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Dolores Huerta Square honors longtime activist

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — Civil rights activist and labor union leader Dolores Huerta had her name enshrined at the intersection of East First Street and Chicago Street June 22 during a dedication ceremony by the city of Los Angeles. Huerta, 89, led programs to assist low-income and working families through the Stockton Community Service Organization in Boyle Heights. The intersection was named Dolores Huerta Square.

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By Staff and Wire Reports

BOYLE HEIGHTS — Civil rights activist and labor union leader Dolores Huerta had her name enshrined at the intersection of East First Street and Chicago Street June 22 during a dedication ceremony by the city of Los Angeles.

Huerta, 89, led programs to assist low-income and working families through the Stockton Community Service Organization in Boyle Heights. The intersection was named Dolores Huerta Square.

“Dolores Huerta’s name should be on the lips of every child in America, so they can appreciate what true courage in the face of insurmountable odds looks like,” said City Councilman Jose Huizar, who led the effort to name the square. “Working alongside Cesar Chavez, and continuing today, Dolores Huerta didn’t just blaze trails, she torched mountaintops and obliterated glass ceilings to give voice to the voiceless and lift up communities that are too often ignored, dismissed or shunned.”

Huizar was joined by Huerta along with Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, ceremony emcee Josefina Lopez and Emiliana Guereca, the Women’s March Los Angeles foundation executive director.

“Dolores Huerta has dedicated her entire life in service to others through her work advancing the rights of farmworkers, women, and other disadvantaged communities,” Solis said. “Her activism, as cofounder of the UFW with César Chávez, ignited the labor movement in California and the nation, and heightened national awareness of the impoverished conditions of farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley.

“Today, we honor Dolores Huerta with the unveiling of the Dolores Huerta Square to ensure that future generations recognize her important place in our collective history.”

The intersection of First Street and Chicago Street was selected to honor Huerta because before she and Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union in 1962, the building on the southwest corner was once home to the Los Angeles chapter of the Stockton Community Service Organization, according to Huizar’s office. Today, the building is the Boyle Heights City Hall, which the city of Los Angeles purchased in 2007.

“Dolores Huerta Square reclaims and reconstructs public history in Boyle Heights and strengthens the role of Dolores Huerta’s larger civil rights activism and historical memory to a new generation of activists, women and artists in Los Angeles,” said Leda Ramos, Cal State L.A. professor, artist and event co-producer. “When I heard legendary Chicana punk musician Alice Bag sing “I want a Dolores Huerta Street,” which was inspired by a Nikki Darling poem, I started organizing and working collectively with Alice Bag, Emiliana Guereca of the Women’s March LA Foundation, and Team Huizar to make Dolores Huerta Square a reality.”

“Dolores Huerta is a feminist warrior and social justice icon and has worked tirelessly for the last 60 years for human rights,” said Emiliana Guereca, executive director of the Women’s March LA Foundation. “The city of Los Angeles has very few streets or public monuments named after women and, in particular, women of color and that needs to change. We are honored to support the Dolores Huerta Square unveiling and commemorate her legacy.”

Huerta has received numerous awards for her work, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award from President Bill Clinton in 1998. In 2012, President Barack Obama presented Huerta with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Dolores Huerta Foundation, started in 2002, works on community-based organizing as well as state and national issues.

The dedication featured performances by the Alice Bag Band as well as several other musicians and poetry readings by Nikki Darling.

This article originally appeared in Wave Newspapers. 

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L.A. DIGEST: YMCA offers hygiene facilities to homeless

LOS ANGELES WAVE NEWSPAPERS — “In a crisis like the one we are currently facing, it is vital that our most vulnerable are taken care of,” said Kevin James, president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, which approved the use of the YMCA facilities April 3.

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LOS ANGELES — Nine YMCA centers have opened across Los Angeles to provide access to restrooms, showers and locker rooms for homeless people who are unable to take shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In a crisis like the one we are currently facing, it is vital that our most vulnerable are taken care of,” said Kevin James, president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, which approved the use of the YMCA facilities April 3.

The partnership will provide the YMCA centers with six mobile hygiene units currently deployed by the city and 17 by the Board of Public Works for unsheltered residents.

Among the YMCAs providing the facilities are the Stuart M. Ketchum-Downtown YMCA, 401 S. Hope St.; Weingart YMCA Wellness & Aquatic Center, 9900 S. Vermont Ave.; and the Westchester Family YMCA, 8015 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester.

Financial literacy essay contest offered

LOS ANGELES — OneUnited Bank, the nation’s largest black-owned bank, is holding its 10th annual “I Got Bank!” National Financial Literacy Contest in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month. Ten children between the ages of 8 and 12 will win a $1,000 savings account.

Students are invited to read a financial literacy book of their choosing and write a 250-word essay or create an art project to show how they will apply the book to their daily lives. Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by June 30, and winners will be announced Aug. 31. Among the winners from 2019 were DeAsia Mauldin, 11, of Compton and Sabreen A. El-Amin, 12, of Pasadena.

