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Resources for DV and Child Abuse in LA County

in The Word is Text by

El Popo Staff

LA COUNTY RESOURCES AND SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE CONCERNS DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Los Angeles, CA (Monday, April 20, 2020)—Los Angeles County recognizes that staying home is not always a safe option for victims experiencing domestic violence during the COVID-19 crisis. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, from 2019 to 2020, domestic violence calls for services have risen in LA County from 863 to 933, an 8.11 percent increase. For people experiencing domestic violence amid the Safer at Home Order, there are services and resources available 24/7 for those who need it. You are not alone. 

L.A. County’s Domestic Violence Services remain available. Shelters are open and accepting people. If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help, resources include: 

  • Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-978-3600, or
  • You can also dial 2-1-1 any time to get connected with services and support in your area or visit 211la.org/domestic-violence.
  • Domestic violence legal services.
  • Dial 9-1-1. Law enforcement is still responding to domestic violence calls, and Emergency Protective Orders are still being issued.

The Violence Against Women Act allows certain non-citizens who are in abusive situations to petition without the assistance of the abusive spouse or parent, for lawful permanent residency. These persons may include:

  • The spouse of a US citizen or legal permanent resident when the abuser is the US citizen, legal resident spouse or a member of his/her family living in the home.
  • The child of a US citizen or legal permanent resident when the abuser is the parent/parent’s spouse or a family member of the parent or parent’s spouse living in the home.
  • The child of the battered spouse.
  • The parent of the battered child.

More information is available at the Department of Public Social Services website.  

Many victims of domestic violence do not leave abusive situations because domestic violence shelters do not accept pets, and they and their pets are forced to endure abuse. For pet owners, LA County Animal Care and Control (DACC) can assist people who are experiencing safe housing issues. To find safe animal centers near you, DACC has provided a map of their locations. 

  • The COLA-HI program provides temporary sheltering for pets belonging to people experiencing homelessness.
  • The Ani-Safe program provides temporary housing to pets belonging to victims of domestic violence.
  • DACC will provide confidential and safe housing for these animals so victims can get the services they need and move into safe living arrangements. 
  • The pets are later reunited with their owners when they have found permanent safe housing.
  • DACC has greatly expanded its fostering program so people can quickly and safely choose a pet to take into their home for a period of time, providing that animal with a calm and nurturing home environment. 
  • Contact DACC for more information.

The consequencs of the COVID-19 pandemic has created the conditions that allow for child abuse to go undetected. Educators are the primary source of reports (20 percent) to child protective services nationwide. However, teachers, guidance counselors, and day care providers who usually serve as lifelines for vulnerable children are no longer in a daily position to witness and report suspected abuse. There are ways everyone can do their part to protect children:

  • People who are concerned about a particular family can help by doing small things to ease the stress that comes with this time. Whether in the form of food, toilet paper, coloring books or just an empathetic ear, these acts of support while keeping social distancing can make a difference and ease parents’ stress. 
  • Make use of technology for virtual check-ins. Look for signs of distress and be a supportive presence.
  • Form parent groups to conduct remote learning for children under 5, because those younger children are at highest risk for abuse.
  • How to report child abuse in LA County: The LA County Office of Child Protection is a policy-making body and does not handle any direct cases. All inquiries or reporting of specific cases should be made to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). To report child abuse in LA County, CA, please contact the Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000 or visit the DCFS website
  • If you have an immediate emergency, call 911 or your local police department; otherwise, call DFCS Child Protective Services to report child abuse and/or neglect.
  • For parents and caregivers: Find the Community-Based Organization offering preventive and support services in your Service Planning Area to call them directly, or call your Regional Office to get connected. You can also call (213) 336-2854 to speak to DCFS Preventive and Support Services staff.

Taxes, Latinos and Technology

in The Word is Text by
Image of a yellow sigen with TAX REFUND AHEAD

by Aileen Ramirez, El Popo Staff

Tax Professionals are essential workers too!

Another job title that the news failed to recognize as heroes who continued to work during this COVID-19 pandemic were tax professionals. Many individuals rushed to get their taxes done because they were going to be dependent on any refunds they may have received from the IRS and/or the FTB after many Americans lost their jobs. 

