Archive for NESRI

HUD Rejects Los Angeles Housing Authority’s $30 Million Grant Application

Posted in Media Advisory, press release with tags , , on March 21, 2014 by Cangress

via the LA Human Right to Housing Collective and the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative.


The granting of redevelopment funds would have created a fast-track timeline that, in all likelihood, would have led to HACLA failing to fulfill its responsibilities to protect residents from the health impacts of toxins.  

March 18, 2014, Los Angeles – The LA City Housing Authority’s billion dollar plan to convert the 700 unit Jordan Downs public housing development in Watts into a “mixed income urban village” were stalled on Monday when the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI ) grant application for Jordan Downs was unsuccessful.

Last week, at a community meeting on the redevelopment, HACLA environmental advisor, Matt Rhoda, told the packed auditorium that no one needed to worry about lead in their community.  Some residents expressed frustration that HACLA continues to refuse to test the soil and groundwater under their homes – something several hundred residents requested via petition – and were concerned that had this CNI grant been awarded, a full testing for toxins and subsequent clean-up might have been sacrificed to meet the strict project timeline. Residents also expressed feeling intimidated due to an onslaught of legal notices and aggressive evictions served on residents – which may affect their good-standing and ability to access the new units.  Although, the removal of residents and the refusal to test for toxins have always been unacceptable, the  denial of the CNI application affords HACLA the opportunity to immediately engage in area-wide groundwater and soil sampling, create a comprehensive clean-up plan and support residents in maintaining their housing stability.

Jordan Downs’ resident and single mother, Ely Acevedo has been organizing with other concerned mothers and residents to hold HACLA accountable for securing the health of current residents, who are expected to stay on site during the redevelopment of the neighborhood. Ely said, “They are playing with our health and the health of all the small children that live here. How dare they tell us that we shouldn’t be worried about lead in our neighborhood?”

HACLA’s own studies confirm levels exceeding 6,000ppm of lead at the vacant Factory site inside Jordan Downs. 80ppm is the state of CA standard. Earlier this month, Thelmy Perez, of the LA Human Right to Housing Collective, testified before the County Board of Supervisors: “We cannot comprehend how or why state, county and local officials can make such a fuss over the Exide contamination and ignore Jordan Downs, where there the same toxins have been found. All of our communities – especially where the majority of residents are children and people of color with little resources and the lowest life expectancy in the state – have the right to their health and to a high level of accountability from government when their health is in jeopardy.”

The Housing Collective members and allies at the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, Legal Aid Foundation of LA, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA and National Economic and Social Rights Initiative believe HUD’s decision provides HACLA with an immediate opportunity to ensure an adequate and comprehensive environmental testing and clean up is conducted, which fully protects the community’s health. The CNI program is ongoing and another application could be submitted after all environmental health and other community concerns are addressed. While HUD has chosen not to give a CNI grant to HACLA, the Watts community is entitled to adequate federal funding to secure their human right to housing, without it needing to be contingent on  redevelopment. CNI is not the panacea, there are many federal funding opportunities, including from the Environmental Protection Agency, which should be actively sought by our local officials in an effort to uplift and preserve the cultural richness of Watts and its residents.  After decades of neglect, it’s time to invest in the people of Watts.


West Coast Day of Action!

Posted in Homeless Bill of Rights, human & civil rights, video with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by Cangress

January 18-19 2014–

LA CAN joins organizations across Los Angeles to pursue a Homeless Bill of Human Rights to stop abuses in Los Angeles as well as up and down the entire western region. Mad respect goes out to Hunger Action Los Angeles, Occupy Venice, Occupy LA, Venice Food Not Bombs, A.W.A.R.E., Revolutionary Autonomous Communities, Monday Night Mission, Intercommunal Solidarity Community, Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, NESRI, and WRAP.

August 21 Webinar: A People’s Budget Based on Human Rights

Posted in human & civil rights with tags , , on August 14, 2013 by Cangress

People's Budget webinar flyerOn August 21 (3pm EST) the good folks at NESRI (National Economic & Social Rights Initiative) will be hosting a webinar: “A People’s budget Based on Human Rights.”

