Hollywood Presbyterean Hospital in East Hollywood, Los Angeles

Please sign your name to the petition calling for justice for Andrés Guardado, an 18 year old fatally shot by the L.A. County Sheriff’s department in Gardena

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 93)

This past Thursday, June 19th, an 18 year old youth named Andrés Guardado was shot seven times by the L.A. County Sheriff’s department in the city of Gardena, becoming the 17th civilian killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles this year after another shooting earlier this week by the L.A. Sheriff’s department killed an African-American man in Palmdale.

Immediately after Andrés’ shooting, sheriff officers were seen taking down cameras outside a body shop adjacent to where Andrés ran for his final moments of life. The body shop’s owner also reports seeing officers entering into the body shop to confiscate the digital video recording device on which the footage was recorded, despite having no warrant to enter the building. Over 48 hours later, the department has still not heeded calls from Andrés’ family to release footage of the murder. In an online petition organized by friends and family of Andres, his childhood best friend shares with the community:

He was 18 years old and left behind a loving family, a full time student and a employee of two jobs with no criminal background. He was always helpful around the neighborhood and always cared for his family first. Please sign the petition and share it, we need this publicized. We hope to achieve the video shared to the public of both surveillance and the Sheriffs’ body cameras , a public service announcement by the Mayor Of Gardena and Los Angeles, and also a thorough investigation of the situation and hold accountable and file charges against every single sheriff involved in the murder.”

Please sign your name to the petition calling for the Sheriff’s department to be held accountable HERE.

Additionally, the Youth Justice Coalition and Union del Barrio are organizing a march for Andrés at 2:00 PM this Sunday, June 21st, at 414 W. Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA.

J.T.

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Virgil Village’s Most Vulnerable Resemble Skid Row’s: They Need Testing, Shelter, Relief

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 55)

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director for the L.A. County Public Health department, noted in her meeting with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors yesterday that the stay-at-home orders for L.A. County would last for at least another three months, which sounded about right considering the prevalence of the virus throughout much of Los Angeles, particularly along class and racial lines.

In a recent article for the L.A. Times, readers can learn about the work of nurses and outreach workers along Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, where the public health crisis posed by COVID-19 is only exacerbated due to the sheer density of L.A.’s unhoused population within the area.

In East Hollywood, along Virgil avenue, on any given day there can be found different clusters of unhoused men, mostly but not exclusively immigrants, the vast majority of whom are struggling with addiction and who are sleeping on the avenue’s surrounding sidewalks, just a few feet away from the area’s local grocery and liquor stores. Several of these men, it’s known, used to pay rent for rooms in the area before falling on hard times or being displaced, from which they have still not recovered.

Not unlike in downtown Los Angeles, where million-dollar lofts are built for the ultra-rich in the same mile radius where people erect their tents atop dirt set aside for street-trees and freeway overpasses, Virgil Village’s most vulnerable community is similarly in need of attention, testing, and an alternative to the dirt. To paraphrase the reverend Martin Luther King Jr., if this public health crisis and L.A. County’s extension of the stay-home orders make one thing clear: it’s that a threat to a community’s health anywhere is a threat to a community’s health everywhere.

As with Skid Row, while local police officers, council-members, or other representatives may be difficult to locate during the community’s outreach work for their most vulnerable, it just may be that community’s noise that can inspire these groups into visibility, if not accountability. How would that sound for a daily neighborhood howl?

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 27

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this Tuesday, April 14th, to approve a program providing $1,000 per month for three months to households in L.A. County where workers have been hit particularly hard by the halting of the economy due to COVID-19. The program is still in early stages and therefore not open to applications yet, and it’s also not clear how many families in L.A. County will be able to benefit from the program, but the bells have been sounded. This is also a separate program from the Angeleno debit cards announced by the mayor’s office earlier, which applies to residents of the city of Los Angeles.

As supervisor Hilda Solis, who co-authored the motion for the program alongside supervisor Janice Han, noted in her introduction of the item:

“About 57% of L.A. county renters are rent-burdened, and 1/3rd of residents are considered severely rent-burdened, meaning that they spend more than 50% of their income on rent (and that they’re only one paycheck away from being evicted and unhoused).”

The Board of Supervisors team oversees many of the less visible cities and communities throughout Los Angeles outside of the city proper, including public parks, libraries, juvenile detention facilities, and the men and women’s jails in the county where Black and Latino inmates over-represent the population of the incarcerated, and more. The job of the supervisors, as servants of the public good, is, at the very least, to voice the concerns of L.A. county residents, and during this time, to be within their reach as they work to commit L.A. county resources to be of service to the public.

The goal of JIMBO TIMES is to provide readers with this type of information regarding the city’s leadership, even if only to inform readers of key numbers for their reference; For instance, in response to supervisors Hahn and Solis’ introduction of the motion to support the county’s renters, supervisor Sheila Kuehl pointed out:

“Los Angeles County has one of the lowest home-owner rates in the entire United States. Over 55% of the people who live in the county are renters.”

This is a number that every one of those 55% of renters in Los Angeles County should be familiar with, if only just to conceptualize exactly how many of us live in such similar straits to one another.

While the board’s meetings aren’t popularized to the same degree as those of those of mayor Garcetti’s or governor Newsom’s, their work is just as crucial to keeping the wheels turning for Los Angeles County, where over 10 million residents depend on someone to access the roads, schools, and other public services that situate our lives here.

I think in the same vein of Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of L.A. County’s Public Health department, whose daily briefings have frequently shown her to be precisely the type of leader for this moment; one who provides transparency regarding the case’s progress through Los Angeles, and who also urges residents to remain calm despite the hardships presented by the toll of the virus. Dr. Ferrer also understands that racial inequality is an important factor when discussing public health, as well as that deaths related to the virus are not “a small price” for anyone during this time. In her remarks for the meeting, she noted that:

“We see a disproportionality [in cases] across the board…African-American communities, Latinx communities, Native Hawaiian, Native Alaskan, American Indian, the GLBTQ communities. We need to make sure that when we’re addressing the pandemic we’re not allowing the disproportionality to once again inevitably lead to poorer health outcomes among those least able to have the resources needed to protect themselves.”

I sincerely hope that one day, not long from now, we have biopics on people like Dr. Ferrer, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and more of their colleagues, as public faces who made an effort to place themselves on the right side of history through this chapter in our history. Make no mistake about it: there is still a long way to go both during and after this crisis before L.A. County can be considered a truly-forward city in its response: rent forgiveness, a renewed effort on affordable housing, the end to placing any of L.A.’s kids–and residents of all ages–in custody unnecessarily, and so much more. But this work is simply not solely for Solis, Hahn, Garcetti, or any other local leader’s to do on their own. Not in a million years.

The people need to see that this is our work too. That these public servants are our representatives today, but that they can be elsewhere tomorrow. The people can therefore also be of service to our city in this way. We can lead the way for public health and uplifting; I can’t wait to see those biopics.

J.T.

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