LAnd Solidarity (Read like Land and Solidarity, and LA and Solidarity)
Building upon our successful Solidarity Arts Fellowship model, Vigilant Love’s (VL) “LAnd Solidarity” builds upon 4 successful years of VL’s Solidarity Arts Fellowship. The initiative will connect VL’s inter-generational, Muslim, Japanese American, and BIPOC community to outdoor spaces throughout Los Angeles County in order to deepen cross-communal relationships, connections to the land and its history, and community resilience and trauma healing through outdoor play and art.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Gabriel Valley
San Fernando Valley
Other:: During the research phase
we will work to identify the specific outdoor and public spaces where programming will occur
with a goal to focus on BIPOC-majority neighborhoods throughout LA/
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Research (initial work to identify and understand the problem)
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Park and green space access is crucial to healthy and resilient communities. In LA, most parks are concentrated in white and affluent neighborhoods, meaning people who live in low-income and majority-BIPOC neighborhoods are likely to live a 10+ minute walk from a park or green space. We also know that racialized violence is at historic highs in LA and across the nation, causing our Muslim, Japanese American, and BIPOC communities to feel unsafe in public spaces where they are likely to be targeted. VL’s “LAnd Solidarity” project seeks to address this issue to improve our community’s sense of safety and belonging, as well as resist social isolation created by Covid-19. Because of these factors, it’s increasingly important and urgent that our communities have space to gather and play outdoors; have the ability to explore the natural environment through the arts and outdoor programming; and build cross-communal solidarity in a supportive environment.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
VL’s “LAand Solidarity” project will connect inter-generational Muslim, Japanese American, and BIPOC communities to LA’s land and history through art and outdoor education while addressing the stress and hypervigilance our communities may face while gathering outdoors. Through the project, we especially plan to gather on the land in BIPOC-majority areas, such as the South LA Community Garden, the LA Worm Farm Collective in Northeast Los Angeles, Black Thumb Farm in Panorama City, El Sereno Community Garden, Seeds & Song in South LA, the Tuna Canyon Detention Station in the San Fernando Valley, and parks in Little Tokyo. Outdoor gatherings may include hikes, picnics, and land work/farm work as forms of creative play, and will be paired with programming about the history of the sites with a focus on indigenous and multi-ethnic histories, ecological histories, and histories of solidarity. Gatherings will include a creative component that encourages connection through activities like movement, zine-making, gardening, and more. During the research phase, we will host 5-10 listening sessions with up to 30 community members to connect about their desires and needs around land access and cross-communal solidarity, including program participants who have voiced this need already; reach out to at least 5 values-aligned community organizations to co-create a vision for this initiative; identify a minimum of 3-5 gathering sites; and organize 1-3 sample gatherings.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
VL’s “LAnd Solidarity” project will encourage a more expansive understanding of how cross-communal solidarity, social justice, and the arts are intertwined with play, community safety, and access to the outdoors in LA and beyond. Our goal is for this program to foster cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships, especially among Muslim, Japanese, and BIPOC Angelenos, and support our communities to feel resourced when gathering, moving, creating art, learning, resting, and playing outside. We will also design the project to build upon and support movements to center Indigenous peoples in the stewardship of their ancestral lands. After this research period, VL plans to turn the project into a core program with the potential to help spark larger-scale conversations about outdoor access for marginalized communities over the long-term, specifically around using the arts and social justice education to build community in the outdoors.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
For the research phase of “LAnd Solidarity” we will address three distinct but related questions: 1) What do Muslim, Japanese, and BIPOC Angelenos need to feel safe and resourced in the outdoors; 2) Who are our individual and organizational partners in this work; and 3) Which specific places, land, and creative practices do we want to uplift. Success for this phase will be measured through our ability to answer these questions, and others that may arise. Once the project is implemented, we will conduct exit interviews and measure success by data on improved: 1) community well-being and resilience through access to green spaces; 2) reduction of stress, hyper-vigilance, and fear of gathering publicly in green spaces; 4) trauma healing through play, the arts, and connection to the land and 3) interconnectedness among the community participants, the land, and its history.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 300
Indirect Impact: 1,000