Are you strongly passionate about issues from LGBTQ+ rights to climate change and show a strong disagreement with the politics holding office at this time?
I am putting together a Youth Task Force for the People’s Congress of Resistance!
“In the face of the assault waged against working class and poor communities and the environment by the Trump Administration a grassroots People’s Congress of Resistance will convene in Washington, D.C. on September 16 and 17, 2017,” according to the People’s Congress Resistance website.
I am looking for passionate youth from the Southern California and Los Angeles area who are interested in volunteering and fundraising for the resistance. We will have meetings and brainstorm Ideas to assure us youth have our voice heard!
What this task force would do is reach out to L.A. youth informing them about the People’s Congress Of Resistance and how they can get involved as well as social media outreach, fundraising and more! We currently have a big group of teens interested but if you’re very passionate or know of someone who would be, about this opportunity, five youth who are really committed will take on leading the group and meeting regularly.
Please join and share with your friends! Any Questions, want to find out more? Leave a comment below
and I will send out further information.
Here’s a little bit about my experience growing up in a neighborhood with no Community Resources and the importance of Arts Access for everyone.
My name is Lily Larsen and I’m an Angeleno! Going back 5 generations – my great great grandparents lived in the West Adams district of Los Angeles back in the 1930s.
As a local, I feel fortunate to experience theater and art in so many pockets of the city. Yet! If one were to dive deep and explore each community of LA and the arts programs it offers, you would be amazed at the disparity in our different neighborhoods – some areas have access to everything you could imagine – and a few blocks away – there’s a desert. This runs along class lines, which is something our city needs to address in order to be great.
I grew up inside an arts program for youth – young kids with means and without were welcome in this theater program and I have witnessed firsthand how art saves and changes lives. It opens our eyes, makes us dream of possibilities, and wakes the imagination that the education system can often dampen.
Art is fundamental to every child’s education. There is proven recognition that theater teaches children lifelong skills – tools that they can use in any field they pursue. We never imagine a child without the sense of imagination, or creativity or without empathy – so how can we even conceive of our schools or communities without art?
Through my experience as an arts advocate i have been inspired to become an active leader for social change of the arts in my community: I believe it’s vital for us young people to access, expand and express our creativity through theatre and my vision and life goal is for communities and schools all across Los Angeles to have arts as not just an outlet or some kind of “enrichment” but to be given priority the same way they give math and science top billing!
As I said, the arts have been in my life since I was 5. My mother founded the L.A. Drama Club which happens to be our Country’s youngest Shakespeare Ensemble My first Shakespeare play, I was 5 – I played a fairy and Iris in The Tempest! I’m lucky, the arts have always been in my life yet when I got a little older I started to notice the disparity in my community compared to other nearby neighborhoods and it was concerning me. All the kids on my street in Mid-City looked bored and got into trouble. My neighborhood is not an affluent one – we do not have a community center or park within walking distance – only motels and gas stations around the block. The dirty cement street that lies in between houses across from each other was the green grassy playground in our eyes. The lack of community recourses led us to use the streets as our playground. We did not have access to a local rec center or mentorship program. many started to get in trouble and end up back in foster care or JUVthat misbehavior could’ve been redirected towards art. Something had to be done so my mom moved the LA Drama Club from Hollywood to Mid City and South L.A. And now the kids have been put under one roof on West Adams -practicing their plays year round.
These are strange times! The idea that the arts are at risk of being stripped from schools nationwide due to the White House’s plan to cut arts funding is very upsetting to me. This would strip the adolescent brain from reaching heights that can only be found through the creative process. The arts open our minds and make us question things. What happens when we stop questioning? Think about it. And join me in an action plan to keep arts alive – because art saves lives.
Talk on the effects of Factory Farming to one’s health and my story with not consuming animal products.
When i think of a farm i think of a happy place a place a place i would sing songs about growing up, until recently when i found that farms are not what i thought they were in fact probably not what anyone really though they were
animals in farms that go to your supermarket and eventually end up in your tummy are tortured and endure horrible living conditions.
It’s not farming, it’s factory farming. The animal becomes a thing, a product of a factory.
Consuming animal products pays a huge price to the world we live on. Factory farming not only causes the destruction of our green forests which have increased global warming emissions by half! These “farms” pollute the water we drink and air we breathe causing death like health problems to many.
