Located in west Anaheim on Brookhurst Street between Crescent Avenue and Katella Avenue (see Figure C below), Little Arabia is home to more than one hundred small businesses serving Orange County’s diverse AMEMSA community, including ethnic grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, hair salons, halal butcher shops, and professional services. It is also home to important religious institutions such as the West Coast Islamic Society and nonprofit and social service organizations that serve the community.
Guidance: Keep the area of Brookhurst Street between Crescent Ave and Katella Ave whole across all legislative levels.
Detailed Testimony: Rashad Al-Dabbagh (Arab American Civic Council)
Placeholder to copy and paste testimony
Community of Interest Testimony to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission
Date: October 1, 2021
Zone: J (Orange County)
Name: Susan Cheng
Organizational Affiliation: AHRI for Justice (People’s Redistricting Alliance)
Community of Interest: Fullerton and Buena ParkDirection: Keep the Korean community in Buena Park (North East of the I-5 FWY) and North West Fullerton together and South of Chapman Ave (Fullerton) together.
Hi, my name is Susan Cheng and I am writing on behalf of AHRI for Justice. Our organization serves low-income individuals and families, undocumented workers, young people, and survivors of domestic violence through our many programs such as civic engagement, youth organizing, and direct legal services. In addition we are a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance, a coalition of 16 community-based organizations established to promote a greater community voice in statewide and local redistricting processes here in Orange County.
Who my community is:
The communities of interest we serve in the city of Fullerton and Buena Park primarily consist of Asian American, Latinx, Pacific Islander, undocumented & immigrant communities, LGBTQ+ folks, and low-income communities of color. These communities are often siloed off into their own neighborhoods and remain separate from places in Fullerton and Buena Park that are rich in resources and have plenty of access to public assistance and services. Many of these communities face similar issues due to the lack of resources provided, such as lack of affordable housing due to gentrification and lack of rent control. And even lack of resources and support when cities were shut down due to Stay At Home orders back in March last year. Many of our base members came to us to ask for housing assistance, services, and mutual aid funds. Since the start of the pandemic, AHRI has been able to provide over 300 families and community members in the area with financial assistance and additional services.
Yet, these communities are the backbone of the city’s abundant small businesses and cultural landscape. We are also seeing more and more young folks from the large student populations of Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College being actively involved in Fullerton’s civic life. These young and working-class Fullerton residents want nothing more than to have their fair share of resources so their communities can thrive. Many of the students we work with want to see Ethnic Studies implemented in K-12 schools. They want community gardens, affordable housing, and accessible mental health resources. And yet, resources are spent on creating more unaffordable housing, new parking structures, and businesses. It is constantly shown again and again that the needs of our underserved communities such as, AAPI, Latinx, immigrant and low income communities of color are not always addressed. Even when immigrant communities do want to get involved, there are obstacles often put in place such as language barriers, accessibility, time restraints, and many more that further distance folks from being able to use their voice.
Where my community is located:
Several of our communities live along Orangethorpe, Commonwealth, and neighborhoods near Fullerton College and CSUF. In these areas you’ll see plenty of old small businesses, low-income multi-family homes, an abundance of fast food restaurants, and a growing number of community members struggling to find stable housing.
In Buena Park, our community members live North East of the I-5 freeway and share many similarities with our Fullerton community members.
My community is similar to the following neighborhoods:
Buena Park North East of the I-5 FWY and North West Fullerton are similar in that they share a big Korean American community. Many of the AAPI and Korean community members residing in these areas come to AHRI for in-language legal service needs. The communities there must be kept together for language access and access for undocumented AAPI community members/
Fullerton (South of Chapman Ave.) is similar to Buena Park in many ways. Many of the residents reside in apartment complexes with no rent control and are often prone to landlord intimidation and eviction, especially during this pandemic. These residents identify as POC – predominantly Latinx and AAPI- and work multiple jobs. Many of them lack representation and are looking for resources available to them.
My community is different from the following neighborhoods:
The city of Fullerton has a clear income-divide between North and South Fullerton, using Chapman Ave as the dividing line to reflect income level and the challenges around rent relief, food security, access to affordable health care, and resources for essential workers. The lack of rent control in POC majority communities in Fullerton are distinctly different from Central North and Northwest Fullerton.
What makes my community special is:
Elected officials do not represent the communities we serve. And haven’t for decades. Language barriers make it difficult for community members to understand what is happening and there is a large lack of language access for our Korean and Spanish communities. There is a high emphasis on the business districts and sometimes takes priority over community voices (immigrant, working class, low-income). These issues became more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when housing, health, mental, and financial resources were not available for our most vulnerable populations. These needs included:
- Rent Relief / Eviction Protection for low-income and undocumented families
- Food Security
- Access to affordable mental health resources
- Local unemployment resources for working class families who did not have access to financial aid because of labor impacts during the pandemic
- Essential workers who could not resume their jobs / careers because of risk of illness with family members who have pre-existing conditions.
Due to how the lines are currently drawn, resources are not being allocated to communities in need. For example, the city of Fullerton has a clear income-divide between North and South Fullerton. The lack of rent control in POC majority communities in Fullerton are distinctly different from Central North and Northwest Fullerton. We want to ensure that Fullerton is split at Chapman Ave to reflect income level and allow for shared experiences of community members during the pandemic, including housing resources and financial aid needed for undocumented folks.
Again and again, the needs of our underserved communities such as Asian American, Latinx, Pacific Islander, immigrant, and low income communities of color are not addressed. Even when immigrant communities do want to get involved, there are obstacles such as language barriers, accessibility, time restraints, and even more that further distance folks from being able to use their voice. Now more than ever, it is time for this to change. It is crucial that our communities are kept together because they share similar struggles and experiences. By staying together, we have a stronger voice to ensure that policymakers will address our needs.