Scrap school police and add counselors and academic help for Black students, coalition says
Community and student activists on Tuesday relaunched a campaign to eliminate the Los Angeles School Police Department, calling instead for expansion of mental health and academic programs, college and career counseling and job and life-skills training — focusing especially on the needs of Black students.
The call from a coalition of organizations puts renewed pressure on Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Alberto Carvalho as he also confronts tense labor negotiations and pushes forward with his own expensive agenda for academic progress.
Meanwhile, a group of Latino parents on Tuesday spoke out in support of school police — a counterpoint of the message delivered with passion by about 150 protesters on the steps of Mann UCLA Community School in South Los Angeles.
“We’ve been fighting the school-to-prison pipeline for decades,” said Amir Whitaker, senior policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “And this fight to remove school police is a part of it.”
School districts speak of helping students with trauma, he told those assembled, “yet we know school police are a part of that trauma for so many students, for so many communities. ... I’ve represented students who are arrested for food fights or just other minor things that now set them on a path for criminalization, that changed the rest of their life, that changed their whole life trajectory.”
While the focus was school police, the coalition also put forward an agenda that, by its own estimate, would cost more than $800 million per year. In that equation, redirecting the funding for school police — about $52 million a year — would be like a down payment.
Among the agenda items: placing at least one school climate counselor and one nurse at every campus, providing college and mental health counselors at ratios recommended by experts and offering more “wraparound” services at community schools to help families with life challenges.
The recommendations, laid out in a report released Tuesday, also include a call for up to $651 million for schools to hire local groups and partners to meet needs.
The coalition supporting the demands includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Brothers Sons Selves Coalition, Community Coalition, Inner City Struggle, Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles, Students Deserve and United Teachers Los Angeles.
In 2020, the Los Angeles Board of Education cut school police funding by 35%and discontinued the stationing of an officer at each high school and middle school. These actions came in the wake of protests over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. But the board has resisted further cuts.
The report by coalition leaders and academics from UCLA updates a plan of action for the nation’s second-largest school system that was released about two years ago.
Unifying themes include the elimination of school police and a focus on the needs of Black students — justified, according to the authors, by the nation’s history of racism and the school district’s own history of racist practices, such as not providing culturally relevant education to Black students or ensuring that they receive academic opportunities comparable to other students. Chief among the racist policies, the report said, is the existence of a school police department.
The report describes overwhelming support for its policies among students, parents, teachers and community members, based largely on focus groups assembled from 200 participants in a town hall gathering.
L.A. County extends eviction moratorium by 2 months
With Los Angeles County’s pandemic eviction moratorium set to lapse in days, the Board of Supervisors has voted to extend the countywide renters protections once more.
The moratorium will now expire at the end of March. This, county leaders say, will be the last time they push the end date.
The moratorium, first put in place at the coronavirus pandemic’s outset, was initially set to end Jan 31. With some on the board still worried about the lingering financial impacts of the pandemic, county leaders voted Tuesday to extend the countywide moratorium through March 31.
“COVID is not over. People are still getting sick. They’re still out of work,” said Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, the board’s sole renter, who spearheaded the motion. “They’re still losing jobs and unfortunately still dying from COVID.”
Under the moratorium, landlords cannot evict low-income tenants who say they were financially harmed by COVID-19 and can’t pay rent.
Through the pandemic, the moratorium had acted as a safety net for renters across L.A. County. It applied to all unincorporated areas and cities that did not have their own moratorium in place.
On Feb. 1, the city of Los Angeles is poised to become one of those cities.
The City Council agreed to let the citywide eviction moratorium expire at the end of January. In its place, the council passed a tenant protection package that includes universal “just cause” eviction rules, meaning landlords will no longer be allowed to evict tenants in any rental property, including single-family homes, unless there was unpaid rent, documented lease violations, owner move-ins or other specific reasons.
Because the city will no longer have its own eviction moratorium, the county’s moratorium will apply to residents of the city of Los Angeles starting Feb. 1, said Rachael Simon, a former senior housing deputy who is serving on Horvath’s transition team. The package of renter protections the City Council passed will not be affected by the county’s vote, she said.
The board passed the two-month extension on a 3-1 vote. Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted no, voicing concern for the county’s mom-and-pop landlords who she felt had gone unpaid for too long.
“We have to recognize that the landlords serve a purpose too,” said Barger, who emphasized she had “serious, serious reservations” about the proposal.
Sharing Exciting News and Embracing Change
Dear Friends and Allies,
I am writing to share important and exciting news. I have made the decision to transition from my role as Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle. I have been honored to lead this powerful organization and work with amazing staff, youth and community members and allies for over 20 years. I have decided to pursue new leadership avenues to help advance educational and social justice in the Eastside of Los Angeles and beyond. In the interim, I have agreed to serve as a Senior Advisor to InnerCity Struggle to support a smooth transition of roles to the Interim Executive Director – my long-time Associate Director and friend – Henry Perez.
For the past over 20 years, I have been dedicated to building a movement to fight for great schools and thriving communities in the Eastside of Los Angeles. I have had the honor of uplifting community voices to win public policies and resources. Together with students and families, we raised graduation rates, reduced suspension and push-out rates, reallocated millions in new funding to Eastside schools and strengthened the safety net for Eastside of LA families.
