January 2010


Esperanza Community Housing Corporation is supporting the “Homelessness Ends With a Home” Action!  On January, 19 and 20 2010, communities will congregate in San Francisco to enforce our civil and housing rights.  No more to the crimalizing of the homeless!

Link: “Homelessness Ends With  A Home” Action!

http://bellaartes.org/Bella_Artes_2/Our_Special_Guest.html

THE STORY UP TO NOW…

Alfredo was a smart, curious chubby lad when first we met. He was about 12, a tad suspicious and carrying a good sized chip on his shoulder.

I was at that time (about 13 years ago!) creating “Cut out Kids.” life-sized, cutout paintings of children on masonite. I painted each child photographed holding up a blank piece of paper. Into the space, the children would paint their own images.

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Alfredo, who was a bit crazed about Marvin the Martian, painted his round green visage into the blank.

alfredoKid’s Space Museum, at that time in a small space in Pasadena, hosted our first exhibition. It was a grand opening, resplendent with punch and cookies (the childhood equivalent of wine and cheese.)

I arrived in a school bus, accompanied by Clean and Green Teens (from the LA Conservation Corps’ youth program) and “my kids.”

When we pulled up outside the museum, Alfredo refused to leave the bus.

“I won’t get out,” he said. “This is a white persons’ place.”

“Yes,” I replied (ignoring the fact, as all my kids seem to that I am in fact white) but these white people are hosting a party for us, a party because they like your artwork.”

“I won’t go.”

“Look,” I said. “I’ll make you a deal. Come in for five minuets. If you don’t want to stay after that, you can return to the bus and wait.”

I would never let a child alone on a bus, but I was pretty sure of the enticements that kid space had to offer.

Alfredo agreed. And within 2 minuets, he  was running around, trying on hats and make-believing, like the child he was. Even the older and therefore more jaded teens were running about clothing their hand in puppets, creating, playing and being children for a least one night.

Alfredo was of course recognized, by his cut-out portrait.

“Is this you?” adults would ask.

“Is this your work?”

Alfredo acknowledged that it was. As the night progressed, Alfredo spent more and more time lurking by his portrait.

At last, filled with cookies and punch, tired, happy and proud we returned to the bus.

Me being me, I could not resist a nudge…

“So, what did you think of the white people?”

Alfredo was quiet for a moment.

“Those were O.K. white people I guess.”

For years to come Alfredo was in my program. Coming to art classes and traipsing all about the city on weekend field trips.

Eventually he disappeared into the horizon of adulthood.

Fast forward about ten years… I am leaving Villa Esperanza, the then site of my arts program. A tall, thin, handsome young man is exiting the building.

“Miss Elizabeth,” he cries. “Do you remember me?”

I had to admit ignorance.

“It’s me, Alfredo.”

And then I did. It was hard to see the chubby boy in the thin handsome young man.

 Some people always look the same, but some kids metamorphosis in a matter of months.

“I’m so glad you are still doing your program,” he said. “You opened my eyes. You changed my life. I’m going to Berkeley now.”

Well that was extremely cool!

Fast forward again…it’s October 15th, 2009. Alfredo now a legislative consultant for Senator Dean Flores was a speakers at our benefit… Dancing Under the Stars.

“Remember me?” Alfredo asked. And once again, it took me a moment.

We stood together before his speech, “Do you remember Kids Space? And how you didn’t want to go into a white person’s place?”

He laughed ruefully. “When you grow up like this,” he said holding his hands to his head like horse blinders. ”You are afraid to see.”

“I remember moving into Villa Esperanza, he said. “I was so proud to have my own room. Up until that time, I was not allowed to bring friend home. ‘There is no room for the here.’ My parents said. And I’ll never forget Miss Elizabeth. She challenged us. She took us all over the city on public transportation and then buses. She transformed my horizon …”

The Community Health Promoters Training Program was created in 1995 by Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, to build and maintained a comprehensive approach to health systems change and community transformation. 

Today,the program has trained over 334 community residents to become community leaders, health leaders, patient advocates, and health educators  in the South LA area, but 800 more serve all over California.

Class of 2009

Link to Article publish by La Opinion: Promotoras de salud son vitales para immigrantes

The_Cut_Out_Kidsfor_Web.mov

 http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/story/south_las_greening_is_more_than_gardens_though_they_help/

by Francesca Ayala

Working with community partners and residents we have provided over 200 families the opportunity to attend sports events (through Staple’s Center) and Theater Events (Through Create now) in the last three weeks alone.

