I hope this note finds you well. Today it’s a tremendous pleasure to share a monumental development in my work as a community writer, photographer, and organizer in Los Angeles.
On Saturday, August 25, 2018, along with a team of my peers, I’m overseeing a community gathering at El Gran Burrito restaurant, which has been owned by the same immigrant family at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica boulevard for nearly 30 years.
The event will be a day of workshops, music, and dialogue for the local families of my neighborhood, including a bit of everything for our guests.
For our parents, workshops will touch on local issues such as Renter’s Rights, Women’s Self-Defense, and Youth Crisis/Intervention programs. For our teenagers, workshops will feature live art sessions, writing groups, sample book-making, and more. All of the facilitators for our workshops, like us, the organizers, will be volunteering their time for the day. And all parents and students attending our workshops will be given one raffle ticket each for a big show at the end.
Following workshop, our guests will be treated to lunch, that is, ‘GRAN’ burritos, as well as an Open Mic or open performance session, and of course, the MAJOR “Back to School” raffle. Items we look to hand out through the raffle include backpacks, Metro TAP cards, a skateboard, a bicycle, a scooter, helmets, and more. The goal is to have 50 people take part in this experience.
The event is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my neighborhood before, and I’m exceptionally proud to be designing it alongside my peers, who are also locals and people who have been raised in the community here like myself. I am also in a slight crisis, however, as I now need to reach out to the larger community for support.
I am fundraising for this event on behalf of my community because it is the great gift of this country that such a thing is even possible. I think of the 13 year old and his or her mother, who will walk into El Gran Burrito on August 25 simply to get lunch, only to hear the music outside and walk on over to give it a chance. My great obsessive dream is to show these folks that they are magnanimously valued, by providing them with a day of resources and activities designed to uplift their social and creative spirits. I want to then call the raffle ticket number that’s going to gift a scooter or even a bicycle to one of these families for them to take home that day, because I believe such ‘little things’ can go quite a long way. I know that it’s somewhat absurd to visualize things so charitably, but I also remind myself that it’s instances like these when I was a youth which filled me with hope about some future. Now, I believe it is my great responsibility as a young professional to give that feeling right back to the next generations of my community. Below is the outline for the fundraising I hope to do:
Printing Materials (flyers, wide paper for drawing, printed J.T. photography for raffle, and more): $300
4 Metro TAP cards with $25 fares loaded: $104
Backpacks, 1 Scooter & 1 Bicycle, 1 Skateboard and 3 helmets: $500
Extra materials to support facilitators: $300
Promotional Budget: $100
The truth is that I’ve never raised so much money for a single event before. But what’s also true is that I have an immense belief in the importance of this event for myself, for my peers, and most of all, for the families who we’re trying to put this together for. I believe enough in this collective moment for us to make this call, asking once again, for the support of an even larger community than the one through these streets; to the ones out there.
To donate, you can click the following: DONATE.
And to learn more about the special day, supporters can visit our facebook page HERE, where we’re also posting video updates for the event:
Thank you for your time, and please expect to hear from me sometime next week with an update on this crazy campaign! We are eighteen days away.
As always: with heart, honor, and respect,”