Community Coming Together: Civic Engagement and Organizational Support in Watts

The Watts Community Studio wants to make sure that all the different areas of Watts have a say in how Council District 15 can improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. This is why we want to collect as many surveys from residents across Watts as possible. The project team is using different ways to reach out to residents, like (1) walking door-to-door, (2) surveying at places where there are a lot of residents, like Ted Watkins Park, (3) attending local events, like the LAPD Night Out, (4) partnering with local organizations to administer surveys, and (5) working with local churches and faith-based organizations.

This past month, the Summer Youth Employment participants dedicated time from their weekend to survey the residents at a partnering church. San Miguel Catholic Church (San Miguel) is a local church in a residential area of Watts that offers a number of community-related programs, like Catechism, English as a Second Language courses, citizenship classes, and vocational skills workshops. San Miguel graciously offered their space for survey administration on a Sunday during all of their services. The priest encouraged church members to meet one of the Watts Community Studio representatives in front of the church while they were heading out to complete surveys. Residents responded to the request and added a number of thoughts for advocacy, support, and commitment on all levels to insure the future of Watts, which led to the collection of 124 surveys.

The experience was exciting. Civic engagement was very present at this event! The residents expressed that they felt a sense of community, comfort, and culture that is only present in Watts. Most residents have lived in the area for over 15 years and have witnessed a change in community dynamics. For example, people come out of their homes more often and are actively utilizing the resources in the community, like the newly remodeled Ted Watkins Park. They felt that there’s a need to invest in employment and social spaces at a local level and that simple solutions, like beautification projects, would go a long way.

The Watts Community Studio would like to thank San Miguel Church for their support.

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One thought on “Community Coming Together: Civic Engagement and Organizational Support in Watts

  1. There are a number of “traditional” and celebratory activities in Watts and its vicinity. Efforts have been made over the past decade to enhance familiarity with neighborhood, ethnic, familial and area traditions in order to ensure that sense of “community” and welcome. At the end of September, the last weekend of 28th and 29th, the annual festivals weekend of Day of the Drum and Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers Jazz festivals will continue — free, quality activities and performances for local and international visitors. Parking, to the west of the Towers and Arts Centers is available, as well as Blue Line access to the north of the campus. Festivities include performances, child related activities, vendor products — and food— from 10 to 6p, both days. Please call the arts center for further details (as well as information on ongoing recitals, lesson, workshops and tours) — 213.847.4646

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