2018 Grants Challenge

Root down! Rise up!

“Root down! Rise up!” uses popular education and arts activation to build community resilience towards a future where there is no loss of life from traffic collisions, state violence, or displacement.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Two “Street Beats” events will celebrate community history, people, and place through music, food, storytelling, safe street simulations, and communal art making. A series of smaller “Rise and Shine” events (leading up the the big events) will focus on building relationships with the residents and include bike rides/walks, educational film projections, and tenant/legal rights popular education. We will focus on neighborhoods surrounding Slauson/Broadway and Slauson/Western in South Los Angeles.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your activation impact?​

Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

Government responsiveness to residents’ needs

Rates of volunteerism

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

South LA

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement

Increase participation in political processes

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to CONNECT?​

Root down! Rise up! will seek to establish a model for resilient community development at the neighborhood scale by improving community connections and awareness. We will document the tools and methodology that will be developed to increase civic engagement and provide resources and services to equip community members to remain in place and help shape the future of planning in their community. Through a strategic media advocacy campaign we will share this model throughout Los Angeles and beyond.

In addition to eliminating the loss of life due to car collisions, we believe that equitable and just improvements to the community must also ensure that there is no loss of lives due to state violence, or loss of residents in the neighborhood due to displacement. An intersectional approach to improving the quality of life of residents will provide:

- A platform for local artists and community members, to help shape the local landscape to reflect their identity;

- Opportunities for creating open space through open streets and cultural events in park deficient communities so that residents can connect with one another in an intentionally intergenerational and cross cultural spaces;

- Pop-up examples of built environment improvements to get feedback and support from the community to improve biking, walking, and accessing public transportation in the area;

- The ability for residents to build resilience by shaping their own narratives to better be able to influence decision makers through storytelling documented in portraits and curated audio;

- Protection against displacement, gentrification, and state violence by connecting residents with local resources and providing popular education to help inform them of their tenant and legal rights.

There will be in-person engagement at various scales with large “Street Beats” events and “Rise and Shine” mini-events. Street Beats is a community-led, collaborative effort to bring safety improvements and engaging activities at the intersections of Slauson/Broadway and Slauson/Western. “Street Beats” events will feature creative designs on the streetscape that educate the public on the importance of street safety and our need to claim public spaces. “Rise and Shine” events will use popular education to teach the community about the inequities they are facing and increase knowledge and awareness of tenant and legal rights for community members of color. Additionally, we will use storytelling as a tool for building resilience; we believe that the documentation of community images and stories is one way to honor current and past residents and combat displacement by ensuring that histories are not erased. All of these activities and events will be able to connect cross-cultural and intergenerational volunteers (particularly youth and elder volunteers) from the neighborhood. These volunteers will help design the events, conduct outreach, coordinate activities, and be active participants in the events.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to CONNECT​

We will prioritize direct engagement to residents who live within a quarter of a mile from the main corridor. This diverse community, with new Latin American immigrants, indigenous communities, and historic Black communities (of diverse ethnicities), will be reached through door knocking and mini pop-up events in the corridor where we will share information and build relationships to invite them to the larger “Street Beats” and smaller “Rise and Shine” activiations. Each event is likely to bring around 150-300 active participants and all participants will have interactions via social media hashtags with prizes as incentives to tag us to help bring attention to their stories and the project. Our secondary audience will be Angelenos at large, public agencies, and community based organizations doing similar work who will be reached through indirect means listed below.

Activations will be highly visual on two very busy intersections (day of activities and a mural that gets left behind) and is likely to be seen by 65,138 drivers and 7,704 transit riders daily.

Social media plan will highlight events and activities.

Documentation of community stories through the production of videos with portrait stills and audio that will be shared in the corridor and online.

Article placements in hyper-local publications like the Sentinel to highlight community stories and promote and cover events.

Develop partnerships with Streetsblog and KPFK to feature the community stories and events.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Our achievable goals for the duration of this project will help lay the foundation to make zero loss of life for this community a reality. Rates of volunteerism will go up in this corridor by 50% using a baseline of membership that each group currently has in the corridor through providing public and open streets events that are multicultural and multilingual. This will foster opportunities to reduce racial segregation amongst the diverse population in the community. Our goal is to reach 2,500 community members in the corridor to receive social and emotional support through resources and education regarding the complexity of law enforcement and renters’ rights. Cultural events will include the development of a community-shaped narrative about the community’s identity, values, and needs through the documentation and curation of 30-50 diverse community stories. Additionally, images of the community and their history is present in the built environment through communal art making. Lastly, through this effort our goal is to increase government responsiveness to residents’ needs around the built environment and housing policy.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

We hope that the communities that reside on and near the corridor have a better quality of life through built environment improvements, and are equipped with knowledge, resources, and the power of their stories and presence to be better rooted in the community and combat displacement. We also hope that the intersectional approach we implement becomes an example for others on how to revitalize neighborhoods and build community resilience in partnership with the community.