And As painful as that is, it’s also important that we understand what eating foods from these farms does to us and our families. Meat can make us depressed and sick, it also increases the risk of cancer
Are we even supposed to be eating or drinking something that is from another LIVING being?
My dad had terrible eating habits he was overweight, and suffered from insomnia. But hedecided to make the change and not consume ANY animal products at all. Only A month and a half later he’s is sleeping well and Motivated. All this was from making a single change: not consuming meat.
I even noticed it with myself.
After I learned about factory farming.I decided to go animal free and made a petition to ban factory farming which got 55,000 signatures. Within a month I was feeling happier and even noticed I felt more confident.
Luckily, this is something we have control over. What we put in our mouths. WE can be the change. All it takes is a little research and willingness to try something new.
Next time you’re at the grocery store lookout for the meat and dairy free alternatives. You’ll save a ton of money. And there are petitions you can sign to help ban factory farming and steps you can take to get your friends and family on board!
When we take action by not consuming animal products we are not only helping animals and the planet, we’re also healing ourselves and our loved ones. I hope you’ll join me.
Civic Youth Los Angeles is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Where community building, public speaking, effective communication, understanding of local government and ways to contribute and or join your neighborhood council.
Civic Youth has taught me many things about community engagement and Neighborhood councils. Any teen should and CAN join there neighborhood council! It is a great way to be involved with the Community and let others be proactive in there neighborhood!
Civic Youth LA is free program with the City Of LA and Empower LA to anyone who applies and gets in from all of over Los Angeles, and teaches 2-3 hour workshops on Engaging with your Neighborhood Council ,Effective Presentation and Communication, Community Organizing and Outreach, Local Government 101, Service Action Day and Congress of Neighborhoods: Presentation and Recognition of participants by the Mayor’s Office and EmpowerLA
These workshops helped teach us,
Participating in local government
Engaging with your Neighborhood Council, including writing Community Impact Statements and organizing Neighborhood clean-ups
This Program taught me so much yet also i made so many new friends too, every session started off with a breakfast and icebreaker that really made me comfortable with everyone there and exited to start my journey as a CYLA member.
My favorite course was Community Organizing 101 Service Project because it really made me realize that not only Can youth really can make a difference in different communities, but we already have! There is no time to delay. There is no reason to wait until after college. The city and it’s people need our help and ideas now!
CivicYouth has taught me to be very proactive in my community and take initiative when there is none being taken. It has taught me to be more responsible and be a strong leader. When we were organizing our community projects I realized that I had strength as a group organizer and leadership skills.
CivicYouth helped me find my passion and what i want to do in life which is help people through Arts Activism and and be of service to The City.
Thank you Civic Youth LA, Empower LA and all the amazing mentors i had the opportunity to meet and work with: Kimberly Rodriguez, Julienne Chen, Jasmine Elbarbary, Paola Fernadez, Tanya Pineda, Michael Long and Kevin Taylor and more!
I had just gotten out of a civic youth LA meeting when i noticed a bunch of tents camped right across the street from where i was which was city hall, my friend and i decided to go check it out first, there were a bunch of people sitting in a circle listening to each other talk about why they are here and peacefully protesting their rights they were very welcoming inviting us to join, so we did.
We learned that one of the reason these protesters are here is to get the Police Chief of LA Charlie Beck fired because of the fact that another innocent black person was killed by the police and the officer(s) who committed the crime got away with it, they are gonna stay camped out in front of the Kenneth Hahn building of administration, it is public property so people can stay there as long as they have a sign of any sort placed on there tent. I decided to spend the rest of my day at the protest finding out that it was a Black Lives Matter LA protest i helped out as much as i could. Relocating beverages and organizing all the food and snacks that supporters and volunteers had brought to help out with. There was also a ton of essential needs such as first aid, toothbrushes, health care items, craft supplies etc. It was a lot of work but worth it seeing how worn out the activists that have been demonstrating there rights there for days- non stop thus meaning not being at home not being able to take showers, not go to work and more yet they were still strong as ever. I met some very old activists 2 of them being in there 90s and doing whatever they can to help so me being the youngest teenager there did whatever i can to help them too and whoever else just needed some time to sit and rest. The BLM occupy city hall protest is still going on today and strong, it was an amazing experience that i will probably come back to later this week and go help out again. I met hardcore activists that devote there life to the well being of others which was inspiring and makes me want to do the same.
