posted on by

Audience with Pope Francis

We were surprised and honored to asked to join our friends at St Francis Center for a television special on homelessness in Los Angeles, which required us to be downtown before 5:00 am… It turned out that it was for the Pope’s Virtual Tour and since his Los Angeles focus was on homelessness, nine agencies who work with the homeless were invited. None of knew what was in store, which meant that everyone there had his or her heart in the right place to have a four a.m. wake up call to talk about the homeless. Boy we were glad we did!

We come from many different religious backgrounds, but we all agree that he’s such an awesome force. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the homeless spoke to him, and when he called on the Sister in Texas and said he loved her.

Watch the entire encounter here
ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

posted on by

Organic Salsa for Homeless Breakfast

IMG_20150917_085948One thing we forget about when we think of homeless people is how difficult it becomes to eat well. Readily available food that’s affordable is often over processed, full of sodium, fat and sugar, and far from your mama’s cooking. We try to do something special every month at our homeless breakfast service, in addition to serving a balanced homecooked meal.

We were incredibly lucky to have Muir Ranch in Pasadena donate two cases of organic peppers in September. Our friend, chef Jonathan Pimental turned them into a delicious salsa, which they loooooved!

Even the pictures are mouth-watering! We’re looking forward to doing more cool things in October!IMG_20150917_091222IMG_20150920_085225IMG_20150920_121557

posted on by

Our Summer Reading for Kids Rocked!!!

In June, we purchased 450 new books and delivered them to Title One elementary schools in Hollywood. With the help of two other local nonprofits, Cheremoya Foundation and Hollywood Arts Council, a total of 800 books were purchased!

This was our second year hosting three book talks at the Hollywood Goldwyn Library, kicked off with Councilmember Mitch OFarrell reading to the kids– and he was incredible! Our booktalks had an art component, healthy snacks provided by Kim Woo the awesome librarian, pizza from us, and coffee for parents generously donated by Sunset/Gower Starbucks. The talemted Cecil Castellucci stopped by for our teen discussion of Beige.

Counterpoint Records and Books donated some books for a bookswap, and at our final meeting last week, we allowed our fabulous kid readers to take a few for their home libraries.

We will sponsor the second Hollywood Children’s Book Fair on November 14th from 12-4. In the meantime, we’re back to focusing on the homeless.

Until next time, we leave you with these awesome images:IMG_20150623_162609

IMG_20150712_204739

IMG_20150714_191115

IMG_20150804_193358

IMG_20150805_114148

IMG_20150809_095407

posted on by

Lia Discusses Racism & the Black Lives Matter Movement

As an African American teenager in the United States of America I have obviously been aware of my race since starting elementary school. Unfortunately I was not introduced to the differences of skin color gradually or positively. I was bullied for being brown. Not only was I bullied for my “black girl” qualities but also I was terrorized for the parts of me that were to good for a black girl to have, like my hair. As a child my hair was longer than the other black girls at my school and substantially curlier which caused distaste with the Latina American girls I wanted to be my friends. The constant pulling and tugging of my hair became more frequent than laughter at such a young age. Because I am talking about six year old girls, you wouldn’t describe this as racism in effect, but it is. But this is a very early stage of racism; this is what we learn from our parents and family. As young sponges of everything we see and do, this is us mirroring what we think is right. If my entire life I was told that all Hispanic women were supposed to be dangerous and terrifying, what do you think I would do, as a child, once I saw a seemingly Hispanic woman? I would run in the opposite direction. This is how racism starts.
Fast forward to high school, I was in a more ethnically diverse setting. There weren’t just Hispanic and African American people, there were Caucasians, Asians, almost every ethnicity was represented but racisms was alive and well. But it wasn’t in the form of bullying through hair pulling anymore. It was through cultural appropriation, verbal abuse, inappropriate questions, seemingly harmless conversations, and discrimination. It was more apparent in the way a Caucasian girl asked me, with a smile, if I could give her “nigger braids”, and it was more subtle in the way that a teacher joked about my dreadlocks and the told me about how I can’t be black because “I’m pretty and my hair is nice and not nappy”.
Racism stems from fear of the unknown and the false information given to us to absorb as young children. We have all heard the saying, “no one is born a racist” and it is true. Racism is instilled in young persons through nurturing or experiences. Racism is the enemy and force of the Black Lives Matter Movement. It is because my black life isn’t put on the same level as my white peer. It is because the N word is used in everyday language of students who aren’t African American. Through social media our everyday hardships are coming to the forefront and aren’t getting swept under the carpet. The Black Lives Matter Movement is a movement of hope and light and endurance for we ad black people has suffered to many types of racism and no type of reconcilement. Black lives matter is us stating that we are humans, no less and no more valuable than another. #Blacklivesmatter is our way of telling the public that we will no longer sit around while our hair gets pulled, and our skin color gets mocked, and our culture gets used for fashion and our lives get taken mercilessly. And if social media is the gateway into the homes and minds of the country, then that is the gate we’ll use to show that our lives matter.
PSX_20150627_103930_resized

Lia is a two year Martha who will be starting her freshman year in college this fall.