Things That Matter

Community Throwing Major Event To Support Street Vendors Attacked Across Los Angeles

Over the last several years, there has been a severe uptick in the number of violent crimes committed against street vendors across Southern California. In fact, from 2010-2019, reported crimes against street vendors in the city of Los Angeles rose nearly 337%, going from 38 to 166.

We see many of the victims on late night news shows and hear about their stories, but many victims go unnoticed out of fear of seeking help and interacting with local authorities. Thankfully, many in the community have often come to help those attacked and now LA is coming together to throw the first annual Street Vendors Market to raise money for victims.

Violence against street vendors is an epidemic across Southern California.

As Angelenos return to work and life begins to slowly return to normal, California’s street vendors are also back on the streets serving customers everything from elotes and esquites to hot dogs, churros and paletas. But many vendors are finding that, in some ways, the work is just as dangerous as it was before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the L.A. Street Vendor Campaign, an advocacy group for the industry, more than 50,000 food, clothing and other vendors operate on the streets of Los Angeles. Approximately 80% of the vendors are women of color. Indeed, according to LAPD data, of the nearly 100 victims this year, only two were identified as white, although the number of male and female victims were about the same.

Violence against street vendors has gotten so bad that it’s forced many to step up and take protection into their own hands. When Edin Enamorado saw a surveillance video of a fruit vendor in Long Beach being attacked by two men in January, he felt compelled to do something. What started as a charity to help protect street vendors by teaching them how to protect themselves, turned into a mission to stop the violence against the often vulnerable businesses. He now provided pepper spray and stun guns to street vendors in order to provide some level of security.

In fact, just this week a man’s ice cream truck was set on fire in a brazen attack.

Over the weekend one man’s ice cream truck was set on fire in what police are saying was an act of arson. Photos of the burned out vehicle were shared by Hugo Dávila’s daughter Jenesis. You can see just how much damage the flames did to the vehicle.

Jenesis told NBC4 that her father, who has worked as a street vendor for more than 20 years, parked his truck Friday near the place where he sells the ice cream. When Dávila went to pick up the truck on Saturday morning, he couldn’t believe what had happened.

“We don’t know who or why the person did this to my father’s truck,” she said. “This is the worst thing they have done to him [in all his years as a street vendor].”

While last week, a woman was robbed and brutally attacked by four women.

A beloved street vendor from the LA suburb of Luynwood, Marilaura Lopez, says she was beaten and robbed by four young women earlier this month. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is looking for witnesses or surveillance video to help them make an arrest but so far have no leads.

The community rallied together for a show of support for local street vendors who were victims of recent attacks. People bought food and donated cash to help the beloved longtime street vendor. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help Lopez.

The community is rallying behind these street vendors to help support them and get them back on their feet.

To help raise money and awareness for the victims of these attacks, Street Vendors United is hosting the first annual Street Vendors Market in Downtown Los Angeles. On June 27, there will be community leaders, DJs, TV & radio personalities, indigenous dancers, artists, and, of course, street vendors.

You can help support the community and raise money for victims who still need assistance in getting back on their feet (including paying off massive medical bills) by showing up and grabbing a raspado or buying handmade crafts or making a much-needed donation.

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