On Saturday afternoon a crowd of protesters gathered in Boyle Heights to push back against the pending evictions of seniors from Sakura Gardens by Pacifica Companies. The battle has been going on for months, but time may be running out. While Pacifica’s first relocation plan was rejected by the State, they’ve come back with a second plan which is still being considered. And as the pandemic winds down, the current eviction moratorium will probably expire in the next few months.
While the Japanese American community has been leading the charge, many other communities have lent their support. On Saturday a diverse group of speakers from a range of groups railed against the inhumanity of evicting seniors from this intermediate care facility, especially given the lack of alternatives that offer the same level of care. According to Save Our Seniors, most of the residents are over 90. And anyone who’s dealt with the challenge of seeking a care facility for an elderly parent knows how hard it is to find the right place at a price you can afford. This becomes even more difficult when the parent’s primary language is not English.
At the protest I ran into a friend, activist Grace Yoo, who helped organize the event. As we were talking about the insanity of displacing seniors with significant health problems, Grace asked, “How can this be happening?” Unfortunately, the answer is simple. Greed. Pacifica knows they can make a lot more money by getting rid of the seniors and redeveloping the property. While this is a particularly brazen assault on a fragile community, if you’ve been following the news in LA over the past decade, the story is a familiar one. Pacifica doesn’t care about people. They care about profits.
If you want to learn more about the situation, Save Our Seniors offers lots of background and frequent updates. They also explain how you can get involved. Please think about taking action. These seniors and their families need your help.