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People ordering form a food truck
People ordering form a food truck

Street Vendors March for the Right to Sell

Street food is the life-blood of a city’s culture, and this is especially true for Los Angeles. The sight of an iconic rainbow colored umbrella at a fruit cart is like finding a desert oasis in the LA heat. When bar-goers have had their fill of overpriced cocktails on a Friday night, there’s a vendor waiting right outside dishing out delicious cures to inevitable hangovers. Some vendors become beloved local celebrities, but all perform an essential function whether it be culturally or economically.

This largely Latino comprised workforce has shaped the city’s food identity, but now they’re having to fight to keep their jobs. On Tuesday, vendors marched in protest of LA Alfresco, an initiative that provided regulations for restaurants to begin reopening, but excluded protections for street vendors. Mayor Garcetti announced that enforcement has been “relaxed” for street vendors in a vague statement that does little towards offering a solution.

The struggle to decriminalize street vending in Los Angeles has been a long battle that forces small business owners to navigate overbearing rules and regulations. In late 2018, LA City Council voted a new set of rules to allow street vendors to operate without the threat of having their supplies confiscated, and in some cases even facing deportation. Now due to COVID-19, vendors find themselves having to voice their frustration again in order to enjoy some of the same protections as more permanent storefronts.

You may ask yourself: “what can I do to help?” You can get a jump start by checking out our article on ways for Latinos to get involved with the protests for social justice – many of these methods are interchangeable!

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