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President’s Message: October

Warm greetings Highland Park and NELA neighbors!

I am filled with joy as I write to you today, because despite the dilemmas and injustices we encounter and learn about every day, I remain grateful to be alive and in the position of service to the community and city I love—that we ALL love. Gratefulness for simply breathing is enough to fill us with purpose and strength to carry out our days as best as we can. October reminds me that 2019 is nearing (and the Christmas trees and decorations in department stores are also a subtle reminder) and that these last three months are days of gratefulness for the fact we have survived, in one way or another, another year, that we have memories of another year, and that a year of new beginnings is soon approaching.

Last month, I was inspired to discuss with you all the importance of neighborhood councils as the advocates and voices of Angelenos, which is not easy feat because we all possess very distinct perspectives and opinions based on personal life experiences and knowledge. I have learned so much in the past two and a half years serving on HHPNC’s board that I want to pass it on to you, the stakeholders. My goal is to empower Highland Park stakeholders and all Angelenos for that matter with knowledge and connections that can improve and enrich their lives. I also want to inspire you, our stakeholder, to be a part of the neighborhood council system either by running for a board seat, participate in committees of interest and events or by reaching out to us to let us know what is affecting you, your family, neighbors and city.

If you are interested in being of service to your community and Los Angeles overall, then your opportunity has arrived. Elections for HHPNC board positions will be held on April 13, 2019. A new elections committee was approved at HHPNC’s last board meeting and we will provide you with more information on what neighborhood council systems entails and how you can make a difference. So please stay tuned to our weekly newsletters and committee announcements. Another way to participate in our democracy is via our vote, which is also being of service and essential for the November 06 elections. So, PLEASE make sure you VOTE to make your voice heard!

This coming Saturday, October 13, is filled with three events that HHPNC board members have organized and collaborated with other NELA neighborhood councils. HHPNC is collaborating with the Alliance for River Communities (ARC) and Coalition to Preserve LA on a community workshop LA River: Activism and Policy about the proposed changes to the Los Angeles River by covering public works, social policy and activism. The workshop is being held at the Van de Kamp Bakery 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM with free breakfast and tour of the bakery and from 12:30-1:30 free lunch and information fair. Please see attached flyer for further information on the schedule.

HHPNC’s Culture and Equality Committee, in collaboration with the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council, has organized the Naturalize Now: Free Citizenship Workshop from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM at the Cypress Park Public Library (1150 Cypress Avenue). This is a workshop to receive advice and information from professional immigration lawyers about applying for citizenship. This is the first of seven workshops the committee is organizing for the community.

Lastly, this Saturday we have a family movie night at the Sycamore Grove Park (4702 North Figueroa St.) to see Black Panther starting at 6:00 PM. HHPNC, Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and Council District 1 are collaborating to bring you this movie along with free popcorn, beverages, snacks and coloring pages for all to enjoy. Please join us on this fun day and don’t forget to bring a blanket or sweater as the nights are getting a bit chilly.

Let me fill you in on some of our upcoming community events for end of October and early November to mark on your calendars and inform your neighbors. Flyers for all these events will be available in the next few days in our Facebook page, Instagram, newsletters and website.

  • October 21: Community Tree Care and Clean Up with Council District 14 along York Blvd. and Avenues 50-53, with free breakfast and lunch; the day will be devoted to taking care of our neighborhood trees and clean up the streets. Please come in comfortable clothing and ready to get to cleaning and pruning.
  • October 23: I am very proud to report that HHPNC, neighborhood councils throughout the city and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) are organizing an Education Summit for Neighborhood Councils from 5:30 – 8:30 PM, with a reception from 5:30-6:30 PM with discussion to follow. This event is designed to help Neighborhood Councils come together to learn about and discuss issues and opportunities related to education, youth and our local schools. Speakers include Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office, California School Boards Association, LAUSD and Neighborhood Council board members. Please JOIN US for this much needed discussion at the Ronald F. Deaton Auditorium on 1st Street Los Angeles, CA 90012!
  • October 26: Pumpkin Patch with CD 14 at York Park from 4:00-6:00 PM will be filled with arts and crafts, free candy, music and pan dulce, and hot chocolate. Fun times for families to enjoy!
  • October 26: As always, HHPNC is assisting the Highland Park Recreation Center in their Halloween celebration from 4:00-8:00 PM with arts and crafts, free snacks, candy and a HAUNTED HOUSE for the brave souls. Come check it out if you dare!!!
  • October 30: HHPNC is happy to support Garvanza Elementary Leadership and Technology Magnet School’s Fall Literacy Harvest Festival from 3:30 -6:30 PM and the entire community is invited to enjoy games, crafts, costume parade, candy, prizes and food in their playground.
  • November 2: HHPNC, Avenue 50 Studio and Council District 14 in conjunction of many community organizations and businesses bring you the Día de los Muertos Parade Procession and Pumpkin Patch Festival at the Highland Park Senior Center (6152 N. Figueroa St.) and then Tierra de la Culebra Park (240 S. Avenue 57) will take place from 3:30 -7:30 PM. The day begins at 3:30 PM at the Highland Park Senior Center for free face painting courtesy of Mi Vida Boutique, costume preparations and savor some pan dulce with hot chocolate and then parade down Figueroa Street, led by Aztec Drummers and Dancers, to La Culebra Park. At 5:30 at Culebra Park there will be an open mic for those who want to sing, play music, recite poetry, or have something to say. DSTL Arts will be hosting a ‘zine making workshop, artist Margarita Media will set up a papel picado table, and HHPNC will have an arts and crafts booth. A community alter will be set up for all who would like to honor their lost loved ones. Pumpkins, courtesy HP Chamber of Commerce, will be given to the children.

Lastly, but certainly not least by any means, I want to bring your attention to the plight of our LAUSD teachers. The teachers have a set of demands that include increased funding for our public schools, lowering class size, fair wages for teachers, improved school safety and fewer standardized tests to name a few. The teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), has been in mediation with LAUSD since September 26 and no agreement has been reached. The teachers want what is best for our children and schools, which is why we must support them. HHPNC is in strong support of our public school teachers and want the best for our neighborhood public schools, which are severely underfunded and need help. HHPNC signed on to Give Kids a Chance platform to bring more attention and support for our teachers. This Monday, October 15, 2018, the Family, Youth and Education Committee will meet to discuss in further detail what parents and the community overall need to know, such as the UTLA/LAUSD mediation results, myths and truths about the potential strike and what parents can expect and do in case a strike does occur. The committee meeting will take place at the Arroyo Seco Public Library (6145 N Figueroa St.) from 5:30-6:30 PM in the community room. There will be teachers and union representatives to answer any questions.

I wish you and your families a wonderful safe October. Please remember to be grateful and breathe.


Rocio Rivas, President