Photo Series: ReOpen LA, May Day 2020

California reopening starting this Friday. Photos from the anti-lockdown protest that took place May 1 in Los Angeles.

As part of a larger project called Isolated America, I want to share this hotline. 520-261-6763

We want to hear how the pandemic has affected your life, in any way. You can be anonymous, or you can let us know who you are, up to you.

20200501_7338_02_MAYDAY2020
An anti-locked down protestor holds his sign reading “ALL OUR JOBS ARE ESSENTIAL”. LA City Hall
20200501_7447_12_MAYDAY2020
Anti-Lockdown protestors gather on LA City Hall steps. Red X’s mark where protestors from a different cause practiced social distancing, days prior to May 1.
20200501_7473_16_MAYDAY2020
Counter-protestor and anti-lockdown protestor arguing. LAPD form a police line around this section of the protest.
20200501_7348_06_MAYDAY2020
Counter-protestors form a line across the street, stopping the car caravan anti-lockdown protestors.
20200501_7494_18_MAYDAY2020
Anti-lockdown protestors honk their car’s horn as they drive around LA City Hall.
20200501_7551_24_MAYDAY2020
Anti-lockdown protestors march down past the police line. Some take to streets with their signs and flags.
20200501_7568_25_MAYDAY2020
An anti-lockdown protestor with an American flag and a Blue Lives Matter patch on his face mask. Under the bridge, protestors flood the streets as semi-trucks join the car caravan protest.
20200501_7575_26_MAYDAY2020
Semi-trucks joining the car caravan anti-lockdown protest.
20200501_7589_28_MAYDAY2020
Anti-lockdown protestor on the pedestrian bridge next to LA City Hall looking down at his fellow protestors.