Majority of these tax appointments can be done over the phone. All the tax preparer needs are all tax documents to be sent over via mail, email, fax, or personally dropped off with a number they can easily be reached. This is how HNR Clark, a tax office in Burbank, CA continued to operate his business. About 40% of HNR Clark’s appointments are already done over the phone; therefore, switching over ALL appointments to be done over the phone was a bit less chaotic than expected. 

T’s Tax Services is a newly tax office in Burbank with majority of their clients being Latinos. The owner of the place is Teresa Ramirez and she is an enrolled agent. Many of her clients called as soon as we went into quarantine, with hopes to be seen that week or later. However, none were capable to do an appointment over the phone. Many of her clients do not have access to a fax machine or scanner to upload documents to a laptop/desktop, as David Lopez stated, “I’m sorry I don’t have an email, nor a laptop to forward my tax information.” The places that have these devices are temporarily closed. Those who have iPhones only use their smart phone to send calls and texts. They do not have an email of their own to even attach documents to send over. Albeit, their only other option was to wait until how long this quarantine lasts, and see if they could get an appointment before July 15 since the IRS and FTB gave a 90 day extension to file taxes. On another occasion, Joanna Silva had an appointment already scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2020. She was asked if she would like to move her appointment to over the phone and she said, “No, I think I’d rather wait until I can get an in person with you”.

According to an article by Pew Research Center, “25% of Hispanics and 23% of blacks are “smart phone” only internet users — meaning they lack a home broadband service but do own a smart phone. By comparison, 12% of whites fall into this category.” Latinos rely only on their smart phones to get access to the EDD to apply to unemployment or other health and government facilities. Even those with a desktop or laptop are not tech savvy and need assistance to browse the internet. On another study, a public library ran a survey to latinos and blacks and asked if they would be interested in a free class that would teach them how to become more tech savvy and know basic digital skills. 48% of latinos were interested, 46% of blacks, and only 20% of whites said the course would be beneficial. 

Parts of the Latinx community are missing out on opportunities that technology can facilitate. Affording access to broadband or use of apps on the smartphone can help with submitting missing tax information such as a 1095A, the health insurance form that you need to file a tax return. Given the current Safer-at-Home instructions, the community struggles to send the information. Without access to the internet other use of certain apps, the yearly tax ritual under COVID-19 is increasingly difficult. Having the tax day pushed to July 15, eases the burdens.

A View from Another World: My Time in Los Angeles

in The Word is Text by

by Katarina Machmer

Katrina Machmer and Valerie Quiroga in the EL POPO podcast booth CSUN

As an international student from Germany – where my major is North American studies and my minor Spanish – I came to CSUN not only because the University’s classes allowed me to study both Mexican and American culture but also because Los Angeles itself is a place where both cultures intermingle.

In addition to theoretically studying American and Latinx culture in my hometown, I wanted to get to know both outside of the classroom. Reporting for El Popo gave me a special insight into Latinx culture in Los Angeles. It enabled me to discover parts of the city that I would not have seen and get to know the stories of people that I might not have met otherwise.

Having enrolled in different ethnic studies classes at CSUN, I learned something very telling about the American educational system: It is only in American universities that students of color get the possibility to learn about their own communities and their history. But even there, outside of the ethnic studies departments, education is sometimes still dominated by a white perspective and worldview. Realities such as racism and discrimination towards minorities in the United States are often glossed over.

This racial narrative is also perpetuated in journalism, the reason why many mainstream newspapers ignore people of color or do not represent their communities in an adequate way. Since I come from a different cultural background myself, I was afraid that I would not be able to appropriately represent the Chicano community in El Popo either. But I was welcomed to bring my own perspective to our newspaper, and I think this is what journalists should be able to do: instead of excluding people because they belong to a different race or class or don’t fit into America’s white racial narrative, journalists should operate as cultural ambassadors and promote diversity, bridging cultural differences and fighting America’s one-sided way of reporting.

They should present alternative as well as critical perspectives, something I could do by helping to voice the stories of people who are still too often ignored or inappropriately portrayed in American media. Racism and discrimination have unfortunately always been present in American society, and during my stay in the U.S. I noticed how deep the division between white people and people of color, especially African-Americans.

