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People Speak Out Against Administration’s Attack on Public Lands YouTube #Next100Coalition #GreenLatinos #BearsEars #MonumentsforAll

Click on the image to see the video by Next 100 and NRDC.

“To attack national monuments undermines the precious natural heritage of the people and the nation.” “It’s wrong on environmental grounds, it’s wrong on social justice grounds, it’s wrong because it violates the will of the people.” Robert García, Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project.

Stop the Monumental Mistake: Public Comments, Next 100, GreenLatinos, International Mayan League, Robert Bracamontes, Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe

Serving L.A. @Debs Park

Building birdhouses at Debs Park in Montecito Heights.

 

View of Southwest Museum of the American Indian from Debs Park.

 

The City Project’s Tim Mok volunteered with the Student Conservation Association at the Audobon Center at Debs Park, building birdhouses for chickadees and bluebirds. Other projects included removing invasive plants and cutting trail brush. Debs Park is located in Montecito Heights, Los Angeles, and serves local Latino and other audiences.

About the SCA

Rejecting Discrimination, Demanding Action: Direct Outrage Toward Concrete, Lasting Change

We need to address the full spectrum of discrimination from the most explicit intentional discrimination, to unjustified discriminatory impacts regardless of intent, to implicit bias.

The events in Charlottesville are terrible and dramatic. Reactions to the events are a symptom that discrimination and bias are systemic in our political and other institutions in ways that must be called out and explicitly linked. This includes, for example, abandoning vigorous civil rights enforcement through consent decrees and other approaches; challenging higher education diversity policies as discriminatory against non-Hispanic whites; slashing civil rights and environmental justice enforcement by EPA, the Department of Interior and National Park Service, Departments of Labor and Education, and other federal, state, and publicly funded entities; attacking national monuments that celebrate our diversity, and the rule of law under the Antiquities Act; failure to adopt equitable compliance plans to alleviate disparities in access to resources for parks, recreation, and healthy active living; anti immigration policies and travel bans; attacks on affordable health care; the border wall that tramples the spirit of the people as well as public monuments and lands; and others

Our brothers and sisters at the Opportunity Agenda write: Read our messaging memo, which provides guidance for rejecting bigotry while demanding action, such as:
*Lead with Values
*Name White Supremacy, Bigotry, Hate, and Terrorism
*Call out the history and spectrum of systemic racism in this administration and beyond
*Reject Attempts to Dodge or Divide
*Lift up Positive Solutions

 

 

Making Sense of Charlottesville Through Local Leadership National League of Cities

by Leon T. Andrews, Jr.

In response to the tragic events in Charlottesville, the National League of Cities is celebrating #InclusionWeek to support diversity, inclusivity, and hope in America’s cities.

This weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia were another devastating episode of explicit individual racism in America. Thousands of self-proclaimed white nationalists, neo-Nazis, KKK members, and their allies showed up in the “most charming city in America” to send a violent message that hate and bigotry still exist and in fact never really left.

For those who have been on the front lines fighting for social justice over the last half century, the existence of these white supremacist groups and the individuals who support them is no surprise. But Saturday’s events raise serious new concerns that these groups have become more emboldened — and are willing to be more public and confrontational. That willingness led to the tragic death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, one of a great number of commendable activists who came out to demonstrate opposition to hate and bigotry.

The horrifying images of violence emanating from Charlottesville have raised countless questions — including some around the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly. But the biggest challenge that confronts us is that of moral leadership. In our current political environment, the example set by our elected officials is as critical as it has ever been.

What is the moral leadership we expect from our local officials? We need leaders who speak out on the false equivalence between those who are opposed to hate and those who ferment hate. We need local elected officials who speak out for those whose conception of American democracy is vibrant and inclusive versus those who imagine it to be narrowed and pinched. . . .

The National League of Cities has called on cities to issue a statement or formal resolution affirming their commitment to values of equity, fairness, inclusion and justice. NLC’s Racial Equity and Leadership team partnered with the Center for Social Inclusion and the Government Alliance for Race and Equity to develop sample language that city leaders can use in these statements:

“We believe in and stand for values of inclusion, equity and justice. We condemn Islamophobia, racism, sexism and xenophobia in rhetoric or action.

We welcome all people and recognize the rights of individuals to live their lives with dignity, free of discrimination based on their faith, race, national origin or immigration status.