For more info and to sign up:

What do our federal, state and city budgets have to do with the disturbing increase in inequality and poverty in the United States? Faced with repeated budget cuts, we desperately seek to protect food stamps, housing programs, education funding and other important public services that ensure our basic human rights. Yet that also means essential programs get pitted against each other, and we lose sight of what should be obvious: the purpose of our local, state and federal budgets is to meet people’s needs.

We need an entirely different approach to making budgets! Join our webinar on August 21 and check out NESRI’s short animated video that shows how we can change the budget process to ensure that spending and tax policy is responsive to people’s voices, needs and rights.


Posted in housing victories, human & civil rights, LAPD, legal with tags , , , , , on June 21, 2012 by Cangress

(click on picture for full screen view)

Many living within America’s borders assume or believe that human rights violations simply don’t exist. How easily many people turn a blind-eye to those things we experience on a daily basis (hunger, homelessness, economic insecurity, joblessness, etc.) at home and instead point the finger at some far and distant place and condemn the human rights violations happening there.

We are humbled by the United Nations taking the case of General Dogon and the Los Angeles Community Action Network seriously and conducting an investigation. We are appalled that the United States government, the self-proclaimed beacon of democracy, has refused to reply/comply with the investigation. The Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney have spent considerable resources in their attempts to silence General Dogon, LA CAN, and other organizers and activists – so they surely have the resources to collect information requested by the United Nations and respond in a timely manner.

More and more community organizers and activists in the United States face growing and intensifying surveillance, arrest and other human rights violations when attempting to exercise their constitutional rights and redress their government. Many of the tactics employed by law enforcement harkens back to more sinister times in US history. Remnants of Cointelpro, the Black Codes and Red Squads exist today and attempts are being made to use this as standard operating procedure.

If you are wearing an orange t-shirt bearing the words LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK, the repressive rubber meets the road rather quickly. In an attempt to silence and stop LA CAN’s work, our leadership has been blatantly targeted for a number of years. False arrests, constant civil rights violations, and the spreading of lies have characterized the strategy employed by the state. However, much to their chagrin, it has not proved effective because the influence of the organization continues to grow.
General Dogon’s social change work ethic and consistency has been long recognized by the LAPD. His leadership in the community and ability to connect with a broad array of people has been a chief concern for those wanting poor people to simply shrink away into the night and disappear. LAPD and the City Attorney took a “by any means necessary” approach to squash and silence his courage and leadership before it spread to other poor people and encouraged their participation.

Amidst numerous detentions, arrests, and protracted court battles where General Dogon faced life-sentences for his leadership and organizing, his commitment to the idea of human rights never faltered. This week, he and others throughout the world who have been unjustly targeted will at least receive an open hearing on an international stage, with a reiterated demand for the US Government’s response.

National Civil and Human Rights Groups sound the alarm on City Attorney Carmen Trutanich

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, organizing, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2011 by Cangress

From the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative website:

“National civil and human rights organizations with a long collective history of defending the right of political expression and challenging the targeting of movement leaders submitted a strongly worded appeal letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney on behalf of Mr. Steve Richardson, a community organizer with the LA Community Action Network (LA CAN) based in the Skid Row community of downtown LA.

Over the past 16 months, Mr. Richardson has been booked, processed and jailed four times on the same troubling charges arising out of one non-violent act of protest.  The letter of appeal in full is attached.”

Civil and Human Rights Organizations that have signed on to the letter:
American Civil Liberties Union – Southern California
Center for Constitutional Rights
International Alliance of Inhabitants
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants
U.S. Human Rights Network

Click HERE to read the letter.

LA CAN Represents Los Angeles in Geneva, Switzerland

Posted in human & civil rights, Uncategorized, united nations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2010 by Cangress

Skid Row resident and Community Organizer, Deborah Burton is headed to Geneva to attend the United Nations’ (UN) Universal Periodic Review.

Created by resolution through the UN General Assembly in March 2006,  the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.

