Things That Matter

A City Council Member In California Created Controversy For Standing Up For The Immigrant Community

When City Council member Ruth Luevanos made a Facebook post on July 13 advising immigrants about their rights, she thought she was acting in good faith for her community. Fast forward a few weeks later, Luevanos has been the target of mass criticism and even a death threat from the traditionally conservative town. Many are calling for the council members resignation but there is also a number of people who are standing by her. 

How did this whole ordeal get started in a conservative town like Simi Valley?

Credit: @grantgoldberg / Twitter

Luevanos posted the video, which was filmed in her office and posted onto her personal City Council Facebook page, the day before what was supposed to be the start of President Trump’s nationwide series of immigrant raids. She says the video was made in part “to inform people of their rights,” noting that other California public officials, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, made announcements about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.

The City Council member intentions were to also inform and assure constituents that California’s sanctuary state measure, Senate Bill 54, was still the law. The bill, which standardizes non-cooperation standards between California law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities, has been a national hot topic issue.

“I’m here to tell you you have rights,” Luevanos says as she sits in front of an American flag resembling a Mexican serape blanket.”You do not have to open your door to ICE officials. ICE cannot legally force their entry into your home.”

But the root of the controversy came from some of the comments that Luevanos made about law enforcement and comments about ICE detention centers. Like many other progressives, Luevanos has advocated for abolishing ICE.

Credit:@vcstar/Twitter

“Right now, the United States is in the business of running concentration camps,” Luevanos says in the three-minute video. “They’re asking (detainees) to drink out of toilets. They’re verbally and physically harassing them. And they’re denying them basic sanitary care.”

As the video features footage of President Trump, Luevanos calls the immigration raids “a political stunt by our current president to ensure his re-election.”

“We have a responsibility as community leaders that our most vulnerable — whether they’re homeless, or veterans, or low-income or our immigrant population — are taken care of and that they feel safe in our community,” Luevanos said.

At an open city council meeting on Monday, Luevanos went face to face with many of those that are calling for her to step down. 

Credit: @mike_harris / Twitter

In a hostile City Council meeting on Monday, Simi Valley residents voiced their opinion on the Facebook video. According to the Ventura County Star, there were dozens of speakers, some there opposing Luevanos and some in attendance to support her message. 

Many of her critics say that the council member is advocating for unlawfulness and is spreading false information about immigration enforcement. Simi Valley resident Jenniffer Jones was at the Monday meeting to voice her frustration with the video.

“She’s advocating lawlessness,” Jones told ABC7. “You can’t be doing this. These people went to court, they had their due process. A judge decided they cannot be in the U.S. any longer.”

Even Simi Valley Mayor Keith Mashburn has had his concerns about the Facebook post and the look it gives the City Council as a whole. Mashburn says he doesn’t have an issue with Luevanos exercising her free speech but said that she shouldn’t have used her city office.

“It gave the appearance that it was endorsed by the city,” Mashburn told CBS2. “It had a city logo, and she announced that she was a city council member. It made it appear that it was the stance of the council.”

Despite the backlash, Luevanos has also seen a rise in support from local residents that support her stance. 

Credit: @edithh_g / Twitter

Renee Fraser was one of those supporters that came out to the meeting in support of the first-term council member.  “Thank you for telling people their rights,” she told the VC Star. “That is America.”

The support has come from different parts of the Simi Valley that say that Luevanos is being targeted for racial reasons, noting that she’s the first Latina elected to the council. One Twitter user said they attended the meeting because of what Luevanos represents in the predominately conservative community.  

“I went to my first city council meeting, to support our first Latina Councilwoman @RuthLuevanos for six hours because she’s in the hot spot for making a know your rights video. May our voices be heard, and thank you for setting an example.”

The controversy doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon as the topic was not on the council’s agenda and thus the no action was taken on it. Many of her critics are now asking for it to be on a future agenda, as well as launching a recall campaign against the council member. But as of now, no action has been taken on the heated issue. 

READ: ICE Confirms That A Mexican Man Has Died Of Cardiac Arrest While In Their Custody And How Does This Keep Happening

Police Are Looking For Two People Who Attacked An Elotero In Long Beach

Things That Matter

Police Are Looking For Two People Who Attacked An Elotero In Long Beach

GoFundMe

Another street vendor has been attacked while working. This time, an elotero in Long Beach was viciously attacked by two people in broad daylight. Police and the community are looking for the two and people in Long Beach want to see justice brought against the attackers.

