By Theo Henderson
The winds of change are blowing hard these days. The voices of the people are louder, but where can we find a knowing ear? Fannie Lou Hamer said it best, “If I am truly free, who can tell me how much of my freedom I can have today?” Apparently not a whole lot, if you are Unhoused Black, and Indigenous.
Other pens have shown what they said, I will write about the effects on what they said and meant.
Emmett Till was a child. Snatched from his grandfather home, beaten severely and murdered to a misshapened pulp. His death was the catalyst in 1955 for the Civil rights movement.
Ruby Bridges was a 5 year kindergarten student in 1960 that white parents were trying to do harm even poisoning her lunches.
2022 we have the first Latina woman Council President offering to beat a Black boy to remind him that he is not white. In addition labeling him as a “little monkey.”
She is not alone in these thoughts of “intensely frustrating of anti Black, Unhoused and Indigenous sentiment. ” She said the quiet part out loud.
I remember this when she silenced people of color decrying 41.18. Cutting off voices to 45 people. How can I forget that she got like minded parents to castigate the Unhoused community as a “safety issue ” for housed children. Leaving the 51,000 children parents to demonize.
Kevin De Leon is doing what other anti Black community leaders like Brian Kito who want the Black Unhoused community removed from their housed and business community. Kevin’s actions spoke loudly on the sweep in Little Tokyo on March 17th 2022. The ignorant interview accusing activists of paying Unhoused residents $20 to stay on the streets. Lately, he is retaliating against an Unhoused resident whistle-blower on the inhumane and dearth of services to getting housed.
Business Improvement District and 41.18 voting Gil Cedillo legacy speaks for itself. He was in this meeting in total agreement with De Leon, Martinez and Herrera. His time is winding down but his harm will outlast him.
The irony of this matter is I have been consistent in my critique on these representatives of white supremacy. Many people who work with them also banded together to uphold anti Black, Indigenous and Unhoused community. The time is now to repeal 41.18, the bicycle ban targeting the Unhoused and the RV dwellers ban.
Let us meet the movement of change with definitive action. In our homes let’s have the hard conversation on why voting these people in office is a symptom of anti Black, Indigenous and poor sentiment. Let us listen with new ears, new empathy and new hope that we can be better. With a better unified compassion for ALL of the city instead of the housed city. Let us make LA for everyone and meet in the light of understanding.
Theo Henderson is a Los Angeles-based advocate for the unhoused community and is the host of the podcast “We The Unhoused.” He has over 8 years of lived experience being Unhoused.