As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.  The UPR is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of every country.

The UPR is one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve human rights situations in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

As an organizer with LA CAN and the LA Human Right to Housing Collective, as well as an impacted tenant, Deborah will be there to hear just how the  UNITED STATES reports its housing situation, which should include homelessness, predatory lending, public housing, and section 8 programs. She will also have the opportunity to testify directly to violations of the human right to housing she has personally experienced and/or viewed.  Lastly, Deborah will be networking with social organizations and other officials from around the globe.

To view Deborah and other human rights defenders in action–at the United Nations–watch the Day 1 & 2 excerpts below. Excerpts provided by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

And They’re Off! Tenant Leaders Head to Washington D.C.

Posted in DWAC & Women's Issues, education, food access, grassroots policy, health access, housing victories, human & civil rights, LAPD, legal with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2010 by Cangress

Left to Right: : A. Brown, Pueblo del Rio Tenant Leader, D. Burton, LA CAN Tenant Organizer

–Los Angeles,

Tenant leaders and tenant Organizers descended on Washington D.C. to attend the historic annual convening of the Congressional Black Caucus [CBC]. The agenda of the 111th Congress is one that resonates with Black people–as well as other people who are struggling–all across the nation and globe. However, in years past the regal event filled with fancy gala’s and high-priced entertainment has some folks on the ground guessing about the true intent. Not wanting to continue guessing leaders from across the country boarded buses, trains, and automobiles to go and see for themselves.

Check back frequently because we will be giving updates on the real happenings in D.C. as the CBC does its thing. Also, at the end of our trip we will share our opinion(s) on how much  progress the 111th Congress has made on our agenda.


Opportunities for All – Pathways Out of Poverty
  1. Promote Educational Reinvestment in Low Income & Disadvantaged African American Communities
    • Guarantee child care assistance to low-income families and promote early education for all.
    • Improve student achievement and graduation rates for low income and minority children, with special emphasis on science and technology education and training opportunities.
    • Expand college access for first generation and low income students by simplifying and expanding Pell Grant opportunities and increasing support for Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCUs) and community colleges.
    • Connect disadvantaged and disconnected youth to after-school and summer programs, job training and employment.
    • Promote lifelong educational options.
  2. Increase Access to Economic Security
    • Raise and index the minimum wage to inflation or a percentage of median income.
    • Expand and make permanent the increases for the earned income tax credit (EITC) and child tax credit made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
    • Increase unemployment assistance.
    • Increase support for education, job training, and small business opportunities for low income and minority communities in the emerging Green economy.
  3. Eliminate Health Disparities
    • Provide universal coverage with improvements in Medicaid and Medicare.
    • Increase resources for prevention with special focus on community based efforts.
    • Provide and fully fund programs to increase underrepresented minorities at all levels of the health professions.
    • Address and improve the social, economic and environmental determinants of health in our communities.
    • Ensure that the impact of research and all health related provisions in minority communities is assessed through data collection, disaggregation and analysis.
  4. Provide Just Housing Options
    • Support comprehensive public housing reform and expansion of the Section 8 housing choice voucher program.
    • Protect renters, especially those affected by housing foreclosures.
    • Prevent foreclosures by increasing the number of loan modifications.
    • Stop predatory lending, foreclosure rescue fraud and general housing discrimination practices.
    • Provide adequate housing options for vulnerable communities, including children, veterans and homeless persons.
  5. Strengthen Civil Rights & Judicial Reform
    • Provide redemptive opportunities for people with criminal records and strengthen opportunities for stable employment and reintegration into their communities.
    • Eliminate sentencing disparities.
    • Stop the cradle to prison pipeline.
  6. Address Global Poverty
    • Continue to support the Millennium Development Goals to end poverty;
    • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
    • Achieve universal primary education;
    • Promote gender equality and empowerment of women;
    • Reduce child mortality and improve maternal health;
    • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
    • Ensure environmental sustainability; and
    • Develop partnership for development by furthering open and non-discriminatory trading and financial system; deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt; make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.
    • Expand trade and development assistance.