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How LA2050 Listens hosts engaged thousands of Grants Challenge voters


All week, we're taking a look back at this year's LA2050 Grants Challenge vote.

Today, we're highlighting the work of our outstanding LA2050 Listens hosts. These 10 organizations from across Los Angeles County acted as official Grants Challenge ambassadors during the voting period to activate their communities. Specifically, the LA2050 Listens hosts were tasked with programming virtual and in-person events that would engage Angelenos in voting for the issues that they cared about most. They delivered and, together, reached thousands of Angelenos.

Community Coalition (CoCo) hosted two intergenerational teach-ins (informal discussions over a meal) for area youth and adult residents of South Los Angeles. In addition to the 1992 Civil Uprising, participants also discuss two other significant events–the 1965 Watts Uprising and the 2020 Global Reckoning for Justice. The talks examined the precipitating conditions of all three events: inequity and disinvestment in South Central Los Angeles. The last part of the discussion focused on what can be done today to avoid civil unrest in the future.

Color the Water held beach days including free surf lessons, food, and bonfire to commune with BIPOC at Dockweiler Beach and talk about the LA2050 Grants Challenge voting. Color the Water had QR codes for voting and organic conversations in small group settings. The conversations were intimate and deep, exploring everything from what matters in LA, what it means to have an equitable means of expression, the revised voting system of LA2050, and more.

A young participant at Color the Water's beach day.

L.A. TACO programmed a Member Town Hall featuring a panel comprised of four contributors who have been incredible assets to the team and to the City of Los Angeles. Over tacos and beer, the group discussed important issues pertaining to Los Angeles and delved into topics that some of our panelists have covered in their reporting for L.A. TACO.

Zócalo Public Square presented a virtual program asking “Can We All Live in the Best Version of Los Angeles?” The panel was moderated by Joel Garcia, artist, cultural organizer, and director of Meztli Projects, and featured Sissy Trinh, Founder and Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance; and Gloria Gonzalez, the Youth Development Coordinator at Youth Justice Coalition. The takeaway from this panel of plugged-in community organizers was hopeful: LA is capable of broad-based solutions when it comes to our biggest challenges; however, it will take creativity and political will to get results.

Union de Vecinos held a series of in-person events and focus groups to provide community members space to discuss issues of concern to them about changes or conditions in their neighborhood. The meetings opened with either a skit, poem, or song and a description of LA2050 and its purpose. Then, the staff facilitated a conversation on what concerns people had regarding their neighborhood, prioritizing the issue areas listed on the voting form, and assisted people with casting their votes.

LA Más hosted two LA2050 Listens events with community members in Northeast LA. The organization shares resources and builds community as part of its work to promote neighborhood stability and economic resilience. In that spirit, LA Más engaged residents at its food distribution and an outdoor community celebration. With language justice and accessibility being LA Más priorities, the team also translated the voting forms into Chinese and Vietnamese (beyond the existing English and Spanish versions) and made paper forms available for attendees. Local vendor Petals~N~Such provided potted plants to everyone who voted.

A community member (and Grants Challenge voter!) with a brand new succulent, courtesy of LA Más.

People’s Yoga partnered with LA2050 to offer six weekly hybrid in-person and virtual yoga and movement classes free for community members. Over 100 attendees from across primarily LA’s eastside communities grounded, moved, breathed, and journaled together on themes of live, create, play, connect, and learn. The classes were designed to allow attendees to not only get in their bodies but to also dream and imagine a better future for our communities. With a clear head and a deeper mind-body connection, attendees voted for the topics they cared most about and left inspired to be positive change agents in their own families and communities.

Junior High, Inc. engaged voters at its storefront and through a variety of different arts and cultural events. This ranged from local bands playing EP releases to regular open shop hours. All who came in the doors during the voting period were informed of LA2050’s mission and encouraged to speak their truth. Junior High placed a special emphasis on praxis, empathy, and futurism through these conversations.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County integrated voting into its popular First Fridays event. This after-hours experience allowed visitors of all ages to explore the museum's iconic halls and Nature Gardens while enjoying various activities, including hands-on activation with LA2050. Throughout the night, hundreds of attendees stopped by to cast their votes. The activation also featured posters displaying the five overarching LA2050 issue areas, and visitors were invited to contribute their suggestions. Their recommendations included advocating for more green space, better public transportation, and free wifi for all.

Written responses to the Natural History Museum LA2050 Listens activation.

The Cerritos College Foundation hosted two LA2050 "town hall" events, bringing together local communities for a lively exchange of ideas and hopes and dreams. The daytime event was an in-person Community Town Hall that included community members, nonprofit leaders, city officials from four cities, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and college students and employees. The evening "Cafecito" event was a more informal conversation conducted in Spanish on Zoom, organized in collaboration with EC Hispanic Media.

Thank you to all of our LA2050 Listens hosts. We couldn’t have done it without you!

AuthorTeam LA2050