OneUnited Bank also offers free copies of the “I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money” e-book, to support families who are home schooling their children due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

For more information, visit www.oneunited.com/book.

Plus Men offers  journaling course

LOS ANGELES — The Plus Me Project, a community partner dedicated to empowering youth through the art of storytelling, will launch “Our Stories Matter: A 10-Week Community Journaling Experience” April 13 through June 19.  The journaling project will offer motivation and encouragement for teens to write down and share their stories of the current moment virtually.

The “Our Stories Matter” journaling experience is designed to increase self-awareness and self-confidence through storytelling, and also to build the foundation for college personal statements and scholarship essays.

The program is free for California high school students and $20 for adults and high school students outside of California The project also offers journals, and for each sold, one will be sent to a deserving teen in need in Southern California. For more information, visit theplusmeproject.org.

Radio show host to discuss book

LOS ANGELES — Earl Ofari Hutchinson will discuss his new book, “COVID Politics—Trump’s Deadly Game” during the 10 a.m. hour April 11 on The Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM.

The book is a scathing indictment of the president’s political gamesmanship during the coronavirus crisis.

The show begins at 9 a.m.

Duchess narrates elephant documentary

BURBANK — A documentary on a herd of elephants migrating across the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa in search of water narrated by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is now streaming on Disney+.

“Elephant” follows African elephant Gaia and her spirited 1-year-old son Jomo as their herd travels hundreds of miles from the Okavango Delta to the Zambezi River. The Kalahari Desert covers parts of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

The documentary is the first entertainment project for the former Meghan Markle since she left the USA Network legal drama “Suits” to marry Prince Harry in 2018.

The premiere of “Elephant” and a second Disney nature documentary, “Dolphin Reef,” narrated by Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, coincides with Earth Month.

Youth apprentice grants available

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the availability of $42.5 million in youth apprenticeship grants to support the enrollment of in-school or out-of-school youth apprentices into new or existing programs nationwide.

“These apprenticeship grants offer communities the opportunity to make targeted investments that will fuel future economic growth, by enabling young people to earn a living while learning critical job skills at the same time,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said.

The department’s Employment and Training Administration intends to fund 15 to 25 Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grants, with awards ranging from $1 million to $5 million for private nonprofit, for-profit or public agencies that act as pipelines for youth apprenticeship.

The amount of grant funding an applicant can receive will depend on the proposed number of youth ages 16 to 24 enrolled in Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

Information on how eligible applicants can apply for funding can be found at www.grants.gov. Visit www.apprenticeship.gov to learn more about the department’s broader efforts to connect career seekers with apprenticeship opportunities and expand apprenticeship into new sectors and industries.

Leimert Park garage damaged by fire

LOS ANGELES — A fire in the garage of a Leimert Park four-plex was extinguished in less than 20 minutes April 2 and no injuries were reported.

Twenty-six firefighters arrived at the scene in the 3800 block of South Arlington Avenue, near Obama Boulevard, about 8 p.m., according to Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire
Department.

The fire was extinguished by 8:19 p.m., Prange said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Compiled by Quinci Legardye.

L.A. Digest is designed to help promote events, activities and initiatives that are serving the interests of residents in L.A. To submit an item, send emails to newsroom@wavepublication.com.

The article first appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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Governor calls homelessness ‘a human crisis’

THE LOS ANGELES WAVE — Gov. Gavin Newsom visited staff and residents at a board and care home in a Los Angeles neighborhood on the second day of his weeklong homelessness tour, calling the growing problem “a human crisis.” Newsom stressed the need for the state to take a leadership role in addressing homelessness while also asserting the need to mandate that cities and counties across California take action.

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Los Angeles Mayor Gavin Newsom. In his state budget proposal released Jan. 10, Newsom formally announced more than $1 billion in homeless response funding, including $750 million for the Access to Housing and Services Fund, and making changes to the Medi-Cal system to better serve individuals experiencing mental illness and homelessness.

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Gavin Newsom visited staff and residents at a board and care home in a Los Angeles neighborhood on the second day of his weeklong homelessness tour, calling the growing problem “a human crisis.”

Newsom stressed the need for the state to take a leadership role in addressing homelessness while also asserting the need to mandate that cities and counties across California take action.

“No longer can we volunteer our support,” Newsom said. “No longer can we encourage a response to this. We need to mandate it. We need accountability. We need to own this. And we need to own up to our responsibility to do more and do better.

“This is the wealthiest state in the world. It’s the fifth-largest economy on planet Earth. It’s running unprecedented surpluses. … And yet the homeless rate continues to climb and climb and climb. It’s unacceptable and we need to do better.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Newsom on the visit. Ridley-Thomas is a co-chair of Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, whose work Newsom credits for inspiring many of his new proposals to address the homelessness crisis.

Newsom said his tour is highlighting the “staggering” numbers of homeless across the state.

“We no longer can assume that a city even as large as Los Angeles, a county even as extraordinarily large as Los Angeles County, can do this alone. The state of California needs to assert itself,” Newsom said.

