Boyle Heights Votes in 2020 Election
The 2020 election is off to a contentious start, with votes being cast early via mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic and claims of voter fraud from the Trump campaign. In Boyle Heights, the biggest issue some residents said is the presidential election.
Local residents and members of the community have taken an active position in making it clear who they are not voting for: President Donald Trump.
Alessandro Negrete, 38, a member of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Transit and Environment Committee and undocumented resident, said that in this moment American voters are not just voting for the president but the lives of all those in the country.
“This election is important to Boyle Heights because as a predominantly community of color, we see our neighbors, friends, and family be unjustly policed and face extreme judgement from our electeds [SIC],” Negrete said. “With a large corruption in our neighborhood we have to hope and pray that the leadership coming into place now helps us get some retribution for what the Huizar campaign caused.”
Negrete added that although people in the community may be dissatisfied with the options for president it is important to vote.
“I am encouraging the community to vote for the #BidenHarris ticket. We are not at a place where we can break down the two-party system, so we are literally voting for our livelihood,” said Negrete. “Locally I have been asking folks to vote out District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Under her watch so many injustices have gone without being solved or addressed. We need stronger more left leadership.”
Business owner and resident Andres Loranca, 26, said that he believes Boyle Heights is going to go to the polls in large numbers because the community sees what is at risk.
“I feel like the past years as Trump has been president, and the like, fear has grown into families, and it’s been affecting a lot of families because they’ve been deported or not deported, they’re in the camps,” Loranca said. “So I know a couple people too.” Loranca added that although he is citizen, he is worried his parents or brother may be deported or sent to a detainment center by ICE.
The threat of deportation or being sent to a “camp” is something Negrete said he is scared of but he has to remain hopeful that change will happen.
“I feel that I have to remain hopeful for our democracy in this election. As a community leader and someone that is directly attacked by this administration, I have to be able to remind the community of their power,” said Negrete. “That power also goes beyond voting. It is getting involved. So ultimately, I have to stay positive and hopeful to be able to not let fear scare folks from voting.”
However, not everyone agrees with Negrete and Loranca.
Larry Stewart, 42, Youth Navigator with Homeboy Industries and convicted felon, said that he would not vote even if he got the chance.
“It’s a broken system and they don’t want to go back to the foundation to rebuild it, you got to dig it all up if it’s broken, and replant and rebuild and everything,” Stewart said. “what I’m gonna [SIC] do is work on me and my family and those who God sent in my path. But being part of and feeding into what they believe voting is gonna [SIC] change. How old are you? What has changed since you was a kid? I don’t care who is gonna win because the world is not gonna change.”