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Becoming a Neighborhood Saver: Engaging the Community in Los Angeles
Unformatted Document Text:  15 “These people are more like-minded. They are political and express our politics as realizing that the structure is not providing enough. But they are not challenging that system because they think they can’t create alternatives. But they are seeing it in the work we are doing and realizing that our Che Guevara look-alike [referring to Daniel and his new beard] is not the boogeyman. Then they think we’re not too bad.” Maybe coincidentally, at the next meeting I noticed that Daniel had shaved his beard. Regardless, Geraldo frowned upon Daniel looking the part of a radical activist, like revolutionary leader Che Guevara. Participants spoke negatively about being “an activist space,” while being “a community space” or “organizing space” was positive. Similarly, some spoke of community members positively and non-community members negatively. For example, Miguel explained that Winston St. did not receive a grant because the funding agency “said we were more of an activist group, and did not have a history of community work like we have now.” Participants at the Unity Center happily reported that families had come to their film night: Carrie asked, "Can we skip the film night? Was anyone there?""I was there,” Miriam answered. “I wouldn't say it was a full house but all the seats were filled." Tammi asked, "Who was there? I mean what kind of people, young, old, families?" "There was a little of everybody there," Miriam answered. “So you would say it's a mixed crowd?" Tammi asked.Miriam answered, "Yes, it was mixed. And we made thirty four dollars.” Daniel said, "That's good."Miriam said, "So it's better than the hip hop nights do." At another event celebrating an anniversary of Winston St., many spoke of being happy to see the (community) members of the housing project making a strong showing. As Monica said, “The last anniversary event was ninety percent activists and ten percent community members, but now it was half and half.” 4 Similarly, the Unity Center was also trying to move away from “activists” to the inclusion of “members of the community.” Yet this was a difficult task, in part having to do with the vast cultural disconnect between themselves and their 4 Interestingly, when activists and organizers alike spoke of themselves in reference to community members, they often referred to themselves simply as “activists”

Authors: Glass, Pepper.
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“These people are more like-minded.  They are political and express our politics 
as realizing that the structure is not providing enough.  But they are not challenging 
that system because they think they can’t create alternatives.  But they are seeing it in 
the work we are doing and realizing  that our Che Guevara look-alike  [referring to 
Daniel and his new beard] is not the boogeyman.  Then they think we’re not too bad.”
Maybe   coincidentally,   at   the   next   meeting   I   noticed   that   Daniel   had   shaved   his   beard. 
Regardless,   Geraldo   frowned   upon   Daniel   looking   the   part   of   a   radical   activist,   like 
revolutionary leader Che Guevara.  
Participants   spoke   negatively   about   being   “an   activist   space,”   while   being   “a 
community space” or “organizing space” was positive.  Similarly, some spoke of community 
members positively and non-community members negatively.  For example, Miguel explained 
that Winston St. did not receive a grant because the funding agency “said we were more of an 
activist group, and did not have a history of community work like we have now.”  Participants 
at the Unity Center happily reported that families had come to their film night:
Carrie asked, "Can we skip the film night?  Was anyone there?"
"I was there,” Miriam answered. “I wouldn't say it was a full house but all the 
seats were filled."
Tammi   asked,   "Who   was   there?     I   mean   what   kind   of   people,   young,   old, 
"There was a little of everybody there," Miriam answered.
“So you would say it's a mixed crowd?" Tammi asked.
Miriam answered, "Yes, it was mixed.  And we made thirty four dollars.”
Daniel said, "That's good."
Miriam said, "So it's better than the hip hop nights do."
At another event celebrating an anniversary of Winston St., many spoke of being happy to see 
the (community) members of the housing project making a strong showing.  As Monica said, 
“The   last   anniversary   event   was   ninety   percent   activists   and   ten   percent   community 
members, but now it was half and half.
  Similarly, the Unity Center was also trying to move 
away from “activists” to the inclusion of “members of the community.”  Yet this was a difficult 
task, in part having  to do with the vast cultural disconnect between themselves and their 
    Interestingly, when activists and organizers alike spoke of themselves in reference to community members, 
they often referred to themselves simply as “activists”

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