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Healthy Living in the Parklands for All! #healthylivingparklands

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Baldwin Hills Park

People, Wildlife, Places, and Values

The Healthy Living in the Parklands Initiative gets people active and healthy through parks, schools, museums, and health centers. Diverse allies are working on people, wildlife, places, and values, starting around the Baldwin Hills Parklands. Lessons here can benefit communities elsewhere..

Healthy Living in the Parklands benefits people who live, learn, work, play, and pray in targeted areas by improving their natural, health, and cultural environments. People should feel they belong in parks, school fields, museums, and health centers, and these resources belong to them. The message is this: Visit a park, school, museum, or health center. Have fun. Learn about people, wildlife, places, and values. Be healthy. Get a job. Become a steward for the Earth and her people.

The People

Healthy Living in the Parklands promotes equal access for all. This includes communities who are disproportionately health vulnerable and park poor, income poor, or of color.

The Baldwin Hills Parklands include the historic heart of African American L.A., and the largest urban park designed in the US in over a century. Baldwin Hills Park is bigger than Central Park and Golden Gate Park.

The Baldwin Hills are the history of the struggle for equal opportunity. Native Americans lived there first. The history as a Spanish land grant rancho is reflected in the “Dons” neighborhood, with streets named after Spanish dons. African Americans moved there after the US Supreme Court upheld the right to equal housing opportunity in the 1950s. While active oil fields have deterred development, fossil fuels impact health, climate, pollution, congestion, and seismic risks. Residents worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency and others to create clean water justice and blue/green projects, including Civil Rights Park.

Ballona Creek flows 13 miles from Baldwin Hills to the Pacific Ocean past parks, schools, and affordable housing. The Ballona Wetlands include a Sacred Site, ancient village, and burial ground of the Tongva/Gabrieleño Native American people.

Watts, one of the most iconic neighborhoods in L.A., reflects the changing face of the city and county. Watts has evolved from a diverse working class to African American to increasingly Latino community. Cultural and health resources include Watts Towers, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science, and Compton Creek. Gang members agreed to the historic Watts Peace Truce calling for urban reconstruction including parks and recreation in 1992, 30 years after the riots and rebellion in 1964. “Give us the hammer and the nails, we will rebuild the city.”

Culture, history, and art are central to human environment. The exhibition South of Pico celebrates African American art. PST LA / LA celebrates Latin American and Latino Art in L.A. The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum recognizes culture, history, and art are inextricably connected with social justice and the environment.

People are guarding against green displacement and gentrification. As communities become greener, more desirable, and more expensive, people who fought epic battles to improve their quality of life face the risk they can no longer afford to live or even work nearby.

Baldwin Hills Park mural on equality for all honors the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Allies and Supporters

The growing list of allies and supporters includes:

  • The City Project
  • Baldwin Hills Conservancy, a state agency
  • Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science, in Watts
  • L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation
  • L.A. County Department of Public Health
  • Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, in Washington, D.C.
  • Santa Fe Art Institute
  • NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation), a non-profit chartered by Congress, in Washington, D.C.
  • Take Action Comics
  • NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine

and more.

Visit regularly for updates!