What's your Silver Lake history? My husband and I moved from San Francisco to Silver Lake in 1998. We live in the beautiful south of Sunset area with our son. We adopted him in 2004 when he was 9. Our son is gay and he came out to his school when he was 13, on stage at a poetry slam at King Middle School. He's the most courageous person I know. Advocating for his safety at his school was my entry into community work.
What's your proudest community accomplishment? I work with LAUSD and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to make middle schools and high schools safer for LGBT children and children perceived to be LGBT.
In 2011, I produced "Living Out Proud" at VAPA (Cortines High School). 500 people attended the community resource fair and movie. Ozomatli played and Superintendent John Deasy and Board President Monica Garcia spoke.
In 2012, I produced the 6th Annual LA LGBT Youth Awards where $47,000 in scholarships were disbursed. I also serve as a Gay Straight Alliance adviser and co-chair the Connect to Protect Schools Committee. C2P is a coalition of more than 40 local health organizations working to reduce STD and HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles.
If, through my work, I've made school safer and more welcoming for even one child that would make me very proud.
What is your goal for 2013 on the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council? Silver Lake was named the hippest neighborhood in the U.S. last year by Forbes Magazine. What that measured was our walk-ability, easy accessibility to bars, restaurants and farmers markets and the number of working artists.
While those are all wonderful characteristics, I believe what was missed in the measurements, and what greatly contributes to our attractiveness as a neighborhood, is the every day compassion of the people of Silver Lake. I've spent the last year getting to better know the people in Silver Lake and have been moved by the number of people working to make our neighborhood and our world a better place for everyone.
The hub of our community is not a bar or restaurant, but the Micheltorena Garden at the Micheltorena Elementary School. Around 30-40 people take care of the garden and the chickens who live there. From spring to fall weekly potlucks draw the best minds and the most open hearts from the neighborhood. Strangers are welcomed, friendships are made, projects are hatched and working partnerships are formed.
At those dinners you might meet Teresa Padua, the dedicated Director of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, or Sarah Dale, homeless advocate and the owner of the boutique Pull My Daisy. You might run into Mitch O'Farrell, our neighborhood guardian and candidate for city council district 13, or Meg Taylor, an inspiring local food activist. You might also meet Leonardo Chalupowicz and Charlie Herman-Wurmfeld, former and current neighborhood councilmen responsible for putting the garden together, installing solar panels and making everyone feel welcome.
So, my goal for the neighborhood council in 2013 is to highlight the compassion that flourishes in Silver Lake so that people might take pride in that which really makes our neighborhood unique. I plan to work through the Outreach and Education Committees to expand on that compassion, and to support people becoming empowered to work together, to encourage mutual aid and to build a stronger community.