L.A. Is a Ghost Town: Photos From Desolate Streets and Abandoned Landmarks

Shot for LA Taco

20200329_3246_40_emptyLA
Union Station is only allowing travelers into the station. Here is a look into the only window a non-traveler can get close to due to the added security measures and guards. 03/29 2:37PM
20200329_3281_42_emptyLA
On Braodway in Chinatowm, small businesses are closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. 03/29 2:54PM
20200329_3257_41_emptyLA
Placita Olvera, empty during the pandemic. On a Sunday afternoon, people from all over the world, as well as from LA, can be seen enjoying their time here. 03/29 2:44PM
Vendor booths, Olvera Street. 03/29 2:23PM
Vendor booths, Olvera Street. 03/29 2:23PM
20200329_3222_38_emptyLA
Historic Olvera Street has shut down for the most part amidst the outbreak. On any Sunday afternoon, the popular space would be packed with people. Now, only a security guard and a few homeless angelinos stay in the area. 03/29 2:22PM
Olvera Street vendor booth, closed until further notice. 03/29 2:19PM
Olvera Street vendor booth, closed until further notice. 03/29 2:19PM
20200329_3197_36_emptyLA
Espacio 1839, a community shop and space for a radio show, let people know they would be closing until further notice. Las Palomas, a business serving food and drinks for the community, has closed their security gates due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Mariachi Plaza, Boyle Heights. 03/29 1:49PM
Mariachi Plaza, Boyle Heights. 03/29 1:49PM
20200329_3168_34_emptyLA
Storefronts in Boyle Heights sit closed due to the city order to close non-essential businesses. 03/29 1:48PM
20200329_3164_33_emptyLA
Mariachi Plaza on a Sunday afternoon would normally be busy with community members doing various things. From musicians, visitors, families, and city workers, this plaza is famous for the community coming together. It is barren on this afternoon. 03/29 1:47PM
20200329_3136_32_emptyLA
A retail store, like those found in Los Callejones, closed down due to the pandemic. Only the food workers can be heard talking as few people come and go from the Alameda swapmeet.
20200329_3135_31_emptyLA
A popular shop in the Alameda swapmeet for the Catholic community in Vernon and surrounding areas, closed down. 03/29 1:19PM
20200329_3132_30_emptyLA
The entrance to the interior of the Alameda Swap Meet, closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only the restaurants can serve take out food at the swap meet. 03/29 1:13PM
110 Freeway & Wilshire Boulevard. 03/29 12:30PM
110 Freeway & Wilshire Boulevard. 03/29 12:30PM
20200329_3094_28_emptyLA
The popular swap mall at MacArthur Park closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak. 03/29 12:05PM
Another portion of The Santee Alley, completely empty of people. 03/29 11:21AM
Another portion of The Santee Alley, completely empty of people. 03/29 11:21AM
20200329_3001_26_emptyLA
A closed shop in the Santee Alley. A small wind through the alley is the only sound that can be heard. 03/29 11:16AM
20200329_2984_25_emptyLA
The iconic Santee Alley, known for being open 365 days a year, is closed and empty except for 2 security guards. Thousands would normally walk through here on any given weekend. 03/29 11:12AM
Santee Street during would-have-been peak hour. 03/29 11:08AM
Santee Street during would-have-been peak hour. 03/29 11:08AM
20200329_2947_23_emptyLA
Colorful awnings hang above the closed stores in Los Callejones during what would have been a peak time for business owners and shoppers. 03/29 10:56AM
20200329_2934_22_emptyLA
Security gates signaling closure, an open parking meter. Sunday morning, March 29th. 10:52AM
20200329_2916_21_emptyLA
A portion of Los Callejones, completely void of humans on a Sunday morning. 03/29 10:47AM
20200329_2882_20_emptyLA
Wall Street and 4th, extremely quiet except for the convenience store clerk’s movement as he restocks his shelves. Sunday, March 29. 10:37AM
20200329_2859_19_emptyLA
Storefronts in Los Callejones of LA with their messages regarding closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Only cars driving on the main street blocks away can be heard here. 03/29 10:23AM
20200329_2855_18_emptyLA
On Winston Street and Los Angeles Street, The T-Shirt Guys and Salud y Belleza are closed down with their COVID-19 notices taped up. Normally an extremely popular retail shopping area, the blocks of stores are completely shut down. 03/29 10:22AM
20200328_2777_17_emptyLA
One of Hollywood’s most iconic landmarks, TCL Chinese Theater, is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Onlookers are few and far between as Hollywood’s most famous area lays barren of visitors. Only police and homeless people can be seen on the normally-bustling boulevard. 03/28 2:58PM
20200328_2754_16_emptyLA
Hollywood and Highland, a destination known around the world for its view of the Hollywood sign, empty. 03/28 2:51PM
20200328_2673_15_emptyLA
Looking down Wilshire Boulevard on a Saturday afternoon, no cars or people can be seen out. 03/28 2:20PM
20200328_2669_14_emptyLA
The famed “Urban Lights” public art piece, more commonly known as the LACMA Lights, sits without any kind of visitor. 03/28 2:20PM
20200328_2605_13_emptyLA
Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, a go-to location for locals and tourists every day of the week, lays empty with only a few small business restaurants accepting take out orders. 03/28 1:37PM
20200328_2510_12_emptyLA
The ultra-popular Venice Beach Skatepark is taped off, closed due to the Safer at Home city order. Saturday, March 28. 12:33PM
20200328_2502_11_emptyLA
Looking north on Venice Beach, the popular hangout spot is barren due to the coronavirus outbreak. Saturday, March 28. 12:31PM
20200328_2486_10_emptyLA
An iconic section of the Venice Beach boardwalk, empty and on orders to close. Above, a police helicopter threatens to arrest those are on the beach. Homeless angelinos are told by Venice Beach Police to leave the beach.
20200328_2408_09_emptyLA
Santa Monica pier empty aside from police officers, closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak. 03/28 11:47AM
20200328_2366_08_emptyLA
The farthest point on the pier would normally have musicians, people fishing, restaurant-goers and tourists on a Saturday morning. Only two city vehicles are there now. 03/28 11:32AM
20200328_2358_07_emptyLA
Santa Monica pier looking towards the city. This stretch is where the majority of people would have been in pre-pandemic times. 03/28 11:29AM
20200328_2312_06_emptyLA
The rear area of the closed Santa Monica pier. Only 4 police officers, a small security team, and the Pacific Park manager are on the pier now. 03/28 11:19AM
20200328_2297_05_emptyLA
Santa Monica Beach city workers enforce the beach closure, only a tiny fraction of the amount of people that are usually here on a Saturday morning can be seen in the far distance. Saturday, March 28. 11:14AM
20200328_2290_04_emptyLA
Saturday, March 28 at 11:13AM. The Santa Monica Pier and beach was ordered to close by the City of Los Angeles. Pacific Park, the amusement park on the pier, normally holds 2,500 people on busy days such as Saturday and Sunday.
20200328_2244_03_emptyLA
Hill Street as seen from the 110 south. On any given morning, this street is bustling with traffic, both car and pedestrian. The Safer at Home order by the city keeps most people from leaving their homes. Saturday, March 28. 10:25AM
A stretch of Saigon Plaza, Chinatown. Tuesday, March 17 10:52AM
A stretch of Saigon Plaza, Chinatown. Tuesday, March 17 10:52AM
20200317_1563_01_emptyLA
Lisa’s Fashion & Gift closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses in Chinatown have found it extremely difficult to stay open, since they have experienced a drastic drop in foot traffic since word of the virus originating in China hit the US. Tuesday, March 17th 10:51AM