I recommend anyone who wants to help out with the occupy city hall protest to go help out bring food, blankets, whatever they need that will help them on this journey and hopefully justice will be served so these awesome activists can finally get a break.
Being in the program you get access to many opportunities such as seeing plays, attending workshops all for free and much more! Did i mention you get paid 500$ stipend in the end or community service hours for completion of the program! But that is not what this program is about- Its about building a trust and friendship with people who may be very different from you or very similar and working on helping the arts and our community such as fighting for arts in public schools, making the arts more accessible and much more. One reason i applied is because i want to use theater as a form to connect and inform people with their community.
In order to get in you first submit an application then if you get accepted into semi finals it is a group audition where you sort of get assessed on your teamwork and leadership skills and more but in a fun way through games and food!
Then once you get in there is an orientation with breakfast where parents and guests were invited to hear more about the program and have a nice brunch with a scavenger hunt we went around downtown and grand park in teams to find clues to solve puzzles resulting with awards ! It was super nice because it was like i was in another decade not having my phone on me was super nice for a change! I also wasn’t about anything except if solve the clues and riddles right!
The program requires a lot of commitment missing more than one meeting could result in removal from the program if you know that you are going to be busy any of those days or just not show up at all it might not be the best fit !
Every meeting starts with some nice food (as always) and some warm ups to get everybody confident and ready to work. Some exercises includeAugusto Boal and also some that involve speaking out and becoming comfortable with yourself and who YOU are or what you identify your self as.
This is just a start i have SO much more to say and am going to be posting more about each meeting !!!
If you want to learn more about the education programs CTG offers click HERE!
Just recently i got the chance to write about one of the many student oriented events Center Theatre Group has had called Crash Course diving into the play Father Comes Home from the wars parts 1,2, and 3 by the great Suzan-Lori Parks! . CTGs environment is always welcoming and warm and i am now on there Student Ambassador program which im super grateful for!
Here is my Article!
During the best of/worst of times called “adolescence,” finding a passion for something—and getting support for others as you pursue that passion—can save your sanity, and maybe even your life! Center Theatre Group’s Theatre Crash Course opened its arms and its doors to a group of adolescents trying to find that passion in theatre—and inside those doors is a world of possibilities.
Getting into the three-day Theatre Crash Course, which is free and open to teens all over the city, is based on your own initiative, not on competition. The fact that no prior experience is needed is really great for some teens who haven’t found their niche yet. Beforehand, everyone signed up for the discipline of their choice: lighting and scenic design, costume design, acting, or directing. I chose costume design, which sounded super interesting and was totally new to me.
Being welcomed into Center Theatre Group’s creative family may be one of the most enjoyable and exciting experiences I’ve had as a young theatre artist. From the moment my fellow Theatre Crash Course participants and I stepped into CTG’s Downtown L.A. headquarters, we were put at ease by a warm and open vibe, nice music, and a CTG swag bag! Did I mention that they fed us? I arrived on two buses straight from a long day at the L.A. County High School for the Arts and was starving before every session, so the fact that they anticipated teenage hunger made me feel “got.”
After theatre games (which break all social barriers in seconds), we dove into deconstructing the play: exploring and unpacking the tone, themes, and overall world of Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks, an upcoming production at the Mark Taper Forum. This epic drama follows the fortunes of a slave, Hero, who heads off to fight in the Civil War—on the Confederate side! That alone was enough to pique my interest. The questions the play posed about slavery and freedom provoked discussion and debate in our group: a necessary practice—and a playwright’s job. The play’s world taught us so much about the era as we connected to it in an emotional way—which is very different from when we studied this period in school.
Then we got into action. Our teaching artist shared what it’s like to be a professional costume designer, which made me put it on my list as a possible vocation (there are a lot of actors, not so many costume designers). CTG supplied us with crafts and materials—everything from big sparkly gems to rough burlap—to start designing outfits for maquette dolls, as well as magazines so we could cut out or draw our ideas for what we think would fit each character best. We searched for ideas online and tried to figure out what people wore in the 1800s in the South, which meant comparing fabrics for house-working slaves to field-working slaves and looking up what breeds of dogs accompanied soldiers in the Civil War. (There’s a dog in the production, played by a human.)
