Things That Matter

The Cops Just Killed This 14-Year-Old Boy For Graffiting

On Tuesday, around 5:50 p.m., a cop shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in Boyle Heights – a predominantly Latino neighborhood just east of downtown Los Angeles.

Credit: @thesoniag/Instagram

The reason for his death? He was tagging.

According to reports, members of the LAPD gang enforcement division responded to a vandalism call. The two officers approached Jesse James Romero, the dead boy in question, and another unnamed teen suspect. Romero took off running, and the cops went after him. The police say that an unnamed witness saw Romero fire at the cops, so they fired back and killed him. A gun was found near where Romero was killed. A witness who spoke to the Los Angeles Times said that she saw Romero run down the street and throw a gun into the bushes. According to her statement, the gun went off after it hit a fence and landed on the ground.

“He didn’t shoot,” the woman told the LA Times.

Both officers, still unnamed, were wearing body cameras. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California says the two cops will get a chance to review the footage before they have to provide a statement of what happened. I don’t know when that footage will be made available to the public.

Speaking to the media, Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, suggested that what happened to Jesse James Romero was because of where he lived.

#JesseJamesRomero #DefendBoyleHeights

A photo posted by Sarah Marie (@sarahmariegee14) on

Credit: @sarahmariegee14/Instagram

“In a community where violent crime continues to rise, particularly gang crime, this event underscores the need for youth programs and outreach, which provide opportunities and alternatives for the young of our communities,” he said.

I live in Boyle Heights. There is less violent crime there than in Venice, which is richer and whiter. It’s not a gangland. It’s a working class Latino neighborhood that’s fighting off gentrification like crazy (and winning, at least for now). Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proudly claims his roots are in Boyle Heights.

I do not feel unsafe.

Instead, I feel anger and distrust. I’m furious that a 14-year-old boy was killed six blocks from my apartment for doing something dumb, no different than what other kids his age do on a daily basis. I’m suspicious of the police because of their lack of transparency. It doesn’t help that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office recently had to apologize for killing an innocent bystander – a black man – after spending two weeks trying to peg him as a second suspect in a carjacking. I’m much more comfortable giving benefit of the doubt to a Mexican boy who likely had a gun on him, than I am to law enforcement because I’m more afraid of being shot and killed by a cop than a middle school kid.

I’m disillusioned that Jesse James Romero, if he’s remembered at all by the public, will be painted as a violent thug who was a danger to society. That’s not how his friends and family will remember him.

Credit: @_cinthia/Instagram

“He was a very good student,” Teresa Dominguez, Romero’s 36-year-old single mother told the LA Times. “He was a very good person.”

“He was caring, he was loving. Whenever I was sad, he would put aside his troubles and drama and he would come help me. He would try to, he would do his best to make me smile,” Monica Garcia (pictured above), a teen girl who was friends with Romero, said to Los Angeles Times video reporter Luis Sinco. “Personally, I don’t want him to be remembered as a gang member. That’s just not right. He was someone’s kid, someone’s boyfriend, someone’s cousin, someone’s friend.” Jesus.

Even those who didn’t know the boy are devastated.

Credit: @VeronicaRochaLA

Last night, at around 10 p.m., I took my dog out for a walk to clear my head. As I headed to a nearby park, a white, dinky car suddenly stopped and parked in the middle of the street with the engine still running. A young, Latino-looking kid rushed out of the vehicle, sprinted to a white wall on the opposite side of the street where I was standing, tagged it, and then ran back into the car, which quickly took off. The whole incident lasted no more than 20 seconds. I lingered in place for about a minute trying to process what I’d just witnessed. Confusion immediately morphed into impotent rage.

“You stupid motherf****r,” I uttered under my breath, concluding that this tagger’s stupid actions could one day likely lead him to meet a fate similar to Jesse James Romero’s. I went straight to bed shortly thereafter because it was better to be asleep than to be equal parts fuming and despondent.


A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family of Jesse James Romero pay for his funeral costs. You can contribute here

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

gentefied / Instagram

Any and all news is welcomed right now and Netflix came through this week. “Gentefied” is coming back for a second season and this is absolutely not a drill. Soon we will be back in Boyle Heights with Ana, Chris, Erik, and the rest of the cast we have come to love so much.

Netflix has confirmed “Gentefied” for a second season.

