Los Angeles County Democratic Party honoree Matthew Contreras (Screen grab from JFK Awards 7-25-2020)
After civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis died July 17, woke people around the globe sang the praises of the humble leader born to sharecroppers in rural Troy, Alabama who, at 23, became the youngest speaker at the famous 1963 March on Washington and went on to become the “conscience” of the US Congress.
Lewis’ spirit infused the virtual Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s JFK Awards show eight days later, with California Democratic Party icon Roz Wyman, who won a seat on the LA City Council at 22, praising another civil rights hero and LACDP honoree Dolores Huerta as “my John Lewis of California.”
Wyman announced the recipients of this year’s Roz Wyman Democratic Youth Leadership Award — “our future” — as Erica Liepmann, president of the LA County Young Democrats and Erica has a accountDigital Strategist for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Matthew Contreras, a gay student at California State University/ Northridge set to serve as a political intern through The Panetta Institute for Public Policy on the cusp of his 22nd birthday (on Aug. 5).
Though Contreras didn’t mention Lewis during his acceptance remarks, the young activist nonetheless best articulated the core principles the civil rights hero passed on to young activists in his final New York Times opinion piece entitled: “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.”
“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself,” Lewis wrote. “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So, I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”
Contreras picked up the torch, noting his involved participation in community matters, including serving on the boards of directors of two non-profit organizations and promoting diversity inclusion.
The “four characteristics of servant leadership that resonate with me are listening, stewardship, empathy, and valuing people. As a first generation Latinx Gen-Zer, these are the qualities I look for in people when I vote,” Contreras said. “My decisions indeed have consequences and every time I vote on an action item, I keep my community in mind. Time and time again, we see people in charge exploit vulnerable communities in their special interest.”
With the critical November elections fast approaching, he pledged to continue “to have difficult conversations with peers, mentors and community members,” as well as “pushing for change” by phone banking, organizing, donating money and informing community members on how “they, too, can get involved in the democratic process.”
Though people will not always agree, he said, “it is really important to move forward together” while “living through an extraordinary moment in our lives.”
Politics “is very personal,” Contreras said. “I have never forgotten why I do the work. I do it for those so often left out of the conversations we have. And I want you all to practice radical inclusivity and invite people to the table and respect people’s world views that are different than your own.
“You see, the political landscape is changing before our very eyes,” Contreras continued. “My generation of voters are looking for strong, community-based servant leaders that don’t just talk but act….We’re starting to hold people accountable and reevaluating concepts that we’re learning in schools. The stakes have never been higher and people are starting to wake up.”
LACDP Executive Director Drexel Heard, II with his friend Matthew Contreras (Photo courtesy Heard)
“Matthew continues to embody not only the best in Los Angeles, but the best in our Nation,” LACDP Executive Director Drexel Heard, II, Contreras’ mentor, told the Los Angeles Blade. “Empathy, Drive, Selflessness has been his NorthStar for as long as I’ve known him. As we look to cultivate and engage more young people in our Democratic process and our party, like John Lewis, young Democrats like Matthew show us that the upcoming generation is ready and determined to set us up for a future that we can believe in. I’m proud of his accomplishments and excited to watch what’s next for him.”
“John Lewis said, ‘The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time.’ It is because we are now facing the ugly truth about our country that we are able to say ‘no, let’s not go down that path again,’” Contreras told the LA Blade.
“People want concrete changes that involve shifting money away from the police to communities of color. It’s devastating to see communities of color, especially Black communities, disproportionately affected in areas of life ranging from healthcare to graduation rates,” he said. “The Black Lives Matter Movement is making sure the world is paying attention. If we look back in time to analyze the many forms of protests organized by people of color in this country, we will see that they all had importance in creating societal change.”