Under my leadership, InnerCity Struggle has served as a movement organization advancing much needed systemic change.
To address the massive school overcrowding persistent in 2002, I worked with young people and families to win the first new schools in the Eastside in over 80 years. After a hard-fought campaign, we won five new LAUSD schools – Felicitas & Gonzalez Mendez H.S., William Anton E.S., Esteban E. Torres H.S., the Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy and an adult school in East LA. From 2014-2021, I fought alongside Eastside youth and families to pass the “Equity is Justice'' resolutions, which reallocated hundreds of millions in new funding to the highest-need schools. In 2016, I fought to help secure a total of $217 million to modernize Roosevelt High School. For more than a decade, I also fought to bring a new wellness center to Mendez High School to address the mental health needs of our most vulnerable students. We led efforts to eliminate punitive school discipline policies that historically pushed students of color out of school. We fought for and won restorative justice policies and programs that center student voices and needs. We have been at the forefront of fighting for and winning tenant protections for our highest need Eastside residents. When the COVID pandemic hit, InnerCity Struggle took immediate action to provide Eastside students with laptops, headphones and WI-FI access to support them in connecting with virtual learning. We also helped hundreds of residents with mutual aid and cash assistance and connected thousands with life-saving vaccine appointments.
One of my proudest achievements is leading the capital campaign that resulted in the successful construction of InnerCity Struggle’s permanent headquarters – the first Youth and Community Organizing Center in the Eastside of Los Angeles. The modern and ADA accessible facility is a gift to our community and a long-term organizational asset that will continue to train intergenerational organizers prepared to win justice.
It has been a great privilege to see firsthand the determination and resiliency of our youth and families in demanding the investments and resources they truly deserve. Their courage and commitment have moved our Eastside of Los Angeles community closer to equity and justice, but there is much work left to be done.
I am humbled by your support of InnerCity Struggle and of my leadership. I am extremely grateful to our amazing Board of Directors and the InnerCity Struggle staff team for their dedication to this important organization leading change and building grassroots leadership.
I will continue to support the movement for justice and will keep you posted on the next part of my journey. I will serve as Senior Advisor to InnerCity Struggle over the next several months as I support Henry Perez in stepping into the interim executive role that he is highly qualified and prepared for.
I truly hope InnerCity Struggle can continue to count on your support in the organization’s fight for stronger, safer and equitable schools and communities in the Eastside of Los Angeles.
Henry Perez, and his social justice group ask Kevin de León to resign
De León has served as the LA City council member for District 14 since 2020 and said his resignation is not an option. “I have a moral obligation to my constituency, to give them a voice,” he told Smiley.
But for Henry Perez, associate director of Inner City Struggle, a social justice non-profit organization in CD-14, de León no longer represents the community of the Eastside.
The week the audio was leaked, Inner City Struggle began reaching out to other community organizations in East LA, the majority with offices within CD-14, in order to formulate an open letter for de León.
The open letter, which was published on Oct. 15, asked for de León’s immediate resignation. “Almost two years ago, you assumed your post as elected representative of District 14,” the letter addressed to de León read. “Since that time, and during your campaign, you stressed to residents that you were different from your predecessors and that we could trust you – but your uttered words in the recorded conversation at the LA Federation Of Labor have broken our already cautious trust.”
Perez said that, as leading organizers within de León’s district, it was important to step toward the right side of the situation and demand justice.
Inner City Struggle was founded in 1994 by a small group of parents, youth, and residents in Boyle Heights. The organization was formed in the spirit of the civil rights movement, seeking to reduce crime and violence, and investing in training and organizing its residents.
Today, Inner City Struggle is a multi-issue organization working with youth and elders to build stronger schools, grow our civic engagement, and prevent housing displacement.
Henry earned his master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. He began working with Inner City Struggle in 2005 and became the associate director in 2009.
CALÓ NEWS interviewed Perez to discuss the open letter, his vision for CD-14, the message to de León and the structural racism he believes exists in our communities.
Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
HENRY PEREZ, Los Angeles, Associate Director, Him/EL, Latino
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CD-14 AND WHAT ROLE DOES INNER CITY STRUGGLE PLAY WITHIN THIS DISTRICT/COMMUNITY?
District 14 is located on the Eastside of LA. Inner City Struggle is a 28-year-old community-based organization. We cover three major communities within CD-14 (de Leon’s district) and that includes Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno. We also cover the other half of Lincoln Heights, which is in CD-1 (Cedillo’s district). Both council members are representatives of the communities we organize. Inner City Struggle organizes youth and families to come together and be a voice for change and transformation in their communities, to advocate for our most vulnerable and marginalized neighborhoods on the eastside of LA. Residents often do not have a voice in policy decisions that are made in city hall. We organize them so we can build community power in our regions when it comes to city policies and decisions. Our responsibility is to push elected officials to make the right decisions for our communities and to make sure that there are equitable investments being made in our communities. That means that residents of the city’s highest needs should be prioritized to the allocation of funding and resources.Read more
Mobilizing the Eastside: InnerCity Struggle hosts a voter carnival
Vive, vota y lucha. That was the slogan at the center of InnerCity Struggle’s campaign to mobilize Eastside voters in the upcoming elections with door-to-door registration, online guides and fun engagement events like Wednesday’s Lucha Carnival.
