Latest Headlines
 
   
 

One Serious Problem Gone (Jewish Journal, February 1, 2012)

More…

The City Council's Shameless Pander (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

More…

Stout Awards Honors Olney, Morrison and Mantle (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

More… Video…

Dance With Who Brung ‘Ya (Jewish Journal, September 28, 2011)

More…

Jury Got It Right in the ‘Irvine 11’ Case (The OC Register, September 23, 2011)

More…

'Irvine 11' Muslim student protesters found guilty on both charges (KPCC’s Airtalk, September 23, 2011)

More… Listen…

Voting Rights Act Outdated in Modern Day LA (The Daily News, August 21, 2011)

More…

What Los Angeles Can Teach the UK (BBC News World, August 15, 2011)

More…

When Did Carrying An ID Become A “White Thing”? (The OC Register, August 15, 2011)

More…

Bill Crafts Disneyland Version of History (The Sacramento Bee, July 14, 2011)

More…

An Education Game Changer (The Wide Angles, July 12 2011)

More…

A Flotilla of Fools (The Wide Angle Blog, July 8, 2011)

More…

Advocacy, the Academy and Mushy Thinking (The Wide Angle Blog, July 1, 2011)

More…

Tragic Fiction comes to Life (The Wide Angle, June 23, 2011)

More…

Coalition Sues to Keep Circumcision Ban Off Ballot (The Jewish Journal, June 22, 2011)

More…

The Circumcision Wars (The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2011)

More…

Male Circumcision Ban Proposed in Santa Monica (The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2011)

More…

Right Goal, Wrong Strategy (The Wide Angle Blog, May 11, 2011)

More…

The Bus Has Left the Station (City Journal, April 1, 2011)

More…

UCLA Leads the Pack (The Wide Angle Blog, March 29, 2011)

More…

Mixed Race Marriages and Our Attitudes (The Wide Angles, March 25, 2011)

More…

The Uncle Tom Accusation, Again (The Wide Angle Blog, March 18, 2011)

More…

A Forward Looking Decision in Civil Rights (The Wide Angle Blog, March 9, 2011)

More…

A Rising Wave of Anti-Semitism (Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009)

More…

The Wide Angle, A Community Advocates Blog (July - September, 2009)

July… August… September…

Israeli Consul General, Palestinian Lobbyist Reach Mock Peace Agreement (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 6, 2009)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar—Mock Peace Summit in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, April 29, 2009)

Listen…

In Battle Between Teachers, LAUSD, It’s the Kids Who Lose (Daily News, March 6, 2009)

More…

L.A. at the Tipping Point (www.RonKaye.LA, February 13, 2009)

More…

Theatrics by the Teachers (Daily News, February 8, 2009)

More…

Chicago Vs. Los Angeles Their Supe Is Obama’s New Education Man. Our Supe is Nice But… (LA Weekly, January 23, 2009)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar—Millennials Remaking America with KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, January 21, 2009)

Listen…

The Good News About Gaza in America (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 21, 2009)

More…

What Oakland Should be Protesting (Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2009)

More…

Calling All Radical Reformers to LAUSD (Daily News, December 14, 2008)

More…

Attention Politicians: Pandering Won’t Fly (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, November 12, 2008)

More…

Presentation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Ziegler Prize for Courage of Conviction (Japan American Theatre, October 22, 2008)

View…

The Problems and Potential of South L.A., A Dust-Up Exchange between Joe R. Hicks and Earl Ofari Hutchinson (Los Angeles Times, August 11-15, 2008)

More…

Find Fresh Ideas to Battle Hate, Letter to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

More…

Fast Food Freeze is a Good Choice for South LA by Jan Perry, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

More…

Do You Want Poppycock With That? by Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2008)

More…

Fast-food Moratorium is Meddling (Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2008)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar on the Role of Race in the 2008 Elections in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, June 27, 2008)

Listen…

Shalom is not Funny (Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Downtown News, June 23, 2008)

