Westlake community group celebrates anniversary, gives aid in MacArthur Park
On Sunday, Nov. 14, Revolutionary Autonomous Communities of Los Angeles, a organization that promotes a communal effort of aid and self sufficiency, celebrated its third-year anniversary in MacArthur Park. The special event commemorated the organization’s food distribution efforts, as well as its volunteers.
Mauricio, a Revolutionary Autonomous Communities (RAC) volunteer, who asked his surname be withheld, has been with the organization from its inception. He says the group has established different relationships with people, including local markets and food banks, that provide them with produce, as well as support.
“It’s mutual aid, not a charity,” he said. “Some people are monetarily present but also physically.”
Bilingual pamphlets were handed out giving tips on healthy eating and recipes. RAC volunteer Amalia “Soledad” Ruiz provided one of the recipes. She has received help from the RAC in the past. On occasion, she says, she will go home and cook with the food she receives from the organization and bring back lunch for the volunteers.
“You know I didn’t know about them,” she said. “I was picking up bottles to recycle, and look at me now, I’ve been here for more than a year.”
Among the boxes filled with organic fruits and vegetables, there were several workshops readily available to attendees. The workshops focused on immigration, the impounding of cars belonging to immigrant drivers and nutrition.
Among the speakers was Cynthia Anderson, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), who is running a statewide campaign focused on providing legal support to immigrant drivers who have had their cars impounded. She said impounds target low-income families and violate private property rights.
“When you lose your car, you lose everything,” she said. “My role as a civil rights lawyer is to help the community through support and empowerment.”
Anderson handed out fliers to participants, both in English and Spanish, giving them step by step instructions on what to do if they are pulled over and if their car is towed.
East LA attorney Guillermo Suarez discussed immigration rights and gave a four-point plan he said was essential to immigrants. One of these steps was to write a letter granting power of attorney, in anticipation of being arrested, to a trusted family member so that this person has the power to pick up their children and prevent them from being put into the foster care system. Suarez emphasized the importance obeying the law.
“Please don’t hit your wives or drive drunk,” he said. “Obey the law so they don’t use that as an excuse to deport you.”
Suarez stressed the community had to organize independent of Republicans and Democrats. He wants to see a consistent community effort in calling attention to immigration issues. He said there has been more deportations under President Obama than under George W. Bush.
Elena Sparza, a chiropractor who also specializes in natural medicine, spoke about nutrition. She explained the importance of incorporating organic fruits and vegetables into one’s diet, especially with children.
“Sometimes when we move to this country we forget about our roots and when we cook we cook food that doesn’t speak to our culture,” she said. “Your traditional foods are the best medicine for you.”
Shirts with the RAC logo and vegan soups were being sold to raise money for the purchase of rice, beans and other supplies. The band La Santa Cecilia performed Latin American music while food was distributed.
The RAC distributes food every Sunday in MacArthur Park on Park View from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. They also offer lessons to children on how to grow vegetables at a community garden.