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Morning Brief: More Criticism Of LAPD, Human Suffering On Display, And Bioluminescence

A sports store inside the Lakewood mall. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 29.

Many politicians are heralding the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the coronavirus, pointing to drastically reduced positive case numbers and increased distribution of the vaccine.

But for communities that have been hardest hit — largely Black, Latino and Indigenous — the disparity in outcomes will continue to affect families and individuals.

With that in mind, as part of our Race in L.A. series, Oswaldo (Oz) Hasbún Avalos, M.D., an emergency medicine physician currently practicing in Los Angeles, writes that some of the media images of patients who are critically ill or dying have made him “deeply uncomfortable”:

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“Their likenesses have been captured very publicly — in widely seen photographs posted in news publications and on social media that convey them in their most vulnerable state: critically ill and dying.

Regardless of good intentions, the photographer's lens yields little more than what some refer to as ‘trauma porn’Would this glimpse into human suffering be so readily possible in communities with majority affluent, white patients? Should we reduce the lives of these complex individuals to provocative pictures on what may be their deathbed to applaud the efforts of what are still largely white saviors? Would we want our own family members showcased in this way?”

Avalos notes that he hopes the events of the past year provoke elected officials to press forward with initiatives that would truly help the communities he serves, including improving access to healthcare for more individuals, financial assistance such as rent moratoriums, and increased vaccination access in the hardest hit areas.

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

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Hundreds of people turned out in Koreatown on Saturday to make a statement against anti-Asian racism.
  • Activists are criticizing city officials for giving little warning before a heavy-handed police operation shut down Echo Park Lake last week, followed by the eviction of those living at a longstanding homeless encampment there.
  • A new report on race in the workplace found that Black workers are underrepresented in the highest-paying industries, and the areas where those jobs are located.
  • FEMA plans to stop operating two mass vaccination sites in California next month.

Before You Go … Bioluminescence Is Back!

Laguna Beach, March 2021. (Mark Girardeau / Orange County Outdoors)
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These days, if you gaze into the ocean off Laguna or Newport Beach, you may notice the water looking a little brown and ruddy. Take a look again after the sun sets, and you'll see a glowing blue-green light show in the waves, all thanks to a bioluminescent algae that is now in bloom in Orange County waters.

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