United States v. Gomez

181002_0118_0001_jorge

“My name is Jorge Steven Gomez, I am 19 years old, I come from Honduras and on September 19th, I was released on bond from the Adelanto ICE Processing Center,” said Jorge Gomez.

On Aug. 23, 2017, Gomez was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff and taken to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. During his six month sentence, he received a notice from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency stating that he was to be detained for immigration processing.

“I did not believe it,” he said.

Gomez fled Honduras when he was sixteen and was approved for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. This immigration status is granted to children who arrive unaccompanied and were neglected, abused or abandoned in their home country by one or both parents, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“It has been very complicated, being alone in this country, not having my parents [around],” said Gomez.

With turmoil in Honduras, a deportation for Gomez can result in a death sentence.

Gomez arrived at Adelanto ICE Processing Center during April, where he signed up to get help from the Legal Orientation Program, which led to him being represented by attorney Jaqueline Aranda.

“Many people told me that it was not easy [to get in contact with the legal orientation program], they said I had good luck,” said Gomez.

At the Adelanto ICE Processing Facility, detainees must act affirmatively by signing up on sheets posted in the dormitories to obtain Legal Orientation Program services. According to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Legal Orientation Program staff relies on ICE to bring individuals listed on the sign-up sheet.

“The Legal Orientation Program has no input or control over which detainees they see or when they see a detainee at ICE’s Adelanto Processing Center,” said Gail Montenegro, the EOIR’s Regional Public Information Officer for the Midwest.

Gomez’s processing has developed differently due to him being processed in both the immigration court system and having the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status while in line for a visa. The hope, according to Aranda, was that a visa would become available before the removal proceedings were over.

“Broadly, there are two main agencies that deal with immigration, one is the immigration court system and the other is USCIS. USCIS processes applications for anything you are asking for affirmatively; in the court system, you’re acting defensively– so if you’re in the court system, the government is trying to deport you. SIJS was processed by USCIS and then [Jorge] was placed in removal proceedings in immigration court,” said Aranda.

At the 6 month mark in the Central District of California, detainees are automatically scheduled for a bond hearing. During these bond or “Rodriguez”, hearings, it is the government’s legal burden to prove why they should continue detaining the defendant.

“It’s really jarring when you have one agency in the federal government that says it’s not in this young person’s best interest to return to their home country, but then they’re in removal proceedings, and you have a separate agency saying this person should go back to that country,” said Aranda.

During the Rodriguez bond hearing, the application of the law is not in accordance to itself.

“It’s [the government’s] legal burden, but realistically, these judges are just looking for the person in proceedings to prove to them that they should be released,” said Aranda, “so what you do at bond hearings is try to paint a full picture of the person and convince the judge to let this person out of detention.”

“The fear of returning to my country gave me strength to keep fighting my case,” said Gomez.

After receiving aid from a GoFundMe fundraiser, Jorge was able to leave custody.

“The truth is that [the public] already helped. They helped me pay my bond. It all depends on me now,” said Gomez.

“A lot of times when people do have the opportunity to get out of custody [on bond], they just can’t pay it,” said Aranda, “because many [who] are detained come from really underserved, overcriminalized communities that do not have a lot of resources; financial support can make a really big difference.”

