In what would be a first for California, the city of Santa Ana will consider whether to classify attacks on street vendors as hate crimes, which could provide additional safeguards for vendors in the predominantly Latino city. .
Councilman Jonathan Ryan Hernandez, 29, said he has noticed an increase in attacks on street vendors and that viral videos appear to show a pattern of verbal and physical assaults with an undercurrent of anti-Latino racism.
“These are not thefts. These people are not having their food stolen; they don’t have their shopping carts taken away,” Hernandez said. “They get beaten up and spat on, and then these people leave.”
At Tuesday’s regular city council meeting, Hernandez will propose the ordinance, which he says will let street vendors know the city is ready to fight for them. Growing up in Santa Ana, Hernandez was close to his neighborhood ice cream parlour, or palette.
Hernandez, whose family is originally from Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico, said there was not enough support for street vendors and the immigrant community in Santa Ana. He wants to change that with his proposal.
“We’re in their corner,” Hernandez said. ” They are not alone. And for anyone who thinks it’s okay to disrespect street vendors, we seek to hold them accountable.
If approved by city council, the motion would go to city staff to begin work on an ordinance, which would then come back to council for a final vote in 30 days.
Hernandez said he hopes it could be a model for other jurisdictions across California. Elsewhere in the region, cities like Anaheim and Santa Monica have cracked down on street vending, preventing unauthorized vendors from selling in certain areas.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Ana Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the attacks on street vendors or the increase in reported assaults on Latino residents.
Last year, Cudahy resident Edin Enamorado armed Los Angeles street vendors with pepper spray, Tasers and, in some cases, personal security after a series of attacks in Long Beach, such as the LA Taco reported.
Lead organizer Sergio Jimenez of the Community Power Collective’s Street Vendor Justice program said more recorded attacks on street vendors could go viral, but that’s mainly because street vendors are taking over a certain agency and recording their attackers.
Many street vendors are undocumented, monolingual businesspeople who may not know their 1st Amendment rights in the United States, Jimenez said. He hopes that supporting law enforcement and educating street vendors about their rights will go a long way in building a safer community.
“It has a lot to do with outreach, education and social awareness,” Jimenez said. “What we tell them is, ‘Hey, you know what? You have to record these things, walk away and record and tell everything that happens to tell your particular point of view.
Los Angeles Times