LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Watts Project: Media Empowerment & Health Equity

Help us build a team of young storytellers in Watts. Everyone Can Eat Productions aims to expand our health equity media team by recruiting and training underrepresented youth in documentary filmmaking. Together, we will lift the community voice by creating a media platform for the youth to showcase their local health-related views and needs as well as their own ingenuity. The project will increase employment opportunities and stimulate idea exchange between the Watts community and health providers, researchers, and policymakers.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Our project seeks to address two major issues affecting historically marginalized communities: health equity and access to employment in the entertainment industry. The Watts Community (pop 40,000) in south central Los Angeles is predominantly non-White (74% Hispanic, 24% Black) and faces enormous inequities due to systemic racism, with the lowest median household income ($29,600; 43% below median) and one of the lowest employment rates in Los Angeles. These socioeconomic inequities have led to inequities in health, brought to light during the COVID pandemic. During the VaccinateLA campaign we began to address some of these areas of inequity as part of how we established trust within the community, when trying to get its members vaccinated. Our social media campaign was part of a collaborative, multi-sector effort that contributed to a 6-month increase in south LA vaccinations - 30% more than predicted.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ECE partnered with USC to capture community voices for a multi-sector media campaign about vaccination and misinformation (pastors, doctors, residents). VaccinateLA contributed to a 6-month increase in vaccinations in south LA - 30% more than predicted - and the footage became the source for our short film, "Vaccinate Watts", which was an official selection in the 2022 American Public Health Association's annual film festival. The effort also laid the groundwork of trusted relationships as a result of creating content with people from that community, specifically for that community. Some of the residents joined our production company as trainees. This grant will allow us to intentionally hire more youth from Watts and provide a media internship program. Interns will receive didactic training from ECE's industry veterans, hands-on experience in videography, interviews, editing, sound mixing and social media content creation. In parallel, they will receive hands-on training as production assistants on a feature-length health documentary project, an extension of the short film. Interns will be empowered by their new skills and our support to create videos and films on health topics of their choice in their community, and shared throughout the community. We envision this program as an engine for cross-sector dialog with residents, community leaders, policymakers and health experts. We also plan to host community workshops for broader reach.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Success for this project will come from student and community participation. We believe that by empowering more young people to become voices for their own community, and giving them the knowledge to shed light on what's happening around them, it will encourage more active involvement and participation from the rest of the community. Student outcomes: Develop skills, provide hands-on experience, teach them how to network and make connections in the production world Community outcomes: Greater visibility into Watts views and concerns, dialog w/ community leaders, creating trusting, sustainable relationships, and overall better pandemic preparedness

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The most authentic way to measure our success is through community participation and engagement. By involving the youth in this community early on, building their own production and media skills, we believe we will be helping to foster the next generation of community leaders, and social media influencers, who can help spread community viewpoints of health equity, as well as public health messages. Communication and access to production and community resources is key to that process. We plan to collect the following metrics to complement the narratives of the residents we engage: self-reported confidence in production and media skills, post-internship employment placement, volume of and engagement with content on Voice of Watts media platform, and participation in community training workshops.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 32

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.