California Low Rider Affiliation trying to overturn ban of cruising on LA streets
A local group is working hard to repeal a series of laws and ordinances that ban lowriders from cruising Los Angeles city streets, claiming that the rules are a glaring example of systemic racism.
Gathered in East Los Angeles Friday evening, dozens of “cruisers,” or people who hit the streets to flaunt their custom-built lowriders, hoping to celebrate the culture that makes their community so special.
Lowriding is an iconic representation of Latino culture, a tradition that has lived in for decades, despite a number of ordinances outlawing the activity.
“It’s culture, like a brotherhood or sisterhood of a community of car enthusiasts,” said Vicente Quiñones, one of the many gathered Friday. “It’s a mental health release of running the hamster wheel of the 9-to-5.”
He and his wife, Lorraine, are members of the California Lowrider Alliance, a coalition of car enthusiasts from nearly 20 cities and counties throughout Southern California working to repeal the laws and ordinances banning their favorite pastime.
“We cruise with this stigma or fear in the back of our mind that there’s a potential for us to be pulled over,” Lorraine said. “We don’t want to repeal the ordinance only within our own city and county, but we want it to be statewide.”
Currently, Los Angeles County has an ordinance outlawing cruising, which notes that anyone driver past a certain point more than twice in a six-hour window can be cited.
While they know that traditional stigma associates the activity with gang-related culture, they’re looking to turn the corner and drive people down a different path.
“You think we’re going to jeopardize thousands of dollars that we put int our cars and the love to gang bang, it’s not like that,” said Art Acosta, another member of the California Lowrider Alliance.
A former gang member himself, he’s hoping that his past experiences will give him an upper hand in reaching out to younger generations.
“We grew up in all that, so we know what it is and we want better for our kids.”
Quiñones is currently working with members of Los Angeles County and several state lawmakers looking to make the change in the near future.
“This is our community,” she said. “We actually live here and that’s why we want to cruise here. We want to support our own community.”
She’s hoping to develop a safe cruising plan with lawmakers, which will also call for public input before submission. On top of that, Quiñones is also working to draft a State Senate bill that would repeal the ban on cruising, which will be introduced in January.