NPS’s Lily Nia, Melissa Potts, and LA Ranger Troca engage Anahuak players
Anahuak Youth Sports Association, The City Project, and NEEF with diverse allies celebrated National Public Lands Day at Río de Los Angeles State Park on September 30, 2017, with soccer games, art and education workshops, speakers, lunch, and a park clean up. Congressman Jimmy Gomez talked about opportunities for people in park-poor communities, going to college, and getting good jobs. California State Parks Ranger Luis Rincón recounted the community struggle to create Río de Los Angeles State Park and Sonia Sotomayor Middle and High Schools. He spoke about health benefits of parks and recreation. He emphasized his responsibility as a ranger to connect diverse communities to parks. LAPD Officer Reyes, presenting awards to Anahuak players, reinforced the point that police officers in uniform are there to protect and to serve the people.
Congressman Jimmy Gomez, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, and California State Park Ranger Luis Rincón
The National Park Service brought LA Ranger Troca, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s community engagement vehicle. OneJustice, the legal services organization, provided information about Dreamers and immigration rights. The L.A. County Health Department provided educational materials on parks, recreation, and health in Spanish and English. Organizers shared the Take Action comic book, Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Anahuak president Raul Macías, The City Project’s Tim Mok, and LAPD Officer Reyes with community leaders of tomorrow!
Ciudad de México (CDMX) sponsored the soccer tournament for the day. Using soccer as an organizing tool draws hundreds of families to the park. This provides organizing opportunities for educating and empowering people to decide the kind of community where they want to live and raise children.
This event is the first multicultural, bilingual, and international National Public Lands Day event ever, and a best practice for day in the park events around the nation!
Thank you to National Public Lands Day 2017 partners, including NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation), Anahuak, The City Project, NPCA, National Parks Service, California State Parks, GreenLatinos, OneJustice, CDMX, San Gabriel Mountains Forever / Nature for All!, L.A. County Department of Public Health, and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens)
Photos by Alex Romero, courtesy of NEEF