Contreras, a senior at CSUN who lives with his parents in Sun Valley, is starting his Panetta internship on Monday. The DC portion, where he would have interned in a Congressional office, has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“That really threw me off because I worked so hard for that experience,” Contreras told the LA Blade. “My mother is from the city of Oaxaca and my father is from Durango, México. They both raised me to be a hard-working person in a country that seems to be against people like us. What I really hope to learn at the Panetta Institute is how someone with my background and privileges can use the legislative process to support people in my community. I really want to hear what they have to say about leadership roles for People of Color and the difference that we can make.”
Contreras has packed a lot of experience into his 22 years.
“I came out in high school shortly after having my first girlfriend. I was absolutely in love with this girl, but I just could not continue dating her,” he told the LA Blade. “I remember struggling with suicidal ideation, internal homophobia, and a lack of self-confidence. I began trusting close friends at the time but somehow those secrets came out. For about a year or two, people always asked me if I was straight or gay, but I always lied and said I was straight.”
He was outed at a friend’s Quincenera practice.
“I was one of her chambelanes. During one dance rehearsal, I remember going to the restroom and leaving my phone out on a table. A few people decided to go through my phone without my permission to find messages of me talking to boys online. As soon as I returned from the bathroom, I noticed a bunch of commotion around my phone. I quickly realized that everyone at that rehearsal knew my secret,” he said.
“It wasn’t really my choice to come out that way, but that experience taught me so much about myself, so in a way, I am grateful that happened to me. Eventually, I became more comfortable with myself because I started to find my community.”
Eventually, Contreras secretly started dating boys in high school. “But it typically ended up in getting my heart shattered into a million pieces. My senior year a boy asked me to prom and that was a nice way to publicly tell my peers that I was for sure queer.”
College enabled him to express himself with rainbows in his room and USU Pride Center logos everywhere.
“My attitude shifted. It’s really funny because my parents actually came out to me. On my 18th Christmas, they co-wrote a beautiful letter expressing their support for me and letting me know that they already knew my secret. Apparently, they overheard me talking about my identity with a friend,” Contreras said.
“It was getting super hard having to suppress my true identity at home because it felt like I was having to be two different people at all times.”
College allowed him to develop his own identity and commitment to activism.
“Ghandi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ That’s exactly what I want to do. I’m an individual driven by action and doing. I became an activist because I wanted to improve my community and create real societal changes. If I complain about something, I’m going to come up with plans and strategies. I won’t just complain and dwell,” Contreras said.
“I learned this lesson through ethnic studies courses at California State University/ Northridge. This truly made an impact on my life, as it did for so many. Student groups on campus have taken what they learned in the classroom and applied it to their communities. When I joined The Queer Collective, CSUN’s LGBTQIA+ Club at CSUN, we gathered together because of common struggles, identities, and interests. I slowly became more vocal on campus and learned about my own privileges.”
Learning about his own privileges “took a lot of active listening and reflection. I figured that if I could support communities with my own privilege, then why not do it? We often see so much negativity and I want to be part of the big picture — no matter how small or big of an effect I have in this world.”
Contreras learned about injustice through his Chicano and Queer studies, as well as working with homeless youth for about a year, seeing first-hand the disparities he had only read about in the news.
“This prompted me to invest my time and energy into standing up for what I believe in. This work is never seen as the high paying career that people go for. I’m doing this to create changes that I want to see in my community,” he said.
“My mentors have inspired me to become a better person for myself so I can one day support the social justice work that they are doing today. These changes take time so I want to be part of that. The victories are worth it,” he said.
“It’s so easy to be complicit but times are changing, and I want to be working towards a better world. My generation is unlearning so much of what we learned in our history books and maybe even some of what our parents have taught us,” Contreras said. “We will be the generation cleaning up the mess of this current administration. It’s about time to take things into our own hands. When you don’t get invited to the table you pull up a chair, sit down and don’t apologize. I want to see younger people more involved in this democracy because we are the future.”
Contreras also notes that there have been young civil rights leaders of color throughout history, as exemplified by the late Rep. John Lewis.