We will continue our work in making our services and programs accessible and open to all individuals.

We believe in the public sector for the public good. Advancing equity and inclusion is critical to the success of our communities and our nation.”

Stating your community’s shared values is only the start. These values must be reflected across the city’s institutions and requires a commitment to looking beyond the individual acts of racism and bigotry.

Here are some concrete commitments local leaders can take:

·         Talk about racial equity and ask colleagues and other stakeholders about the racialized effects on all city issues

·         Seek out services and support to advance racial equity

·         Ask questions about racialized impacts across their community

·         Make time and space to listen to the lived experiences of people and communities of color in their city

·         Lead and participate in difficult conversations on racism

·         Question openly the status quo

·         Address openly past mistakes and missteps that have promoted injustices

·         Identify opportunities for improvement in their own systems

·         Ensure staff are clearly knowledgeable and taking action on equity

·         Identify where data needs to be collected and disaggregated to see inequities in their procedures and practices

Throughout this weekend, the leadership of Mayor Signer and his colleagues spoke to how cities should start the healing process, by looking beyond the individual acts of racism and commit to the institutional and systemic change needed to heal our cities. That process starts with leaders speaking clearly about their values — defending the diversity, inclusivity, and tolerance that has made America what it is.

Leon T. Andrews, Jr., is Director, Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL), Executive Office, National League of Cities

Read this full story at CitiesSpeak, the official blog of the National League of Cities.

Revitalizing the Lower L.A. River and Beyond: Voices from Maywood – A Series, by Tim Mok

The Maywood community has spoken!

Community members face barriers that prevent them from participating in planning for revitalization of the Lower L.A. River and other local opportunities. People have not been meaningfully engaged in planning efforts.

I interviewed community members and listened to their unique perspectives about the L.A. River, parks, gentrification, and participation. They suggested that gang activity and homelessness impede access to the Lower L.A. River and Maywood parks. The River is stigmatized as a dumping ground for chemicals and pollution. Residents want justice! While revitalizing the Lower L.A. River has stirred up anxiety regarding gentrification and displacement for some, others did not express concern, which is jarring considering they are vulnerable. These valuable perspectives should inform decision-making for equitable development of the Lower L.A. River and other opportunities.

Southeast L.A. communities may have similar thoughts. Have decision-makers listened to and prioritized these concerns?

I will post a series of blog posts on “Revitalizing the Lower L.A. River and Beyond: Voices from Maywood.”

This work is based on my Master’s Thesis, An Alternative Paradigm to Revitalization of the Lower Los Angeles River: A Maywood Story (Master’s Thesis, M.S. Regenerative Studies, Cal Poly Pomona, College of Environmental Design 2017).

Please feel free to email me at tmok [ @ ] cityprojectca.org if you have any comments or questions, or would like to receive a PDF copy of the thesis.

Also see Whitewashing the L.A. River? Displacement and Equitable Greening.

 

Richard Larson Civil Rights Hero and Friend

Daily Journal August 4, 2017

MTA victory celebration civil rights attorneys Bill Lann Lee, Constance L. Rice, Robert García, Richard Larson 1997

Parks, Art, L.A. River, Environmental Education, Guatemala Crimes against Humanity and Hamlet

Calder Guggenheim Museum NYC

Busy week New York City D.C. Baltimore July 21-28

Hamlet Oscar Isaac Public Theater NYC Saturday

MOMA

Guggenheim Museum

Central Park

Foundation Monday

Whitney Museum

Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

Smithsonian Anacostia Museum L.A. River documentary interview D.C. Wednesday

GreenLatinos Board Meeting

Melvin C. Hasen Park in Rock Creek National Park Thursday

NEEF National Environmental Education Foundation meeting

Guatemala US STD Crimes against Humanity documentary interview

National Gallery East Building Modern and Contemporary Art

National Gallery Sculpture Garden

National Mall National Park

Guatemala US STD Crimes against Humanity Federal District Court Hearing Baltimore Friday

Calder National Gallery of Art East Building Modern and Contemporary Art D.C.

L.A. Gothic

Amy Lethbridge of Community Nature Connection and The City Project’s Robert García hold the Official L.A. State Historic Park Gold Shovel (OLASHPGS) at the grand opening of the park on EarthJustice Day 2017. The OLASHPGS is signed by Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Kevin de León, Congressman Jimmy Gomez, Mayor Eric  Garcetti, and community leaders.

