Target: Anaheim City Council
Goal: Put a halt to Latino underrepresentation in Anaheim politics in order to end discriminatory violence committed by law enforcement
On July 21st, 2012, Anaheim police officers shot and killed 25 year-old Manuel Diaz. They had approached him and his companions, who had allegedly been known to have gang associations, after they had acted suspiciously. After giving chase, he was killed despite being unarmed. After the killing, family and members of the neighborhood protested against the Anaheim police department’s indiscriminate shooting of their unarmed community member. Officers on the site freely opened fire with rubber bullets into the crowd of protestors, which included young children. Additionally, a police dog rushed into the crowd and attacked a mother and baby who were defended by another man who received wounds as a result. Additional reports say that police officers attempted to pay witnesses in exchange for the footage of the attacks.
This violence against Latino communities in Anaheim is neither isolated nor new. Similar bouts of violence have been long-occuring, as well as attempts by residents to protest and march. Discrimination has been a trend in the city’s history, and such injustice can no longer go unaddressed. Not one of the five members of the City Council is Latino, and the community had hoped to have this changed so that they might be properly represented. The Anaheim Latino community met with the City Council in early August and presented their appeals for over three hours, proposing a ballot measure which would have established six voting districts in the city.
Most cities as large as Anaheim enforce voting districts to ensure proper representation; however, Anaheim currently has no such measures. As such, members are elected “at large” and do not provide appropriate coverage to community representation – including Latinos. The proposal was voted down 3-2. They instead instated a citizens advisory committee to study the elections issue, and suggested the possibility of revisiting the issue in 2014. This is unacceptable. We urge the Anaheim City Council to re-evaluate its decision and the severely negative effects this has on the city. By denying the citizens their proposed voting districts, the City Council has only denied them the possibility of fair and equal opportunity in community politics.
Sign the petition to urge the Anaheim City Council to properly represent the community they lead.
Dear Anaheim City Council,
In the past few months, there have been many incidents of violence and discrimination against the Latino community of Anaheim which have gone improperly addressed. Amongst the most recent has been the killing of Manuel Diaz by police officers on July 21. The resulting August meeting held by the council with residents of the community provided no solution to the issue of representation, as your council voted down the proposal for the placement of voting districts.
Discrimination has plagued the City of Anaheim for too long, and we ask that you re-evaluate your decision on voting districts. As it stands, the creation of a citizens advisory committee is severely insufficient for the purposes of putting an end to the violence which continues to affect your citizens. By denying the city’s residents any possibility of electing Latino representatives through a fair and equal voting district movement, you instead show acceptance for the current state of turmoil being experienced between the local law enforcement and law-abiding citizens. Promotion of such unjust treatment does not reflect well on your positions as leaders of the community, nor does it in any way ensure the continuing health or quality of your city.
Please, take the time to look at the very real consequences of such a denial. It should become clear just how much appropriate action on the part of your council is necessary for the future of the City of Anaheim. By taking the right stance, your cooperation will not only improve conditions for the people of your city, but will set a precedent for other cities across the country at large.
Photo Credit: Smif via Flickr