Before my semester at CSUN, I had not consciously been aware of the many privileges a white person enjoys in the United States. Since its roots are so deep, this problem is hard to eliminate – but changing the narrative and helping to voice the underrepresented is a step forward. Alternative journalism has the capacity to bring about social change, and I believe in its power.

Managing a Busy Life

in The Word is Text by

by Lisbeth Benavidez

My name is Liseth Benavidez. I am a full time student, full time employee, and a full time mother to a beautiful one year old. Her name is Luna Rae Valdez.

My daughter has been the greatest motivation to get me through school and work. I stress out at times, but I do have a great support system. My mother helps me out and so does my mother-in-law. Having someone to help you, especially when you are a first time mom, is very helpful and beneficial. I go to school four times a day. When I go to school, I drop my daughter off at my mom’s house. Many times, my mom is working or busy that I find someone else to watch her. I usually only go to school, then right after I go pick my daughter up, I go back home. I work five days out of the week. Sometimes I feel I do not spend enough time with my daughter but then again, everything I am doing now is for my daughters future. I want her to have everything In life, everything and anything she wishes for. 

I go to work Wednesday through Sunday. I am a full time employee. I work at a sushi restaurant as a waitress. I must maintain a smile in my face because I work with customers face to face. It is fun where I work because there I am able to make great connections with great people. Also, many of the people I work with are parents or students at CSUN, just like me. 

I always tend to miss my daughter throughout my shift. My daughter is the one person I can go to and look at, and all my stress goes away. When I go home to my daughter after school or after work, I take full advantage. I start playing with her. I read books to her. I feed her and change her. I nap with her. She is literally a mini me. I always tend to give her my full attention when  I am with her because I do not want her to ever feel like I do not love her or that I do not want to see her. When i found out I was pregnant, I felt my life was over because many people told me so. I cried at night thinking how am I going to raise this baby if I am just a teen. But with the love and help I received from everyone in my life, I made it. I do live with my boyfriend, so having him to hep me was a blessing.

My biggest fear was brining my baby into this world. Now that my daughter is  one year old, I am thankful and lucky. I do go to school and I work to make sure I have everything my daughter needs. My life changed in a better way. So for those who tell a pregnant girl that their life is over, is wrong! It is a new beginning and it is the most beautiful one. Watching my daughter grow has to be the most exciting yet sad things because you notice everything and they grow up way too fast. When she gave her first steps I began to cry cause I could not believe it. Now my daughter is running all over the house, getting everything, dropping everything and just being an energetic kid. I love my daughter to death and I will do anything and everything I need to do so that my daughter has a great future. 

Street Vendors Leave the Shadows

in The Word is Text by
Image of Street Vendor selling tortillas

By Jorge Arriaga and Evelyn Robles.

For many years, local street vendors in Los Angeles operated under the radar. For many Chicano families that relied on selling their food or accessories on the street, they were forced to hide and run away from local police and health officials to avoid hefty fines and tickets. It was not until early New Year’s Day 2019 that street vending become legal. Bringing relief to many vendors all around the Los Angeles area.

Street vending has become a primary source of income and in some instances, the only source of income for many families. According to an LA Times article, over 50,000 people who make ends meet by street vending, 80% are females. Selling food is one of the most popular and common items sold in the streets of Los Angeles. Street vendors all around the Los Angeles county from East Los Angeles all the way over the San Fernando Valley selling tacos, fruit any many other delicious foods.

We had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful lady named Maria, who happens to sell a bunch of Mexican and Central American goodies in an intersection on Beverly Blvd & Kenmore St. She sold Tamales, Chiles Rellenos, Atole de elote, Arroz con leche and garnachas (a very popular central american food that is made up of a lightly fried handmade tortillas that comes with beef, cheese and tomato sauce on top, with cabbage and jalapenos on the side). I remember asking Maria how she felt about food vending being legalized, and her response was really heart warming and eye opening at the same time. Maria responded to my question by saying “ Le doy gracias a dios por esta oportunidad, por muchos años la cuidad me tiraba toda la comida que yo vendía, quitándome la oportunidad de trabajar y ganar mi dinero para poder soportar a mis hijos, la policía me a multado y esos eran unos tiempos muy espantosos.” The wonderful part about street vending is that consumers like you and I can have mouth watering food for relatively cheap prices.

