‘Hate crime’ label for art gallery vandalism sparks protest in Boyle Heights


BOYLE HEIGHTS — Protests are sprouting from other protests in the fight over gentrification. This weekend, anti-gentrification demonstrators objected to police investigating the vandalism of a new art gallery as a possible anti-white hate crime, according the L.A. Times.

Members of the Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement held a demonstration and news conference Saturday in front of the Nicodim gallery — owned by Echo Park resident Mihai Nicodim. This came after news that police would investigate three recent acts of vandalism at Boyle Heights art galleries as possible hate crimes. In one of the incidents that police are probing, vandals spray-painted “Fuck white art” on the Nicodim gallery’s roll-down security gate.

“It’s another way for the LAPD to criminalize youth and create racial divisions in this community, to allege an anti-white hate crime when they’re out there shooting our youth — people of color,” Elizabeth Blaney, a Boyle Heights resident and co-director of the community organizing group Union de Vecinos, told the Times.

Nicodim told the Times he planned to stay in Boyle Heights, despite the protests.

“They have the right to demonstrate,” Nicodim said. “I have the right to be here.”

Read the full story in the L.A. Times.

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  1. These hate groups are seriously delusional hypocritic pricks. It’s unreal the outright racism they spew to serve their myopic greedy agenda. Will be so nice to see Boyle Heights get what it finally deserves, which is to be cleaned up and safe for all its residents including the dreaded art galleries.

  2. “It’s another way for the LAPD to criminalize youth and create racial divisions in this community,”

    Hah! Yeah, the police are creating the racial divide, not the ignorant, racist protestors who are committing crimes. MAYBE, if they don’t want it to be about race or criminalization, they should quit with the racist chants, masks, and vitriol.. AND possibly quit committing crimes like threats of violence and graffiti.

    Yeah. Keep playing the victim! If these racist “activists” put half of the effort they’re currently putting forth to intimidate and threaten, and instead used it to open discussion and support positive change, maybe they wouldn’t be “criminalized” or misunderstood. CRAZY to me that they’re surprised that these are being treated as a hate crime. By definition, that’s EXACTLY what they are…. Just another law they have no clue about.

    They displaced the Jewish community in BH decades ago yet they don’t seem too concerned about that. Hypocrites. We don’t hear of the people who got pushed out of Culver City, Venice, Highland Park, Santa Monica, Palms, etc hitting the streets in masks, threatening people and tagging their own community.

    • Absolutely no one displaced the Jewish community from Boyle Heights. When racial covenants were removed from real estate by a Supreme Court decision, many Jewish people moved west to areas where they were previously not allowed. Additionally, destruction wrought by the building of the 5 and other freeways, caused people, Jewish and otherwise, to leave the community. Many Jewish people still own property in Boyle Heights. Perhaps you might try getting a clue of the complexities of displacement.

      • Displacement, Relocation – whatever. About half of my family left Lincoln Heights and Highland Park in the seventies due to gang violence after one of my cousins got shot while riding his bicycle on Figueroa St. They, as a lot of Mexican American families, moved to the Valley, which was still fairly white as I recall. Sure there was grumbling among the neighbors and skirmishes on the school yards as, irony of ironies, the Latino kids started their own gangs in a misplaced attempt to assert identity, but no one was going around serving eviction notices and tagging homes and businesses – because it’s illegal. The point is, you have a right to live wherever you want without fear of being run out of the neighborhood for being the wrong color or having the wrong “art” sensibilities.

      • Whatever “BH Citizen.” Keep arguing semantics and trying to distract from the REAL point here. Keep defending these bigoted, hypocritical, under-informed racists. All you’re doing is showing everyone that you’re one of them too.

        • Actually, I’m not. It’s apparent you don’t understand the meaning of semantics. Likewise, I didn’t defend anyone. I pointed out your inaccuracy and you continue to be inaccurate. Nuance and the ability to grasp complex issues eludes you. Gentrification and displacement are complex issues.

  3. These people’s demands are childish and totally unreasonable. They demand art galleries leave because they are raising property values. Maybe if property values are the enemy they should bring back the rampant gang violence, make a point to throw as much trash on the street as possible, routinely vandalize everything in sight. That should keep your property values down.

  4. Protest fast food capitalist endeavors in the hood, not artists. Really look at what corporate America does to low income, urban areas. Why they are attacking small business owners is beyond me. It just reaks of blatant racism.

  5. This crime is literally the text book definition of a Hate Crime. The people who did this should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Racism isn’t acceptable regardless of who it’s directed at.

  6. That pic on the LA Times is comical. I especially like the 3 airheads in the back row with their little Che Guevara berets on. Good to know that the community college commies are still accessorizing! Seriously guys, just pack your bags and move someplace where the government is more in line with your own personal philosophies… some place like Venezuela or China. You’ll never have to worry about all those big bad artists ever again.

