Santa Ana councilmember wants attacks against street vendors to be classified as hate crimes

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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A Santa Ana councilmember on Tuesday will propose classifying assaults against street vendors in the city as hate crimes.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Santa Ana councilmember on Tuesday will propose classifying assaults against street vendors in the city as hate crimes.

Santa Ana Councilmember Johnathan Hernandez was inspired by a viral video showing a local barber cutting a longtime popsicle vendor's hair and gifting him $100.

Hernandez was touched by the emotional video.

The barber in the video, Damian Villanueva, grew up watching Bartolo Huate Pacheco's struggles over the years and wanted to give back to him.

RELATED: Santa Ana barber brings street vendor to tears with surprise haircut

Pacheco works in the Artesia Pilar neighborhood. Among the children who grew up running out for a refreshing treat when they heard his bell ring was Hernandez.

"I was so moved and just empowered by Damian's actions," Hernandez said. "The video touched everybody, seeing Bartolo, because we all know Bartolo's story in this community. He's been selling for so long that if you grew up here, you grew up with him."

In an earlier interview with Eyewitness New, Pacheco said he's been the victim of several robberies, an issue Hernandez has prioritized.

"I saw a rise in attacks this year. Street vendors that I know, and grew up with, shared with me that they were recently robbed," Hernandez said.

The councilmember hopes street vendors will be further protected through his proposal, which he will make during Tuesday's city council meeting.

"This is an issue of discrimination, racism and more importantly it's a public safety issue," Hernandez said.

In researching similar work in Long Beach, Hernandez connected with Tito Rodriguez, affectionately known as the Hood Santa.

Hernandez met Pacheco via a video call Monday, which was set up by Hernandez.

Rodriguez gave Pacheco $500 after hearing his story. The gift left the popsicle vendor emotional once again because of the youth organizing around his experience.

The city council meeting Tuesday starts at 6 p.m. Anyone wanting to comments was invited to do so via Zoom, email or in-person.