People’s City Council organizes first ‘Community Day’ in Echo Park

People's City Council organized a "Community Day" on Tuesday at Echo Park. Donations were provided by , LifeKit,a non-profit organization, and local Angelenos.

Samantha Bravo, Assistant News Editor

Angelenos were provided with a free meal and essential resources at Echo Park Lake during a “Community Day” organized by People’s City Council on Tuesday morning. This was the first food and supplies distribution event organized by the group.

Around ten volunteers handed out bags full of water, food, feminine care products and personal protective equipment to anyone who asked. The group organized a table on the northwest side of Echo Park Lake with a display of what they had available and individuals were able to pick what they needed.

“We wanted to reach out to people in Echo Park, which is right now sort of the battleground when it comes to the conversation around the unhoused community and the encampments and what the City Council lacks of — understanding and willingness to take care of people,” said Albert Corado, a PCC organizer.

PCC was formed in the midst of COVID-19 and created by members from the L.A. Tenants Union, Street Watch L.A. and KTown For All, organizations based in Los Angeles that fight for human and tenants rights.

Corado said they partnered with LifeKit, a local non-profit that provides resources to the city’s homeless population, and organized the event within a week.

“What we do here is not what the city government does. What they do is called ‘means testing.’ They want you to prove that you need the food, they want you to prove that you’re homeless or in need,” Corado said. “You want to come here and get some food and get some supplies? We’re here for you. This park means a lot to us and this community means a lot to us.”

The first donation of the day was provided by LifeKit. PCC organizers provided homemade breakfast burritos and L.A. Tenants Union provided tenant handbooks, which help tenants understand their tenant rights for issues such as illegal evictions, landlord harassments and unsafe living conditions.

“Some people right now are using all their income right now on their rent and we don’t want people choosing between food or rent, that’s why we’re out here with the Tenants Union handbook so people know their rights,” said Sabrina Johnson, a PCC volunteer. “We want people to know that right now if you can’t pay rent, you don’t have to pay rent and there’s community here to help if you need food.”

Sako Chekerjian, a CSUN student, said he learned of the event through an Instagram post and decided to volunteer. Chekerjian helped organize cases of water to make it easier for distribution.

“We actually maxed out in donations. We can’t get anymore, but now we’re just trying to organize things. So if someone needs supplies we could just give it to them right away,”Chekerjian said.

“There’s been an outpouring of support, it’s been phenomenal,” Johnson said.

PCC and Sunrise Movement L.A. organizer, Astrid Cota, 20 from East L.A. said they received a lot of attention from the protests they organized in front of Mayor’s Eric Garcetti’s house and L.A. City Council members’ homes.

“We started putting that attention to good use and asked the community to donate and we have a surplus of donations here, food, water, masks, it’s been a really good turnout,” Cota said. “This is our very first ‘Community Day’ and someone did come and pick up some supplies to take to Skid Row.”

Cota said they have also received a lot of attention because their organizers are not afraid to tell city council members that they’re not doing enough to protect unhoused people in L.A.

“Homelessness has always caught my attention, I’ve always empathized with people who don’t have the same opportunities that I do, I don’t have this amazing privileged life — but my basic needs are met — and everyone deserves that,” Cota said. “I’ll do anything that I can to make sure people get the help that they need.”

The group is organizing a protest at Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. to demand him to cancel rent, ban evictions and seize hotels for social housing. The group said Angelenos are struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic and they want Garcetti and L.A. City Council to do more and protect tenants.

According to an Instagram post, People’s City Council organized a GoFundMe and raised money for several social causes including $300,000 for Black Lives Matter-L.A., $300,000 for National Lawyer Guild of Los Angeles and $150,000 to use strictly for a bail fund run by Youth Justice Coalition and employees of the Bail Project in L.A. and other organizations.

The group has distributed $1.22 million total so far.