The Community Engagement within the San Fernando Valley

Image of the San Fernando Valley

The overall meaning of Race is tearing our country apart. With most of the country battling a viral pandemic for almost a year, there has been more media coverage about COVID-19 than any other news coverage across the country. With my original project focusing on the City of San Fernando, I am giving recognition the East half of the San Fernando Valley. With previous data from Census reporter, there are over 25,000 people living in the city of San Fernando, California but over 1,538,879 people living in the San Fernando Valley. With a 90% ethnic population of the city of San Fernando being predominately Latino and the San Fernando Valley having very diverse community, it’s important to note that only 42% being Hispanic. While it may seem that Latinos are the majority of the ethnic population, the overall definition of Race plays into two questions that I have for the communities within the San Fernando Valley.

In different interviews with people living within the cities of San Fernando and Pacoima California, I’ve received some preety interesting responses from people of different backgrounds.

What is race defined as to you? How have you seen your definition of race be represented within your community? How has the police assess and approach any situation within your community?

1. Juan Gomez, Los Angeles

Race is the opportunity for people to get a better understanding of what it means to recognize a different form of community. With so many people being from different backgrounds, it gives people within my community of Los Angeles to discover a new acquaintance and appreciate the fact that there are many more forms of race instead of defining it by skin color. Now, the way police in my community tend to see race as is an opportunity to harass people of color based off of racial profiling.

2. Rey Tolteka-Cuahtin, San Fernando

Race is defined to me as a binding within our socio-economic hierarchy that allows everyone to get their own understanding of the differences between people based off of the color of their skin. The way that my definition of race has been represented in my community is based off of how there are more Latino men being arrested for petty crimes such as theft than there are White men being taken into custody.

3. Brian Zamora, San Fernando

Race is the opportunity for you to identify a sense of diversity within yourself and or you to identify a sense of diversity within yourself and your community. The way police see more people of color within my community based off of high gang activity, they have a tendency to not necessarily racially profile people of color based off of who they look like, but more based off of what colors they wear and where they live specifically in high gang populated neighborhoods/territories.

4. Anthony Marquez, Pacoima

Race to me is just a social construct that’s used to classify people of different skin color. There’s no proper way of representing race within my community because people perceive race as a variety of things. For example, one person can think of race being represented in their community by representing gangs, another person such as a police officer can perceive race as an opportunity to racially profile a person of color based off of a “probable cause” scenario.

5. Sammuel Santiago, Pacoima

Race to my understanding is the oppressing thing that makes us all different. For the way that race is represented in my community now is all of the protesting that has been going on due to many forms of racial inequality. For police officers, when people do this type of stuff it gives them the notion that people of color; primarily of the minority races will tend to be classified as a suspect in crimes ranging from petty theft to GTA.

6. Steven Meza, Pacoima

Race is just a way for people to see if there’s a way to figure out if they’re a part of a gang or not. The way this idea of race has been implemented into my community is the rivalry between the Pacas, MS-13 Salvadorian gangs and the SanFe Mexican gangs. In a better context, the Pacas use the Raider gear to represent their gang symbol as well as the LA Dodgers logo while the SanFe gang uses the san Francisco 49ers acronym logo. The way the police see this idea of race is, if you’re wearing any form of gang related colors, you’ll be a target of being confronted whether by the police or gang members themselves. I myself have been questioned by cholos and police and have been detained at one point all because the officer thought I was a part of a gang and told me to “not wear that color of shirt out here”. It just goes to show that anyone can be misidentified for someone else not just by the color of their skin but by the colors that they’re wearing.

Because Los Angeles is such a big city with diverse populations, I have decided to focus on my hometown which is the city of San Fernando. There are over 25,000 people who live in the city that are predominately Latino.

With 25,000 people living in the incorporated city, it wouldn’t be enough to determine a proper election count. Now, with a State Senate District Population of 965,685, that will be more than enough to determine a fair election vote coming in October-November.

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