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Black And Latina/o Californians Are Much Less Likely To Have Received A Vaccine

An ICU RN is injected with a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the UCI Medical Center in Orange on Wednesday December 16. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

California officials have released information on the race and ethnicity of residents who have received COVID-19 vaccines.

Nearly 33% of people who have gotten a shot are white; 16% are Latina/o; 13% are Asian American; and 2.9% are Black. The remaining vaccines have gone to people who identify as multi-race, Native Hawaiian, American Indian, and individuals who did not specify a racial or ethnic identity.

As of Jan. 23, the racial and ethnic breakdown of Angelenos who had received one or more doses of the vaccine was as follows:

  • 30.2% white (26% of county residents are white)
  • 29.4% Latino (49% of county residents are Latino)
  • 22.9% Asian (15% of county residents are Asian)
  • 4.6% Black (8% of county residents are Black)
  • 1.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (.4% of county residents are Native/Pacific Islander)
  • 0.4% American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 11.5% multiple or other race/ethnicity

Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, called the number of Black people who have received the vaccine “shockingly low.” Other experts have wondered if local officials are not prioritizing vaccine equity.

Seniors make up nearly 55% of Californians who have been vaccinated so far. That group, along with long-term care residents and health care workers, were the first cohort to be prioritized by the state.

Outcry Grows Over LAPD Mock-Valentine

LAPD Headquarters in front of City Hall. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Los Angeles Police Department officers had shared a Valentine’s Day-themed photo of George Floyd that included a caption reading, “You Take My Breath Away.”

Today, a coalition of community activists called for the firing of any LAPD employee who created or shared the image.

Floyd died last May after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. He told officers several times that he couldn’t breathe.

The LAPD opened an investigation into the matter after a department member reported the photo. On Twitter, the department said it “will have zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

At a press conference outside the Harbor Community Police Station in San Pedro Monday, activist Najee Ali shared a statement from attorney Ben Crump on behalf of the Floyd family:

“We demand that everyone, everyone who was involved is held accountable for their revolting behavior and an apology be issued to the family immediately.“

Ali said he had been in contact with LAPD Chief Michel Moore and commended him for committing to a thorough investigation.

On Twitter, L.A. District Attorney George Gascon expressed his disgust. “The callous nature of what's alleged here is exceedingly disturbing, and it speaks volumes to law enforcement's inability to recognize how harmful the use of unlawful force is to public attitudes about police,” Gascon wrote.

LA’s First School-Based Vaccination Site Will Open This Week

Five doses of COVID-19 vaccine is held by SPC Angel Laureano at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on December 14, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s first school-based vaccination center will open this Wednesday.

Doses will be offered to school staff aged 65 and older, and employees who are currently working at COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites. Employees will be contacted to make an appointment.

LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner said in his weekly address on Monday that the district is working to open as many school-based sites as possible, and that Anthem, Cedars Sinai, and Microsoft are helping in the effort.

“Los Angeles Unified’s vaccination efforts will use a technology and data system built with the support of Microsoft,” he said, “which includes registration and scheduling, tracking of vaccines and stock, contact-less appointment check in, and data capture at the time of appointment.”

The new vaccine center will be at Roybal Learning Center, near downtown L.A. A spokesperson for the district was not able to provide information about the number of doses that would be available.

Beutner has been emphatic about his desire to use LAUSD sites as vaccination locations, and his wish to vaccinate school employees as soon as possible.

In January, he noted how prevalent the district’s schools are in communities across the county, in contrast to other locations currently being used as vaccination sites.

“There are an average of two Los Angeles Unified schools every square mile — within an easy walk, bike ride or drive for millions of people from San Fernando to San Pedro,” Beutner said at the time. “Unlike a stadium parking lot, school campuses are built to care for large numbers of people.”

More recently, he pointed out that vaccinating 25,000 employees would allow elementary schools to reopen. That step, Beutner added, would also allow the families of those children to get back to work — or to no longer need to work with their children screaming in the background.

