LA Right to Housing Collective Return to City Hall After Being Brutalized
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Media Coverage: City News Service Coverage of Press Conference
–May 31, 2010
On Wednesday May 26, 2010 members of the Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective returned to City Hall on the heels of the “Rent Freeze Ruckus.” Days earlier, while attempting to secure a 6-month rent freeze for Los Angeles renters, the City Council unleashed the LAPD to silence our chants of displeasure (see earlier post below). Those chants in no way posed a physical threat to any person or property in council chambers; however, our chants of truth was clearly too much for a “bought and paid for” city council to stomach.
Acutely aware that the City Hall belongs to all Angelenos; that we pay the salaries of our wayward council people; and, that the LAPD supposedly still protects and serves everyone we felt justified in going back to the scene of their sins.
Prior to going inside chambers to face council members the Housing Collective held a press conference to decry the human rights violations and to affirm that we will continue fighting. Within minutes of our arrival it was clear that the LAPD would again be in full force hoping to quell our voices. A steady stream of officers arrived with riot gear in hand. During the press conference one officer actually walked into the group of residents gathered and attempted to serve a subpoena. Of course the person they tried to serve was not the person they were looking for, which makes you question what they were really attempting to do.
Once inside City Hall the scene did not change much. Officers lined the walls inside chambers, stood sentry over the hallway and entrance leading to chambers, and still many others gathered in the rotunda. There was nervousness among the councilmembers in the air as the agenda got underway. It was clear from the immediate shuffling of school children in and out of council chambers that our “selected leaders” were on edge. During public comment speakers form Coalition LA, Comunidad Presente, Inquilidos Unidos, LA CAN, POWER, SAJE and Union de Vecinos eloquently addressed, and noticeably shamed, council members who dared listen. It was most disturbing, though, that none of the councilmembers responded in any way and, besides Councilmember Alarcon, all have remained silent about the brutality that happened right in front of their eyes last week.
When we exited City Hall, there were large groups of officers awaiting us at every turn. Many of them were in riot gear, with helmets in hand. This unacceptable overuse of police in response to residents peacefully lifting their voices must be addressed and stopped immediately. We are urge you to call and email your Councilmembers, as well as Councilmember Garcetti specifically, expressing your feelings about the rent freeze being killed and the use of police force and violence in Council Chambers.
The fight is far from over and we remain committed to securing the human right to housing.
First, the good news is that Gerardo, Dogon and Deanna are all out of jail. Gerardo’s charges were rejected by the DA on Tuesday morning, which is great news. Deanna and Dogon both have court appearances scheduled for mid-June. We will definitely need your support in the courtrooms.