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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A Short Documentary On The Homeless and Housing Crises In Los Angeles

The below informative 14 minute video was filmed and edited by John Dentino, one of our volunteers at the Hippie Kitchen. It deals with LACW Kaleb Havens recent 46 day hunger and housing strike chained to a fence on Skid Row, our work at the LACW, and most importantly, with the homeless and housing crises here in Los Angeles.

We thank John for this excellent educational video, and the time he spends with us at the Hippie Kitchen.

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April 2018 Agitator

Here is the APRIL Catholic Agitator

In This Issue:

      • Starving For Justice by Kaleb Havens
      • Lament, Repent, Repair: An Open Letter On Racism by Midwest Catholic Workers
      • Book Review: Just Call Me Jerzy by Mike Wisniewski
      • Los Angeles: U.S. Capitol Of Homelessness by Susan Dietrich
      • Challenging The Acceptance Of The Police by Matt Harper
      • Starvation Increases Worldwide by Jessica Corbett
      • Better Know a Volunteer by Sarah Fuller and Theo Kayser

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2018 Good Friday Anti-War Stations Of The Cross

On Friday, March 30, about 70 people gathered at the Roybal Federal Building in downtown to walk and meditate on the Anti-War Stations of the Cross. The weather was perfect for our annual walk to places of darkness in the downtown area.

This year Matt Harper and Susan Dietrich took over the duties of putting together a succinct and meaningful script, and we had two very articulate readers–Alex Addesso and Donald Nollar. This year we also remembered our own Kaleb Havens, who was nearing the end of his 46 day hunger and housing strike chained to a fence on Skid Row. We carried a huge poster of Kaleb throughout the walk. After the event we stopped to visit with Kaleb and had a prayer reflection and song, then we eagerly went home to enjoy a Mexican banquet, everything cooked by our house guest Maria. Muchas Gracias, Maria!

A big THANK YOU to all who participated. See you again next year, and invite others to join us. See photos HERE and a PDF of the script HERE.

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Kaleb Ends His Hunger and Housing Strike

On Easter Sunday, at 9:45am, about 60 people gathered to celebrate with Kaleb as he unchained himself from the fence, then led a prayer service that included chanting, a reading by Kaleb, an introduction song to Psalm 23 by Tyson, one of our kitchen guests, Skid Row Pastor Cue then gave an inspirational reading of Psalm 23. Kaleb led the reciting of The Lord’s Prayer, then General Dogan (LA CAN) read an excellent article he wrote entitled “STAND UP FOR WHAT?” using former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s bold act of “taking a knee” during the National Anthem as a bases to address the police violence against Black people, systemic racism present in our society, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the struggle for dignity by the sisters and brothers living on the street.

There was a time to reflect on the more than 830 people who died on Skid Row last year and the lack of concern by city and county officials to provide housing available in the 156 vacant buildings on Skid Row. There was a time to call out names of those who have gone before us, and the response of PRESENTE! after each name was voiced.

(NOTE: The above photo was taken after our annual Anti-War Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. We stopped and showed Kaleb the poster made for the event, then had a prayer and song, leaving the cross with Kaleb.)

Then the call to celebrate. Kaleb took the chain that secured him to the fence and used it to chain the chair he used while fasting to the fence, and announced that it will be there if anyone else wanted to use it. Kaleb then led a procession to Catch 21, the restaurant across the street from where he spent the last 46 days, and was greeted with a Modelo Especial (pilsner-style lager beer), then a big plate of fish and chips. However, before delving into the food, he announced he wanted to use the restroom, which he did not use for 46 days.

Everyone present for the unchaining was invited to the celebration at Catch 21, where the party continued for a few hours. Kaleb is now back home at the LACW. He enjoyed a hot shower, the specially prepared Easter dinner, and later sleeping on his bed. See photos HERE.

We thank Kaleb for his witness and his commitment to the housing crisis on Skid Row (and beyond). We pray for wisdom and strength to continue the struggle.

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