“John Lewis left me thinking how I want to spend my time,” Contreras said. “I will be spending my time and energy fighting for communities that need my support. It’s a calling. In truth, I have been pessimistic about my generation’s future because of Donald Trump. But I no longer dwell on that because this movement woke up so many people and sparked awareness.”
Capitol insurrectionist arrested in LA after standoff with FBI
Seen wearing a black sweatshirt with ‘Fags for Trump’ silkscreened on it, draped in a Pride flag, & carrying a hammer on January 6, 2021
LOS ANGELES – After an hours long stand-off outside a home at Willis Avenue and Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys with FBI agents, Eric Christie was arrested for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Christie is seen in multiple video and still photos on the East Front Capitol steps wearing a black sweatshirt with ‘Fags for Trump’ silkscreened on it, draped in a Pride flag, and carrying a hammer.
According to NBC News, Christie is a known local far-right anti-vaxxer and protested against coronavirus pandemic restrictions around the Los Angeles region and often attended rallies supporting former president Trump.
Christie, whom the Associated Press said is 56 years old, was identified for his role in the January 6 insurrection by online sleuths and was publicly identified and named by the anti-fascist activist and security researcher Chad Loder in February 2021.
The U.S. Department of Justice still has Christie’s case under seal, though the criminal complaint reveals some of Christie’s alleged actions that day.
According to prosecutors, he ran toward the Capitol after a crowd pushed through barriers, then runs up steps on the east side of the building while repeating “This is our Capitol” on the bullhorn.
He later stood atop a government vehicle parked near the Capitol and added more chants to his bullhorn, including “It’s a MAGA party, it’s a MAGA party,” “Welcome to MAGA country, District of Columbia” and “Beverly Hills is in the house,” prosecutors said.
“Christie was previously named by a defense attorney in another Jan. 6 case, in which the court filing suggested Christie was a ‘suspicious actor’ and questioned why he hadn’t been arrested yet,” NBC News also reported.
Christie was also a write-in candidate for Los Angeles City Council in 2020.
According to law enforcement sources he was arrested at an address associated with him.
Breaking: After an hours-long standoff, the FBI arrested LA resident Eric Christie for his involvement in Jan. 6, sources confirm.— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) December 23, 2022
Christie, a write-in candidate for city council in 2020, appeared at the riot in a “fags for trump” shirt and carrying a hammer. pic.twitter.com/oybof7i1ZJ
Mayor Bass declares state of emergency over homelessness crisis
Latest count by L.A. Homeless Services Authority revealed there were 41,980 unhoused people in the city this past year, up 1.7% from 2020
LOS ANGELES – In her first official press conference, newly sworn-in L.A. City Mayor Karen Bass issued a declaration marking a state of emergency on the city’s homelessness crisis as her first official act as mayor.
Flanked by L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian and Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn along with other elected and city officials, Bass told reporters “we are united and serious about the city’s crisis of homelessness.”
“I will not accept a homeless crisis that afflicts more than 40,000 Angelenos and affects every one of us. It is a humanitarian crisis that takes the life of five people every day,” the mayor added just prior to officially signing the declaration. “It must stop, and change starts now…There will be no holding back on my watch.”
Her campaign for the office of Mayor of L.A. was largely focused on ending the homeless crisis — a promise the new Mayor addressed Sunday in her inaugural speech.
“Tragically, our city has earned the shameful crown as being home to some of the most crowded neighborhoods in the nation—Pico Union, South L.A., East L.A., the East Valley. We know our mission – we must build housing in every neighborhood,” Bass told the audience gathered at Microsoft Theatre.
The latest count by the L.A. Homeless Services Authority revealed that there were 41,980 unhoused people in the city this past year, up 1.7% from 2020.
“The mayor’s first priority and likely the main one for some time to come is homelessness,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles told KABC 7 Eyewitness News Monday.