More…

A Dangerous and Precedent Setting Intrusion (Jewish Journal, June 13, 2008)

More…

“Ziman and Lee” (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 16, 2008

More…

We Don’t Need More Gabfests on Diversity (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 2, 2008)

More…

Families Deserve More than a Moratorium (Los Angeles Times, Blowback, April 10, 2008)

More…

On Any Given Sunday, Rev. Wright is Wrong (www.theroot.com, March 26, 2008)

More…

Obama’s Minister (KPCC’s Airtalk, March 18, 2008)

Listen…

LA Gang Violence Spikes (Associated Press, March 6, 2008)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar on The State of the Black Civil Rights Movement Today in conjunction with the Los Angeles Public Library and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February)

Listen…

Asking Too Much (Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2008)

More…

Playing a Frayed and Faded Race Card (Jewish Journal, January 18, 2008)

More…

Limiting Fast Food Outlets---Path to Better Health? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 20, 2007)

More…

The State Bar and Revealing Data on Minority Passage Rates (KCET’s Life & Times, December 18, 2007)

More…

Divisions in the Jewish Community—Talking About Jerusalem (KCET’s Life & Times, December 12, 2007)

More…

Do Los Angeles’ Anti-Gang Programs Work? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 6, 2007)

More…

Sharpton Leads Call for Federal Investigation of Hate Crimes (Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2007)

More…

Race Card Backlash (Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2007)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar on Charter Schools in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 5, 2007)

Listen...

The Private Lives of Public Officials (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, October 2, 2007)

More…

“Smart Growth” and Los Angeles Planning (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 20, 2007)

More…

Civil Rights in Louisiana (To the Point, KCRW-FM, September 20, 2007)

Listen...

The Racial/Ethnic Educational Achievement Gap (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 12, 2007)

More…

Board Vote Not Aimed At Students (Los Angeles Daily News, September 9, 2007)

More…

Healthcare Reform and Politics (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 5, 2007)

More…

The Constitution and Sex Offenders (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, August 30, 2007)

More…

‘Profiles in Courage’ ( Jewish Journal, August 24, 2007)

More…

Where’s the Fire? (Washington Post, August 2, 2007)

More…

Race and Politics in a Changing South LA (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 20, 2007)

More…

Gangsta Rap and its Impact (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 13, 2007)

More…

Mexican Americans and Drunk Driving (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 6, 2007)

More…

Baseball and the Decline in African-American Players (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 30, 2007)

More…

Los Angeles Unified’s New Board (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 23, 2007)

More…

Hollywood and its Impact on Political Discourse (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 16, 2007)

More…

New Times and the NAACP (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 9, 2007)

More…

Downtown Homeless and the LAPD (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 2, 2007)

More…

Immigration and the new Sanctuary Movement (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 25, 2007)

More…

The Teachers’ Union and School Reform, (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 18, 2007)

More…

Drop the Race Card (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

More…

The Takeover of the Times (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 11, 2007)

More…

The Governor’s Health Care Plan (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 28, 2007)

More…

Racism in the LA Fire Department? (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 14, 2007)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February 26, 2007)

Listen...

“Has the Nanny State Gone Too Far?” (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, February 28, 2007)

More…

“Justice Takes A Beating In Long Beach Racial Hatred Case” ( Jewish Journal, February 16, 2007)

More…

“Gang ‘Marshall Plan’ - Will It Work?” (KCET’s Life & Times’ Kitchen Table Conversation, February 14, 2007)

More…

“Living Wages or Dying Businesses?” (KCET’s Life & Times Kitchen Table Conversation, January 31, 2007)

More…

“Gangs of New York and LA” (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, January 26, 2007)

More…

KCET’s Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “The Future of the Middle Class in Los Angeles” (Life & Times, January 17, 2007)

More…

“Does Abe Foxman Have An Anti-Anti-Semite Problem?”, (New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2007)

