Commentary: Together we are stronger

Latinx community stands together to fight injustices against street vendors

Local+elotera%2C+Pilar%2C+in+the+community+of+Foothill+Farms

Yareli Perez Ortiz/Foothill Forum

Local elotera, Pilar, in the community of Foothill Farms

Yareli Perez Ortiz, Co-Editor-in-Chief

We’re all familiar with the sound of the honk of their horn, or the colorful, rainbow display of their big umbrellas. Eloteros and paleteros, street vendors,  already run the risk of catching Covid-19 by going out and selling goods to the community, but now they also fear getting attacked.  For most eloteros, this is their only source of income, which makes it even more devastating. 

In the early days of March, while on her daily routine of selling snacks to her community near Franklin and 12th Av., Edith Baralles was attacked. An Instagram video that was taken at the scene showed a group of people ransacking her cart and kicking it over. 

Luckily for Baralles, the Latinx community had her back. As a group, the community managed to raise enough money to purchase a new and improved cart. Not only that, but they also organized a march for all street vendors to show their appreciation for all that they stand for – their hard work and dedication to their communities. 

The march took place in South Sacramento on March 9 and consisted of many street vendors pushing their carts while holding up signs with the words “Juntos somos mas fuertes,” which translates to “together we are stronger.” Individuals of all ages took part in the march. This goes to show that when our community needs our help, we’re there to give a helping hand. Many people also proudly waved their Mexico flags to show support for those vendors that are Mexican. 

This is not the first time street vendors  experience an encounter like this.

Miguel Medina, a street vendor from Los Angeles was attacked in July. They beat him unconscious and robbed him of all his profits. Bernardo Nuñez in Long Beach got his ice cream cart stolen in July 2020. In March 2021, Lorenzo Perez, a street vendor in Fresno, was shot and killed. 

The Latinx community is angry, and they have every right to be. Street vendors go out every day and sell goods to their communities just for them to get attacked? It’s highly unfair  to them. 

Dianna Ortiz, a senior at Foothill High and member of the Latinx community, says, “The way our street vendors get disrespected is getting out of control…I am tired of it.” 

She’s not the only one that agrees. Giselle Navel, also a member of the Latinx community and a Junior at Foothill, says she was in complete shock when she found out street vendors were getting harassed. “It is absolutely horrible how it’s so common in the streets where the only thing they’re trying to do (is feed their families with a lot of dedication and hard work),” said Navel in both Spanish and English.

The malicious acts of those who attack street vendors is unjustifiable. Street vendors should not be losing their lives while on the job of selling snacks to their communities. It’s unfair to them and their families who depend on their income. 

The violent acts on street vendors should not go unnoticed, they are just trying to make a living. They give back to the community with their delicious churros, elotes, mangoneadas, and raspados. A little ounce of respect and support for what they do can go a long way, please keep that in mind, and support our community’s street vendors by purchasing their goods.