Voters in LA have a little-known election on May 14 that is proving to be another case of underrepresentation of communities of color.
Board District 5 of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is having a special election to replace a former board member who resigned due to corruption charges. Voters in this runoff election will have to decide between two white candidates in a district where 8 in 10 residents are people of color and nearly 90 percent of enrolled students are Latino.
The LAUSD Board will be largely white even though most students are Latino.
The election is occurring in Board District 5 which makes up LA’s lower-income Latino-majority cities. These cities include Maywood, Huntington Park, Cudahy, and South Gate along with the rapidly gentrifying communities of Los Feliz, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, and Silver Lake.
Many voters in the district know want they want in a board member. They want someone who will make the superintendent work harder and who will visit local schools more frequently. Yet, for the heavily Latino district, many also want to see someone who looks like us sitting on the board. They want someone who better understands the needs of the community because they are from the same community.
Unfortunately, that won’t be an option in Tuesday’s election.
Board District 5 is quintessential Los Angeles.
L.A.’s Board District 5 closely mirrors the demographics of L.A. as a whole. More than a quarter of students are classified as English learners, more than 85 percent live in low-income households, and an estimated 2,000 are homeless.
However, Board District 5 topped LAUSD as a whole last year with its graduation rate of 83 percent, compared with 76.6 percent for all other schools. One reason for the higher graduation rates could be that there are a number of community organizations and Latino advocacy groups who partner with local high schools to help students go on to college.
Latinos not being represented is nothing new in politics, even on the local L.A. level.
People are fed up and letting themselves be heard on social media. With Tuesday’s turnout expected to be low (roughly just 10-20 percent of eligible voters), it’s so important that Latinos and all people of color make their voices heard so that we can finally see ourselves represented in all levels of government.
The way we dress says a lot about who we are. Style and fashion often get called superficial but think about it… Every morning (or afternoon if you’re a late riser like me) we each make a conscious decision on what we’re going to wear. So, of course, our style choices are a reflection of ourselves as people.
And, of course, there are restaurants and bars and clubs that have dress codes.
But one Sacramento restaurant/bar is being accused of targeting a specific style that is well known to be popular among certain communities. The new dress code is being called racist and the modern day version of a ‘Whites Only’ sign.
A popular Sacramento bar has faced a serious backlash after many accused it of creating a racist dress code.
Many people are criticizing a new dress code enforced by a Sacramento, Calif., bar that is accused of targeting African-Americans and whose critics consider it a “Modern Day ‘WHITES ONLY SIGN.’ “
The popular Barwest recently posted a new dress code that lists certain clothing such as sports wear “gang colors,” chains, grills, baggy clothes and track pants that should not be permitted after 10 p.m. in the midtown area bar.
While people say they are used to Sacramento bars banning certain types of shoes, they believe Barwest, which is known for its “burgers, wings and nightlife.” is addressing a certain group of people.
In an interview with CBS Sacramento, Charlene Bruce said “I’m just trying to figure out, who they’re trying not to have come to their establishment. Just say that.”
Bruce said she was shocked when she saw the sign when she was eating at a place next door to Barwest.
And if we needed any evidence that this was specifically targeting people of color, Black Lives Matter says people who aren’t black have bypassed the dress code.
Sacramento Black Lives Matter leader, Sonia Lewis also shared her thoughts about the bar’s new rules, revealing that she was disappointed.
She told the outlet that the Black Lives Matter chapter used to hold meetings at the bar every week. She said she also spoke to Barwest management about serving people of color in the vicinity as well.
“How could they be taking steps backward was my first reaction,” Lewis told the station. “Like I said, I’m not surprised. It’s very much indicative of the midtown experience.”
While many on Twitter wanted to remind us all that California has long faced the issue of racism.
For many in the Black community, this so-called dress code was just another form of discrimination towards a community who has faced discrimination for decades. California, despite its reputation as a liberal haven, has long dealt with blatant racism. From a failed criminal justice system that unfairly targets people of color to police brutality and unfair housing and employment practices, people of color face an uphill battle in California.
Some suggested that the bar would accept a certain type of apparel over others…
Yes, Sacramento is the capital of left-leaning California but much of the state, including parts of Sacramento, have often embraced racist ideals. In fact, California’s ‘Trump Country’ extends into parts of the city.
Many on social media suggested that not only was the dress code sign likely racist but it was also likely to encourage MAGA-wearing patrons to choose the bar over other options in the area.
Reactions on Twitter ranged from complete and total outrage…
This Twitter user makes a great point. Yes, it’s quite obvious to many that this instance of a strict dress code is being used to target a specific racial group, dress codes are also often used to segregate the classes.
To complete and total ignorance.
This isn’t about dressing like an adult. This is about targeting specific forms of dress that are popular among certain communities. Communities of people who have historically been targeted based upon their appearance, skin color, and form of dress. I mean, ‘no grills?” Seriously? That’s way to specific to just say that they want people to ”dress like an adult.”