The show is a fan favorite for Netflix with praise and love pouring in for the groundbreaking show. “Gentefied” is set in Boyle Heights and it is all about the fight against gentrification. The show premiered this year to big fanfare and excitement from Latino Netflix users. The show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, was picked up for an eight-episode run of the 30-minute show.

The show is one of the most relevant portrayals of the Latino experience in the 21st century.

The show highlights the plight of gentrification on communities across the U.S. Boyle Heights in Los Angeles has been the center of growing tension as the neighborhood slowly gentrifies. Rising rents have forced some residents and businesses to close and leave because of the changing demographic in the neighborhood.

Hearts are full as everyone celebrates the news of a whole new season.

The show originally premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a digital series. Lemus and Chávez debuted the show and it was an instant hit with festival-goers. After three years of waiting, the show was released by Netflix and became a national hit. The show has shone a light on the cost of gentrification for more Americans than knew about it before the show aired.

Low key, it has made for perfect binge-watching during this quarantine.

There isn’t a whole lot any of us can do at the moment. Most of us are at home because of self-isolation and social distancing guidelines designed to save lives during the pandemic. Might as well us some of your time to watch and support and very important moment in our community. This kind of representation is something that Latinos have been asking for.

While excited, some fans want more, like a cross-over with Starz’s “Vida.”

Now, just to be clear, we are not concerned with what it takes to make this happen. Netflix and Starz can come up with the actual plan. We are just going to be here waiting to be heard so we can all have the kind of cross-over the world deserves. Just imagine a chance for those two shows to collide in Latino excellence.

Now we wait for an air date.

We are patient. We will be here when you are ready. All you have to do is let us know when to tune in and you know we are coming through.

READ: I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Will Be Digital And Free This Year

Entertainment

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Will Be Digital And Free This Year

laliff_ / Instagram

If you are a film buff saddened by the fact that you can’t go to your favorite film festivals, fear not. The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is going to be completely digital and free to anyone who wants to enjoy this year’s film roster.

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is going to be free and online for everyone.

In-person participation at LALIFF has been canceled because of obvious reasons (COVID-19). However, the organizers wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to enjoy the films could. Plus, the festival is a way for these small, independent filmmakers to get their names and projects out there. Being online opens it up to a lot more people to enjoy these films.

The festival, founded by Edward James Olmos, is a very important event for Latino films.

While COVID-19 is keeping people in their homes, LALIFF doesn’t want it to keep them away from enjoying these films. It is the 21st century and that offers filmmakers and organizers a new way to connect with their fans and cinephiles.

“We are living in unprecedented times and we must find unprecedented solutions to continue to support our Latino filmmakers and provide them with a platform to showcase their work,” Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF, said in a statement. “Working together with our filmmakers, musicians, partners and sponsors we will be able to celebrate our festival virtually to continue to showcase some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking Latino films of 2020 and share with cinephiles everywhere, from the safety of their homes.”

LALIFF is an integral part of highlighting and promoting Latino talent and their quick pivot to go online will give these artists more opportunity to shine.

The film festival organizers made news when they announced their virtual experience. LALIFF Connect is going to let everyone enjoy the 2020 films as well as the 2019 retrospective highlighting last year’s work. You can currently watch all of the 2019 films and shorts featured last year at LALIFF. The new films will be available from May 5 – 31.

“We are proud to advocate for Latinx artists and musicians, especially at a time where they have been hit the most and share their beautiful sounds. Be sure to dance in your living rooms and don’t worry about the door fee—LALIFF has you covered,” Managing Director of LALIFF, Alexis de la Rocha, said in a statement.

Now is a great time to watch some of the previous LALIFF features, like “Suicidrag.”

The short film is about a group of Mexican drag queens who are taking to the streets and clubs of Mexico to highlight the issues of gender stereotypes. The queens are showing the dangers those stereotypes cause when they are imposed on the consumer culture that controls so much in our societies.

They are also showing “I’ll See You Around.”

Director Daniel Pfeffer explores the complexities of a family when drugs and betrayal derail a relationship. In the film, one brother has to figure out how to salvage a relationship with his brother after he finds out his brother stole his laptop to buy drugs. This film is a tough reminder of the difficulties families must face.

READ: How To Keep Yourself Sane And Balanced While Self-Isolating And Working From Home