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Never Forever 21 Action: Round 3 4/25/09

by Daniel Santana Saturday, Apr. 25, 2009 at 11:40 AM

The South Central Farm is the people's land, given to us by Mayor Tom Bradley, in 1993 after the Los Angeles Uprising. The people built an inner-city paradise, the nation's largest urban farm. In 2006, Mayor Bradley's promise was broken: the Los Angeles City Council took the land away and gave it to a developer to build a mammoth shipping center for the sweatshop clothing manufacturer Forever 21. We're here today to tell Forever 21 that we won't work for sweatshops, that we are Farmers. We are the people: the Farm is our land!

Never Forever 21 Act...
20090425_neverforever21.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x800





-danny santana~>
NF21 Committee

Also please email me any pictures you took of the last action. Thank you.


are you coming thru?

Let us know you're coming to the action on myspace (click on the link):


The South Central Farmers' Demands to Forever 21

We demand that Forever 21 restore the South Central Farm land, at 41st and Alameda in Los Angeles, to the Farmers.

The South Central Farm is the people's land, given to us by Mayor Tom Bradley, in 1993 after the Los Angeles Uprising. The people built an inner-city paradise, the nation's largest urban farm. In 2006, Mayor Bradley's promise was broken: the Los Angeles City Council took the land away and gave it to a developer to build a mammoth shipping center for the sweatshop clothing manufacturer Forever 21. We're here today to tell Forever 21 that we won't work for sweatshops, that we are Farmers. We are the people: the Farm is our land!

Further, we demand that Forever 21 recognize the rights of working and poor residents of Los Angeles:

The right of residents to have green spaces in their over-industrialized neighborhood.

Residents signed 140 letters and spoke before the City Planning Department in June to demand environmental justice, in opposition to the proposed warehouse. Eight hundred people signed. The project developer agreed that the residents deserved an Environmental Impact Report before beginning construction.

A children's park is planned next to the shipping center.

The shipping center is unnecessary. Ample existing warehouse space is available since imports from the Port of Los Angeles have dropped 20% this year.

Twenty-five hundred truck trips daily, according to the developer's plans, would add tons of particulate matter to the neighborhood, endangering the young, the elderly, and other at-risk populations with risks of asthma, cancer, and other lung disease. Children especially, who cross near the Farm site on their way to and from two nearby schools, are at increased risk of traffic accidents. The site of the Farm is already bounded by ground-level freight and passenger train tracks on the west, with 1200 train trips daily, and by Alameda Avenue on the east, a major shipping artery from the Port of Los Angeles. The plans for the warehouse raise concerns about ground water contamination from the underground parking garage, increased noise levels from the increased truck traffic, light pollution from 24-hour lighting, and aesthetic concerns, with workers trapped inside a complex bounded by an iron fence.

Major civic and environmental groups joined with residents to oppose this construction. The National Defense Resource Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Communities for a Better Environment have joined with the Farm and residents to demand environmental justice. The esteemed Acequia Institute wrote, "the proposal, if approved as is, would constitute the most serious and egregious violation of environmental justice principles by LA City and County governments, the Port Authority, land use planning authorities, and other interested parties." The South Coast Air Management Quality District recommended restricting traffic along the western perimeter of the site, park and ride programs for employees, reconfiguration of the main entrance away from residential areas, limiting the operations to "clean" trucks, and adding a freeway off-ramp to the site, all to mitigate the hazards of the shipping center.

Industrialization continues to blight poor and minority neighborhoods. The Environmental Protection Agency requires environmental justice statements for "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work." A railroad track between the neighbors and the proposed shipping center does not mitigate the need for environmental justice.

The right of people to feed themselves:

Three hundred and fifty families supplemented their diet with fresh produce grown at the South Central Farm. The City took that right away and told the people to get sweatshop jobs instead.

The South Central Farm preserved an agricultural way of life, teaching children how to grow food in ancient traditions suitable for desert bioregions.

The South Central Farm was and will be a world-wide model of communal, urban agriculture.

The South Central Farm is the center of a green revolution in Los Angeles, a revolution that, because of the Farmers, today brings fresh produce to the inner city and will soon bring to Los Angeles an ecological consciousness of backyard, rooftop, and community gardens.

Further, we demand Forever 21 accede in their business practices the rights of workers to a safe and humane work environment and to prompt redress of grievances:

An end, once and for all, to sweatshops:

Even after a four-year boycott and eventual settlement with its workers in 2004, Forever 21 continues to violate workers' rights and its six Los Angeles plants and supports subcontractors who do the same.

The Garment Workers' Center negotiates on-going complaints of labor law violations with Forever 21. “We want to make it clear to the public and to the politicians that they cannot use the economic argument about ‘the good jobs’ that will stay or be added to the Los Angeles economy if this land is given to Forever 21. The experience of the garment workers that work with the GWC makes it abundantly clear, that the jobs they have sewing in factories which subcontract with the company are sweatshop jobs, not good jobs” said Delia Herrera, one of the organizers at the GWC.

Dignified, safe, and productive labor:

Forever 21's warehouse jobs at the trucking center are dangerous and dead-end, the worst of back-breaking labor. They offer no future to workers there. As a former warehouse worker testified to the city Planning Commission: "It's not a nice job, and I don't think any of these men would have their sons and their nephews working in these warehouses, much less if they didn't say it was going to be union jobs. I'm sure it's going to be twelve hundred non-union jobs, low wage, long hours. . . . So I implore you, please, please, I implore you to take into consideration everything that the community has talked about here, including the things that these power brokers smirk at, like the kids and the hawks and the trees. That's what's important to us. That's what makes up our sacred church. So please, I implore you, it's not as easy as they make it sound, there's a lot of complicated things involved here, including the health and the lives of our children."

People, even poor people of color, deserve jobs with dignity and guarantees of safety, and even when jobs are scarce. Forever 21 is offering nothing to the residents or the South Central Farmers except brutal labor for a 24/7 shipping machine hidden behind an iron fence in a remote corner of Los Angeles. We demand that land be returned to the people to whom the City originally ceded it, for their use and benefit.

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