PASADENA: Three years after a South Central farm at 41st and Alameda streets was destroyed, the protests continue: At noon today, a group of roughly 30 people marched and chanted outside Pasadena's Forever 21 store to protest the clothing chain's proposed distribution center on the 14-acre South Central site. "We're asking for Forever 21 to return the land to the community," said Danny Santana, 19, part of a group called the Never Forever 21 Coalition. "It could be turned into a park, for instance."
During the march, the protesters chanted, "Boycott Forever 21" and "Escucha, Villaraigosa." The store manager at Forever 21 said she couldn't comment on the protest, but directed us to a stack of pamplets located next to the front registers. The pamphlet reads: "Forever 21's New Distribution Center will create new jobs," while a sign in the entrance of the Forever 21 store also references the development. UPDATE: Amateur video goodness after the jump.
According to a 2008 LA Times story, supporters of the distribution center stated the development "would create much-needed jobs in South Los Angeles." The same story also questioned the Mayor's ties with Forever 21, noting that Mayor Villaraigosa "has received nearly $1.3 million in contributions and commitments from Forever 21 and its executives over the past two years for initiatives ranging from tree plantings to his own reelection campaign."
Additionally, it was reported last summer that an environmental impact report would be done by the developer [who owns the land; Forever 21 is just the tenant, if that wasn't clear from the original post] on the site, while neighbors have voiced concerns about anticipated traffic and noise from the distribution center.
According to a press release on the South Central Farmers' web site, today's event was organized by the South Central Farmers with student groups California Statewide MEChA and D-Q Unity. According to Santana, the Pasadena store on De Lacey Avenue was chosen because its high traffic volume.
Excerpt from the press release:
"The SCF Action Committee will lead a rally to kickoff a national boycott until the Farm is restored and stop worker abuse ended on Saturday, Feb 21, at noon at the Forever 21 "superstore" at 35 N. De Lacey Avenue in Pasadena, one block north of Colorado Avenue.
Forever 21 is the proposed tenant for the Farm land. A mammoth warehouse is planned for the company, moving 2500 trucks daily in and out the over-industrialized neighborhood. Forever 21 has a history of underpaying workers and violating workers' safety, concerns workers still have in spite of a 2006 settlement against the retail and manufacturing giant.
The rise of the South Central Farmers began nearly three years ago when their raucous and playful street protests, with oversized cardboard corn and a multicultural blend of young people, gave voice to 350 families being thrown out of a public garden they had cultivated into a hidden paradise in the middle of L.A.'s industrial district."