LA2050

Happy 239th Birthday, Los Angeles

Posted September 5, 2020 by Team LA2050

Today, Friday, September 4th, the City of Los Angeles turns 239 years old!

Last year, on LA's 238th birthday, we asked local leaders to share their wishes for our city. While not all of the wishes have come true (yet!), LA continues to make progress towards its future.

In 2020, LA has faced a unique set of challenges and opportunities, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Angelenos taking the streets for racial justice. As LA begins its 240th year, we asked our incredible grantees, who work all across our city with a diverse range of communities, to share what they wish to see in LA's future.

LA FORWARD
2020 CONNECT GRANTEE

“Los Angeles is so much more than its stereotypes. It's full of amazing people from all different parts of the country and the world, a rich kaleidoscope of culture and humanity. Amid the pandemic, its resilience is being tested more than ever before.

For the 239th birthday of the City of Angels, LA Forward is wishing for government officials to rise to the scale of the enormous challenges we face. We've already seen an unprecedented surge of civic participation as Angelenos demand racial justice and a path to a just economic recovery that invests in communities, rather than leaving them burdened with debt. That's why we're part of the Healthy LA coalition of 330 organizations. And that's why we're using our LA 101 series of initiatives to support the people of LA in taking control of the systems that shape their lives. We're starting with engaging educational guides that make local issues accessible and civic teach-ins tailored to the moment."

STRATEGIC ACTIONS FOR A JUST ECONOMY
2020 LIVE GRANTEE

“We believe that the fate of Los Angeles should be decided by those who dwell here, no matter how much money we have or where we come from, because our vibrant and diverse community has been built by all of us.

In these troubled times, our birthday wish for our city is to stop evictions and cancel rent; no one should be without a home when home is the safest place to be. Housing should be as much of a public good as roads and schools and streetlights and parks. Los Angeles has led the world as a creative force in many fields, and we should now turn that creativity towards constructing solutions to the pressing issue of housing, ensuring that everyone has a safe, affordable and healthy home in the city that we love."

9 DOTS
2019 LEARN GRANTEE

“Happy Birthday, Los Angeles! 9 Dots' wish for the year ahead is that we unite and learn from the many challenges we face during COVID-19 and remote learning. We wish that all students in elementary education in Los Angeles have access to a quality computer science education, preparing them for tomorrow's best jobs. With only 9% of California's elementary schools offering computer science courses, let's ensure that Angeleno students are prepared to become leaders in the tech industry in the years that follow. Let's support our educators who are putting in incredible work to continue providing education to students virtually.

This year, 9 Dots is continuing to work with 20 schools, over 270 teachers, and over 8,000 students to provide CS education virtually. We are thrilled to continue to share the joy and creativing of coding each year. Together, let's make Los Angeles a leader in CS education."

UNION STATION HOMELESS SERVICES
2020 CONNECT GRANTEE

“The strength and resilience of Los Angeles is rooted in its diversity and interconnectivity. However, not all Angelenos are granted the dignity of safe and affordable housing. It can be difficult for our most vulnerable community members to thrive here. At Union Station Homeless Services, we believe in the ability of our people to innovate and fearlessly execute new solutions to end homelessness in LA County. Through our Community Allies Program, we prioritize human connection as we match volunteers to work closely with people experiencing homelessness. This shared humanity enriches the lives of both the participant and the volunteer equally, as they grow and learn from one another, truly embodying the heart of Los Angeles. We are proud to provide permanent solutions to get individuals and families off the streets for good.

Our birthday wish is to end homelessnes, and to further connect our community. Happy Birthday, Los Angeles!"

CROP SWAP LA
2020 LIVE GRANTEE

“Dear Los Angeles—2020 is the year to return to our foundations, so we may grow yet again. Back in 1781 when LA was founded, it was common practice to cultivate the land as a means of lifestyle and advancement. Now in 2020, we see the need to get back to those ways, not only for food security, but also environmental responsibility.