Especial thanks are due to the outreach efforts of Cesar Anaya, Josefina Barajas & Jesus Garcia as well as Jill Gurr and Ruby Medina from Create Now and Jennifer Lynch of Staple’s Center Foundation

The economic downfall forced many employers to make overhead cuts and tough decisions. Esperanza was not immune to the effects. As an alternative Esperanza took a solidarity stand this past year to keep every staff member employed by creatively looking at collaborative solutions, thus making it viable to keep every staff member on board.

We continued working our five program areas in housing, community health, arts and ecological sciences, education, and economic development providing tangible resources to many South LA residents.  In addition to the services, we began cultivating  collaborative work across the board with community organizations such as United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD) campaign organizing and the Declaration of Heath and Human Rights in South LA.

We also started a $1,000,000 service repayment loan a rehab Community Redevelopment Agency of LA sponsored project, for Mercado la Paloma renovations which will begin next week.

More notable events are highlighted:

In April the Salud Tiene Sabor debut, trailblazing first time business owners were responsible to their patrons by providing nutritional information on menu items to South LA residents.

In May, Vice President Joe Biden visited Esperanza holding a press conference at the gorgeous Amistad Apartments corridor congratulating the Healthy Homes project.

In June, a one of a kind event in our community, the  South Los Angeles Health and Human Rights Conference took place at the Science Center initiating the path for the South LA nonprofits and residents to engage in health and human rights discourse and action plans  serving to bridge with an international platform.

In July, the 13th class of promotoras graduated 24 community members adding to a total of 334 Promotoras/es de Salud who have graduated from the program.

In September two Public Allies, Drea Chicas and Doureian Fletcher joined Esperanza infusing fresh energy and assistance to the Esperanza team and the neighborhood.

In October we celebrated 20 years of community building as a South Los Angeles organization with our yearly signature event Dancing Under the Stars.

November 1st  we had a Dia de los Muertos event at Mercado la Paloma.

In December we debut the South Los Angeles Declaration of Health and Human Rights signed by community members and Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas at the Martin Luther King Hospital. In addition,  many Esperanza staff members and tenants were present at the City Hall action spearheaded by LA CAN declaring Housing as a Human Right. Esperanza is now involved in the Housing as a Human Right working group in Los Angeles.

We are excited to continue with the legacy built in 2009 responding to changes, though challenging , will us sett us afoot to the collective victories for our community.

Someone also cut the heads from some of our largest sunflowers. (The sunflowers have taken over!)

Alex my 15 year old birder put up signs all over

“Don’t Cut the Flowers! We are watching you!”

Oddly enough, it appears to have worked.

Still, someone has been taking the green tomatoes, crushing them, and removing melons before they can ripen.

… We put out this message in English and Spanish

Dear folks who are taking green tomatoes and unripe melons from our garden.

We know you must be very sad and angry to want to hurt our plants.

We are very sorry that you feel so bad.

If you will just let everything ripen, then you could eat it.

We’d MUCH rather you enjoyed it rather than destroyed it…

We want you to enjoy the garden too!

Thanks, The Children Gardeners

The Spanish is MUCH longer and more elaborately worded.

However, we have some very exciting developments.

First, not only do we have myriad ladybug, we also have lady bug eggs and larva!

We have actually seen ladybugs emerge from the pupas!

In the spring, the adults lay up to three hundred eggs in an aphid colony.  The eggs hatch in two to five days.

The time it takes for a ladybug egg to hatch and become an adult takes about 3 to 6 weeks.

Ladybug eggs are very small, yellow ovals. Ladybugs lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves to keep them protected from predators.
Baby ladybugs (ladybug larvae) are rather creepy looking, but now that the kids know what they are they love ‘em.

Baby ladybugs spend their days eating and eating and eating, then they have a snack and eat some more! They can eat up to 400 aphids in 2 to 3 weeks .  The newly hatched larvae feed on aphids for up to three weeks, and then they enter the pupa stage. After the babies have filled their little bellies and grown a bit, they attach themselves to a leaf and pupate. This is the transition stage when in about a week they will turn into a beautiful little adult ladybug the adult ladybug emerges about a week later.  However, they usually do not have their spots for their first 24 hours of adulthood. So, if you see one without spots, you may have found a brand new adult.

Genesis is a brilliant, sweet child. She is lacking legs and a thumb, but her warmth, humor and intelligence win all. She discovered our first hatchling. It was very pale.

There may be as many as six generations of ladybugs hatched in a year.

Ladybugs are a kind of beetle.  The female ladybug is usually larger than the male.  Most of them have red, orange, or yellow elytra (wing covers) and black spots. Some are black with red spots and some ladybugs have no spots at all!  The number of spots helps to identify the kind of ladybug. The elytra is a hard wing cover that protects the ladybug’s fragile wings. All beetles have elytra. Ladybug’s wings are so thin that you can see through them.