“The voters don’t expect a miracle but will be looking for a clear and credible path toward measurable and visible improvement,” Sonenshein said. “It’s an opportunity for an energetic reset on a crisis that has seemed stuck, and also a chance to restore confidence in local government in Los Angeles.”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declares a state of emergency on homelessness:
The order immediately gives Mayor Bass the power to lift rules and regulations that slow or prevent the building of permanent and temporary housing for the unhoused; to expedite contracts that prioritize bringing unhoused Angelenos inside; and that allow the city to acquire rooms, properties and land for housing for Angelenos in need. Moving forward, Mayor Bass will issue executive directives to advance these critical reforms.
Immediately prior to signing the declaration, Mayor Bass met with her department heads – as well as the heads of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and Metro – to outline her strategy to move Los Angeles forward with a unified approach to homelessness. The Los Angeles County CEO was also present for the meeting.
She also met with frontline service providers and Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; Hydee Feldstein Soto, City Attorney; Kenneth Mejia, City Controller; Paul Krekorian, City Council President; Curren Price, President pro tempore, Los Angeles City Council; and Nithya Raman, Los Angeles City Councilmember and Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.
All of the above attended the signing.
LA City Council bans Styrofoam, plastic bags, & have “Zero Waste”
“There is no place in the City of Los Angeles for harmful environmental products like Styrofoam, & today we are making that a reality”
LOS ANGELES – In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles City Council today approved an ordinance that will prohibit the distribution and sale of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) products, commonly referred to under the trade name Styrofoam, in the City of Los Angeles.
“I am pleased that we were able to advance yet another transformative environmental policy with unanimous support of the City Council,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the chair of the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River committee. “Angelenos want to be good stewards of the environment, and this legislation is reflective of that value – as well as the urgency with which it must be implemented. There is no place in the City of Los Angeles for harmful environmental products like Styrofoam, and with today’s decisive action we are making that imperative a reality. I hope that future Councils, along with other jurisdictions across the country and the world, follow our lead on environmental justice and the elimination of products that degrade public health.”
“Our world is drowning in plastic. To the point where, in any given week, each of us ingests enough plastic from our food and water to make a credit card,” said Council President Paul Krekorian. “The petrochemical industry is lying to the people of the United States by trying to convince them that somehow it’s OK to use these products because they’re recyclable. They’re not. Almost no plastic ever gets recycled and styrofoam definitely does not. The steps that we’re taking today are an important part of changing industries, changing consumer behavior and educating the public about the harm that this is causing them,” Krekorian said.
“EPS foam, also known as Styrofoam, is toxic from production to usage to landfill. The Styrene and Benzene in EPS are both known carcinogens and can also negatively affect workers inside EPS factories. The manufacturing process can contaminate neighborhoods outside EPS factories. The toxins can leach into hot drinks and food as people use cups and food containers. And then EPS ends up as little white bits marring our world-class beaches,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, the author of the original legislation. “Even worse, the manufacturing process releases significant amounts of hydrofluorocarbons, which are massively potent greenhouse gasses. It’s way past time for Styrofoam to go away forever.”
The Council also approved an additional ordinance that adds to the Los Angeles Municipal Code a section promoting the use of reusable bags and regulating the use of plastic and paper single-use carryout bags at apparel stores, farmers’ markets, food or beverage facilities, hardware stores, and open air markets. In addition, the Council approved instructions to LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) requiring reports back to the Council, by April 2025, regarding compliance with these new policies. The Council also instructed LASAN to prepare outreach programs to educate stakeholders on both ordinances.
Additionally, the Council requested that all proprietary departments, along with their respective boards, adopt and implement the ordinance requiring “zero waste” at City facilities and events, along with a direction to LASAN to prepare an outreach program and further instruction to all departments to report back on progress with this ordinance, which was passed earlier this year.
“LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) has a unique responsibility when it comes to protecting public health and the environment,” said Alex Helou, LASAN Assistant Director. “We do that through the hard work of collecting, recycling and composting materials, but also through the much less visible work of educating residents on what can and can’t be recycled. Items like expanded polystyrene, plastic bags and single-use foodware accessories do not belong in the blue bin.”
