On November 24, our dear friend and comrade Gustavo Otzoy passed away while asleep in his tent in Skid Row. He was 57 years old. This is devastating news for the many people who loved him, but also a major loss for the broader tenant liberation movement in Los Angeles. We are hoping to raise enough money to pay for his funeral and so we can hold a memorial celebrating his life before the end of the year.
Gustavo was a highly respected housing justice organizer and activist, playing key roles in a variety of organizations including Street Watch, Union de Vecinos, Los Angeles Tenants Union and Los Angeles Community Action Network. He touched so many lives through his work. His tireless dedication, hopeful spirit, and warm smile are legendary.
Please help us honor the memory of this incredible human being by contributing what you can. After all funeral and memorial expenses are met, any remaining money will be donated to local bail funds and other causes dear to Gustavo’s heart.
For those of you who didn’t get a chance to know Gustavo, he has been a central figure in the Los Angeles housing justice movement. His activism dates back to 2020 when he lost his home in Palmdale and joined the vibrant community of unhoused tenants living at Echo Park Lake. He quickly devoted himself to mutual aid, helping set up resource redistribution for his neighbors at Power Up! cell phone charging stations.
After a notorious and violent police raid displaced Gustavo and his entire community from the park, he doubled down on resistance work. One day while posting flyers to protest the new banishment fence surrounding the park, he was brutally assaulted by police and subsequently arrested and jailed. He was barred from returning to the park for a year. Of course, this did not deter him.
Gustavo soon developed a reputation for his fearlessness. He made it his mission to monitor as many sanitation sweeps as he could, never missing a chance to call out law enforcement for their brutal tactics. He was a regular presence at City Hall, shaming council members for their racist and classist policies.
Gustavo was also known for his boundless creative energy. He constantly gushed with new ideas for actions, banners and signs. We are currently collecting an archive of his work and will look for opportunities to share it all with the public in the near future.
Perhaps Gustavo’s biggest gift was his ability to build relationships and mobilize people. He understood the true power of solidarity and community. He devoted himself to growing the movement. As a result it’s hard to find anyone in the LA tenants rights movement who didn’t know and love him.