The second workshop challenged us, but we rose to it! We cut all the fabrics to create the costumes we wanted, and sewed or hot glued them together. We also peeked in on the other groups: the lighting and scenic designers were creating dioramas of the set and experimenting with different gels (which change the color of the lights), while the actors were rehearsing the scenes that the student directors had chosen. It was super exciting to learn about all the different opportunities in the theatre world.
I also learned that being in an ensemble involves a lot of cooperation. I hadn’t known that in order for a production to go on smoothly, each department needs approval from the director or actors. For example, if you’re making a costume, you have to make sure that the set designer’s work is compatible with that costume and won’t be too fussy on stage.
Our third and final workshop was a presentation for the public (aka family, friends, and some observing teachers). We shared our vision of the play and demonstrated our work in front of a live audience.
Viewing all the ideas our fellow groups had come up with was inspiring and impressive. We covered a six-week professional production process in just six hours total!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lily Larsen is an ambitious activist and artist ready to help anyone in need yet also inform and inspire her peers to take action and speak up on important issues. You can find her at AdolescentActivist.com.
Students celebrate after the fall 2015 Theatre Crash Course workshops come to an end. Author Lily Larsen is in the back row, far right.
A hidden secret in the city of LA on Washington off of Normandie. This cafe is GORGEOUS! (And healthy)
Funky Art is everywhere and everything is so well put together!! It feels super comfortable once you walk in and you can sit anywhere and order your self some lunch or breakfast!
There are games out for anyone to play and 8 tracks on display along with records and comic books. It’s like a little wonderland once you walk in! And there’s open mic nights!!
I have never seen any place like this in my area (Mid City) this coffee shop is the only one around and there’s nothing like it I’ve seen before!!
We need more places like this around here.
Blu Elefant stays open today (Labor Day) and caters to there customers we did this from scratch. They put the customers first. They want this to be a place where you remember your experience here not like a Starbucks where you grab your mocha then scram.
My mom the owner Inri and I continued talking for 20 minutes on how we need more places like these to bring the community together. 20-30 years ago nobody would come down here it was mainly gang territory but now it’s very different.
Very cute atmosphere and nice people. Open mic Monday’s!!:)
In this area it’s mainly upholstery and auto body stores but the Blu Elefant is one of the first to change that and make this area what it’s supposed to be, a community
Supporting small businesses is always a good idea!
Whether it’s a local thrift shop, a family owned restaurant or a coffee shop that supports local artists – like the one I’m going to tell you about today – in this era of Big Box/Mega/Super Stores, it is critical to keep these small businesses alive! Today we are enjoying Home Boy Cinnamon Coffee Cake at HOLY GROUNDS Coffee & Tea located on Alhambra Ave in the East Los Angeles Area (El Sereno). Holy Grounds is no regular coffee shop and as far as you can get from the ubiquitous Starbucks on every street corner. (My mom calls, the McDonalds of Coffee).
I would have to say this place is actually feels sacred – true to its name! When you first walk in, you are struck by vibrant and colorful art everywhere: including a wall filled with arts & crafts for sale, from Local Artists in the El Sereno/East Los Angeles/Alhambra area, like Andrew Cervantes. The two women serving us are sweet and welcoming! You you can order your homeboy coffee cake and latte or tea together 5$ Hey, I know you may think that’s expensive if you’re on a budget like me, but it’s worth it! Always better to support a small business than a corporation!
Once you want into the patio you literally find yourself NOT in Los Angeles anymore. Sort of like you’re in the middle of Oregon and New Mexico combined. There’s a big water fountain and small wooden chairs and tables spread out so you can enjoy a little snack with your friend or hopefully working on YOUR activist blog. There is art out here too, adding a folksy quaintness and magic feel, along with the gorgeous painted wall fountains.
There is also a mini stage with two paper mache skull senoritas where fellow Angelinos can come do some spoken word or stand up comedy and screen movies. Steve, the owner, has created a wonderful venue to bring the community together, one of his main goals. He is caring and community-minded and he built this magical oasis right in the middle of nothing! No coffee shops in this industrial enclave!
My purpose today is not only to recommend that you think FIRST of your local small business for all things. But next to SHOUT OUT this wonderful place. Holy Grounds!
Hope you like the photos! Come here and take beautiful photos for yourself and discover the Magic of Holy Grounds!