Watts Community Studio Full Report

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, representing the 15th Council District, is proud to present the Watts Community Studio Report. The Watts Community Studio has been a participatory economic development and planning project aimed at learning more about Watts from the people who live and/or own businesses in the community. Councilman Buscaino believes that involving residents in the decision-making process for their neighborhood will help produce programs, projects and policies that will successfully improve their quality of life. The Watts Community Studio’s final report offers recommendations for supporting residents and businesses in Watts as they build towards the future. A major component of the research was obtaining approximately 750 surveys from the neighborhood and including the young people of Watts in the research process. The results of the survey and various other analyses are included in the Community Summary and Full Report available at the  link below. 

Full Watts Community Studio Report

Watts Residents Engage in the Holiday Spirit!

Since the Watts Community Studio presented on its findings, the neighborhood of Watts continues to offer exceptional events that involve community service, civic engagement, and cultural diversity. From the Dia de los Muertos event hosted by INSPIRE Youth Academy, to the Resident Advisory Council elections at some of the developments, to our local Lee’s Market and ESR partnering to deliver food on Thanksgiving, Watts continues to challenge the dominant narrative that it’s an unsafe, violent, and disengaged community.
Students at Grape Elementary School enjoy a snow experience in Watts.

Students at Grape Elementary School enjoy a snow experience in Watts.

Watts is active and during these last few weeks residents have offered their participation in the WeCleanWatts event, the 5k Turkey Trot and Farmers’ Market, along with turkey giveaways on behalf of multiple partnerships of agencies committed to serving the residents of Watts like Watts Health Foundation, Children’s Institute, Kaiser Learning Center, Kedren, First Five LA, and many more. Residents have met to offer ideas on the future of Watts through the Our Town Project facilitated by the WLCAC. Additionally, Parents of Watts gave away over 100 bikes to the youth of Watts to continue the active living and cycling movement ongoing in the community.These particular events have had active participation of local residents that demonstrate the continued community engagement in Watts.
Sweet Alice Harris and the Parents of Watts blessed the community with over 700 turkeys.

Sweet Alice Harris and the Parents of Watts blessed the community with over 700 turkeys.

During this holiday season, the Watts Community Studio has witnessed the cultural history that is alive in Watts. Local churches are participating in events like the traditional Posadas preparing for Christmas and honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe on Dec 12, which is also a Catholic tradition. Watts residents celebrated the Watts Christmas parade and unveiled a mural at the civic center that was a product of two great artists from two distinctly diverse communities: Mexico and Philadelphia.
Revving up for the Watts 2nd Annual Turkey Trot and so much more... good times!

Revving up for the Watts 2nd Annual Turkey Trot and so much more… good times!

These events are just a summary of the work that is ongoing in Watts that offer a great introduction to the ways in which Watts challenges its misrepresented identity. This most important during this season in which culture, tradition, and values establish a basis for holiday cheer. The Watts Community Studio will continue to share pictures, videos, media coverage, and data about Watts during this season to introduce a Watts that is very different from popular perspectives.
Is that a group of Watts residents I see riding down Central Ave? Yes it is!

Is that a group of Watts residents I see riding down Central Ave? Yes it is!

Al Jazeera Covers the Power of Art in Watts

One hot, summer day this past July, students from Inspire Academy High School and staff from Watts Community Studio were walking along 103rd Street pointing out different places and things that they consider to be assets in Watts. One student, Rynisha Alexander, pointed out how she considers Watts to be art and that the different forms of art in Watts is one of the neighborhood’s biggest strengths.

Apparently, Ms. Alexander is one among many who feel the same. Two days ago, Al Jazeera reporters released this awesome video on how street art in Watts build bridges across all colors, cultures and artificial boundaries that exist. Please take a minute and check out the video below!

Al Jazeera Covers The Power of Art in Watts

Join Watts Village Theater Co. for Riot/Rebellion

Watts Village Theater Company

Watts Village Theater Company

Watts Village Theater Company 

As an aim to preserve, and make accessible, the memory of Watts in the context of historical narratives, the WVTC explores the 1965-Watts Riot/Rebellion.  This highly recommended 90-minute play demonstrates how performance art, as method for oral history, serves as a way to understand and heal from the remnants of a difficult history in the present. Based on interviews from the 1965 survivors, this play offers an array of artistic efforts (acting, singing, dancing, poetry, and personal narrative accounts) to expose the changing community of Watts, challenge the dominant narrative of both the riots and Watts as a place, and build on community resilience, survival, and history.

Unfortunately, it is not getting a lot of coverage and there is a need to expose this play to begin to challenge the dominant narratives of Watts. You’re invited to come to Watts and learn more about its history … please join us!

Entry Fee:  $10

November 1 – 24, 2013

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8pm

 Sundays at 3pm

Location

Mafundi Auditorium (1827 East 103rd Street, Los Angeles, Ca  90002)

Event Link:

http://groupspaces.com/WattsVillageTheaterCompany/item/485352

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The Future of Watts: The Power of Youth Voice

Brainstorming Session

At the beginning of the Watts Community Studio project, our resident data nerds brought you the fun facts that the average person in Watts is 24 years old and that 39% of Watts residents are under 18. Watts is a young place, full of families (see Resources Page) and this matters as we think about how we can improve the quality of life for the neighborhood.

This summer, young people from Watts joined the Watts Community Studio through the Summer Youth Employment Program and conducted over 700 resident surveys. These youth got to know their own neighborhood in a more intimate way than so many of us get a chance to. Can you imagine asking 700 of your neighbors what they feel needs to be improved in the community?

700

Within the last few weeks, these incredible Watts young people have entered resident survey data into spreadsheets for data analysis and continued to participate in other aspects of the project.  As school has now started, their time with the WCS is coming to a close. Yet before they leave, we decided to turn the tables on these teens and ask them what they think Watts needs. 

Youth Presentation

For two weeks, the youth met with each other and talked about their experiences growing up in Watts and being a part of this project. They presented the WCS team with their ideas and recommendations last week. The team was blown away by their thoughtful insights into what the young people of Watts want the most. Their idea will be in our final report. It will remain a surprise for now, but here is a sneak preview by way of Wordle:

Wordle

Summer Youth Employees Begin Entering Watts Survey Data

The Summer Youth Employees working with the Watts Community Studio team have undergone data entry training so that they can start inputting results from this summer’s survey of Watts residents. These youth from Watts, as young as sixteen, now get to add the vital skill of data entry to their growing resumes.  None of the youth had previously worked on Excel or Google Collaborative Apps but they are quickly learning the foundations of these programs. Hundreds of surveys will be entered for data analysis within the next few days and weeks. More exciting news will come once the data entry process is complete but for the interim, if you see these kids in the neighborhood don’t forget to give them a high-five for their amazing efforts.  We would also like to thank the WLCAC, an organization that has graciously let the WCS use their computer lab for this data entry process.