The Residents of Boyle Heights Do Not Want Another Exide
Residents of Boyle Heights will be holding a hunger strike and protest at La Casa del Mexicano (East 6th Street and S. Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90023) on Sunday, May 16th starting at 8AM. Community members are protesting being locked out of their community garden and playground by Verizon Communications and East LA Community Corporation (ELACC).
Although ELACC sold space to Verizon for the construction of a 5G Tower, the contract was approved during disgraced LA City Councilman José Huizar’s time in office. Now that Huizar is charged in a 41-count racketeering indictment, alleging he accepted $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of building projects, the residents of Boyle Heights would like a full investigation of this Verizon-ELACC contract. Ultimately, the community is asking for a resolution or cancellation of this project. It is not understood why the cell tower cannot be built in a more industrial area as is common in wealthier neighborhoods.
Earlier this week, residents were met with armed security guards sent by Verizon who called LAPD when they arrived to peacefully protest the loss of their community space. In addition to the trauma of being barred from their beloved community garden and gathering space with weapons, residents also fear the radiation emissions from the macro tower that Verizon is building on the ELACC property.
While it is understood that the harmful side-effects of such a project are still being researched, the community still fears increased cases of asthma and cancer among children and elders. The same groups that are still battling ramifications from the Exide lead leak in Boyle Heights, once called a Chernobyl-level event.
This protest comes after the residents of Boyle Heights have unsuccessfully asked for help from elected officials in City Council, Assembly, Senate and Congress. Unfortunately, no one has agreed to meet with the worried residents of Boyle Heights. The community feels abandoned by their own representatives and fear they will have to face environmental racism once again as with the Exide Plant and freeway being built through the streets of this neighborhood.
Brenda Martinez, the Boyle Heights community member who is leading this hunger strike, along with residents who are joining her in protest, are doing so to seek the support of their elected officials.
Please help the residents of Boyle Heights raise awareness of this environmental and social injustice. For more information, please reach out to Brenda Martinez directly:
btrumar777 at gmail dot com
Social media @casacommunitygarden