“For more than 30 years, Heal the Bay has conducted thousands of cleanups, removing millions of pieces of plastic off of our beaches and out of our waterways. It is clear that cleanups will never solve the issue of plastic pollution. To truly protect public health, we need aggressive and responsible solutions like today’s unanimous vote by the Los Angeles City Council to ban polystyrene addressing upstream sources and slowing the production and sale of plastic products, said Tracy Quinn, President and CEO of Heal the Bay. “We commend Councilmembers Koretz, Krekorian, and O’Farrell for their leadership on this issue and look forward to helping put these laws into effect in the new year.”
21 years in prison for gunman who shot gay dogwalker
“You shot me and left me to die, and both of our lives have changed forever. […] but I do forgive you and everyone involved with the attack”
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge handed down a sentence of 21 years in a California prison to James Howard Jackson, who had shot then thirty-year-old Ryan Fischer, a gay professional dog walker in Hollywood on Feb. 24, 2021.
The robbery/dognapping made global headlines after it was revealed that the two French Bulldogs taken were owned by Oscar and Grammy award winning singer Stefani Germanotta, known as Lady Gaga.
Fischer was walking three of the singer’s dogs when Jackson shot him during a struggle and then along with an accomplice grabbed two of the dogs in the 1500 block of N. Sierra Bonita Avenue just off Sunset Blvd, taking off in a late-model white Nissan Altima 4-door sedan.
The Lady Gaga connection was a coincidence, authorities told KTLA/Associated Press. The motive was the value of the French bulldogs, a breed that can run into the thousands of dollars, and detectives do not believe the thieves knew the dogs belonged to the musician.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the sentence handed down was part of a plea deal.
“The plea agreement holds Mr. Jackson accountable for perpetrating a coldhearted violent act and provides justice for our victim,” the office said in a statement. Howard had been charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a robbery and assault with a semiautomatic firearm.
In a victim’s impact statement made prior to Jackson’s sentencing, Fischer said:
“Your honor, thank you for the opportunity to give my impact statement here in court, and for everything you, Michele Hanisee [Deputy LA District Attorney] and the DA’s office, and detectives and law enforcement have done to bring these cases to completion. It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing 2 years since I was taking Asia, Koji and Gustav out for an evening stroll when – in an instant – I suddenly found myself fighting with everything I had to protect those dogs from being stolen. But it wasn’t enough: I was beaten, strangled, shot and left to die bleeding out on a sidewalk and gasping for my life. And Koji and Gustav were gone.
In some ways that night and everything that followed: from hospital stays, lung collapse after lung collapse and eventual surgery and partial removal- physical therapy that I’m still in to get mobility and sensation fully restored in my shoulder, chest and hand, the media storm that made me terrified to even go back to my home or walk on the street, the loss of a career, friendships, sense of self and savings and then aimlessly traveling this country for over a year as I went into debt, contemplated suicide, and struggled – and continue to struggle – with my identity and how to move past such a life-changing, earth-shattering event…
Sometimes it feels like all that happened to someone else, and other times it feels like I never left that sidewalk. A part of me is still trying desperately to save those dogs knowing you were going to shoot me. I’m sure it feels the same for you, Mr. Jackson. I imagine you’re on that sidewalk sometimes too. You shot me and left me to die, and both of our lives have changed forever. A limbo neither of us asked to be in.
In my darkest hours, when I feel lost and abandoned and mourn a life and those dogs I sacrificed myself for, a life I’ve accepted – through a lot of therapy – I’ve accepted I’ll never see again, I try to focus on what I’ve gained:
- A deeper love for friends and family that have shown up and continue to show up even when I’m still such a mess. I love you and thank you.
- That, despite everything and the trauma I still work through in regards to them, I love dogs so so much and look forward to continue bringing them back into my life.
- Gratitude for strangers that became family and have supported me in countless ways.
