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We stand with Angelenos holding elected officials accountable

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October 13, 2022
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We at CRLA join other advocates and countless Angelenos in strongly condemning the anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, homophobic, and racist comments from three Latinx elected Los Angeles city councilmembers and the president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

We know from our clients’ experiences just how damaging a racist remark from a boss, agency leader, or elected official can be, how words—or silent tolerance of them—can lead to real and lasting harm.

In 1993, we launched the Indigenous Farmworker Project after being called to action by Indigenous leaders to meet the unique needs of California’s growing Indigenous Mexican farmworker communities. Now known as the Indigenous Program, it remains the only legal services program in California exclusively focused on the legal rights of Indigenous Latin American communities.

A critical aspect of the Indigenous Program’s work is identifying the nuanced forms of discrimination that Indigenous communities face. Program staff advocate for clients who have experienced targeted anti-Indigenous bias that often goes unrecognized in the United States. As this incident illustrates, racism against Indigenous Latin Americans is widespread and unacceptably common.

Indigenous communities face numerous challenges, often stemming from internalized white supremacy and anti-Indigenous bias, including dangerous and unfair working conditions, housing discrimination, barriers for parents and their children in the education system, and language barriers during interactions with government agencies, including healthcare facilities and law enforcement. It is deeply disappointing to see the leaders in this incident contribute to the marginalization faced by Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Latin American communities have enriched California’s linguistic and cultural diversity, and their contributions in agriculture and other industries enhance food security and wellbeing for us all. Indigenous communities deserve better.

I know that Los Angeles is home to many people who share our belief that when we win justice and uphold the civil rights of the most marginalized communities in our society, the benefits and protections extend to other communities too.

May that shared belief continue to be a touchstone as Angelenos seek to hold their elected representatives accountable.

Adelante creando luz,

José Padilla
Executive Director

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