More…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Military Recruitment on Campus---Right or Wrong?” January 3, 2007

More…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Is There An Assault on Christmas?” December 13, 2006

More…

Racism Claims a Stretch" (Daily News, December 1, 2006)

More…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “What is Racism Today?” November 29, 2006

More…

"Racism in Entertainment", (KCRW's "Which Way LA?", November 27,2006)

Listen…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Border Fence---Boondogle or Barrier?” (life & Times, November 15, 2006)

More…

“LA’s Jews and Other Minorities---Oh How They Danced” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, November 11, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Racial Profiling and a National ID Card" (Life & Times, October 18, 2006)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 9, 2006)

Listen...

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Immigration Debate Divides Conservatives" (Life & Times, October 5, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Drugs in Sports" (Life & Times, October 3, 2006)

More…

Award Dispute", KPCC's Airtalk, September 15,2006

Listen...

"Two Faced On Terrorism", Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2006

More…

Award to Islamic Leader Hathout Stirs Dispute", KCRW's Which Way LA?, September 14, 2006

Listen...

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "California's High School Exit Exam?", ( Life & Times, August 23, 2006)

More…

"4 Los Angeles Latino Gang Members Convicted of Anti-Black Conspiracy" (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2006)

More…

"Muslim Council's Bias All Too Clear" (Los Angeles Daily News, August 1, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "UCLA's Minority Admissions, (Life & Times, July 19, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Celebrity Causes--Ego or Altruism?", ( Life & Times, July 13, 2006)

More…

Did Anti-Semitism Take Root at the South Central Farm? (Jewish Journal, June 23,2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversations regarding Immigration and Employment (Life & Times, June 21,2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of news segment on the South Los Angeles Farm controversy (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kithcen-table Conversation regarding the Mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

More…

Letter to the Editor regarding Race, Religion, and Demographic Change (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Hybrid Cars and Energy Conservation (Life & Times, May 23, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Teen Sex (Life & Times, May 18, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black Brown Tensions in LA (Life & Times, May 2, 2006)

More…

Debate education policy, not race (Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Fatherless Parenting (Life & Times, April 11, 2006)

More…

Border Protests Not Fight for Civil Rights (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 7, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black-Brown tensions (Life & Times, April 4, 2006)

More…

Civil Rights? How About Lawlessness? (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Immigration (Life & Times, March 30, 2006)

More…

Differing Views of Race in L.A. Collide in 'Crash' (Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006)

More…

Disputed Film Draws Muted Response (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 10, 2006)

More…

Blacks vs. Latinos at Work (Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2006)

More…

The Munich Concern Is Us--Not Film (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 20, 2006) with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

More…

NAACP Leader Turned Heads By Backing Tookie (Baltimore Sun, January 15, 2006) Joe Hicks quoted

More…

Munich Portrays Real World Issues (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, December 23,2005), with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

More…

New Farrakhan Embodies Old Message (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, October 21, 2005)

More…

Levees Let Loose An Ugly Flood of Black Paranoia (Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2005)

More…

Lessons From the Ruins (LA Weekly, August 12, 2005)

More…

Let's Make A Diploma Mean Something (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

More…

Police Beating of Minister Disputed (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

More…

We Only Burned Ourselves, Baby (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005)

More…

Knee-jerk Activists and Their Tantrum Politics (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2005)

More…

"Crash" Is No Picture of the Real Los Angeles (Los Angeles Daily News, June 24, 2005)

More…

Hit Film Paints Inaccurate Picture of Diverse LA (89.3 KPCC Perspectives, June 23, 2005)
Joe Hicks, the vice president of Community Advocates, says the hit movie Crash ...
Listen...

Jackson Trial Reaction Shows How Unimportant Race Is in US (Los Angeles Daily News, June 19, 2005)

More…

"Reel Life" (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 10, 2005)

More…

Joe Hicks talks about the election results (89.3 KPCC AirTalk, May 18, 2005)
with KPCC's Larry Mantle and reporter Adolfo Guzman Lopez, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Raphe Sonenshein, Bill Rosendahl, Rick Caruso, Antonia Hernandez, , Joel Kotkin and D.J. Waldie.
Listen...

