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LA2050 Blog

We’ve got access to the information that every Angeleno needs to make an impact. Our blog features the latest LA2050 news, announcements, features, happenings, grantee updates, and more.

Los Angeles, Who Makes You?


Ed. note: Born and raised in Los Angeles, Gabrielle Garcia – a Goldhirsh Foundation and LA2050 Social Media and Communications Fellow – describes herself as an expert-beginner in skateboarding, taco stands, and the local music scene. She is a writer who has witnessed the changes and prospects all across Los Angeles, from backyard music shows to new cultural centers, and city-funded support programs. As a witness to these moments of growth, her observational skills have transcended from visions to resources. Now, she wants to share some of these tips with you. All below is Gabrielle’s guide to help readers understand more about what the city has to offer beyond its glitter:

I ask myself, “Los Angeles, Who Makes You?” Los Angeles is a diverse and artistic city full of opportunity and microscopic wanderlust; countless visitors around the globe converge here. From the culture to the landscapes and history of our city, its impact lasts. I believe Angelenos are artists who build mosaics of community, and each pocket of L.A. comes with its own unique flavor.

Speaking of Flavors…

Have you tasted Avenue 26 Tacos? Once located in Lincoln Heights, this taco stand was a weekly dinner stop for all in the community. Launched in 2009, the spot subsequently moved to Little Tokyo and Eagle Rock after being shut down during the pandemic. The closure happened in 2020, when a night market emerged in the same Artesian street alley of the food vendor, causing a boom in business that overwhelmed the local neighborhood. The number of nightly visitors and customers were too much for this local night market. After a number of city meetings, community dialogues and fundraisers, this beloved staple that fed many residents of Lincoln Heights, was able to relocate. Avenue 26 Tacos now has TWO locations! Every bite of these mouth-watering, perfectly seasoned and delicious tacos can lift your spirits like no other comfort food! Check out their instagram.

Los Angeles Library Card Perks

Everyone has a memory at the Los Angeles Public Library. It can be the first time a parent and child learn how to check out a book together. Or, for some of us (in the 1990s/2000s), the first time we ever used a public computer. It can be the hangout spot to head to after school. Or, just a plain old library with hundreds of years of knowledge buried within the pages of books— gold in written form. This resource tip is one that keeps on giving, because it literally provides perks beyond the library’s already various amounts of useful services. Examples include:

*Museums, Science Centers and Zoo’s:

Are you into art, music, and science? Then you’re probably into museums. Your library card allows you to enter museums, for free or at very low cost! You can also visit zoo’s, theater’s and science centers with the Explore LA program.

*State Park Car Pass:

Love nature? The California State Park Library Pass, in collaboration with the First Partner's Office, grants access to parking lots at more than 200 state parks. Explore breathtaking natural state parks with the day-use vehicle pass all over California. From majestic redwoods to weeping willow trees, wander through trails packed with pine cones and chill by seashells. This program could vanish due to proposed budget cuts, but is currently still running.

*Say Hello to your New Reading Buddy

Interested in borrowing some books, and adding onto your family with a beloved pet? You are in luck with Dog Adoptions at the Library! A program in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and Animal Services, it has dogs of all shapes, colors and sizes come by to these libraries once a month. Participating locations are: Mid-Valley Regional Branch, Lake View Terrace Branch, Harbor City Branch, and Vermont Square Branch.

*Excel as a Street Vendor

The LA Public Library has done an incredible job at maintaining a pulse within our communities to truly stand as a resource our people need. Listen to pre-recorded info sessions on permits, tax registration certificates, and what you need to know when getting started as a street vendor in LA. They even offer courses in Spanish and English. Be a Successful Street Vendor was made possible by their work with Community Power Collective, KLBRI, Immigrants Rising, Inclusive Action for the City (a winner of the inaugural, 2013 LA2050 Grants Challenge), Public Counsel, local street vendors, and a grant from the American Library Association and Google.

