September 18, 1990
By Yolanda Reynolds
Day laborers have been congregating at the Home Club, located at Story and King Road. They go to the shopping center to find work from the contractors who buy supplies at the Home Club.
In the last six months, complaints about the laborers gathering there have been made to the police. Vice mayor Blanca Alvarado, Council representative of the District in which the Home Club is located, made a proposal at last Tuesday’s Council meeting requesting that the City of San Jose allocate personnel and attention to address the issue. She said that the people who go to there are actually seeking employment and the concerns of the nearby neighborhoods and businesses are also legitimate. Therefore, she proposed a comprehensive approach in finding a solution that would be helpful to all.
She said that the police had been dealing with the complaints but felt, and she concurred that the issue was not a police problem, but rather a policy issue that needed more attention than the police the police could provide.
The City Council unanimously voted to support Alvarado’s request the City find a long-term solution which could result in giving help to those seeking work as well as help to those needing workers.
Nabar Martinez, Deputy City Manager, was assigned to work with various agencies such as the Employment Development Department (E.D.D.) the various businesses, the workers and others in developing a strategy for resolving this issue.
Alvarado and the Council were wise in not discounting the needs of any group in addressing the issue.
Increasingly throughout the County, there are reports that because of one’s appearance problems arise with security or law enforcement officials.
Several months ago, Juan Haro who is Latino and a student, reported that he had been challenged, primarily, because of his appearance and dress by a security guard at San Jose State for his presence on that campus – he is a third year Administration of Justice student. The investigation of that incident has not yet been completed.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports other instances of such actions taking place. They say that “visitors to Great America on the 4th of July could hardly expect to be questioned about their ethnic background and thrown out of the amusement park because of their race or style of dress. But that is exactly what happened to two teenage cousins who planned to enjoy their Independence Day Holiday the popular Santa Clara amusement par.” According to the ACLU, this is not an isolated instance. “This same thing has happened to other Latino, African Americans, and Asian American males at that park.”
The Mexican merican Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF), ACLU of Northern California, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peple (NAACP), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), parents and a number of the ousted youth have demanded a meeting with the General Manager of Great America.
Mr. Chen of the ACLU of Northern California says that to take action based on “stereotypic profiles featuring clothing and racial background violate the Civil Rights Act as well as other California laws against discrimination, which prohibit arbitrary and discriminatory exclusion front accommodations, facilities, and service in all business establishments.
There is increasing concern that racism, accompanied by discriminatory actions, is on the rise. Some churches and policy leaders have begun to support enforcement of this country’s laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex, age or religion.
The community must remain vigilant and courageous in averting the return of the type of problems that the community has experienced in the past.