Protesters raise their arms while chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles on May 31.(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Letter from the Editor: Pandemic. Unrest. Community.

2019 Covid-19 Editions Letter from the Publisher September

By T.A. Hendrickson

In the 10th week of the coronavirus shutdown in Los Angeles, as this June issue of the Boulevard Sentinel was being finalized, the city, still struggling to escape the grip of the pandemic, was seized again – by peaceful protest turned violent in the wake of the shocking killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer.

The violence has not reached Northeast Los Angeles directly, but the repercussions and reckoning surely will.

Near-term reverberations from the unrest will include the impact of throngs in the streets on the spread of the novel coronavirus and, by extension, efforts to reopen the economy.

An even deeper challenge will be to confront the racial and ethnic dimensions of the city’s – and nation’s — most pressing issues. Racist policing is a scourge. But homelessness, poor housing and other big problems – including Covid-19 – also disproportionately affect African American and Latinos, an unconscionable circumstance that demands a remedy.

Mayor Eric Garcetti alluded to this on Sunday: “We can lead the movement against racism without fear of violence or vandalism,” he said, vowing to protect the rights of peaceful protesters even as he imposed a second night of curfew to safeguard against rioters.

Meanwhile, the pandemic is still a major threat. As of May 29, there had been 1,124 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northeast L.A. and, as of May 28, 56 deaths, according to data compiled by the Eastsider from the L.A. County Department of Public Health. The tally covers areas in and near Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Hermon, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights and Mount Washington. On Sunday, May 31, the county reported 1,379 new cases and 25 new deaths countywide.

The pandemic also continues to take its toll on local businesses. Several business owners told the Boulevard Sentinel that they received low-interest rate loans in May from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, among them Mathnasium, Dr. Elliott Caine Optometry, Café de Leche, Relentless Brewing and Spirits and Eagle Claw Kung Fu & Tai Chi. But some of the owners said the money would only see them through another month or so.

The expectation of business owners and local officials is that the economy will continue to reopen in stages. But it’s too soon to gauge the extent to which reopening will boost business. How comfortable will people be venturing out? How quickly will unemployment come down from the highs reached in recent months? Government relief efforts  – stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, subsidized business loans –  are keeping many people afloat for now, but they are time limited. The duration of the pandemic and its economic effects are as yet open ended.

Life does go on, but different. In covering NELA’s high school Class of 2020, the Boulevard Sentinel learned that many graduates have altered their college plans due to pandemic-related concerns. Our latest coverage of high school sports, normally celebratory at this time of year, is instead an honor roll of senior varsity athletes who were deprived by school closures of their final season.

On another front, the Sentinel has reported on how the pandemic has depressed the response rate in NELA to the 2020 Census and on neighborhood business being conducted via Zoom, including an upcoming decision by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meeting on whether to support a major new development proposed in Eagle Rock.

Community has been and will continue to be the saving grace during this difficult time with neighbors helping neighbors, while nonprofits, church leaders, and union and  elected officials step up and pitch in.

We are being tested.


T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.

T.A. Hendrickson
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.

4 thoughts on “Letter from the Editor: Pandemic. Unrest. Community.

  1. During these difficult time to kainatın your good health and Civilization unrest. I owner of Green Earth Collective has decided to fire long time employees that question why he is going to stop the 2 dollara for the front line employees

    1. İ have this new that continue to change the language…
      The Owner of Green Earth Collective in Eagle Rock is firing long time emplyoees for asking that the 2.00 raise, given out at this time to front-line employees.

  2. I visit my mom twice a week here in Eagle Rock. I exit the freeway at Figueroa on 134, and have noticed the homeless under the bridge on the east side near the dog park.As of late I now have noticed the homeless are making camp at that park and ride at the end of the exit. Where are these people coming from? Are you kidding me….. pretty soon we will have all of Glendales’ homies. Just waiting for the city to drop a shitter(Andy Gump)there,and that way that will make them feel at home…….PERMANENTLY

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful coverage of the issues affecting our town.

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