The pronotum is found just behind the ladybug’s head and it often has spots on it.  It helps to hide and protect the head. Like all insects, the ladybug has six jointed legs. There are special organs on their feet to help them smell.  (Butterflies & Bees smell with their feet too.) The ladybug uses its antennae to touch, smell and taste.

We also have aphids. I have found that if you have milkweed (which I always do as it is the host plant for Monarch caterpillars and butterflies.) The aphids remain there. We have Oleander aphids, which are orange. There are many species of aphids… and I imagine they are numerous as the stars that shine & twinkle in the milky way… ours slime & stinkle on the milky weed. (That’s poetic license actually, they don’t smell.)

We have actually seen ladybugs emerge from the pupas!

In the spring, the adults lay up to three hundred eggs in an aphid colony.  The eggs hatch in two to five days.

The time it takes for a ladybug egg to hatch and become an adult takes about 3 to 6 weeks.

Ladybug eggs are very small, yellow ovals. Ladybugs lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves to keep them protected from predators.
Baby ladybugs (ladybug larvae) are rather creepy looking, but now that the kids know what they are they love ‘em.

Baby ladybugs spend their days eating and eating and eating, then they have a snack and eat some more! They can eat up to 400 aphids in 2 to 3 weeks .  The newly hatched larvae feed on aphids for up to three weeks, and then they enter the pupa stage. After the babies have filled their little bellies and grown a bit, they attach themselves to a leaf and pupate. This is the transition stage when in about a week they will turn into a beautiful little adult ladybug the adult ladybug emerges about a week later.  However, they usually do not have their spots for their first 24 hours of adulthood. So, if you see one without spots, you may have found a brand new adult.

Genesis is a brilliant, sweet child. She is lacking legs and a thumb, but her warmth, humor and intelligence win all. She discovered our first hatchling. It was very pale.

There may be as many as six generations of ladybugs hatched in a year.

Tropical oregano
Plectranthus amboinicus
is a succulent that smells and tastes like very strong oregano. The leaves have also had many traditional medicinal uses; treatment of coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion, infections, rheumatism and flatulence.  In Indonesia Plectranthus amboinicus is a used in soup to stimulate lactation for the month or so following childbirth.

A Journalism student from USC stopped by and wants to do a story on us (YEAH!) He promised to return Saturday. He had a British accent, so the kids were properly impressed

Ladybugs are a kind of beetle.  The female ladybug is usually larger than the male.  Most of them have red, orange, or yellow elytra (wing covers) and black spots. Some are black with red spots and some ladybugs have no spots at all!  The number of spots helps to identify the kind of ladybug. The elytra is a hard wing cover that protects the ladybug’s fragile wings. All beetles have elytra. Ladybug’s wings are so thin that you can see through them.

The pronotum is found just behind the ladybug’s head and it often has spots on it.  It helps to hide and protect the head. Like all insects, the ladybug has six jointed legs. There are special organs on their feet to help them smell.  (Butterflies & Bees smell with their feet too.) The ladybug uses its antennae to touch, smell and taste.

We also have aphids. I have found that if you have milkweed (which I always do as it is the host plant for Monarch caterpillars and butterflies.) The aphids remain there. We have Oleander aphids, which are orange. There are many species of aphids… and I imagine they are numerous as the stars that shine & twinkle in the milky way… ours slime & stinkle on the milky weed. (That’s poetic license actually, they don’t smell.)

Host plants are restricted to oleander, butterfly weed and milkweed. Aphids spend most of their lives with their straw-like beaks stuck into leaves and stems, sucking out sweet plant juices. But, aphids do not usually cause plant health to suffer. The up side is, is that if you have aphids ladybugs will follow.

When I showed up at the garden yesterday, many of the sunflowers were beheaded. I was feeling a tad depressed when I ran into one of the dads.

“Miss Elizabeth,” he exclaimed with pride. “I cut the flowers so they will be healthy and branch more!”

Well, while that works for some plants sunflowers aren’t one of them. Still, it’s better than vandals!

The kids and I ate some of the seed that were ripe.

We gathered tropic oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, spearmint and chocolate mint for them to take home for cooking and tea.

Congratulations to Mo-Chica for being voted “Best New Restaurant”, and “Best Ceviche of the year.”

In the spring of 2009, Mo-Chica opened its door at Mercado La Paloma and has been making headlines for its unique and delicious food.

EaterLA: Naming The Top Newcomer

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