Lupe, a Skid Row activist, speaks about women’s lives

Lupe, an activist on Skid Row, fights for the homeless women who are without shelter or programs.
PHOTO/SILVIA HERNANDEZ

 

LOS ANGELES, CA — I came from Wilmington to Skid Row, to the 38th and Broadway Shelter in Los Angeles. Because the shelter kicks you out during the day, they brought me to Skid Row. Somebody told me about the Downtown Women’s Center. I started learning more about Skid Row by talking with the people. One of those women was Lupe.

‘’‘Ta’ carbon’,“ she said, ‘it’s hard.’ Tomorrow is a cleaning day on the streets. It’s like a punishment to make us move, it’s a tactic. The other day Channel 54 interviewed me. The reporter asked me if I agree and if I was happy about the sixty trailers rooms program, that it will open for the people that live on the streets by the Placita Olvera Street? I told him no, because I believe that it was a waste of money.”

Lupe went in that moment to take a medication because she got bitten by a spider last Friday. She had to go to the hospital that night. “Before, the hospitals used to let the people stay inside, but now when the people are sleeping, the security slams their chairs to wake them up, they don’t respect. It is not the fact of living on the streets, but the consistent attack.”

“I went to a meeting,” Lupe says, “to talk about the issues of the people living on the streets with an organization that goes to the churches to talk about the issues that the people that live on the streets face. Mayor Garcetti got there twenty minutes after we were there.”

I asked to Lupe if Skid Row was represented in that meeting, she said no, that nobody was there. “What concerned me”, Lupe says, “is that at this meeting a person that coordinates the confirmations at church was the voice of the people that live on the encampment, when he has never been on the streets. He was saying that the people agreed to be removed from the street and that we want the parking lots and that we agreed with the three months trailers program. They will help sixty persons with sixty rooms on the condition that if they decide to go back to the street they will go six months to jail.”

Lupe said that the situation will worsen for the people that live on the streets. She said that the women witness and experience violence, especially the elder ones, pregnant and women with children. “They are the most vulnerable. There is no shelter for those women, I mean no programs, they are given no hope.”

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