Meet Zerita



(En español aquí)

Zerita Jones is a lifetime resident of the South Central Area. She has never lived outside of the 405/110/105/10 freeway enclosed area.  Zerita lives with her mother who is 77 (and losing her hearing) to help her with the day to day. She lives across the street from the high school she graduated from and within 1 mile from the 3 groceries stores she managed for decades. She is a mother of 5 children and grandmother who enjoys motorcycle riding (very cool) and traveling. She is also a writer, working on several book projects.

 Zerita’s building complex along with almost 1500 other tenants on Chesapeake is under the Nuisance Abatement Act, which was filed by the City of Los Angeles. The tenants were not notified of this filing, and discovered it when NBC came out to do a story of their buildings.  The news broadcast told a misleading story of their buildings and as a reaction to the NAA filing and this story, the buildings formed a Tenants Association.  This tenants association made a declaration against the filing and the story on NBC, and due to this organizing were able to intervene on court case regarding this filing.

 We asked Zerita about facing eviction as a long  standing member of her community, and this is what she had to say:

 “I figured if they’re going to try to evict us, I’m not going to make it easy. I’m not going to fold up and go. I’m going to fight and try to do what I can do. My mom and I hired the Legal Aid Foundation. In 5 days, we did it. We filled the courtroom with the tenants and it was remarkable. And when we got ready to intervene, the judge was like “Ok well you guys want to intervene,” so they told our two lawyers, “stand on whoever's side you feel that you belong on - the plaintiff’s side or the defendants side” and they had 4 lawyers standing there on each sides, so our two little lawyers stood in the middle. When you saw the picture, it was 10 lawyers standing there at once. The judge felt that as though if we were the ones who were paying rent, we had a say. You can’t both be fighting and have us in the middle and there’s nothing we can do about it, so he granted us the right to intervene into the lawsuit.   ”