A vicious attack on an elotero was caught on a Ring camera.

According to KTLA, police are searching for two Black men in their 20s who were caught on camera attacking Bililfo Fernandez. The elotero was pistol-whipped and beaten as the two men stole his property and cash during the senseless and unprovoked attack.

In true American fashion, a GoFundMe was set up to cover the old man’s medical bills.

It is common in the U.S. for GoFundMe pages to be set up to cover medical costs for people who are victims of crime or face unexpected health failures. People can be heard screaming to deter the violent attack but no one intervened to help Fernandez while being attacked.

A GoFundMe set up for the elotero has raised more than $80,000 to help the family.

Credit: GoFundMe

“He is an elotero and goes on his usual routes everyday,” writes his daughter, Erika, who organized the GoFundMe. “He is a very hard working man and known by many.  We had to take him to the Emergency Room so that they could help him and treat him because his injuries were pretty severe. His nose and head were busted open with a gun. My dad does not have insurance.Anything will be very much appreciated to help pay for his medical expenses. During these hard times I am currently not working because of covid, so anything will be a blessing for us.”

People on social media are angered by the two men attacking someone taking care of their family during COVID-19.

Latino families are experiencing the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19. Unemployment was highest among the Latino community than any other group of people in the U.S. during the crisis. This elotero was doing what he could to keep his family afloat during the pandemic and faced violence.

People cant wait for just to be served and Latinos are reminding people that this is not a time to let anti-Blackness fester in the Latino community.

Racism is a real issue in the Latino community. While people are angered at this attack, this is not to be used to generalize against the Black community. These are two bad people who attacked a man for his money and property. If you have any information about the two men in the video attacking Fernandez, call the Long Beack Police Department at (562) 435-6711.

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

Man Posts Plea For People To Social Distance After Falling Ill Of COVID-19 And Died The Next Day

Things That Matter

Man Posts Plea For People To Social Distance After Falling Ill Of COVID-19 And Died The Next Day

Tommy Macias / Facebook

The world is still in the midst of a deadly viral pandemic. COVID-19 is not going away on its own and there are things that people can do to slow the spread. One of the most effective tools is wearing a mask followed up by social distancing. One man thought he could ease up and contracted the virus. Here is his warning.

A man known as Tommy Macias died one day after warning people about the dangers of COVID-19.

Credit: Tommy Macias / Facebook

Macias died the next day after posting this message on Facebook warning his friends and family about the dangers of COVID-19. According to the man’s post, he attended a party and contracted the virus there. Health experts have warned against gathering with friends and family right now. Parties have become some of the most infectious sites leading to the current outbreaks across the country.

Macias’s Facebook post touches on a point that drives home the importance of wearing face masks. After being exposed, he then exposed his entire family because he ignored health regulations.

The man’s death from COVID-19 has created a fear among his friends.

“Don’t take advantage of the unknown, don’t expect things to be fine. Take this shit seriously,” @flawlessbikerzcordova wrote on Instagram. “I had been diligent about wearing my mask but from time to time loosen up around the crew and friends. Not anymore!”

The U.S. is seeing a spike in cases across several states and cases are increasing in 35 states. The U.S. has seen record infection numbers in recent days and that trend is mirrored in Calfornia where the sudden reopening of the economy led to a runaway outbreak in the state.

Macias is now one of the more than 127,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.

According to NBC News, the Riverside County Office of Vital Records confirmed that Macias did die from COVID-19. According to Macias’s brother-in-law, Macias was diligent about wearing his mask and following health regulations. However, when California Governor Gavin Newsom signaled rapid reopening within weeks in June, Macias felt safe letting down his guard.

“He was quarantining because he was overweight and had diabetes,” Lopez told NBC News in explaining how careful Macias has been.

Macias’s death is a warning to Americans.

As the quarantining drags on due to reopening reversals, fatigue is setting in with Americans about self-isolation. With a holiday weekend underway, Macias’s message is a warning call to Americans as social distancing is forgotten and people argue over masks.

Health experts continue to stress the importance of wearing face masks when out in public and to stay away from indoor gatherings with friends, like parties. It might be uncomfortable and you might not like it but it is what we need to do to get back this virus.

Please stay safe, smart, and follow health guidelines this 4th of July weekend.

READ: #TheWorldReopenedAnd Is Highlighting All The Ways We Are Failing In Our Response To COVID-19