Community groups such as the Immigrant Youth Coalition, who supported Jorge emotionally, financially, and mentally, are excellent resource groups to get involved with if one cannot help financially.

 

Photo Series: Occupy ICE LA, 9/11

On September 11th, 2018, OccupyICE LA organized a press conference on the sidewalk of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. This detention center is used by the Department of Homeland Security & Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With the recent light shed on ICE’s operations throughout the United States, OccupyICE LA decided to hold their press conference as a way to inform the public about how ICE emerged from the 9/11/01 tragedy in New York City, and has shaped into an organization that uses terrorist-like tactics against civilians, immigrants, and children.

Upon ending the press conference, activists formed a blockade on all three driveways of the Metropolitan Detention Center.

180911_8568_0002_sept11
Indigenous Tongva leader & activist speaks at the press conference.
180911_8577_0003_sept11
Los Angeles Police Department begin to regulate the press conference.
180911_8621_0006_sept11
Black Lives Matter organizer delivers a powerful speech at the conference.
180911_8682_0010_sept11
Department of Homeland Security Officer Jason Lynd tries to subdue the blockade participants. Jason Lynd is openly a white supremacist.
180911_8700_0013_sept11
Private security for the building complex blocks the path for more protestors to join the blockade.
180911_8727_0014_sept11
Aftermath of Jason Lynd (DHS officer/white supremacist) running over the altar dedicated to immigrants that have been abused or have died while in custody.
180911_8794_0023_sept11
Protestor arrested by DHS Officer Jung.
180911_8832_0027_sept11
Temple street blockade.
180911_8852_0030_sept11
LAPD conducts an arrest of blockade protestors.

Photo Series: Occupy ICE – Los Angeles

A statement by writer, Daniel Flores:

The distinction we make between humans and non-humans can be seen in the way we regard animals like mice, raccoons, and coyotes. They hide from us and, for the most part, occupy spaces in which we become visitors.

Because we feel as though our niches are for ourselves alone, we become distressed upon seeing these animals in human spaces. Their occupation of space in our environment is disruptive because they are less than human creatures that encroach on us. We feel threatened by their potential to change the way we live in our environment; for this reason we employ exterminators.

To occupy human space as a human, however, is a rational act. The existence of law enforcement whose sole purpose is to seek out and remove certain groups of people is an act of extermination in a civilized world. Public outcry against these organizations has consistently been spoken against and mobilized against by an administration whose agenda is to divide the people.

Those who occupy federal space do so in order to disrupt the normal activities of the aforementioned organizations. The action taken in Portland against protesters of ICE is evidence of this. Not only, then, are these organizations disrupted by immigrants themselves, but also by those who seek to expose the inhumanity of ICE and Border Patrol.

We encroach on territory that these people desperately want to hold onto. We are pests to these people. We are all less than human to these people because we are insubordinate to an administration whose heinous actions are being exposed. We cannot allow them to push us into the attic, the mountains, or the sewers where they want us.

Now is the time to reclaim this space from the violence of a dehumanizing administration.

180710_5923_0010_OCCUPYICE
“IT MATTERS WHERE WE ARE”
180710_5897_0003_OCCUPYICE
Entrance to the garage where deportation vans are kept.
180710_5900_0004_OCCUPYICE
We all come from the Earth.
180710_5906_0005_OCCUPYICE
This is a protest sign in the United States, 2018.
180710_5907_0006_OCCUPYICE
“The people united will never be divided. Keep Families together.”
180710_5911_0007_OCCUPYICE
Occupying land that the state stole.
180710_5889_0002_OCCUPYICE
To occupy an oppressor’s space is to make them have less room to move.
180710_5913_0008_OCCUPYICE
U.S. flag.
180710_5917_0009_OCCUPYICE
Sidewalk, tents, & signs.
180710_5932_0011_OCCUPYICE
Personal goods.
180710_5937_0012_OCCUPYICE
A dreamcatcher made by the Tongva people. The federal immigration building is shown behind.
180710_5959_0013_OCCUPYICE
Workers remove a chalk drawing from the driveway of the garage.
180710_5974_0014_OCCUPYICE
“Justice for the children”
180710_5975_0015_OCCUPYICE
Close-up of collage on floor.