 
 
   
   
 
How To Give?
 
   
   
   
   
 
Contact Us
 
   
 

Community Advocates, Inc.
865 South Figueroa Street
Suite 3339
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.623.6003
www.cai-la.org

 
  David A. Lehrer
Joe R. Hicks
 
Latest Headlines
 

Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2006

"4 Los Angeles Latino Gang Members Convicted of Anti-Black Conspiracy"

The jury finds that the defendants terrorized African Americans to try to drive them from the Highland Park neighborhood.

By Joe Mozingo, Times Staff Writer

Four members of a Latino gang in Highland Park were found guilty Tuesday of unleashing a barrage of assaults and killings to push African Americans out of the predominantly Latino community in northeast Los Angeles.

The verdicts in a downtown federal courtroom marked the first time a street gang had been convicted of breaking federal hate crime laws, traditionally employed against white supremacist groups like skinheads and the Ku Klux Klan.

"I'm glad the truth is out," said Luisa Prudhomme, whose 21-year-old son, Anthony, was killed when Avenues members allegedly kicked open his door and shot him in the head as he lay on a futon.

"This wasn't just regular gang activity as usual," she said. "This was hate crime. They promoted hatred and racism and ignorance."

The four defendants — Gilbert "Lucky" Saldana, 27; Alejandro "Bird" Martinez, 28; Fernando "Sneaky" Cazares, 25; and Porfirio "Dreamer" Avila, 31 — face life in prison without the possibility of parole for their roles in the conspiracy. Sentencing for the first three was set for Oct. 23; for Avila, the date is Nov. 20.

Defense attorneys did not return calls for comment Tuesday, but one of them said in a previous conversation that there were numerous grounds for appeal.

From the start, the defense argued that prosecutors Alex Bustamante and Bobbi Bernstein had stretched civil rights statutes and Reconstruction-era anti-slavery laws way beyond their intended purposes to bring the case under federal jurisdiction. The judge denied their motions to dismiss the indictment on this basis, but the arguments will surely come up again in appeals court.

The Avenues date back to the 1950s and get their name from the numbered avenues that traverse the hills and ravines of Highland Park. The defendants on trial were part of the Tiny Locos, younger members of a clique called Avenues 43.

The compendium of crimes laid out against the gang members blended the most chilling aspects of old-time Deep South bigotry with a modern interracial rancor that has developed — to some extent — in struggling pockets of urban Los Angeles.

But unlike other racial gang strife in the city, the Avenues' violence was deliberately aimed at African Americans with no gang affiliations, including women and children. The gang scrawled threats and racial epithets in graffiti on walls.

Among crimes committed by the defendants from 1995 to 2001, according to testimony, were shooting a 15-year-old boy riding a bike; hitting a jogger in the head with a pistol; drawing outlines of human bodies in chalk on a family's driveway, along with a racial slur; and knocking a woman off her bike, threatening her husband with a box cutter, and saying, "You niggers have been here long enough."

One night in April 1999, the defendants were riding in a van and came upon a black man, Kenneth Wilson, parking his Cadillac. When Martinez asked if anyone wanted to kill a black man, three of them jumped out, ran up to Wilson's windows and opened fire, witnesses said. A shot to the head killed him before the car had even rolled to a stop.

Saldana bragged later that he just wanted to test out his new 9-millimeter Ruger.

Another black man, Christopher Bowser, was harassed and beaten up by the defendants for years. In December 2000, he filed a police report saying Martinez had assaulted and robbed him at a bus stop near his house. A week later, Bowser was shot to death at the same bus stop on Figueroa Street.

Five days later, Avila told a fellow gang member, in a taped phone call from jail, that he and Martinez had been beating up mayates for weeks, using a Spanish-language epithet for blacks. After mentioning Bowser, he added, "That fool is gone." Avila was convicted in state court of the murder.

