Open Letter to Federal Judge David O. Carter, City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and LAPD

SKID ROW-The intricately detailed, in-depth, historical analysis within the 110-page preliminary injunction issued recently by Federal Judge David O. Carter (photo above, center) clearly identifies the roles both the City of LA and LA County have played in masterminding structures of racism through policies, laws, ordinances and more.

All these have combined to create a web of deceit, bias and prejudice against Black individuals and families which has continued for generations across the city and county. This can be directly attributed as the main component in the widespread systemic racism, housing discrimination, systemic oppression that have greatly contributed to the Black homelessness epidemic in Skid Row and across the City and County of LA. 

Our official Skid Row AdCo response is as follows: 

Because of the intentional, egregious, and malicious acts towards Black Angelenos, the Skid Row Advisory Council demands an acknowledgement of said acts and a public apology from both the City of LA and the County of LA -- prior to any attempts to convene a working relationship in any capacity as so ordered by Federal Judge Carter in his preliminary injunction. 

How can the Skid Row Advisory Council sit across from both the City of LA and the County of LA in efforts to create housing solutions when both the City and County played significant roles in the oppressive "containment" of Black homeless people in Skid Row? 

Similarly, we demand an apology from the Los Angeles Police Department for generations of "containment-style" policing towards Black homeless people in Skid Row -- LAPD's way to keep a unified front regarding the daily distribution of systemic racist agendas against Black people in Skid Row. 

It is the position of the Skid Row Advisory Council that the reason both the City and County of LA filed for stays against said preliminary injunction so quickly is because each of these government entities is attempting to create a diversion that would take the focus completely away from the many systemic racist and systemic oppressive acts identified by Federal Judge Carter in his masterful work within his preliminary injunction. 

It must be noted that neither the City nor County even attempted to be appalled by Federal Judge Carter's findings. Rather, they totally ignored the most compelling presentations of the undisputed proof of systemic racism, systemic oppression and more in our lifetime at the hands of a network of cohorts all connected to both the City and County of LA. 

How can other Angelenos remain silent at this time? In an era where people of all creeds and colors, all walks-of-life, have bonded together to "take it to the streets" and shout "Black Lives Matter" at the top of their lungs, the widespread silence on these issues directly affecting Black homelessness is eerily deafening. 

How, then, can Black homeless people in Skid Row even consider a court-ordered "offer" of housing from the very entities whose systemic racist and systemic oppressive tactics led them on a downward spiral by design to begin with? 

The amount of trauma is beyond measure and at this point beyond a simple public apology (even though we still want it!) 

Before any efforts to move forward can materialize, both the City and County, as well as the LAPD, must first move forward with efforts to heal all the trauma they've caused Black homeless people across LA. 

It must also be stated that any attempts to "decompress" Skid Row's residency of Black homeless people by any measure is also an attempt to undermine Skid Row's Black population in the form of gentrification. Such actions would fall directly in line with the aforementioned systemic racist and systemic oppressive tactics that have continuously plagued Black residents of Skid Row for generations. 

Any additional tactics which appear identical or even similar to criminalization and/or displacement must be immediately eradicated. Such tactics should be frowned upon by the courts, followed by the implementation of additional court-ordered protections to protect Black homeless individuals and families from the collective systemic racist and systemic oppressive wrath of both the City of LA and the County of LA. 

The Skid Row Advisory Council strongly believes that all of the aforementioned issues MUST be addressed prior to any discussions regarding housing of any nature. 

To completely omit the Skid Row Advisory Council's DEMANDS to appropriately address the widespread systemic racism and systemic oppression by both the City of LA and the County of LA prior to any other actions would be akin to completely ignoring the "generational rape" of the Black community. 

With vigor, 

The Skid Row Advisory Council, General Jeff, spokesperson


(General Jeff -- Jeff Page -- is a homelessness activist and leader in Downtown Los Angeles. Jeff’s views are his own.) Photo: Damian Dovarganes. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.