- And that I finally feel healthy enough to stop running from my problems.
- Forgiving myself for not being able to save those dogs that night and falling down again and again these last two years.
- Forgiving friends who didn’t and don’t know how to be there for me in the lengthy recovery process this continues to be.
And forgiveness for you. It’s something I’m still working on but I do forgive you and everyone involved with the attack. You completely altered my life, and I know I can’t fully move forward from the night you shot me until I said those words to you.
My hope for you is the same for me: to live a life of purpose and grow from what happened that night. Moving forward, it’s going to be a hard road for both of us, and I know from prison it won’t be easy. But I do hope you find a calling there as I continue to search for my own and live life contributing to others. It’s the only way to heal from this experience.
I also wanted to give gratitude, to thank you for not killing – for not harming – the dogs after everything and the media storm. They were returned and returned to their mom. I don’t think I could have lived with myself if they died.
And, in general, I just wanted to say how guns have impacted my life and countless others and continue to harm our society. I look forward to contributing to a future that doesn’t destroy so many lives and so many people in this country. It doesn’t make sense to fear for your life at school, places of worship, clubs, or when you’re taking dogs out for an evening stroll.
Thank you all for your time today.“
KTLA/AP also reported that another accomplice, Harold White, pleaded no contest Monday to a count of ex-convict in possession of a gun. White, who was in a relationship with McBride at the time, will be sentenced next year.
The couple had allegedly tried to help White’s son, Jaylin White, avoid arrest in the aftermath of the shooting.
Jaylin White and Lafayette Whaley earlier this year pleaded no contest to robbery.
Vice President to swear in Karen Bass as Los Angeles mayor
The inauguration ceremony is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. Bass’ term as mayor officially begins on Dec. 12
LOS ANGELES – Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas C. Emhoff will attend the mayoral inauguration ceremony of Los Angeles Mayor-elect Karen Bass on Sunday, December 11, 2022. The Vice President will ceremonially swear in Bass as the city’s 43rd Mayor, becoming the first woman and woman of color to serve as the city’s chief executive.
The inauguration ceremony is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. Bass’ term as mayor officially begins on Dec. 12.
The Vice-President, and on separate occasions husband Doug Emhoff, both had campaigned together last fall with Rep. Bass.
During a Get Out The Vote student rally at UCLA Harris told attendees:
“I know Karen Bass,” Harris told the crowd. “I’ve worked with Karen Bass. When I was in Sacramento and she was in Sacramento, I saw how she would tirelessly fight for the people of this region, the people of our state and the people of our nation. Karen Bass has a long history of always being on the side of people, fighting for the people.”
LA Times: LAPD execute search warrants in racist audio leak probe
It is unclear how the recordings were made. Recording conversations without a person’s consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions
LOS ANGELES – Several law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday that Los Angeles Police Department detectives have served several search warrants as they attempt to find out who recorded a meeting filled with racist and offensive comments among three L.A. City Council members and a powerful labor leader.
The Times reported that the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing, did not identify the specific targets. But they said the department obtained warrants for several social media accounts, including the Reddit account that first posted the audio leak.
This past October, LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced in a press briefing that detectives were investigating the source of the leaked racist recordings that thrust City Hall into a harsh national spotlight.
“The department has initiated a criminal investigation into the allegation of eavesdropping into the L.A. Fed meeting involving then-Councilperson Nury Martinez, Councilmember Gil Cedillo and Councilmember Kevin de León and the Fed president Mr. [ Ron] Herrera,” Moore said, referring to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
The recordings took place at the offices of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which has called the leak “illegal” and vowed to have those involved prosecuted. The union attempted to block the Los Angeles Times from publishing details of the recordings, saying they were obtained illegally. The Times refused to halt publication.
It is unclear how the recordings were made. Recording conversations without a person’s consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions.