*Make Your Own History with the Octavia Lab (Central Library)

Are you a storyteller? The Central Los Angeles Public Library Labs has a variety of labs dedicated to the art of telling stories. At the DIY Memory Lab, you can archive your memories by digitizing old VHS tapes and uploading them to your IG stories. In other Labs, you can jump into virtual reality, print some 3D or style and model your very own photoshoot. Inspired by Octavia E. Butler, an award-winning sci-fi writer, these labs are all about your own imagination taking control of your narrative.

*The One and Only, Los Angeles Public Library Guide

What do LA’s health, transportation, and sports resources have in common? They’re all incredibly inundated with local history of Los Angeles and can be found in the LAPL Guide. Their map collection, for example, contains over 80,000 maps. They also have a really useful guide on local government with descriptions of all of the different neighborhood councils and departments. From social services to Hollywood movie magic, this resource guide is definitely a starting point for any local or newcomer.

Let's Talk About In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

A lifeline for our county’s community members in need of care, the IHSS program offers in-home assistance to aid senior citizens, and folks with health conditions from the comfort, familiarity and safety of their own residences. Who can benefit? LA county residents and Medi-Cal members. How does it work? Local social workers swoop in to assess participants' needs, services, and match them with a care worker. Voila!

As a first generation Mexican-American with a mother who works in nursing home care, I can personally confirm the importance of this service. It empowers people to hire their own support (say, a granddaughter caring for her abuelita), or opt for county-provided options. You can apply to receive care, or turn in an app to provide care. It can mean the difference between just scraping by, or surviving while preserving culture, heritage, and lifelong memories.

From the Writers' Program

Want to go back to school? Not only does the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension offer year-long writing courses and certificates, they also feature a lineup of one-day classes that elevate your craft. Whether you're weaving together words into poem lines, overcoming writer's block, or delving into the world of literary publishing, there's something for everyone – even you! Just click on the course that calls out to your inner Hemingway, sign up, and get ready to embark on a journey of professional development and nights writing out the inner workings of your mind— chiseling them into something. Enrollment opens two weeks before each course's start date, so mark those “hang in there baby,” cat themed calendars and get to work.

Free Education: Los Angeles College Promise (LACP)

This access line to free community college is a transformative initiative dedicated to shaping a city of graduates. Designed to empower first-time and returning full-time community college students, LACP offers a comprehensive support system aimed at ensuring timely degree completion and workforce certification. Through partnerships with the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), City of Los Angeles, UNITE LA, and private philanthropy, LACP provides waived tuition for the first two years, priority enrollment, financial assistance, and a dedicated support team offering academic and student services. Join in realizing the Power of Promise and unlocking boundless opportunities for academic success.

What’s the 211?

In the sprawling landscape of Los Angeles County, 211 LA is a core connector for community members and organizations. Their hub provides information on receiving vital services. Through their 24/7 hotline, website, and chat, operators tailor information and referrals to meet individual needs. Their website also offers an online calendar spotlighting local events. Featuring over 50,000 health and human services on outreach, education, and care coordination, this nonprofit powerhouse is fueled by partnerships, contracts, and grants.

The LA Times Interactive Map of Los Angeles County

Here is your gateway to exploring 158 cities and 42 unincorporated areas within LA County, including 114 neighborhoods within the City of LA. Covering the vast 4,000 square miles of the county, from the high desert to the coast, this map offers a regional view and detailed statistics. Interested in the culture of a neighborhood? Who lives there, and since when? If the demographics ever changed, and why it changed? This map might be able to help you figure it out.

Who’s Playing, and When?

Are you a self-anointed aficionado of music? Do you, much like myself, indulge in the whimsical act of crafting reviews for every concert you attend, channeling the spirit of Anthony Bourdain within your local indie scene? If so, indulge your senses in these three curated resources, unveiling weekly, monthly, and even yearly line-ups of the musical tapestry woven within the vibrant venues of Los Angeles. With these invaluable tools at your disposal, you can meticulously blueprint your concert itinerary for the entire year, ensuring a symphony of experiences awaits you. LA2050 Events lists every event throughout LA and features many of their past grantees. The Scenestar is a listicle that lets you know what concerts are planned for the week, month, for the entire year. If you have nothing to do, check out DoLA, it helps you see what fun things are coming to the city from residences to pop-up restaurants.

AuthorGabrielle Garcia
CollectionBy LA, For LA