San Gabriel Mountains: A Symbol of Environmental Justice @Next100Cltn @NRDC

As America’s national monuments come under attack by this administration, civil rights attorney Robert García shares the story of his personal connection to the San Gabriels.

Whitewashing the L.A. River? Displacement and Equitable Greening

Revitalizing the Los Angeles River once offered hope for a more sustainable, livable and socially just city. Whose dreams will come true, and who will be left behind? Civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity strategies by the people offer hope along the river.

Click on the map for a larger image.

There is growing evidence of green displacement and gentrification along the river. As neighborhoods become greener, more desirable, and more expensive, the people who have fought epic battles to improve quality of life for their neighbors and children through parks, schools, and river revitalization can no longer afford to live or even work nearby. Our nation was founded on the ideal that all of us are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government agencies and recipients of public funding need to distribute benefits and burdens of river revitalization fairly for all. Civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity strategies by the people offer hope along the river. That’s how people from Anahuak Youth Sports Association, Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, Chinatown, the San Gabriel Valley, and others won community victories at L.A. State Historic Park, Río de Los Angeles State Park, Baldwin Hills, and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

The US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) $1.4 billion plan to green 11 miles of the L.A. River documents there is not enough park space in L.A. County for people of color and low income people, this contributes to related health disparities, and recipients of public funding need to ensure equal access to the benefits of river revitalization and compliance with civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity requirements. The plan by USACE and the City of L.A. is generally a best practice example for equitable planning. The plan, as good as it is, does not address displacement, recreation, and climate change adequately.

USACE recognizes that “gentrification” from river revitalization could cause significant impacts to people along the river, but states that “no clear trends have emerged at the time of this assessment.”

There is a disturbing pattern of displacement along the L.A. River in the 11 mile USACE study area. The percent, number, and density of non-Hispanic White people has increased dramatically, even as they have declined 0.15% throughout L.A. County from 2006 to 2015. In Trópico in northeast L.A., for example, the density of non-Hispanic White people has increased 168%, while dropping 19% for people of color. Incomes have increased significantly – 18% in Trópico, for example. Maps 1-3 and Chart 4 tell these stories in the attached Policy Report.

Recommendations

Greening the L.A. River must expand equal opportunities for everyone to enjoy safe and healthy parks and recreation, fair housing, quality education, good jobs, and climate justice. People have the right to hold public officials and recipients accountable for the fair use of taxpayers’ dollars. We must watch how projects play out on the ground to guard against discrimination in any form. Displacement exacerbates segregation. Civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity laws prohibit discrimination, even when it’s subtle or implicit. Discrimination is illegal, and we need to enforce equal justice laws that protect us all. Government agencies do not hesitate to turn to the courts to protect their interests. Everyday people have the same right to hold their government accountable. Communities of color and low-income communities traditionally have the least resources and the least political power. Environmental justice provides an equal opportunity for everyone to live in a healthy community, and freedom from environmental degradation. Opportunity is a core value that means that we are all entitled to reach our full potential. Discrimination is a major barrier to opportunity, holding people back from pursuing their dreams, and we have a responsibility to eliminate it.

  1. Recipients of public funding need to comply with the equitable planning process to distribute benefits and burdens of river revitalization fairly. River L.A., for example, receives public financial assistance, but maintains “nothing requires equity.”
  2. Government has a responsibility to ensure equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination. California state and local agencies need to comply with and enforce state and federal civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity requirements.
  3. Federal agencies need to comply with and enforce federal laws.
  4. Fortunately, we know what works to keep communities healthy and ensure equal protection of the laws based on race, color, national origin, income, and other factors. These laws include California Government Code 11135 and its regulations, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and its regulations, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the President’s Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice and health equity, and others.
  5. Funders need to support civil rights and environmental justice strategies to promote equal access to publicly funded resources for all.
  6. We the people must organize and stand up for our rights.

We must remove barriers to opportunity for everyone along the Los Angeles River and beyond.

Download the Policy Report by Robert García and Tim Mok, Whitewashing the L.A. River? Displacement and Equitable Greening.

Samuel García, Take Action ComicsThe City Project. Click on the page for a larger image.

Diverse allies are working together to promote equitable revitalization of the L.A. River, avoid displacement, and ensure compliance with the equitable planning framework. Download Equitable Redevelopment for the Los Angeles River.