and would be a huge reason in participating in the contest.
González left a very strong impression on judges during multiple rounds.
Contest judges were blown away by González’s outfit that featured an array of beads, vibrant colors and traditional Wixárika god’s eyes. Her outfit was part of various judging rounds that included a “traditional dress” round and an original social project. González says she would want to provide support to Nayarit’s remote mountain communities by creating various job opportunities through food and self-employment ventures.
This all comes at a time when “Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio, an ingenious woman of Oaxaca, has received both recognition and disparging remarks for her historic role.
Yalitza Aparicio, an Oscar-nominated indigenous woman from Oaxaca, caught fame after playing the main role in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma”. Unfortunately, she has been mocked and has even received criticism for her talent and her appearance.
Televisa’s Yeka Rosales recently posted photos and videos of herself on social media wearing brown skin paint in an apparent parody of Aparicio. The move was tone-deaf and is further proof of the negative portrayal that indigenous groups face.
Aparicio has faced racist attacks on social media even from some Mexican actors. However, she also received support among many women in Mexico and the U.S. who have identified with her indigenous roots.
Having two indigenous women participate in the Nayarit beauty pageant is a reflection of what Aparicio has done. She has in some ways opened the door for people of ethnic origin, who before, reflectors hardly recognized. In interviews, González has stated she is a fan of Aparicio and wants represent her culture as she has.
González is an example of this growing celebration of expanding what our collective understanding of what beauty truly is.
As well as being crowned Queen of the Nayarit Fair 2019, González will become the face of Nayarit. Her pictures will be the official image of the state and will work with the Ministry of Tourism, as well as having a project to benefit its community.
It’s safe to say González is bringing much needed attention to the countless indigenous communities that are rarely given recognition. She says her pageant victory brings pride back to her community after being shamed for so long.
“In my community, we are losing our [indigenous] language, and residents are ashamed of wearing their traditional clothing,” González told Mexico News Daily. “I’m here so that they’ll feel proud of our roots and who we are.”
Nayarit is an oceanside state located on the west coast of Mexico in the middle of the country.
Nayarit is bordered by the states of Durango, Jalisco, and Sinaloa. The state is a major tourist destination as it is close to the tourist city of Puerto Vallarta. Like most of Mexico, there are beautiful and ancient archeological sites that people can visit when in the area. Nayarit is also home to a number of indigenous groups, like the Wixáritari people of which González is a member.
The Wixáritari people live within the states of Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Zacatecas.
The Wixáritari people, also known as the Huichol predominately live in the highlands in Nayarit but do have colonies set up along the coast. They are known for their beautiful and intricate artisanal handwork. They have inhabited the land they live on since before the 16th century and continue to utilize the land and live in a community preserving their history and culture.
Like many indigenous groups in the Americas, the Wixáritari people use peyote for religious cermonies.
Peyote is an important part of many religious ceremonies within American indigenous communities. It is because of its importance that the Mexican government has passed laws that allow for the hallucinogenic plant to be used by these tribes for this purposes.
Mexico is filled with indigenous communities that add to the vibrant fabric of the country. The prominent success of Yalitza Aparicio and Yukaima González show that the country’s identity is deeply rooted in its indigenous past. These same people deserve the same respect when furthering the success of Mexico.