Trans remembrance vigil held at LA LGBT Center
“We refuse to let violence rob us of the possibility to gather, to love each other, and to dream together in solidarity”
HOLLYWOOD – A Trans Remembrance Vigil was held at the Los Angeles LGBT Center on Monday, November 21st.
Candles and white, pink, and lavender flowers mounted on tiers draped by a trans flag adorned the center stage. A large monitor served as the focal point of the evening above the memorial display.
The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles started the ceremony with an acapella performance. Following the song of hope and redemption, opening remarks were given at the pulpit by the Anti-violence project manager for the LGBT center, Mariana Morroquin, and representatives from the Trans Wellness Center, Bienstar Human Services, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Friends Community Center, APAIT, and [email protected]
“I think it is very important to acknowledge our partners,” said Morroquin, somberly addressing the seated audience of about one hundred and fifty. “We know that hate is real. A lot of us have seen hate pretty close. We are very grateful to have you. We open our arms to receive your love and your support. The way we support each other is by providing jobs, providing spaces for us, and providing opportunities. Because hate is out there. We need this space. We need to welcome everyone. I want you to keep that in your heart. And tomorrow, when we get back to work, let us open our hearts and our minds. Don’t make decisions for us. Invite us to those tables. We know what we need. We’ve been doing this forever. We are going to keep fighting because this is what we do.”
She then added, “We refuse to let violence rob us of the possibility to gather, to love each other, and to dream together in solidarity. We gather because we must remember what is worth fighting for. For now, we commemorate. We tell the stories of the ones we lost. For tonight, that will be enough.”
One by one, members of the audience approached the pulpit to read the names and stories of a multitude of trans people whose deaths were the tragic result of hate crimes. The photos, names, and ages of the victims were displayed on the center-stage monitor.
“My name is Nikai David,” said one speaker, the photo of a pale, curly-haired young lady displayed behind them. “I am a model and social media influencer who aspired one day to own my own clothing boutique. I had just celebrated my birthday a week before I was shot in Oakland California, on December 4th, 202. I was thirty-three years old.”
Stories of these deaths included shootings by assailants, police, and family members, brutal beatings, and stabbings. The bodies of these victims were found in their homes, in garbage cans, and on streets where they were left, still dying, among other locations.
The final name read was Daniel David Aston, who died in the recent Club Q mass shooting. This year, TDOR came on the heels of the senseless massacre in Colorado Springs that left five members of the LGBTQ+ community dead and 25 injured.
Reverend Valerie Spencer gave an impassioned closing speech, first inviting the audience to take several deep breaths in unison.
“We will mourn our family, our siblings,” said Reverend Spencer, “but we are not having our primary focus on the violent conclusion of their life. We are choosing to see them and know them and celebrate them in the full context of their living. For they were fierce and powerful people.”
Karen Bass speaks to Los Angeles for first time as mayor-elect
With her daughter at her side, the mayor-elect spoke of her background & love for the city of LA She addressed issues including homelessness
LOS ANGELES – Rep. Karen Bass, (D-Calif.) addressed the City of Los Angeles for the first time as mayor-elect since she was declared winner Wednesday and her opponent billionaire real estate magnate Rick Caruso conceded in a press conference.
With her daughter at her side, the mayor-elect spoke of her background and love for the city of Los Angeles. She addressed issues including homelessness and economic hardship promising that her administration would work hard to get things done for the city.
Her primary focus she said when she takes office in December is to declare a state of emergency and execute actions on the homeless crisis that has enveloped Los Angeles.
KABC 7: Karen Bass to address city of Los Angeles for the 1st time as mayor-elect:
Beloved North Hollywood bookstore suffers arson attack
The Iliad Bookshop has been a fixture in North Hollywood for 35 years, the fire is currently under investigation by LAFD arson investigators
LOS ANGELES – The Iliad Bookshop, located 5400 Cahuenga at the corner of Cahuenga and Chandler Blvds. in North Hollywood, was the target of an alleged arson attack at around 11 p.m. this past Thursday evening.