Latinos are almost half of the general population of Los Angeles. Getting Latinos to participate on Nov. 8 is critical to ensuring that communities like Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles have their voices heard, according to Kimberly Ortega, a spokesperson for the local nonprofit.
“Time and time again we have seen how important Latinos are when it comes to bringing change to our city,” Ortega said at the event, held at the organization’s Boyle Heights headquarters. “It’s important for everyone in the community to be informed on who and what is on the ballot so that we can increase our collective impact.”
According to Spectrum News, InnerCity Struggle is one of several LA nonprofits who received funding for voter outreach as part of the Latino Community Foundation’s “Yo voy a votar” initiative.
Going beyond typical voter engagement, the night’s carnival featured games, entertainment and prizes, all centered around propositions and measures on this year’s ballot that could have an impact on the Eastside.Read more
Extienden protecciones para inquilinos de las áreas no incorporadas de Los Ángeles
La junta de supervisores del condado votó a favor de extender varias protecciones para los inquilinos antes de que venza la moratoria de desalojos el próximo 31 de diciembre. Entre las mociones aprobadas está que se prohíbe los desalojos de aquellos inquilinos que no deban un mes completo de renta. Asimismo, se brindará representación legal gratuita para quienes enfrentan procesos de desalojo.
Claves de la extensión de protecciones contra desalojos en Los Ángeles que debes conocer
LOS ÁNGELES, California.- Las protecciones contra desalojos debido a la pandemia de covid-19 terminan el 1 de octubre. Ante el riesgo de que cientos de personas queden en la calle en los próximos días, la Junta de Supervisores de Los Ángeles dio a conocer nuevas protecciones.
Las nuevas alternativas aprobadas buscan que inquilinos de bajos recursos no pierdan las viviendas que rentan.
La primera moción expande el programa del condado Stay Housed L.A.
Una plataforma que brinda información, asesoría y recursos disponibles para inquilinos y dueños de propiedades sobre los derechos y protecciones que tienen en la jurisdicción.
La segunda moción, prohíbe los desalojos
La protección es para aquellos inquilinos que deban el monto inferior a un mes del valor justo de mercado en las áreas de L.A., Long Beach y Glendale.
“Actualmente, los propietarios pueden presentar una demanda para desalojar a los inquilinos por falta de pago de incluso por una fracción del alquiler de un mes”, según el comunicado de la junta.
¿Dónde se aplicará la protección de desalojos modificada?
La segunda moción, solo se aplica a áreas no incorporadas del condado de L.A., limita los aumentos de rentas en unidades de alquiler controlado al 3% anual hasta diciembre de 2023.
Terminan las protecciones: ¿En riesgo de un tsunami de desalojos en Los Ángeles?
Al menos 69,144 personas viven en las calles de Los Ángeles, según el conteo de indigentes sin hogar del área metropolitana del condado en 2022.
LA County Board of Supervisors meetings reopen to public for first time since early days of pandemic
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors held its first in-person board meeting in 2 1/2 years on Tuesday, only to be barraged with demonstrators inside and outside the hearing room.
Protestors gathered on the front steps of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, many of them focused on eviction protections for tenants in the county.
Earlier this month, the supervisors voted to end its eviction moratorium at the end of the year, but were considering a motion that would bolster eviction defense services for tenants. Another measure would limit what landlords can ask potential renters about their pandemic renting history.
"Tenants in LA County need stronger protections because it's really hard for a lot of our tenants to stay in their homes when we have landlords harassing them," Elizabeth Hernandez, a housing advocate, told the board members.Read more
Refrescate Con La Lucha Del Pueblo!
In 'Incredible Step' UC Regents Suspend SAT And ACT Admissions Requirement — Possibly Forever
The Regents of the 10-campus University of California voted unanimously on Thursday to suspend the requirement that first-time applicants submit scores from SAT or ACT standardized test scores for admission.
"I think it's an incredible step in the right direction," said UC Regents Chair John Perez.
The vote suspends the requirement through 2024 while UC studies whether to require scores from another test that UC either creates or adopts.
"By one measure this is a conversation 43 years in the making, since the 1977 adoption of the test as a weeding mechanism, as a way to decrease the number of students admitted to the University of California," Perez said.
The proposal to put the standardized test requirement on hold while UC re-evalutes its admissions criteria was first floated by UC President Janet Napolitano, who had already dropped the test requirement for applications due in the Fall 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis. She said she was "unpersuaded" that requiring the tests for admissions "was sufficient to outweigh all of the extensive mitigation measures we employ to counteract the effect of the standardized test on certain populations."
Applicants for Fall 2020 can submit SAT or ACT results, but they aren't required to do so, and UC admissions offices may choose whether to consider those scores. The new policy extends that arrangement for another year, and adds another two years during which UC campuses will not use the standardized scores for admissions decisions even if students submit them.Read more