LAUSD Previews Proposed Black Student Achievement Plan

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education is holding a special meeting Tuesday to address the digital divide, COVID-19, changes to the school police department, and how to better support Black students.

Not only will the board discuss how to implement the $25 million cut from the school police budget passed narrowly last June, it will also consider how to reinvest that money.

Superintendent Austin Beutner gave a preview of the district’s Black Student Achievement Plan during his Monday address to the school community. The district would focus these efforts on 53 schools with the highest needs and the most Black students.

“We’ve been systematically failing Black children as a country,” Beutner said. “Schools must be part of the solution, because a great education is the most important part of the path out of poverty.”

If passed as presented, the plan would include:

  • Reforming the district’s school police force
  • $30.1 million for improving “school climate” and reducing suspensions
  • $4.4 million for academic changes and supports
  • $2 million for working with organizations that serve Black youth

“The question might be asked, ‘how can we afford this,’" Beutner said in Monday’s address. “The answer is: ‘how can we afford not to?’”

$25 million in funding could come from the cuts to the district’s school police budget. As my colleague Caroline Champlin noted in her story about those cuts:

Critics of the budget reduction, including some board members, accused proponents of too quickly bending to public opinion, without considering long-term ramifications, while activists decried administrators for leaving them out of negotiations. Stakeholders on all sides have given public comment throughout the process, but the board itself has only discussed the cut publicly a handful of times.

In the weeks after the motion was passed at the end of a 13-hour meeting on June 30, Superintendent Austin Beutner organized a task force of former school administrators, lawyers and public policy experts to work through those questions. To the dismay of some community groups, the team did not include any current students.

You can read the $36.5 million Black Student Achievement plan as proposed by district staff for the board’s consideration in Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

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LA City Coronavirus Vaccination Sites Will Temporarily Prioritize Second Doses

Core employees check drivers appointments and ID's before being directed towards the vaccination site at Dodgers Stadium on the first day of vaccinations. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

After temporarily closing down its coronavirus vaccination sites due to lack of supply, the city of Los Angeles announced Monday that when those sites reopen this week, they will prioritize providing second doses.

“Our City has the tools, the infrastructure, and the determination to vaccinate Angelenos swiftly and safely — we simply need more doses,” Mayor Garcetti said in a statement.

Officials estimate that 4,600 first doses will be available, and offered at the city’s mobile vaccination sites and at Pierce College.

City health officials expect to receive 54,000 doses of Moderna vaccines and 4,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines this week. Five of the city’s six city-operated sites will reopen on Tuesday. Hansen Dam will reopen on Wednesday.

As of Sunday, L.A. County has reported a total of 1,166,538 coronavirus cases and 19,066 deaths. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, said that the surge in cases following the 2020 holiday season appeared to be leveling off.

In his statement Monday, Garcetti emphasized the need for more doses.

“Our density and demographics have made our region an epicenter of this crisis in recent months,” he said, “and with a reliable, consistent supply of vaccines, we can get more shots into people’s arms.”

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'What Does It Mean To Be Black In LA?' A Reflection On Being Biracial

Sage co-created a children's book, "I Love Grandma's House: A Biracial Girl and Her Two Special Worlds," to help biracial kids understand their experiences aren't "alien." (Screenshot via Bookshop)

The theme of LAist's Black History Month coverage this year is: “What does it mean to be Black in L.A.?” We'll publish responses from community members and staff throughout the month. Add your voice to the conversation below.

The Black Angelenos we've heard from so far — both community members and voices from our newsroom — describe L.A. as everything from "a place of possibilities" to a city of "contradictions."

Today, we hear from a biracial woman who has struggled to find place to fit, to feel comfortable, to be "at ease," to bring her Black and white identities together as a whole self.