    • Because they want it both ways. They want their iphones and TVs and facebook and google….but want to complain about how horrible capitalism is. These are just cranky children who are in their rebellious teenager phase.

  7. “187” was also tagged. I don’t know why this isn’t talked about in the media – super disturbing.

  8. People like Elizabeth Blaney are really at fault for providing excuses for criminal behavior, be it silly tagging like this, or worse. Yes Elizabeth, youths can engage in criminal activity, hence Juvenile Hall, Juvenile courts, and probation officers, in an effort to guide youths away from committing crimes as adults. There are too many Elizabeth Blaneys out there, handing out excuses for bad behavior, all leading to a very bad adulthood for the future of these youths. (Hey, many taggers are actually grown men. Take a stroll into a criminal courtroom and you will see 50 year old men there because of tagging.)

    Society has permitted our young people to sit around all day long and mope, mope, mope about “the man”, while other youths are doing the right thing with their time, and preparing for adulthood, so that they do not become a drag on the taxpayers, and as importantly, not being one who siphons money and services from the truly needy among us, the elderly, the mentally challenged, the handicapped, and our schools. It is time to stop thinking that people who waste their time “tagging” are somehow artistic. They are not artistic. They are common vandals holding themselves out as artists, which is a readily accepted excuse for moping and doing nothing to better themselves.

    • BTW, how is it that, by appearances anyway, “white” Elizabeth Blaney gets to stay in BH, but white Mihai Nicodim doesn’t. Was there a vote?

  9. Oh damn, at first I thought it was the CCNN at fault for this hate crime.
    You know, the Community Coalition of Nothing Nice.

  10. It is just sad seeing how utterly our public school system failed these “protestors.” What can be done to improve the quality of the LAUSD education? I would really like to know.

    • No, it’s more like the parents who have failed these “protesters”. The schools can only do so much if it’s not re-enforced at home.

      • Agreed! The kids who excel in inner city schools have parents that actually SIT DOWN with their kids and help them with homework and inspiration. Help and inspiration are worth everything.

        There are too many parents who allow their kids to grow up like a common weed. Those kids can be found sitting on a curb somewhere, right now, and they’re in their 30s, 40s and 50s. (But “it’s society’s fault…..”)

  11. They have good intentions, I suppose, but somewhere along the way the anti-gentrifiers went off the deep end. Ms. Blaney must be living in an awfully small bubble to express those views with a straight face.

  12. These idiots like to brag about how they’ve been in the neighborhood 20, 30 years. Really, you’ve been renting an apartment for 30 years? You’ve been jamming your family of 10 into a 1 bedroom apartment for 30 years and you never stopped to think maybe you should pool your money and save for a house? Over that long of a time period with many people chipping in, anybody could save to buy a house especially back when it was really cheap. These chronic renters are fundamentally just lazy and ignorant.

  13. LaTrumpinos.

  14. Boyle heights got robbed. They didnt even get the gay communities that precede gentrifying, The greedy developers need to go back and fix this now!

  15. Becky with the good hair

    How do you know it should be investigated as a hate crime? Just switch out “white” for any other color.

    • I believe the assumption is that “white art” referrers to the artists skin color, not the color of the actual art piece. Combined with the tag, “187” which could be a reference to Section 187 of the California Penal Code for Murder (had to look it up), there definitely is a decent argument to classify what happened as a hate crime.

      Unfortunately, because of the ignorance of the group involved and perhaps a lack of foresight with regard to possible unintended consequences, their message has been greatly diminished due to the actions of a few (I hope it’s just a few). Perhaps their efforts would be better suited focusing on WHAT THEY WANT rather than WHAT THEY DON’T WANT. For example – We want housing that will remain affordable regardless of gentrification – or – We want the City of Los Angeles to allow for “mother-in-law” units to create more housing in the neighborhood – or – We want rent control to extend to all apartment units in Boyle Heights – or – We want the city and/or landlord to help cover relocation fees to move to another city with a lower cost of housing.

      Regardless, focusing their efforts on stopping change, specifically art galleries is probably the worst way to create a positive outcome for all – unless they are not concerned about creating solutions and DBH is just a racially driven hate group…I guess their future actions will reveal the answer.

      • jawbon, thank you for making such excellent points. If these so called protestors were to organize around issues that could make things better rather than just acting out like children they could……make things better. Do they even know that the second unit aka granny flat ordinance that could be one of the best tools for keeping neighborhoods affordable was taken away from the whole city this summer by council members representing rich neighborhoods (namely Paul Koretz, David Ryu, and Nury Martinez)?

  16. That is the definition of a hate crime. The protestors are being ridiculous. They are worse than the “deplorable” trump supporters. They are being racist and destructive and violent.

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