So from our gardeners at Crop Swap LA, we wish the City to have a healthy return to its agricultural roots, where local water is used creatively for food production, and jobs naturally develop as big opportunity meets big need. We remain committed to cultivate unused land, including residential front yard spaces, so we can create a local and sustainable food production infrastructure for the masses. We harvest unwanted fruit from backyard trees, and aim to educate the community on ways they can become self-sufficient by growing food at home.

Together, we can revive the spirit of this City, and it begins in the soil."

CREATIVE ACTS
2020 CONNECT GRANTEE

“Los Angeles has been the birthplace of our work for social justice and transformation of the “justice" system. The unique intersection of the Arts & social justice positions LA as a leader in the radical reimagining of how America treats people who are systems-impacted. In LA County, approximately 500 children are currently incarcerated. Our work uses the Arts as the vehicle for them to understand their power and how to use the tool of voting to make change in the communities targeted for incarceration. Our birthday wish for our city is that we pull out the roots of injustice—systemic racism and inequity—and that we center the Arts and those most impacted in the process.

Creative Acts is an organization that seeks to transform urgent social justice issues through the revolutionary power of the Arts; to heal trauma, build community, raise power, and center the voices of those who are or have been incarcerated."

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
2019 PLAY GRANTEE

“As we join in celebrating Los Angeles' birthday, the Natural History Museum's wish is that all Angelenos have equal access to science, nature, history, and culture. With classrooms and field trips looking very different for the coming year, we are committed to meeting this challenging moment and finding new ways of engaging the community. Our new, free Virtual Classroom designed for school districts throughout the County, including the 735,000 students and teachers in LAUSD, will ensure access to the museums' world-class collections, exhibitions, and engaging programming.

We are thrilled to share our outdoor Nature Gardens and Butterfly Pavilion once again with the public beginning on September 11, and look forward to when we will be able to welcome visitors back to our indoor spaces as well. In the meantime, stay safe Los Angeles! And thank you for making our museum one of the County's most beloved destinations for 107 years and counting."

JENESSE CENTER
2020 LIVE GRANTEE

“Jenesse is dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and addressing the multi-faceted barriers to safety and self-sufficiency that are experienced by victims of domestic violence in South Los Angeles.

On its 239th Birthday, Jenesse wishes LA to become a city in which every person lives in a safe environment, free from oppression and with the opportunity to thrive. Jenesse's culturally sensitive programs and services not only transition families from crisis to self-sufficiency, but transform the lives of clients and the community at large by offering education, referrals and resources that go beyond shelter. Removing a victim from a violent home is just the first step in our care continuum. Jenesse's trauma-informed and culturally appropriate programs and services include a 24-Hour Hotline; Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing; Fully Staffed Legal Service Center; Children/Youth Programs; Mental Health Services; Workforce Development Programs; and Medical, Housing, and Public Benefits Advocacy."

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK / LET'S GO TO COLLEGE LA
2020 LEARN GRANTEE

“Los Angeles' college students are dealing with pressures that no one has dealt with before; but their resilience and dedication to their own futures and that of their communities are lessons for the rest of the city. We must support them!

Organizations across the city have joined forces to launch Let's Go to College LA. This campaign connects students to a virtual hub where they can find timely information, valuable resources, and virtual workshops to navigate college during COVID. Let's Go to College LA is here to serve students through these times and make their success a priority for our city. Our students are our future. Let's dedicate this birthday to them!

We invite you to celebrate the City's birthday by encouraging any college student you know to visit www.letsgotocollegeca.org and follow @gotocollegeca on Instagram and Twitter!"

LOS ANGELES MARITIME INSTITUTE
2020 PLAY GRANTEE

“The ocean and coastline of Los Angeles are iconic features, invaluable natural resources, and critical economic drivers of the City. Yet, geographical, economic, psychological, and social inequalities in the City create barriers that keep many of its population from the benefits of these extraordinary public resources. It is well-established that outdoor education and recreating in nature lead to positive social and emotional development and improved academic learning in children. Now more than ever, it is critical that young people get opportunities to enjoy and learn from nature in the City's outdoor spaces.