"I’m a Black biracial woman who grew up in neighborhoods all over greater Los Angeles, from Sherman Oaks to West Covina. What it has meant for me is bearing witness to different realities for my Black and white families. There is no such place as a biracial neighborhood in L.A. Biraciality exists in a liminal space between the inclusion it touts and the intolerance it elicits.

"Like a lot of America, L.A. can be more of a tossed salad than a melting pot when it comes to diversity. It was rare, but not unheard of, for me to see another biracial family. In those moments I felt at ease. I felt seen. I felt normal. This is why I co-created the book "I Love Grandma’s House: A Biracial Girl and Her Two Special Worlds," to show other biracial children in and beyond Los Angeles that their lived experience isn’t alien and that there are other kids growing up the same way."

Sage, Long Beach



The first installment of our The 8 Percent project began exploring the inextricable ties between L.A. and its Black residents — how Black migration, community and culture have shaped and changed L.A. For Black History Month, we’re homing in on a more specific experience — yours. Tell us: What does it mean to you to be Black in L.A.?

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After Months Of Delays, LAUSD Board Is Scheduled To Hear Plans For School Police Budget Cuts

Protestors rallied in front of LAUSD's headquarters last summer during a demonstration urging the board to defund the LA School Police. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

The L.A. Unified School Board is expected to hear a plan to cut $25 million from the school police budget during Tuesday’s meeting, after discussion was delayed again and again.

A 35% funding cut to the LAUSD police budget was approved by the school board in a 4-3 vote last summer in the wake of a racial justice movement, but the details — like exactly how to reduce spending and redistribute the money — have taken a while to iron out.

Critics of the budget reduction, including some board members, accused proponents of too quickly bending to public opinion, without considering long-term ramifications, while activists decried administrators for leaving them out of negotiations. Stakeholders on all sides have given public comment over the last several months, but the board itself has only discussed the cut publicly a handful of times.


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Morning Brief: LAUSD Leadership Says Vaccinating Teachers Will Benefit Entire Communities

College banners hang above the offices of school staff. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 15.

On Friday, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer expressed some optimism that the region might soon meet the requirements for reopening schools. The holiday surge is leveling off, she said, and daily transmission is down from early January.

“I do believe that very shortly, L.A. County will in fact reach that metric ... where we'll have less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents,” she said. “That will allow those elementary schools that want to reopen, to reopen.”

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the course of the past year, it’s that nothing is ever that simple. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines late last week for resuming in-person instruction, L.A. educators, legislators, administrators and parents have a lot left to work out.

In early February, L.A. City Councilmember Joe Busciano introduced a motion to sue LAUSD in order to force them to reopen. District officials later called the move “political theater,” “grandstanding” and “hollow.”

In his weekly address last Monday, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner compared politicians’ push to reopen to a Nike ad (they “told educators, ‘Just Do It,'” he said), and Dorothy’s famous wish to tap her heels together three times and be home. Instead, Beutner suggested a three-pronged plan for reopening: Implement safety protocols, something Beutner said is already complete; reduce the levels of COVID-19 in L.A. to meet state requirements; and vaccinate 25,000 elementary school teachers and staff members.

To put that last point in perspective, Dodger Stadium is capable of vaccinating 12,000 people per day, if doses are available.

Beutner made the point that by vaccinating staff and expediting the reopening of elementary schools, 250,000 children could return to classrooms, and nearly 500,000 of their family members may be able to return to work — or stop having to do two full-time jobs.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … L.A.’s Lunar New Year Parade Goes Virtual

The Original Farmers Market celebrates the Lunar New Year with live music and cultural performances. (The Original Farmers Market)

The annual Golden Lunar New Year Parade, traditionally held in downtown Los Angeles, went virtual this year.

The event started in the late 1800s as an effort to bridge racial divides at a time when Chinese immigrants faced intense discrimination. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of L.A. hosts the celebration, which they say is the longest-running Lunar New Year parade outside of China.

This year's virtual celebration, which took place on Saturday, marked the 122nd parade here in L.A. A recording is available on Facebook Live.

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