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Echo Park Lake Closure Protest

ECHO PARK, CA – Activists, supporters and residents of the homeless encampment here in Echo Park gathered in front of the lake last month after the city announced plans to displace those still living there.

"The Queen” a resident of Echo Park Lake shares her story with protestors. Photo, Kimberly Linares

The peaceful protest began at 7 a.m. Several residents spoke about some of the issues that the homeless community faces. They also shared why the Echo Park community is important to them.

A report by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks shows a $600,000 budget to fence off the area and clear out the park. The plans for the proposed budget include renovating the restrooms, drinking fountains, the lake bridge and the boat house.

“For some reason they think if we clear the park out if we get everybody into some hotel no more homelessness. Wrong! For every person you take there is two more that come with nothing. Without a tent, without a blanket without anywhere to go,” said resident and unofficial spokesman for encampment Ayman Ahmed.

An hour into the gathering, protestors walked to Councilmember Mitch O’ Farrell’s office demanding answers. They chanted “Mitch O’ Farrell show your face!” and “Housing is a Human Right!” outside his office.

Protestors in front of Councilmember Mitch O’ Farel’s office. Photo, Kimberly Linares

Data from The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority shows that 66,436 people in the Los Angeles County experience homelessness. That number has increased 12.7% from last year.

Some believe that George Floyd’s death and Black Lives Matter protests have taught the younger generation about the power of their voices. Many bring awareness to issues using social media.

Burbank resident Alisa James has gone out to several protests and marches since the start of what she called this “ever-changing” era.

“It’s just so wrong that they are displacing all of these people this is a safe place for them to go. A lot of them have expressed that they don’t feel safe in the temporary housing that the city has provided for them. It’s not a solution,” said Alisa James.

Before returning back to the lake, Ahmed encouraged protestors to stay overnight to serve as protection for the homeless community as police raids were expected to begin.

Fighting to stay within the park is not new. This battle between Echo Lake residents and the city has been going on for more than a year, but the encampment grew as many people lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic.

The organizations People’s Bodega and Care Packs LA helped locals protest by providing free food. Both organizations keep their followers informed about events like these. Founder of People’s Bodega Alex Floro believes that everyone collectively is making a difference.

“I think that it is everyone’s job to take care of each other. I think that if you aren’t active in your community and if you aren’t speaking up for your unhoused neighbors you aren’t actively being a member of that community,” said Alex Floro.

Video, Kimberly Linares

By Kimberly Linares

With contributions from the Department of Parks and Recreation report, LAHSA Homeless count, The People’s Bodega

Photo, Kimberly Linares

Photo, Kimberly Linares

Video, Kimberly Linares



2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Results

FUELING THE REVOLUTION 4 FREE (@thepeoplesbodega)

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