Westlake community group celebrates anniversary, gives aid in MacArthur Park

November 20, 2010
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Revolutionary Autonomous Communities volunteers prepare to distribute food in MacArthur as part of their third-year anniversary. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

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.”

A Westlake resident takes a box holding fruits and vegetables handed to her by an RAC volunteer. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

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.”

Attorney Guillermo Suarez gives legal advice regarding immigration issues to attendees. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

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.

La Santa Cecilia performs in MacArthur park as a part of the RAC’s three-year anniversary celebration. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

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.

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2 Responses to Westlake community group celebrates anniversary, gives aid in MacArthur Park

  1. Norma J F Harrison on November 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    GOOD WORK!!! all of it! This is what we need in order to build the unity necessary for us to take the ownership out of our OWNERS’ hands into ours. This is the most difficult aim because of our deep alienation one from another – our fear, anger, distrust, and the built up hatred among us. These are created and fostered by the institutions of the ruling class, our Owners, the profiteers and their toadies like police, school teachers, priests, and even our parents neighbors communities – the little that’s left of the last, the little of community that has survived the capitalist onslaught against us.

    The ruling class, The Rich, the electing class, own us here on the plantation, a relationship your work seeks to challenge with information and the opportunities for people to meet and to understand together, their/our enemy.

    The root of anarchism is in organizing to build the socialist/communist struggle, so we may employ the anarchism that derives from the withering away of the State. Like a butterfly, the lovely alliances emerge, us taking care of us all, us no longer in service to what becomes the afterbirth of our liberation, laying in the sewers by the sides of the roads.

  2. John A Imani on November 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Comrades,

    This is RAC.

    We are comrades (companero(a)s) united working together for each other.

    It is a simple proposition: that more can be accomplished by cooperation.

    And not only that (the modest material gain notwithstanding), that different and more human relationships–free of the fiats and whimsies of self-appointed law-givers, high-priests and rulers–can be constructed (really, just allowed to emerge).

    That, is the beauty of the RAC-LA Food Program. And, in spite of and with all of our lackings and needs, we celebrate our 3 years of, as the Panthers before us, “serving the people”.

    JAI
    RAC-LA

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