For many in Boyle Heights, a working-class neighborhood in East Los Angeles, Labor Day was to supposed to be a relaxing stress-free day. However, on Monday afternoon, local residents living next to Hollenback Park were dealing with Blank Slate Pictures, a film production company, that was towing their vehicles. The messy ordeal was something that Boyle Heights resident and artist Nico Aviña had previously seen before but never on a national holiday like Labor Day when many in the working-class community have the day off.
The predominately Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights has become a popular area for filming movies and television shows. Yet quite often, the production crews that come into the area haven’t had good communication with local residents when it comes to things like moving their vehicles.
According to L.A. Taco, Aviña saw the situation unfold right before his eyes as he was doing yard work in front of his home. He noticed that neighbors across the street from the park began alerting each other about their vehicles being towed. Upon checking out the scene, Aviña saw a tow truck begin taking cars away and a parking enforcement officer placing tickets on cars windshields.
That’s when Aviña took things into his own hands and began to ask members of the production crew why they were doing all of this.
In a series of four Instagram videos, Aviña shared his confrontation with members of the production crew asking them what business they had coming into the neighborhood and towing away residents vehicles. Since this wasn’t the first time he’s seen this happen, Aviña began questioning the motive behind crew members calling city parking and promptly towing away cars.
Aviña made sure that David Mandell heard his frustration about outsiders disregarding community members in Boyle Heights.
“So this is what happens when people from outside of the community come into our community. They use the city against the community, towing cars,” Aviña says as Mandell, a co-founder of Blank Slate Production, argues back.
In the series of videos, you can hear Aviña begin to get frustrated with crew members as they dodged questions about why they were towing cars and why they didn’t give notice to residents about parking restriction before the weekend. Speaking to L.A. Taco, he said that many of the families in the neighborhood were out town due to the holiday weekend and might have not seen a notice about the production crew and possible parking restrictions.
“In the video, you hear one claim the signs went up Friday. Kids didn’t go to school on Friday. So if people took a four-day trip how were they going to see the signs?” Aviña told L.A. Taco.
Aviña took exception with the production crew as he asked them why there was no alternative to calling a tow truck on residents cars.
“This is a working-class community. On Labor Day, you’re towing cars. Are you for reals? Did you guys think about that? Did you guys think about this is a working-class community and you guys are towing cars on our day off and we have nowhere to park? Aviña says in the video. “Where’s the alternative parking that you guys offer?”
Aviña and Peter Vogel, co-founder of Blank Slate Production, discussed the parking situation at hand. “You may park in that parking lot over there,” Vogel told Aviña. “It’s open.”
“No. You just said that right now, but you know it’s closed. I just told you it was closed,” Aviña responded.
“No, you didn’t,” Vogel said.
“You’re going to act like that? Are you going to act like that?” Aviña replied.
Ironically, the film that the production company was filming is about a woman who is “forced to raise her son in her car” as they “attempt to find a way out of homelessness.”
Blank Slate Pictures was in Hollenbeck Park to film the upcoming movie “Like Turtles,” which according to IMDB is based on a mother who “is forced to raise her son in her car and attempt to find a way out of homelessness all while never letting her son realize the severity of their circumstances.” Some on social media found irony in the situation that a film crew doing a movie about a person living out of their car while at the same time towing away residents cars.
Parking tickets have become a notorious problem in the neighborhood as there are limited spaces for residents to park their vehicles. With the addition of weekly street cleaning, many residents are forced to move their cars and shuffle spaces to avoid getting a ticket. Those tickets come at a steep price, according to the LA Times, retrieving a towed car can cost close to $290, this includes a $133 charge for the tow, an additional $115 to release the car and $46.56 for each following day the car is in city storage.
For Aviña, this issue goes beyond just towing cars but is a perfect example of when outside forces come into the neighborhood and don’t bother to reach out to the community.
Aviña brings up the issue of privilege and gentrification that has affected the working-class neighborhood for the last decade. He points to the production crew as an example of this and them not reaching out to the local community. Boyle Heights has been ground zero in LA when it comes to gentrification as many longtime residents have lost their homes and businesses due to rising rents and development.
“You see what I’m talking about, the privilege? You could’ve easily knocked on doors, man. You could’ve easily warned the community. Instead, a working-class neighborhood that is barely affording the effects of gentrification that pays the rent. […] A working-class community that can’t afford the rent because of the exploitation, because of what’s going on with gentrification. And instead of knocking on their doors, what do you do? You get their cars towed away,” Aviña says in the final video to the production crew. “So now they got another fine. Now they got a parking ticket, plus get their cars out. You know I’m making sense. You know it’s the truth. It’s our reality. We live this shit every day. You’re not the only ones that come and film here. We gotta deal with this daily.”