“The state of California needs to take responsibility. The state of California needs a plan. The state of California needs to implement this plan. The state of California and its representatives, its governor, needs to call this what it is — a human crisis. And we need to respond accordingly.”

Newsom’s tour began Jan. 13 when he visited two homeless service providers and shelters in Grass Valley, about 60 miles north of Sacramento. He visited Riverside Jan. 14 before his stop in Los Angeles.

Newsom signed an executive order Jan. 8 as part of a comprehensive state response to homelessness.

The order includes creation of the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, expediting the availability of state land assets to temporarily house the homeless and directing the Department of General Services to supply 100 camp trailers from the state fleet and the Emergency Medical Services Authority to deploy modular tent structures to provide temporary housing and delivery of health and social services across the state.

In his state budget proposal released Jan. 10, Newsom formally announced more than $1 billion in homeless response funding, including $750 million for the Access to Housing and Services Fund, and making changes to the Medi-Cal system to better serve individuals experiencing mental illness and homelessness.

“The state of California is treating homelessness as a real emergency because it is one,” Newsom said in connection with signing the executive order.

“Californians are demanding that all levels of government — federal, state and local — do more to get people off the streets and into services, whether that’s housing, mental health services, substance abuse treatment or all of the above.

“That’s why we’re using every tool in the toolbox — from proposing a massive new infusion of state dollars in the budget that goes directly to homeless individuals, emergency housing and treatment programs to building short-term emergency housing on vacant state-owned land.”

Ridley-Thomas said Newsom’s action could allow the county to move more quickly and scale up solutions.

“I am pleased to partner with a governor who doesn’t just talk the talk — but walks the walk,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Before the tour, Ridley-Thomas previewed a motion — to be heard Jan. 21 — urging his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a crisis response informed by recommendations from the governor’s council.

“Implicit in Gov. Newsom’s proposal and the council’s recommendations is a call for state, county and city governments to respond to this crisis with new urgency, boldness and ingenuity,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Ridley-Thomas said he was pleased with Newsom’s action.

“We know what works,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Los Angeles County established a flexible housing subsidy to support our most vulnerable residents and it has proven to be much more affordable and effective than watching homeless Angelenos cycle in and out of emergency rooms or jails.

“I am pleased to see Governor Newsom taking this model, innovated in Los Angeles County, and proposing that it be scaled up in all corners of the state.”

Wave Wire Services

The post Governor calls homelessness ‘a human crisis’ first appeared in The Los Angeles Wave.

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Second phase of renovations approved at Magic Johnson Park

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — The county Board of Supervisors voted last week to move forward with the next phase of the Magic Johnson Park revitalization project that will bring much needed improvements to the 126-acre park. “Our next phase of improvements will focus on outdoor amenities that create inviting gathering space for a host of activities … ranging from a dog park to a place for a community concert,” county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “At Magic Johnson Park, our goal is to make sure there is an amenity for everyone.”

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Earvin "Magic" Johnson Recreation Area (Photo by: wavenewspapers.com)

By Ashley Orona

WILLOWBROOK — The county Board of Supervisors voted last week to move forward with the next phase of the Magic Johnson Park revitalization project that will bring much needed improvements to the 126-acre park.

“Our next phase of improvements will focus on outdoor amenities that create inviting gathering space for a host of activities … ranging from a dog park to a place for a community concert,” county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “At Magic Johnson Park, our goal is to make sure there is an amenity for everyone.”

The project will improve existing amenities and add an array of new facilities including a community events center, an amphitheater, a splash pad and acres of new landscape.

“For almost 25 years, the Magic Johnson Park has been used for daily exercise, family outings, and celebrations,” Earvin “Magic” Johnson said in a press release. “I’m excited about this significant investment by Los Angeles County which provides a safe, scenic space for Willowbrook residents and increases the community’s engagement with the park.”

Due to financial and environmental constraints, the project will be completed in six phases. Currently at its second phase, the focus will be to invest $7 million into a dog park as well as to incorporate 16 acres of vacant land adjacent to the park that have been abandoned since 2013.

Since its approval in 2016, the project’s master plan has gone through some changes. Major changes consist of new cultural components, retention of the south lake, removal of the equestrian center and implementation of a stormwater treatment water system.

According to a press release from Ridley-Thomas’ office, the lake is an important feature of the park that will help address water conservation and water quality goals. The stormwater treatment water system will divert storm runoff from surrounding neighborhoods and nearby Compton Creek, clean it, and then use it to refill the lower part of the lake as well as irrigate part of the park.

The park has not seen any significant improvements since 1985. It is estimated that the renovations to the park will last up to 18 years and cost about $135 million.

“The renovations in of itself is a good thing,” park goer and Willowbrook resident Tony Muhammad said. However, he did raise the concern about the lack of African-American workers on the project. He believes that the workers of projects in the community should reflect the make-up of the community.

The park will remain open to the public during construction, although some spaces may be limited.

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers

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