Thursday, February 01, 2007

Horror Gateway...

I read the following piece on Davey D's MySpace blog; it's a swipe of an article written by Annette Stark on Latino gangs targeting black folks in LA...

Like other African-American residents of this 12-block working-class enclave, Charlene Lovett came to the South L.A. neighborhood of Harbor Gateway thinking she was giving her kids a better life. Shortly after she settled in, her neighbors came over to warn her about a decade of violence by Latino gangs against neighborhood blacks. Lovett recalls, "They said don't walk north to 204th Street."

That was six years ago. Today, one wall in Lovett's tidy ground floor apartment is dedicated – with photos, letters, and posters – to her 14-year-old daughter Cheryl Green, who was brutally gunned down in December by the 204th Street Gang, the 100-member Latino street gang that has been terrorizing the black community there. "I'm not part of a gang. My daughter was not part of a gang," Lovett stresses. "My daughter was killed because of the color of her skin."

This is not a gang war. There is no black gang that encroaches on the 204's turf. The hate is so prevalent and obvious that activists and city officials alike can no longer avoid calling it by the name being used by everyone from prosecutors to opinion writers in the L.A. Times: ethnic cleansing. "I'm not saying it's a problem with Latinos generally," Lovett clarifies. "I wouldn't dare say that. All I'm saying is that the gangs here have let it be known that they hate black people.

"They have written it on the walls, graffiti-ed the ground, and put it online, on the web."

The evidence is hard to miss: the N-word is graffitied everywhere; 206th Street has been declared a line blacks cannot cross; there is a big market on 204th Street in which blacks are forbidden to shop. Like other Latino gang members, one of the suspects charged in this murder had a MySpace web page riddled with anti-black rhetoric.

And now, more. Seated at her dining table and joined by Los Angeles Humanity Advocacy Group's Melvin Snell and Project Islamic Hope's Najee Ali, Lovett listens, hands pressed against her mouth, as Snell reads a letter she recently received from the previous occupant of her apartment. And though it came just a few days ago, "Words of encouragement from one black mother to another," is dated December 13, 2006. The sender – Snell calls her "Blank" – was working in the Emergency Room in Harbor UCLA hospital the night Cheryl and her friends were rushed in. She helped get the victims out of the car. "I watched them work on your baby," she says.

"I know you don't remember me, but my name is 'Blank.' I'm the lady who used to live in your apartment. When I moved out, you moved in. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for not warning you about the 204s. You see I had a bad experience with them. They shot my daughter's boyfriend's car up one night as they were leaving to go to the movies. God spared my daughter, for some reason. I don't know. God needed Cheryl up in heaven."

Across the street, newly constructed Spanish-style town homes are riddled with bullet holes and anti-black graffiti. Photographer Ted Soqui was taking pictures when he caught up with the developer, a Chinese immigrant, who said he has to patch broken windows and bullet holes and clean up the 204s racial slogans once a week. It's sad, he said. He was trying to build something that would make the neighborhood nicer.

Ernesto Alcarez, 20, was arrested Dec. 21 in connection with Green's murder, and on Jan. 4 police had Jonathan Fajardo, 18, the alleged triggerman, in custody. Both are charged with special circumstances murder, attempted murder, and hate crimes. They can face the death penalty if convicted.

For the rest of the article, click here

No comments: