Harbor Gathers to the Call of the Elders

On October 20, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

Columbus Day was a flash point on the 525th anniversary of his voyage to the New World. Recently, the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1, Councilman Joe Buscaino opposed, to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. But the struggle isn’t over for indigenous people. The education system still largely ignores native histories.

“The history of this country is not told properly,” said John Funmaker, a community activist and spiritual Ho-Chunk leader. “It’s often ended in violence.”

For Native Americans, oral history is and has been a way to heal and reconnect with their ancestors. It offers a pathway to generations through time, identity and culture. Many Winters Elders’ Gathering, Oct. 12 through 15 at Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro will offer that opportunity for Harbor Area residents.

“The elders will bring their history through words, songs, dance,” said George Funmaker, John’s son. “We wanted to come back to the earth and return back to our culture through our elders…. Being in the city, we are disconnected from a lot of the culture. That’s why it’s important to have this event.”

The mission system, for example, still is venerated in California, ignoring the thousands of families torn apart when children were displaced and forced to assimilate Eurocentric standards. The Catholic church even canonized Junipero Serra who forced the conversion of many natives.

Continue reading »

Long Beach Goes Sanctuary

On October 3, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

On Sept. 19, chants from outside the overflowing Long Beach City Hall could be heard throughout the almost eight hours it took the city council to hear a motion that would help its undocumented community.

“What do we want?”


“When do we want it?


“Sí se puede!”

“Let us in!”

Continue reading »

Hotel Workers Ordinance Fails to Pass

On September 28, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

Elida Aguirre, representing the Campaign to Stand with Women, told the Long Beach City Council she has worked at the Maya Hotel in Long Beach for 19 years.

“I am here because I am a housekeeper and I know what it feels to be woman when faced with the threat of sexual harassment from guests,” Aguirre said. “Sometimes we have to work in our areas and if something happens to us we don’t know if someone will hear us if we need help. I have marched in the streets many times and come to city council meetings more times than I can count…. I am tired of asking for support without a clear answer.”

Sept. 19 was no different. The city council voted 5-4 against a measure that would have provided hotel workers with greater safety tools against harassment and established workload limitations. Voting no were District 3 Councilwoman Suzie Price, District 4 Councilman Daryl Supernaw, District 5 Stacy Mungo, District 6 Councilman Dee Andrews and District Councilman 8 Al Austin.

The measure, which concerned hotels with 100 or more rooms, failed to pass despite support from politicians such as Rep. Alan Lowenthal and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. Attendees left the council chambers screaming, “Shame on you!”

Continue reading »

Tagged with:  

Los Rostros de DACA

On September 15, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

Dreamers Face the Death of DACA

By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

Diana Hernandez was only 2 years old when her mother brought her to America.

Her single mother was encouraged by her two other siblings to come to the land of opportunities and provide a better life for her children.

“I don’t remember anything from when I was 2 years old,” Hernandez, 19, remarks. “I knew we were very poor, but I didn’t know I was undocumented.”

Hernandez always wanted to be a doctor, but her dreams were stymied when conversations about college began to surface.

“[My mother said,] ‘I am here to help you and support you, but first, I don’t know if we can afford it and second of all we don’t have papers, no tenemos papeles,’” Hernandez, who grew up in San Pedro, said. “I was bummed out many times. ‘What if all my hard work doesn’t pay off?”

Continue reading »

Columbus Day: A Legacy of Tyranny

On August 21, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

#SomosIndigenas #IndigenousPeoplesDay

By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

On Aug. 8, Councilman Joe Buscaino released a letter urging constituents to attend the Aug. 22 Los Angeles City Council meeting and oppose what he called a “misguided proposal” to replace references to Columbus Day in official city documents with Indigenous People’s Day.

In that letter, Buscaino chose to wrap Columbus in the value cloth of willful immigration and diversity. He even goes so far as to say,  “Columbus, or Columbia, is no longer about a man … it is now a universal theme.”

As a first-generation Chicano of indigenous Mayan ancestry, I find Buscaino’s call for action deeply troubling.

Continue reading »

By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor


Celia Cruz

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a radio station playing Celia Cruz’s hit song, Carnaval. I lingered on the dial hoping to catch some more cumbia, merengue or salsa. (I grew up listening  to tropical rhythms.)

Yet, instead of the next rhythm to get me moving and singing in my car, the station’s program hosts came on.

They began recapping the Oscars from the night before. As you may recall, Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner for Best Picture at the end of the night, awarding the trophy to La La Land when it actually was supposed to go to Moonlight.

One of radio hosts jokingly referred to a black man in Moonlight as “carbon” (charcoal). He later said he didn’t care for Mexican award-winning actor Gael García Bernal’s speech on immigration because he’s kissed “vatos” (dudes), referring to some of the characters García Bernal has interpreted on screen.

Continue reading »

Clinic Spells Community with a Capital W

On April 17, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

Hilda Ávila (no relation to Random Lengths News Assistant Editor Zamná Ávila) found an act of goodness when she was searching for a doctor to get a regular physical examination at the Wilmington Community Clinic.

Continue reading at Random Lengths News

Continue reading »

Civic Center City

On March 10, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

This article was originally published March 2, 2017 in Random Lengths News

By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

These days, driving along Ocean Boulevard in downtown Long Beach is quite a distracting adventure.

Head west toward San Pedro and your eyes will unavoidably wander toward a wall of blue-covered fences surrounding City Hall and the Main Library. Turn right on Magnolia, heading north and you might catch a glimpse of a gigantic hole where the Superior Court once stood. Park and walk to either of the government buildings and you might experience a bit of claustrophobia as you pedal through the maze of fences.

This traffic trek — in the middle of the rush hour — is an expected facelift to the center of Long Beach civic engagement buildings and recreation areas.

Continue reading »

Black Girl Nerds: Refuse to Conform

On December 9, 2016, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

By Zamná F. P. Ávila, Assistant Editor

A few years ago, Marqueeda LaStar discovered a site that spoke to her interests as an artistic, queer woman with a love for science and punk music.  Her world came full circle. In time, she became the social community manager and curator for Black Girl Nerds.

Continue reading…

PrEP: 35 Years Closer to Ending AIDS

On November 23, 2016, in Uncategorized, by Zamná Ávila

By Zamná F. P. Ávila, Assistant Editor

For Ace Robinson, the era of big hair, material girls (and boys) and MTV is a distant memory. He was to young to be directly impacted by a disease that changed the way we have sex and killed millions of people, many of whom were gay.

Read more at www.RandomLengthsNews.com