Throughout the nearly monthlong trial, defense attorneys tried to discredit the prosecutors' key witnesses — two imprisoned members of the Avenues who testified against their brethren — as well as two police officers who took the case to the FBI and U.S. attorney. The lawyers introduced black witnesses who said they had never had any problems in Highland Park.

And in a bid to show there was no gang policy of racism, they brought in two black women — the girlfriend of defendant Saldana when he lived in Arizona and the wife of an Avenues member who had nothing to do with the conspiracy and only vaguely knew the defendants.

As evidenced by the verdict, the jury did not buy the defense's line.

The defendants sat casually throughout the testimony, wearing shirts, ties, sweaters and reading glasses, hair neatly combed.

But prosecutors tarnished their junior executive image by displaying photos showing their hidden tattoos on a screen directly above their heads. Jurors studied the large chest tattoos of the gang's logo — a bullet-pierced skull wearing a fedora and a fur collar. More damaging: the slogan "43 Kills for Thrills" etched on Martinez's shaved head.

In her closing argument, Bernstein, a deputy chief in the civil rights division of the Justice Department, painted a picture of inhuman brutality, sometimes killing on a whim.

"These defendants and their co-conspirators riddled [Kenneth Wilson's] car with bullets and shot him through the carotid artery, and they sped away and left him to bleed to death in front of his nephew because he was black and he dared to park his car on their street," she said.

"These defendants and their co-conspirators tortured Christopher Bowser. They beat him and harassed him and chased him, and they warned him and threatened him and shot him in the face," Bernstein said.

"They left that man to die in the street like a dog because he was black and dared to live on Avenue 44.

"That's what this case is about."

The defense claimed that police had concocted the conspiracy by linking a bunch of random attacks — thus inflating common gang violence into a conspiracy against civil rights.

"This indictment was meant to grab headlines," said Manuel Araujo, representing Saldana, in his closing arguments. "It was based on a fiction."

The jury deliberated for two days.

Joe R. Hicks, vice president of the Los Angeles civil rights group Community Advocates, said the Highland Park racial violence was unique in the city. He said there have been deadly turf wars between black and Latino gangs in Venice and in the Harbor Gateway neighborhood, but never such violence targeting innocent people solely because of their race.

However, what happened in Highland Park stems from a broader racial tension in the city, he said. In some parts of Los Angeles, blacks feel Latinos are taking over their neighborhoods, displacing them to "the bottom of the market." Latinos, particularly immigrants, sometimes harbor anti-black prejudice that they or their parents carried over the border, he said. And these notions harden in high school, where racial fights are not uncommon, and become truly ominous in prison.

The old dynamic of a powerful white majority oppressing a black minority is way too simple, and increasingly obscure, these days, he said.

"You step back and ask: Can black folks be bigots? Can Latinos be bigots? It's clear that these gang members had an animus against blacks, Hicks said. "With the diversity of today's world, we have to look at racism in a more encompassing way."

The case started with LAPD officers who hit some obstacles in state court. They took their evidence to FBI agent Jerry Fradella and Assistant U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien, who brought in Bernstein to help them make the civil rights case.

In court papers, prosecutors said they had a witness who would testify that the Mexican Mafia, which controls many local Latino gangs, ordered the Avenues to carry out the attacks on African Americans. But the defense was ready to rip into that witness' credibility; ultimately, the government never brought him to the stand.

The question now is whether federal law enforcement has gained a powerful tool against gangs, particularly ones doing the bidding of race-based prison gangs.

O'Brien, who is now chief of the criminal division in Los Angeles, compared the civil rights laws with laws on narcotics, guns and racketeering that also help them prosecute gang members in the federal realm.

He said his office is looking at other cases "where gang members are assailing individuals due to their race."

 

 
   
 
 
   

© 2003 Community Advocates, Inc. All rights reserved.