Anaheim is the largest city in Southern California’s conservative Orange County and home to Disneyland which is called “The Happiest Place on Earth”. During the past week, the city has experienced two police killings that have resulted in a series of protests being organized against city and police officials by enraged Latino residents. The immediate issue that ignited these angry protests was the killing of 25 year-old Manuel Diaz on July 21, 2012.
A Latino majority governed by a minority of the well-to-do
The Chicano/Mexicano population of Anaheim has now exceeded 53% and primarily resides in the barrios of the flatlands. Meanwhile, the minority of higher-income whites live in the pricier Anaheim Hills and maintain a tight control over city government, the school board and the police department. The attention of Anaheim’s city officials
The economic haves and have-nots and its effect on community services
Anaheim has a long history of race and class discrimination and was once known as klanaheim during the 1920’s for it large Klan membership. Over 70 percent of the city’s population are minorities (Latino 53%, Asians 15%, blacks 2%), who do not receive their fair share of resources as taxpayers. Tax revenues have been diverted to assist the corporate sector within the city while few resources are allocated to benefit the lower-income residents of the flatlands in terms of education, vocational training and youth programs. In effect, the have-nots who do not have true political representation within the city, are receiving the short end of the resource stick. Meanwhile, the politicians who represent the
A series of fundamental changes needs to be made by the city
There is a history of misconduct and abuse by the Anaheim police as these recent killings are not simply rare and isolated incidents.
Anaheim: a microcosm of broader Latino issues
The race and class issues afflicting the working class barrios of Anaheim mirror those that are affecting many Latino communities throughout the country. While these local struggles have to be organized and dealt with, a broader perspective and action is also urgently required as these festering conditions are creating a strong undercurrent of anger and impatience among young people. These local eruptions over unjust conditions and policies need to be responded to and supported by civil rights organizations. However, these organizations also need to forge a comprehensive national plan that pinpoints the general problems and issues that pertain to most Latinos and that proposes concrete solutions which can be adapted to local conditions. What are these common issues that affect