FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — A call to action took place Sunday after a street vendor in Fresno was recently gunned down.
“We have to mourn our dead, we have to fight like hell for the living,” said a speaker at the event.
Dozens of community members and street vendors gathered to speak out after Jose Rivera, 53, was killed in a drive-by shooting, while riding his tricycle food cart down Farris, near Olive Avenue.
“It just breaks our hearts because we had bought elotes from him several times,” said organizer Tony Quezada.
Quezada, a vendor himself, is hoping to raise awareness. He and others are calling on the community and city leaders to protect street vendors after several recent attacks.
“Maybe more security, maybe offer them pepper spray for their own protection, maybe cracking down on these criminals a little bit harder, we feel like it’s up to our city leaders to make those laws to protect our street vendors,” Quezada said.
Street vendors, often time carry small amounts of cash and are vulnerable.
Eddie Martinez, from Los Angeles and owner of Pecado Lifestyle, created shirts with a message behind it.
“The moral to my shirt is that there is an issue happening and our vendors are being attacked by different people, not just the community but law enforcement as well,” he said.
Even Lewis, the owner of Rubia’s Churros, says street vendors are just trying to provide for their families but now fear for their lives.
“When I see these things happening, it’s just immediate sadness, you know to know that somebody has not only been robbed of their life but that others are robbed of their feelings of safety to be able to make a living by publicly selling to the general population,” Lewis said.
Quezada says some of the proceeds from the shirts and food sales at this event will go to Rivera’s family.