Asian and Pacific Islanders (API’s) may comprise 15% of LA County, but often the voices of these communities are left out of large environmental policies and campaigns. This is surprising, given that when API’s were surveyed in California if they would take action at the polls to protect the environment, nearly 90% of API respondents shared that they would likely vote, with 50% sharing they were “very” likely to. The disconnect is that while the community supports environmental policies, there is not an organized effort in LA County that ensures API voices are heard on park issues.
Forward Movement fights to address this by leveraging our relationships with local API community leaders to create a coalition that crafts culturally-tailored,
in-language materials/messaging, and also serves as a pipeline for sustainable representation of API voices in the local environmental movement.
The Los Angeles County Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks and Beaches Measure of 2016 (Measure A) asked voters to continue their support for local parks, beaches, open space, and water resources by approving an annual parcel tax of 1.5 cents per square foot of development. If approved, the estimated tax for the owner of a 1,500 square foot home would be $22.50 per year, and will be included on the annual property tax bill. Generating approximately $94 million per year for our local parks, beaches, and open space areas, Measure A will replace expiring dedicated funding from the voter-approved Propositions A of 1992 and 1996.
Measure A was developed with extensive stakeholder input from throughout Los Angeles County and designed to meet the Countywide Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Needs Assessment of 2016. The Needs Assessment was an 18-month process which provided detailed information from all 88 cities and unincorporated areas within Los Angeles County about the quality of their local parks, their current access to parks and recreation facilities and overall park needs, including public meetings and project lists developed and prioritized by members of each community.
About Measure A
Yes on A Flyers
- Lincoln Heights
Op-Eds on Measure A
The following post was written by intern Maggie Su as part of a series of profiles of API members of the community.
Kya Marina Le never realized that working as a park ranger was an option for her, let alone in the city of Los Angeles. Growing up, the only rangers she encountered were Caucasian males working at national parks. Now, though, she is an interpreter with two ranger hats, working for the National Park Service and supervised by the California State Parks. Le is currently based at LA State Historic Park.
As an interpreter, she serves as the face of the park — a resource available to visitors who have questions. She enjoys the creative aspect of the work.
“What’s nice about [interpretation] is that it gives me the freedom and creativity to explore concepts that align with the National Park Service or with California State Parks, but also present it in a direction or voice that suits me the best,” Le said.
LA State Historic, 32 acres of recreational space bordering downtown that opened in April, was built with lots of community input. There were 65 community meetings held prior to the park’s opening, according to Le, during which residents could voice suggestions and concerns about the park’s facilities and programming.
While the park was still in its planning stages, it — then just a dirt lot — was made available to the public in the interim, from 2006 to 2013. Community members embraced the space, using it as a place to work out, teach their children how to ride a bike and go for runs. When it was closed, all they wanted to know was when it would be open again. Their enthusiasm for the space only increased when the park reopened earlier this year.
“Then, this was literally a dirt lot with porta potty bathrooms, and the community took it,” Le said. “It took three years for us to reopen this park, but all I’ve heard is, ‘it was worth the wait.’”
Although LA State Historic is a beautiful, green space in the heart of the city, Le said it can be difficult for California State Parks to find people willing to work there. In addition to the relative unaffordability of life in LA, the park simply can’t compare to the natural beauty of more remote locations in California.
“It’s like, if you’re a nature person, why would you go to this previous brownfield and work at a place where you’re congested with traffic?” Le said.
But Le is happy to work in Downtown LA; she understands that urban locations are where such parks are most needed. Indeed, LA State Historic’s greatest asset is its accessibility, especially to residents of neighboring communities such as Chinatown and Lincoln Heights. Although other parks may also be accessible by Metro, none are as welcoming as LA State Historic.
“This is where you can picnic with your family,” Le said. “This is a place where you can take your biker friends and hang out under the bridge after school before you get tacos and go home.”
Le, who lives in Little Saigon, Orange County, commutes an hour and a half to work each day by train. She takes the Metrolink regional train to Union Station then transfers to the Metro Gold Line, which takes her to the Chinatown station directly adjacent to the park. Although she hopes to eventually move to LA to avoid the three hour round-trip commute, for now, she is content — she can sleep on the train.
“I think public transit has always played a really big role in my life because I hate driving. The stress and mental load of driving is such a waste of time,” Le said. “Yeah, public transit takes a little longer, but at least you can spend that time being distracted.”
At Farm to Chopsticks on August 10th, we are recognizing three AMAZING people who help make our work possible. Meet Kevin Liao!
Kevin Liao was born and raised in Chinatown, Los Angeles and currently lives in Lincoln Heights, a small residential community 3 miles away from Chinatown. He’s a fourth year student at Cal State LA where he is pursuing a degree in Biology. Currently he works at a non-profit called Para Los Ninos where he works on projects on college prep, social justice, and youth empowerment with local youth.
Here’s our interview with Kevin!
How did you first get connected with API Forward Movement (formerly known as APIOPA)?
I was first introduced to APIFM, then APIOPA, through a HS teacher; Mr. Wong. He knew that I was very interested in cycling and I loved cycling at the time. There was a program he mentioned that was called Bike to China where I then applied for and luckily I was picked from a competitive pool of high school students.
What would you say is the key thing you learned from the 2013 Bike to China (BTC) program? What did you end up doing with your BTC bike?
Kevin (pictured in the middle with his bike) with the rest of the 2013 Bike to China cohort after completing the last 65 mile marathon ride of the program.
One main thing I learned from the Bike to China program is how rewarding non-profit work was. At the time APIOPA only had Scott and Kyle around but they still managed to plan and run a successful program like Bike to China. I knew the work they did was out of their heart and it was because they loved the work they did. It also taught me that non-profit work is hard. One person might have to do two peoples’ worth of work and funding is always an issue. The bike that was given to me upon completion of Bike to China is now ridden by my dad and he actually rides the bike one or twice a week. He uses the bike to go to his friends house and sometimes to walk our dog Tyson.
At Farm to Chopsticks on August 10th, we are recognizing three AMAZING people who help make our work possible. Meet Jessica Wang!
Jess Wang is a Los Angeles based fermentation enthusiast and local food advocate. In early 2014, while working in the pastry department at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, Ms. Wang was diagnosed with prediabetes and has since sought a more intentional lifestyle for well-being and seeks to promote wellness in her community. Along the way, she picked up dealing vintage kitchen ware and found work as a recipe tester for publications such as luckypeach.com. These days, she divides her time in Los Angeles between Filipino inspired restaurant, LASA; PIQUENIQUE, a seasonal hand pie pop up; and Picklé, a fermented pickle project. Ms. Wang volunteers with Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM), a nonprofit organization that brings sustainably grown produce from Asian family farms to LA neighborhoods through Roots Community Supported Agriculture. Her work through APIFM includes developing recipes using seasonal produce and leading cooking workshops, with an emphasis on making probiotic foods more accessible.
Here’s our interview with Jess!
How did you first get involved with APIOPA/Forward Movement?
Jess picking up her CSA bag from us in Monterey Park over 4 years ago!
I was checking out the Monterey Park Farmers Market in the summer of 2013 where Forward Movement (APIOPA at the time) had an info booth, and I learned about the Roots CSA program. I became a subscriber that summer. I moved away that fall, then moved back to LA a year later, and got involved as a volunteer in the Spring of 2015.