LACW Supports SB 1437 – Also Known As The BESTT Practices Act

Mid Friday afternoon, the LACW community gathered to listen to a presentation by Kate Chatfield, from our sister house in San Bruno, who is also a criminal defense attorney and author of SB 1437–also known as the BESTT Practices Act, a bill before the California Legislature that would reform the felony murder rule.

The felony murder rule comes from English common law. It has since been abolished in all common law jurisdictions, except the United States, for being unjust. Under the felony murder rule, a person can be criminally liable for first-degree murder even when he/she did not intend for a killing to occur or aid the killing in any way. A death may be accidental, unintentional, and unforeseen, but as long as it occurred during the course of, or flight from certain crimes, all participants – whether one performed the homicidal act or not, knew a co-participant was armed, or was even at the scene of the killing – is liable for first-degree murder.

The California Supreme Court has repeatedly urged that California abolish the felony murder rule. As far back as 1965 and repeated in 1983, in People v. Dillon, the California Supreme Court called the felony murder rule “barbaric.” However, the California Supreme Court does not have the authority to abolish it; only the Legislature has that power. The California high court asked the Legislature to make that change 35 years ago. The Legislature is now heeding that call. Earlier this year it passed in the State Senate and is now in the State Assembly.

In California, the felony murder rule disproportionately affects youth, people of color, and women. It has resulted in incredibly lengthy life sentences – draining taxpayer dollars – for people who never killed anyone, nor intended that a death occur.

SB 1437 will reform the felony murder rule and amend accomplice liability in certain types of second-degree murder. This act retains felony murder liability for the person who kills during the course of certain felonies. It would only abolish felony murder liability for an accomplice: a person who did not personally commit the homicidal act or intend that a homicide occur. This act would also limit judicially-created doctrines for second-degree murder liability.

We ask that you also look into this legislative bill and urge your state representative to support it. You can visit this LINK to learn more about it and sign on in support.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/06/18/lacw-supports-sb-1437-also-known-as-the-bestt-practices-act

LACW Hospitality Day for World Cup


On Friday, June 15, we hosted several of our friends from downtown for a World Cup party at Hennacy House. We watched the exciting Spain vs Portugal game, which everyone enjoyed even though it ended in a tie. Everyone had their fill of chips, nacho cheese, salsa, and soda before the game. Theo cooked corn on the cob, potatoes, burgers–with all the fixins, and we had ice cream for dessert, which was enjoyed during halftime, and there was enough food leftover for folks to take a plate with them to go. Folks really appreciate the time away from the streets to relax and enjoy a party.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/06/17/lacw-hospitality-day-for-world-cup

Hospitality/Hippie Kitchen Closed On Saturday, June 23

Please be advised that the LACW soup kitchen will be closed on Saturday, June 23, for a day-long planning meeting to discern the LACW’s future direction. We will be back on our regular schedule on Tuesday, June 26. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/06/09/hospitality-hippie-kitchen-closed-on-saturday-june-23

June 2018 Agitator

Here is the JUNE Catholic Agitator

In This Issue:

      • Book Review: At Play In The Lions’ Den by Jeff Dietrich
      • The Golden Rule Sails Again by Helen Jaccard
      • Kings Bay Plowshares: Interview with Frida Berrigan
      • Building A Gospel-Based Community by Sarah Fuller
      • Confronting White Supremacy by Matt Harper
      • Better Know a Volunteer by Theo Kayser
      • Commemorating the Catonsville 9 by Mike Wisniewski

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/06/06/june-2018-agitator

LACW Joins Black Lives Matter For Their Weekly Protest Against Police Killings

On Wednesday, May 30, the LACW joined Black Lives Matter–Los Angeles for their 36th straight week of protesting LAPD and LACSD killing of unarmed citizens and District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s refusal to prosecute murderous cops. The protests are held outside Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office in the Hall of (In)Justice to demand that Lacey either prosecute police officers who kill residents, or resign.

More than 400 people have been killed by LAPD and LACSD during Lacey’s six year tenure as District Attorney, and her office has yet to press charges on an officer in any case. Even in a case where Police Chief Charlie Beck found an officer negligent, Lacey refused to prosecute. David Harris, a professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Law, said it is unusual for a police chief to recommend the prosecution of one of his own and even rarer for a prosecutor to then decline to press charges. Since the year 2000, there have been more than 1500 police shootings in L.A. County.

For seven of the last eight years, the LAPD has led all U.S. police departments in the killings of its residents, with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department leading in other years. At least twenty-five people have been killed since the actions outside of DA Lacey’s office began, nearly one killing per week. This is more killings than entire countries have in one year, and yet Jackie Lacey does absolutely nothing. In fact, she goes out of her way to overlook strong evidence to bring a cop to trial. As we chanted in between hearing victims’ families horrible and devastating testimonies: JACKIE LACEY MUST GO! JACKIE LACEY WILL GO!