I live down the street from what is now a really popular taco truck called “Leo’s tacos”, a viral sensation that started off as a small taco stand within a car wash on the corner of Temple and Glendale. I went over to Leo’s tacos this past weekend and briefly asked a worker that has been there since the beginning, what It felt like to have a successful business despite all the obstacles that they faced. One of the workers named Irma went on to tell me that it was hard in the beginning, especially before the street vending law went into effect because there were times where the city would come and shut them down or where the car wash would call the police on them. She went on to tell me “ No sabia que hacer, me estaba desesperando, no tenía a nadie y me quería regresar a méxico, pero de repente paso un milagro, cuando pasó la ley dándonos el poder de vender en la calle hicimos un trato con el car wash y empezamos a vender nuestros tacos, y les encanto a la gente… después nos hicimos virales en facebook y de ahí crecimos, mucha gente de diferentes lugares nos visitan hasta celebrities”, She ended by saying “No se den por vencidos, si se puede, hay que echarle muchas ganas.”

Street vending has opened up many opportunities for many Chicanas like Maria and Irma but not everything is as perfect as it may seem. Vendors sell in the parts of Los Angeles where lower income families live and are the ones who benefit . They are able to sell their food to the low-income families at relatively cheaper prices and most importantly face little to no problems with the law. But what happens to those Chicanos that street vendors on upper scale cites such as Santa Monica? As it turns out, those vendors tend to have much more problems despite having their vending license. According to an article in Forbes, cities like Santa Monica have found other alternatives on how to target street venders by citing them with tickets for other so called ‘crimes.” The article explains how a couple was making its way out of the metro station and about to cross the street when they were given a ticket for “blocking, impeding, or obstructing the path to a beach facility”… as we can see the city of Santa Monica is finding any little reason to fine these poor street vendors. But despite the fact that street vending is now legalized and Chicana/o vendors now have the opportunity to make a living without having to worry about being fined or arrested despite some cities finding others way to stop vendors from making an honest living.

Federal Government Creates Fear in Family Separation Policy

in The Word is Text by
  • imagecbp.jpg
    A new policy approved by ICE would separate families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border and target parents who try to retrieve their children from immigration detention centers. (Photo: @NIJC/Twitter)

by Elizabeth Valdez

The Federal Government has deliberate fear among immigrants by separating families.

Parents and their children are the main victims. Reports indicate that children less than the age of one are separated by their parents and placed into foster care. The act of taking children away from their families also result in psychological trauma as such that children will have to live the rest of their lives in fear of never seeing their parents.

More than 2,300 children have been separated. The number of children exposed to this trauma will have to live with the memories of losing their parents. The psychological impact these children will have to go through will not only affect the way they think, but they way they behave as well. According to The Washington Post’s What Separation from Parents Does to Children, “Those separated from their parents at a young age had much less white matter, which is largely made up of fibers that transmit information throughout the brain, as well as less gray matter, which contains the brain-cell bodies that process information and solve problems.”

Children are separated from their parents as migrants cross the border. They are not allowed to be held in a federal jail due to our policies, so instead they are taken from their parents and placed in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

It first started on March 7, 2017, when the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly confirmed in a report that the administration is considering separating families at the border. On April 20, 2018 a news report claimed that more than 700 children had been taken from their parents since October of the previous year. Moreover,100 of those 700 are under the age of 4. 

The Trump administration started a “zero tolerance” policy on the southwest border that started on April 6. After many months, it finally ended when Trump signed an executive order designed to keep migrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border because of ACLU lawsuits. However, many children have yet to be reunited with their parents. Litigation is continuing.

How can we stop this from happening again…

A few of the things we can do are:

1.Donate money to charities that help those families getting affected

2. Call our representatives because they are the ones they represent what we want to happen.

3. Find a local protest so your voice gets heard.

4. Inform others so that everyone as a whole can make a change.

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