My name is Albert Corado and I’m an organizer running for Los Angeles City Council in District 13 because it’s time we had someone representing our community who actually knows our community.
I was born and raised right here in Los Angeles — first in Koreatown and then in the Valley. I grew up having birthday parties at Echo Park Lake and going to the Tar Pits with my sister. My parents would take us for cheeseburgers at Rick’s before seeing a movie at the Campus Theater. My dad came here from El Salvador and worked in construction while my mom, originally from Mexico, was a housekeeper. They, like so many working parents, did everything they could to provide for us in an increasingly-gentrifying city. When I was 14 years old my mother died of ovarian cancer, but to this day I carry with me her tireless work ethic and love for her people. My parents taught me how to stand up for what I believe in, and I owe my commitment to this community to them.
After my mother’s passing I couldn’t prioritize college, plus I’d never felt the world of academia was one that welcomed people like me. So, like 20% of Angelenos, I didn’t go to college. Instead, I worked as a barista, a bartender, and a server for several years. My experience as a wage-worker in the service industry means that I understand, first-hand, what it’s like to survive off an often-invisible and underpaid job. In fact, workers like me comprise one of the largest private sector industries in the city in terms of employment, yet our voices are rarely represented in positions of power. I’m running to change that.
For so many of us, the last few years have been defined by the encroachment of corporate interests on our neighborhoods, by rising rents and dwindling wages, by heat waves and homelessness. But, in working with our community as an organizer every day, I have seen another side of Los Angeles as well — one of care and compassion, one where neighbors look out for each other and fight back against injustice– and that is the kind of city I want to build. A city where people can pursue lives of dignity and freedom regardless of their salary, skin color, or immigration status. That’s the Los Angeles I believe in. I believe in reimagining public safety. I believe we need to defund the police and put those funds towards the kind of care and services that actually help people. I know that police don’t keep crime rates down, opportunities do. I believe we need to decriminalize poverty and uplift our most marginalized neighbors. I believe housing is a human right and that if someone has to sleep on the street, that’s not their own failure but a systemic failure. But I know we can fix that failure. I know that if we build up tenants rights and prioritize public housing, then everyone could have a safe place to call home. I believe immigrants like my parents deserve rights, respect, and protection. I believe we need a Green New Deal, and that it’s not an extreme measure but is the bare minimum required to save our planet from environmental disaster. I believe it’s time this city put its people first.
I never thought I’d be someone to run for city council, but I know all-too-well the harm this city can do when it’s in the hands of corrupt leaders. On July 21, 2018 my little sister and best friend, Melyda Corado, was shot and killed by the LAPD at the Trader Joe’s where she worked in Silverlake. In their pursuit of a suspect, two LAPD officers opened fire into the crowded grocery store and killed the person I loved the most in the world.
Mely became yet another life stolen by this police department, an event so commonplace it’s become normalized. She went from being a vibrant 27 year old to a name on the long list of people killed by the LAPD in any given year. That night, the LAPD told an LA Times reporter that the suspect had shot my sister. The city hardly let us view Mely’s body and we weren’t allowed to see her autopsy report for a year. When we held Mely’s funeral days later, Mayor Garcetti didn’t even attend. He was out of town. The officers responsible for Mely’s death faced no consequences. In fact, the LA Board of Police Commissioners ruled her death to be “in-policy.” The people who run the city I love, the city I was born and raised in thought that my sister’s murder was in-policy.
We decided to sue the city for excessive force and negligence, though our trial has yet to take place. But I am done waiting on those in power to provide justice. We are not just a grieving family, we are the biggest advocates for Mely and all victims of police violence. For Andres Guardado. For Dijon Kizzee. For Anthony McClain. For Catherine Gomez. For Ryan Twyman. For the nearly 900 people killed by police in LA County in the last 20 years. I quit my barista job last year and have been doing community organizing full-time, working first on homelessness outreach with SELAH and then with incredible local organizations like NOlympics and Street Watch. I realized I didn’t have to be someone with a lot of degrees or money to make a difference in my community. I just needed the conviction to do something when those in power wouldn’t. Another year has passed since Mely’s death, and the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the myriad ways our city failed to protect us from evictions, climate change, and police violence. When elected officials refused to meet the needs of their people during this crisis, we decided to form People’s City Council, a coalition of organizers uplifting the work being done on the ground every single day by neighbors helping neighbors, organizing, and building community power — a Peoples’ City Council made up of communities fighting for an LA that is racially, economically, and environmentally just. Since forming in March, we’ve provided housing assistance, PPE, hot meals, clothing, water, and services for our unhoused neighbors. We’ve fought back against cruel sweeps of the unhoused. We joined forces with fellow organizers to put together the People’s Budget and pressured City Council to redirect $150 million away from the bloated police budget and towards public services. We’ve raised over $2 million in support of protesters, Black Lives Matter, and countless other local organizations. In doing this work I realized that, when banded together, we are more powerful than a handful of corrupt politicians. And I want to bring that community dedication to the Los Angeles City Council. This city watched my life get ripped away from me, but they also built me back up as someone more determined than ever to fight for justice.
I’m running for council because I know Los Angeles as well as anyone. I have personally lived through the suffering this city can cause when being helmed by the greedy, power-hungry elite. But I have also seen, through activism and mutual aid, how beautiful this city can be when it’s in the hands of its most compassionate and hard-working people. Those are the people who make up this community. And that is the city I’m fighting for. Our city.
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Activists Bring Protests to L.A. Officials Homes – LA Times Storyworthy Podcast Two Years Later: The Mely March – KnockLA The movement to defund police has won historic victories across the US. What’s next? – The Guardian How to Change How America Is Policed -NBC March for Mely Brought Hundreds to Protest LAPD Shooting – KCRW Why We Need To Cancel Tokyo 2020…and then LA 2028 – KnockLA The People’s City Council Does Not Cancel Meetings Defund the Police Activist Albert Corado on the LAPD’s Killing of his Sister and the Movement’s Progress — UPROXX When the Outrage Over George Floyd’s Death Reached The Masses, These Families Were Waiting – LA Taco Channeling Grief Into Activism — The Michael Brooks Show