September 7th was a hot Saturday morning filled with excitement and vigor as the Esperanza Community gathered across the street from an active oil extraction-well to stand up against oil well owner AllenCo Energy Inc. to demand an end to their toxic emissions. People came to share their stories and symptoms that they experience as a direct result of living steps away from an active oil well. One by one, residents of the neighborhood spoke of the harm they have either felt or witnessed in their own families including constant dizziness, nausea, headaches, and respiratory ailments. One mother spoke of her son’s nightly nosebleeds; another described her fear of opening the windows and exposing her children that much more to harmful chemicals. These fears and stories are common in the University Park community. The AllenCo oil extraction site is surrounded by schools, homes, and apartments and within the last three years they have increased production by more than 400%. Neighbors feel, see and smell this increase in production and know that it is increasingly detrimental to their health.
With the support of SAJE and InnerCity Struggle, Esperanza dropped the colorful “People Not Pozos” banner demanding that AllenCo prioritize the community’s health over production and profits. Songwriter, Luí Donis performed an original song describing the ailments and struggle of this community. In a real-time Spanish to English bilingual translation, speakers and translators helped all participants understand the messages of each speaker. Poignantly 12 year-old Nalleli Cobo shared her experience of headaches and almost daily nosebleeds over the last three years aligned with the increased production. The young resident said, “This is making me sick but it is also making my friends sick. We need to know why.” The community voices ended with local resident and activist, Monic Uriarte reminding the community and hopefully AllenCo that their growing profits are mirrored by the growing harm to community and most especially the children.
LA Times recently covered the event in an article, which led to a follow up piece ignited by Senator Boxer asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to “immediately address these unacceptable situations using all available and appropriate authorities.”
For more information on how you can join Esperanza in standing up for the People Not Pozo’s Campaign contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 213-748-7285 to get involved in our work!
It’s the most ambitious construction project in South Los Angeles in decades: The University of Southern California plans to replace its ancient University Village shopping center on the edge of campus with a $900-million, multistory complex of stores, office buildings and dormitories.
Full Story: Some USC neighbors foresee at threat, not improvement.
In 1989 Sister Diane Donoghue, then a community organizer for St. Vincent’s Church in South Central Los Angeles, was approached by a woman dying of cancer. For 30 years, the woman’s family had rented the same home. She wanted to die peacefully in the home where she had raised her children, but her family was facing the threat of eviction. Soon, other residents approached Sister Diane, concerned that their homes would also be destroyed for the construction of low-wage garment factories. Working with the community, Sister Diane founded Esperanza Community Housing Corporation so that low-income residents would have decent housing and the ability to shape the future of their neighborhood.
Sister Diane Donoghue, founder of Esperanza Community Housing Corp. in Los Angeles, and Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice lobbying group NETWORK, greet supporters after wrapping up a nine-state bus tour and finishing a rally in Washington on Monday. They rallied at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society to protest Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan. They say the plan favors wealthy U.S. citizens through tax breaks and neglects the needs of people struggling to survive. Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post.
On May 31, 2012, Fabiola Sandoval, Tenant Leadership & Communications Coordinator for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation was interview by Mobile Voices (VozMob) to talk about the work of the organization since its inception. Mobile Voices(VozMob) is a platform for immigrant and/or low-wage workers in Los Angeles to create stories about their lives and communities directly from cell phones.
Link to full article: VozMob
As an Esperanza Promotora de Salud working with the Healthy Homes team, Aliria Cardenas deeply understands the role education plays in empowering her community with the knowledge and tools necessary to improve their living conditions and the asthma and respiratory issues caused by them. For seven years, Aliria has worked with bold persistence to assess on a home-by-home basis what practices and environmental factors can be changed to address the family’s health concerns in an affordable and sustainable manner.Following a protocol of surveys, home visits, and months of follow-up, Aliria and the Healthy Homes team educate community members about preventing asthma triggers by: vacuuming often; cleaning with non-toxic products such as vinegar, borax, and baking soda; thoroughly cleaning items that tend to be overlooked such as curtains; creating ventilation; and understanding that pets, plants, and dust provoke respiratory issues. The team provides vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters and air purifiers where appropriate.
For example, Aliria(pictured above) was once referred to the home of a young woman whose two children suffered from asthma.The single room they lived in was in poor condition, and the one small window they had let in cigarette smoke wafting over from their neighbor’s unit. After Aliria gave the woman an air purifier, it helped her better understand ways of creating ventilation throughout the space, and advised her on managing her children’s health, the children’s asthma rapidly improved over the course of Aliria’s follow-up visits.
In another case, Aliria worked with a woman caring for her young granddaughter who had a serious asthma condition. In her investigation, Aliria discovered a significant amount of dust created by a construction project in the bathroom. As a result of the education the grandmother received, she completely changed her asthma triggers. The child’s asthma improved greatly, and years later Aliria continues to receive a note of gratitude every Mother’s Day from the grandmother. It is fair to say Aliria has numerous success stories similar to these.
In addition to the protocol followed and the education provided, Aliria’s success, like the success of many Esperanza’s Community Health Promoters, come from her dedication and the trust she builds very intentionally with the families referred to her. Her services often extend beyond the working hours and beyond what is needed to remediate asthma. As a result of this level of commitment, Aliria and the Healthy Homes team have helped to create lasting healthy homes healthy homes and healthy families throughout South Los Angeles. Story by: Sophia Kandell
On Saturday, April 26 students from Alpha Phi Omega, USC’s community service fraternity gathered on the sunny early afternoon to paint very needed side gate walls in Casa Esperanza. Casa Esperanza is a twenty-one year old building in South Los Angeles that houses ten families. After three hours of painting with music in the background, Alpha Phi Omega volunteers, Esperanza Community Housing and Abode Communities staff with the tenants support transformed these gates.
The sunny afternoon of service was made possible with the generous donations from Home Depot and Total Maintenance Group. This day marked Alpha Phi Omega’s fourth Esperanza volunteer project for the school year. Tenants of Casa Esperanza offered their support and opened up their homes for a drink of water and snacks appreciating the volunteerism in their back yard.
Thank you Alpha Phi Omega, Home Depot, Total Maintenance Group for your support and contributions to the community, Casa Esperanza’s tenants and Esperanza Community Housing Corporation appreciates tremendously the work you do to build hope with the community. ~ By Fabiola Sandoval