LA Fire firefighters responded to the blaze in front of the rear entrance which was fully engulfed after an unknown person or persons stacked up books and items left out by the store.
In interviews with KCBS2 LA, KABC7, and other media outlets, the bookshop’s owner Daniel Weinstein, said that a flyer, which he categorised as “terroristic,” was left at the scene of the blaze. The damage to the building was primarily to the entrance area with noticeable scorch marks, there was smoke damage inside as well. Weinstein added that the store’s iconic two live-in cats, Zeus and Apollo, were not harmed.
There was no information as to the extent of the damages to the store’s inventory.
In a GoFundMe started by the bookshop to repair and recover from the attack, Weinstein wrote:
“We were very lucky: neighbors saw the flames and flagged down a passing firetruck; had the firefighters arrived mere moments later, the entire store would probably have gone up. As it is, we suffered heavy damage to the main entry. The doors (which are metal) are still functional, but will need to be either replaced or fixed. We lost lighting fixtures, signage, and wood framing; we also suffered damage to the mural on the right side of the doors. Smoke filled the interior of the store, but we were able to rescue our two cats Zeus and Apollo and we’re hopeful that the damage to the books and fixtures is minimal.
We have high insurance deductibles so we need to cover the cost of replacing the exterior lights, sign, and trim, and touching up the mural. We expect the funds we’re looking for to be divided between repair costs and a mural artist.”
The Iliad Bookshop has been a fixture in the North Hollywood community for over 35 years. In a March 2019 profile article by Los Angeleno magazine writer Augustus Britton, the shoppe was described as “a cozy mix of librarial reverence and old lore magic. The walls are lined with literary memorabilia, most notably art by R. Crumb and posters of Bukowski alongside author obituaries from days past. An aged photograph showing Weinstein drowning in a pile of hardcovers hangs on the wall.”
Britton goes on to say: “Weinstein’s 10 employees are awesome. There are no better poetic words to describe them. One could say they all look like fictional characters. Grateful Dead fans, Philip K. Dick spies or Stendhal savants eating Chinese food at the counter while the shop’s spunky cats Zeus and Apollo — more nods to Greek mythology — climb over their shoulders.”
The fire is currently under investigation by LAFD arson investigators.
LAPD asking for public’s help finding missing teen in West LA
On Sunday, the LAPD issued a brief statement: “Andrew was located and reunited with his family.”
UPDATED: Monday Nov. 7, 2022 from KABC 7.
A Los Angeles teen who went missing from his home on Halloween night has now returned safely and been reunited with his family, police said Sunday.
On Sunday, the LAPD issued a brief statement: “Andrew was located and reunited with his family.”
Andrew’s mother Anna posted on Facebook that Andrew came home Saturday. She said her son left home voluntarily because he was struggling with some mental-health issues. He then decided to come home on his own volition after about five days of sleeping on the street.
She expressed thanks to the public for providing support and said Andrew saw some of the missing-person flyers “and knows now that he is cared about by so many people.”
LOS ANGELES – The family of 18-year-old Andrew Jason Wright and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit are asking for the public’s help in locating him. Wright, an 18-year-old high-school senior, was last seen Monday around 6 p.m. near the 1700 block of Federal Avenue in West Los Angeles.
Wright is described as an 18-year-old male Asian with brown hair and brown eyes. He stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black coat, maroon vest, gray pants, and black leather shoes.
His mother told KABC Eyewitness news that Wright has recently been suffering from depression and is extremely worried.
“He went on a walk around 6 p.m.” Anna Wright said. “He was supposed to go trick-or-treating with his little brother and sister at 7. And he never came back.”
Andrew’s father set up a search party where volunteers have been going around looking for him and passing out flyers.
If you have seen, or have any information regarding the whereabouts of Andrew Jason Wright, please contact Los Angeles Police Department, Missing Persons Unit, at (213) 996-1800.
During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).
Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most Keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
From KABC 7:
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