August 13, 2021: SOS Network and Supporters Hand Petition to Sakura Gardens Staff to Deliver to Pacifica Companies to Demand Proper Care for Evicted ICF Seniors
With cases of the Delta Variant on the rise, Pacific Companies has coerced fragile seniors out of the 100% COVID-19 Free Sakura ICF and has not guaranteed their access to the bilingual/bi-cultural services they need.
At the August 7 Kansha Obon II in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and CA State Senator Maria Elena Durazo pledged support for seniors at the ICF and signed a petition calling to keep Sakura Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) open and to guarantee remaining and future ICF residents a secure home at Sakura Gardens Assisted Living (SGALF) where both private-pay and Medi-Cal eligible elders will be allowed to live their lives free of evictions and forced evacuations.
Since this date, Pacific Companies has succeeded in evicting all seniors of the Sakura ICF and many have been forced to relocate into facilities that are not 100% COVID-19 free like Sakura ICF had been kept. Most of the other facilities, such as Atherton, also do not have the same level of bilingual staffing and bi-cultural care that was offered by Sakura ICF.
A small number of seniors were able to move into the adjacent SGALF, but Pacfica Companies is attempting to put the burden of the increased costs for that facility onto the evictees versus picking up the difference. SOS Network is working to force Pacfica Companies to pay the difference in cost, since it is they who are working to destroy the Sakura ICF as a senior health service facility for Japanese American and Japanese seniors and forced the ICF residents to move in the first place.
“We call upon the Ash Israni family to recognize the inhumanity of evicting 80, 90 and 100-year old Japanese and Japanese American elders from their home and eliminating neighborhood jobs — trading people “We call upon the Ash Israni family to recognize the inhumanity of evicting 80, 90 and 100-year old Japanese and Japanese American elders from their home and eliminating neighborhood jobs — trading people for profit.
Improve the quality of life of this Sakura community.
Keep Sakura ICF open and guarantee remaining and future ICF residents a secure home at Sakura Gardens Assisted Living where both private-pay and Medi-Cal-eligible elders will not again be forced out”
Participants held placards and delivered spirited chants outside of the gated entry, including, “Bachan, Jichan, we won’t give up the fight! Stay strong! Stay healthy! Your home is Boyle Heights!” Supporters pledged to continue to work for the well-being of evicted seniors from Sakura ICF. Shmuel Gonzalez of Boyle Heights History Studios speaks of the historic, 119-year tradition at the 325 S. Boyle campus in providing bilingual/bi-cultural senior care, first to Jewish American seniors and then Japanese American and Japanese seniors. Repeated calls to support AB 279 were made to prevent evictions of seniors from other senior care facilities in CA and also for AB 1400, the healthcare reform bill that will create “cradle to grave, head-to-toe” healthcare coverage to all Californians, including bilingual/bi-cultural care.
SOS Network is also supporting efforts led by Boyle Heights Community Partners and the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council to designate Sakura Gardens a Historic site which will help preserve the legacy of the location in service to the community and fight Pacifica Companies’ efforts to exacerbate gentrification and displacement in Boyle Heights.
(Special thanks to Jeff Chop of Little Tokyo Historical Society for the photos and Reggie Wong of Progressive Asian Network for Action for the video screengrab of the SGALF staff person delivering the petition)