LOS ANGELES—Two local county supervisors say they are willing to risk the consequences of working against the expected policies of the incoming Trump presidential administration, calling it “Operation Monkey Wrench.”
“I want every single person, every single government, every single organization to do what they can to throw a monkey wrench in this new administration’s plans,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
The chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Hilda Solis, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and other local leaders spoke at a rally against hate hosted by Solis on Tuesday, Nov. 22. They spoke of supporting immigrant communities amidst threats of ramped-up deportations and supporting minority groups amidst hate crimes that may be related to the presidential election, as well as other actions.
Participants held up signs saying #StopTheHate and “Safe, Strong, United.”
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday also unanimously passed a motion to publicly condemn recent acts of hateful harassment and violence.
The motion calls on all law enforcement in the county to implement recommendations based on a countywide hate crime task force and a 2015 county hate crime report, including communicating with and providing support to communities who are likely to be targeted.
“As the agency that tracks hate crimes in LA County, we are all well too aware of the degree of discrimination, hostility, bigotry that we have seen since the election of Donald Trump,” said Robin Toma, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission at the rally.
Toma told the story of an immigrant woman who was recently pushing a stroller along the street. He said she was verbally assaulted, told to go back to her country, and a drink cup was thrown at her and her child by a man in a pickup truck. The man then said that if he had his gun it would have turned out much worse.
Lieutenant Brian Moriguchi, the President of the Professional Peace Officers Association and co-chair of Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations’ Network Against Hate Crime, urged the public to report all hate crimes and to not be fearful of exposing their immigration status in the process.
“I know a lot of people may be fearful of reporting hate crimes to law enforcement, but I assure you that our function is to make our community safe. Our function is not to enforce immigration law,” he said.
“For some time now, we’ve seen a lot of crimes against police officers, and I’ve seen a lot of ‘us vs. them’ out there. I’m going to ask all of us, including our law enforcement partners to put an end to this ‘us vs. them.’ We need to work together.”
On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, District Attorney Jackie Lacy, and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck held a press conference also encouraging the reporting of hate crimes.
An email sent Wednesday morning from the LAPD in response to a request by Epoch Times for information about hate crimes since the presidential election, stated, “We have not seen an increase [in hate crimes],” written by Officer Norma Eisenman.
A request to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for the same information received no immediate response.
At the Tuesday rally, Vlad Ghica, an undocumented immigrant from Bucharest, Romania, spoke about his experiences living in the United States since the age of nine.
“I went to elementary school here, I went to middle school here, I went to high school here, and as recently as this past summer, I graduated with my degree in political science and public affairs from the University of California Los Angeles,” he said.
Ghica said this was only possible because of his access to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), implemented by Obama, which allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to receive temporary work authorization and protection from deportation.
Trump has voiced his intention of reversing Obama’s executive actions and orders, which would include DACA.
“These people are not criminals,” said Supervisor Solis. “These people are stand-up individuals who are contributing economically to the well-being of our country and our economy here. We should thank them.”
Supervisor Kuehl said her mother’s Jewish family left Russia in the early 20th century because of pogroms.
“Their cities, their villages, their blocks were burned, and so were they. They came here seeking help.”
“My parents used to say, ‘We came here on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now,'” said Supervisor Kuehl.