Black, Brown, the Unhoused and other community leaders are calling for a Boycott of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) “community BBQ” as a step in the process of re-asserting our dignity as traditional Venetians and as original people of this land, we are asking that all People of Color (PoC) and others who resonate with our message, to refrain from attending and participating in the VNC BBQ on Saturday July 30th.
The decision to boycott was sparked at the June VNC meeting by a VNC BBQ organizer who made a microaggressive comment regarding the Oakwood community. The comment, while appearing inoffensive to non-PoC in the room, was highly offensive to Black and Brown Venetians in that it was the “breaking straw” exemplifying the pejorative attitudes by gentrifiers toward PoC and traditional Venetians. This boycott is a response to the continued disrespect toward Black, Brown, and other marginalized voices of Venice, by not just by the VNC but by other Venice community decision making forums as well. These unchecked attitudes and modes of operation only serve to reinforce the structure of institutional racism within our neighborhood.
That June meeting is also the same meeting where Ira Koslow, the newly elected President of the all-White Chamber of Commerce VNC board childishly told us to “go form your own organization (council)”, made fun of non-winning VNC candidates, and tried to wield LAPD to remove community members from the meeting as though they were his private security force. All this egotistical authoritarian action simply because PoC were being vocal about yet another disrespectful gentrifier narrative and the refusal from our community forum to correct it.
To give some context a very controversial VNC board has just been “elected.” With due respect to the community officers who made it past the “1300” questionable new votes in the election, this new VNC is a de facto all- white board of recent Venice residents intimately tied to real estate and development interests in the community. The bulk of the newly seated VNC members ran on the same all-White slate which utilized propaganda filled with lies, fear mongering, and racially coded terminology. None of the candidates who now sit on the VNC have yet to apologize or denounce their unvirtuous propaganda.
Also, contrary to popular notion many Black & Brown residents ran for seats this past election, the most we’ve seen in some time, yet not one was elected. If this past “VNC Election” and the “business as usual” modes of Venice politics is reflective of “the will of the community” as many like to claim then it is clear that Black, Brown, and Traditional Venetian families are not a component of the vision for Venice’s future unless it’s a token or patronizing role.
While gentrification affects low income people of all backgrounds it is the Black & Brown Venetians who bear the bulk of its negative impact. Some have ignorantly claimed that it is us who would be creating division by moving forward with this boycott but that is a cheap evasion for having to be responsible for their white privilege run amuck.
But to be accurate, the division was already created when this Native Tongva land was stolen, when the organizers of the VNC BBQ chose not to join in on the already existing Oakwood community BBQs, when the new VNC ran an all white gentrifier business oriented slate using coded racist language, when White politically active residents in Venice continue to spew racially coded language with no consequence or correction, when our requests to accommodate Spanish speaking residents gets dismissed and pushed to the backburner, when the VNC President said to form our own council and more than once wielded LAPD in attempt to threaten community members with arrest for voicing their opinions, and when the Parliamentarian (an unelected official) threatens to arrest a Native American woman if she continues to be vocal against their bullying tactics at VNC meetings. No, we’re not the ones who are creating division.
Given these assessments it is only logical for us as Black, Brown, and Unhoused Venetians to seriously reevaluate our relationship with, and the terms in which we engage the Venice Neighborhood Council, politicians, and other community decision making processes in Venice. It would also do well for our fellow Venice recent arrivals to educate themselves on how Institutional Racism works and how they might be perpetuating it.
• No more tokenizing People of Color!
• No more using LAPD to threaten community members at meetings!
• Include traditional Black, Brown, and traditional Venice residents on all VNC committees and community decision making boards!
• Mandatory Spanish language outreach and translation services at all board meetings!
• Check Your Privilege!
Support Us Boycotting the VNC BBQ this Saturday July 30st.
United Venice PoC