On Sunday, April 23, we celebrated our 42nd annual Catholic Worker Seder of Liberation. It was a great success with 68 people in attendance. Everyone had a enjoyable time. Sarah Fuller was the MC, with Alan Pulnar, Larry Gunsalus, and Judy Kehr as our head table Hagaddah readers. There were poignant personal stories of liberation shared, and after the Seder, we enjoyed a great meal with plenty of food and tasty desserts.
Thank you to all who came and shared a dish. If you did not attend, we suggest that you plan ahead for next year (the Sunday after Easter). Guaranteed you will not regret it. See photos HERE.
On April 14, we had our annual Good Friday Anti-war Stations of the Cross, which again was very successful. The weather was perfect and more than 60 people joined us for our annual walk to places of darkness in the downtown area. Donald Nollar again put together a succinct and meaningful script, and we had two very articulate readers. A big THANK YOU to all who participated. See you again next year, and invite others to join us. See photos HERE. View and download this year’s script HERE.
On Friday, April 7, the day after the U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles on Syria, a contingent of organizations and Syrian immigrants came together to protest the bombing. The group took the streets of downtown L.A. during rush hour and marched to ensure that Angelenos knew there were many who were not in support of the U.S.’ further violence and destruction in the Middle East. L.A. Catholic Workers Jed, Dimitri and Matt along with longtime friend Rufo joined the march, which ended at City Hall.
The Hippie Kitchen gets many different and wonderful volunteers. Many come to offer their much-needed support in the preparation of and in serving our beans, salad, and bread. Others still envision new offerings for the downtown houseless population served at the Hippie Kitchen.
Ashley and Greer have been volunteering as part of their high school’s community service requirements. However, in wanting to do something more, they coordinated to bring materials to provide potted plants to the residents that frequent our kitchen. They returned on Friday, March 24, with 25 pots they had made in their pottery class along with potting soil and a variety of flowers and herbs. They spent the morning offering folks a chance to pick a pot and plant to take with them. It did not take long for all the pots and plants to go. Folks are still talking about their plants they took for themselves or for a friend. A big THANK YOU to Ashley and Greer.
This LINK is to an alarming article that warns of the neo-fascist police state that is now gripping our nation.
An excerpt: “At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attack the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an ‘alarming and undemocratic’ trend, U.N. human rights investigators said this week.
Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the ‘alarming’ trend of ‘undemocratic’ anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.
‘The trend also threatens to jeopardize one of the United States’ constitutional pillars: free speech,” they said in a statement, calling for action to reverse such legislation.'”
On Monday, March 6, members of the LACW joined with National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) in a protest outside the Immigration Courts, near Pershing square, in an effort to stop the potential deportation of a man with four U.S. citizen children following his arrest near a school in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.
Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez made national headlines after his 13-year-old daughter, Fatima Avelica, recorded video showing him being detained Tuesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after he dropped off another daughter at the Academia Avance Charter School campus in Lincoln Heights.
Romulo dropped off his first daughter to her Highland Park school on the 28th of February. Before he could get his second daughter to school, he was pulled over by two unmarked cars and was arrested by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE). His 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, filmed the event. Though he was scheduled for immediate deportation, the quick response of activists and lawyers won him a short-term stay of deportation.
On Wednesday, March 8, the LACW elected to forego their usual anti-military vigil outside the Federal building and chose instead to return en mass to the Immigration Courts to support Romulo and stand against the state terror of I.C.E. Catholic Workers stood on all four corners with an array of signs.
The Catholic Workers again had a presence the following Monday, March 13, to support NDLON and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) in demanding the release of Romulo. Though the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement had little interest in their presence, the group of protesters made their presence known and promised to continue the fight for all immigrants of all documentation statuses because when undocumented lives, Black lives, women’s lives… are under attack, we will stand up and we will fight back.
On February 5th, Super Bowl Sunday, a group of Los Angeles Catholic Workers and friends joined thousands of Angelenos to stand against the Dakota Access (DAPL) and Keystone XL (KXL) pipelines. The march, which went from Pershing Square to the Federal Building, came just 12 days after Donald Trump signed executive orders to begin approval of the DAPL and KXL pipelines, 9 days after the North Dakota legislature introduced a bill that would make it legal for drivers to “unintentionally” run over protesters standing on the road, and 4 days after North Dakota police and national guard forces began kittling and arresting the water protectors at Standing Rock. Equipped with an array of creative signage, the mass of people that marched in protest carried a roughly 100 foot mock-pipeline above their heads demanding, “JUSTICIA CLIMATICA AHORA” and “NO MORE DIRTY OIL.”
Those who spoke offered a compendium of things for the large crowd to reflect on. The speakers asked the crowd to remember the sacredness of the land we were on, wondering also what the land’s ancestors would say about the streets and skyscrapers that dominated the scene. They highlighted the indigenous community’s indefinite boycott of the Super Bowl until the NFL ends its support of Washington DC’s racist mascot. They recognized that many in the crowd had arrived via Uber, despite the national boycott of Uber for their refusal to support NYC taxi drivers during their strike at JFK airport over the immigration ban. The organizers also shared that their attempts to contact the organizers of the Women’s March in an effort to try and work together had been met with silence.
But the recognition of a common reliance on water, a need for coming together and a valuing of prayer kept the space sacred. A mixture of native music and performances permitted the audience to center those most affected by the government’s refusal to honor indigenous lives and treaties. And as one speaker reflected, “Use your voice, your gifts and your talents to spread the word. Use whatever you have to spread love and awareness to your neighbors and to all communities facing oppression. Walk in prayer every day.” And so we returned home wondering how will we use our gifts and voices to continue this necessary fight.
Recent events at the pipeline site include the North Dakota Army National Guard’s deployment of two surface-to-air missile-launchers near a critical work site, and in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, almost 11 months after the first spiritual resistance camp was founded in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, federal and local law enforcement agents forcibly cleared those who occupied land the federal government promised to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe under the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty.
On Saturday, February 18, the LACW closed our soup kitchen to attend the memorial service for one of our volunteer dentists, Dr. Gayle Wood, who passed away suddenly on January 15, at age 57. Dr. Gayle is missed by all who knew her. Dr. Gayle, a single mom, left behind two twin 15-year old sons, Chris and Josh, whose dad died several years ago. We ask that you please keep them in prayer during this tragic transition. Thank you.
Recently the LACW was represented at an anti-DAPL/Keystone XL pipeline demonstration held at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in downtown Los Angeles, where approximately 1000 people gathered. At about 6pm the group processed into the street shutting down traffic on Wilshire Blvd–there were no arrests. LACW volunteer Pat Bonner is in top right photo.