The Los Angeles Maritime Institute wishes Los Angeles a Happy Birthday and a future where EVERY child in LA has an equal opportunity to access the educational, recreational, and spiritual gifts the ocean and coast have to offer."

PEDIATRIC THERAPY NETWORK
2020 LEARN GRANTEE

“Happy Birthday, Los Angeles! As you celebrate your 239th birthday, here at Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN), we're celebrating our 24th birthday!

In the fall of 1996, a group of therapists and parents created our center with the mission of leading the way in helping children, families, and communities reach full capabilities through innovative therapy, research, and education programs. At PTN, we believe every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status or diagnosis, can achieve their fullest potential through early identification, early intervention, and early education. We know you believe that too, Los Angeles, which is why we're so proud to call you home.

Our birthday wish for Los Angeles is the same wish for PTN—that every child be given the opportunity and the tools to succeed because with that the future will look bright indeed!

Happy Birthday LA, from your friends at Pediatric Therapy Network!"

LOST ANGELS CHILDREN'S PROJECT
2020 CREATE GRANTEE

“Our wish for LA is for our youth to realize that there are opportunities out there, and jobs! Don't be discouraged.

Out here in Lancaster, CA, Lost Angels Children's Project has partnered with the City of Lancaster, Los Angeles County Office of Education, and America Job Corp Center to train and employ youth who are just entering the workforce. Our program is called Good Life Manufacturing, and our goal is to make sure that Lancaster has a skilled labor force to fill living-wage careers in the manufacturing, aerospace, vehicle assembly and related industries. We call it "Good Life" because we believe that if you work hard, that's what you'll get: "A Good Life!" Stay strong, LA, and Happy Birthday!"

LAS FOTOS PROJECT
2020 CREATE GRANTEE

“Happy Birthday, Los Angeles! Las Fotos Project teen photographers have been documenting your beautiful people and cityscapes for the past 10 years, and we fall in love with you every time they do! The cultural intersections you create inspire our students every day. Their photographs tell their stories of skateboarding down your streets, and having birthday parties in your parks, cruising your boulevards and making memories with the friends they met in your communities.

Our birthday wish for you is for the people who make you vibrant – the artists, musicians, street vendors, young innovators and entrepreneurs – to thrive, and for your communities to find peace and justice so that you can continue to shine. <3"

FLINTRIDGE CENTER
2020 CREATE GRANTEE

“At Flintridge Center, our wish is to see a Los Angeles where families thrive, youth reach their full potential, and equality and opportunity are accessible to all. We are ready to spend LA's 240th year dismantling structural inequities by providing pathways to opportunity for justice-impacted populations. We are honored to continue this work alongside incredible, hardworking individuals and organizations making Los Angeles the city we all envision. Happy Birthday, LA!"

LOS ANGELES AUDUBON SOCIETY
2020 LEARN GRANTEE

“Happy Birthday, LA! On our City's 239th birthday, Los Angeles Audubon Society celebrates Los Angeles and its rich biological heritage, which is imperiled by thoughtless planning and building. Our wish is that people of all ages would connect to this natural landscape and learn about the birds, plants, and nature of the city and work to protect and restore species and habitats so that they survive into the future together with us. Our programs at Los Angeles Audubon Society provide those educational and advocacy opportunities for so many Angelenos, and we look forward to what this year has in store."

HARLEM LACROSSE LOS ANGELES
2019 PLAY GRANTEE

“On your 239th birthday, we celebrate the city's rich history and diversity. We are proud to be from a city that leads, and looks optimistically toward progress and change. Harlem Lacrosse wishes for a level playing field, where a young person's zip code no longer determines access to opportunities. Harlem Lacrosse is addressing this gap by supporting students, growing the game of lacrosse, and starting brand new programs in South LA, Inglewood, and Compton - all places where the sport has never before been played. So many pioneering middle schoolers who join our programs are experiencing sports for the very first time.

Los Angeles has a strong tradition of college and professional sports; now it's time to ensure that every young Angeleno has the chance to PLAY!"