In above left photo, LACW Matt Harper, Theo Kayser and Kaleb Havens help hold banner with the names of just some of the victims. In below photo is LACW Karan Benton, Alex Addesso, Megan Ramsey, and Sarah Fuller at far right. Also present but not in photos were Mike Wisniewski and Micah Wullschleger.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/05/31/lacw-joins-black-lives-matter-for-their-weekly-protest-against-police-killings

Skid Row Fences

For the past few weeks property owners in the Skid Row area have been putting up portable fences in front of their buildings as a form of harassment and to keep homeless people off the sidewalks. Some of the fences have extended from the building to the curb, approximately 9 feet, while the permits issued by the city stipulate that the fence cannot extend more than 36 inches.

This is yet another campaign by the Business Improvement District (BIDs) and property owners to make life even more miserable for our homeless friends. However, last Thursday, some “concerned citizens” removed the fences from the sidewalks and placed signs that read: This fence has been moved by a group of concerned citizens so that public space remains public and all persons, regardless of economic status, can access its benefits.

The LACW is beginning a campaign of our own to set up protests at the sites where the fences are being placed. Today we had a sign-making party to make several signs to be used.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/05/22/skid-row-fences

Dolores Mission Church In The News

The Catholic parish of choice for the LACW is Dolores Mission Church, a Jesuit parish in Boyle Heights, near downtown. We highlighted it in an article in a back issue of the Catholic Agitator entitled: The Parish Of Your Dreams.

It is a very progressive, community-minded and peace and justice activist-centered parish, and to our knowledge, unlike any other Catholic parish in the Archdiocese–including housing 38 homeless men, which it has been doing for decades, and risking arrest at various protests. Two of the current Pastoral Team, Fr. Brendan Busse and Ellie Hidalgo, are two of our regular rotating celebrants at our Wednesday evening home liturgy.

The National Catholic Reporter did an excellent article on the parish, including a short video, that can be viewed at this LINK.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/05/10/dolores-mission-church-in-the-news

Volunteers Needed

If you have free time on Saturday’s, please consider volunteering at our soup kitchen. We are in need of Saturday volunteers. We ask that volunteers arrive between 7:30 – 7:45am and commit to 1pm. We would love to have you join us to prepare and serve a hot meal to our sisters and brothers on Skid Row. One or two can come without a reservation, however, three to five people (max) are considered a group and we ask that you make reservations in advance. Please call 323-267-8789

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/05/08/volunteers-needed-2

LACW In The News

The L.A. Catholic Worker was highlighted in a National Catholic Reporter article about the diversity within the Catholic Worker movement. See this LINK to read the article.

An excerpt: “As advocates of decentralization, Catholic Worker co-founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin led by example rather than attempt to create a large organization structured around their ideas for transforming society.

Many of those who follow in their footsteps think both founders would be pleasantly surprised that the movement they started during the Great Depression is the inspiration for a loose network of nearly 250 communities today.

This decentralized, even anarchist, approach has led Catholic Worker communities to develop in a variety of formats and to carry out a spectrum of ministries that are limited only by their members’ interests, resources and creativity.”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/05/03/lacw-in-the-news-2

LACW Participates In The Boyle Heights May Day March

On a cool, cloudy, and sometimes drizzly Tuesday, May 1, the LACW joined Centro CSO for a May Day March in Boyle Heights. We began at Cesar Chavez Blvd and Matthews St. then marched to Chicago Ave, then to First St, where we stopped at LAPD Hollenbeck Division to protest police killings of Latinos and Blacks in the neighborhood. We heard testimonies from Black Lives Matter and family members who lost loved one’s to LAPD shootings. Chalk was provided for anyone who wished to leave a message on the sidewalk in front of the police station. We then proceeded to Mariachi Square for another rally hearing from people affected by the Trump regime’s draconian and immoral immigration policies. See photos HERE.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/05/02/lacw-participates-in-the-boyle-heights-may-day-march

Jesse and Martha Farewell

On Saturday, April 14, we had a farewell party at Catch 21 Seafood Restaurant for Martha and Jesse, who have now retired from LACW community life. Martha spent 25 years with the community and Jesse spent 18 years with us.

It was a fun-filled party with a live band that played reggae (a band that semi-regularly plays there), and they received a memory photo album (made by Megan and Carol) of all their years at the LACW. We wish Martha and Jesse the best, we pray that Jesse’s health maintains, and that they enjoy many blessings and many years of happiness. We already miss them. We thank them for their many years of dedication and love. See photos HERE.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/04/18/jesse-and-martha-farewell

2018 Catholic Worker Seder Of Liberation

On Sunday, April 8, we celebrated our 43rd annual Catholic Worker Seder of Liberation, again held at Throop Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena. It was a great success with 56 people in attendance. Everyone had a very enjoyable time. LACW Susan Dietrich was the MC, former LACW Rev. Elizabeth Griswold, her husband Rabbi Seth Castleman, and LACW Alexandria Addesso were our head table Hagaddah readers. Also at the table were Lilah and Abraham, Eliz and Seth’s children.

There were poignant personal stories of liberation shared, and at one point, Jeff presented Martha with a flower bouquet for her 25 years with the LACW and as a farewell gift for her and her husband Jesse, who are retiring from LACW community life. After the Seder we enjoyed a delicious meal with plenty of food and tasty desserts.

We thank all who attended. If you did not attend, we suggest that you plan ahead for next year (the Sunday after Easter). Guaranteed you will not regret it. See photos HERE.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/04/12/2018-catholic-worker-seder-of-liberation