A PATHWAY FORWARD

“YOU ARE ME AND I AM YOU. EVERY ONE OF US IS WORTHY.” ~INDIA.ARIE

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“One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing! And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky.” ~Ella Fitzgerald. These powerful lyrics permeated the air the morning of September 30, 2019 as Mission to Midnight played a soulful set to kick-off A Pathway Forward: Homeless to Hired Summit at the Center at Cathedral Plaza in downtown L.A.

Over 250 attendees learned about how a public-private partnership can help solve some of society’s biggest challenges with powerful speakers from various sectors and acknowledge programmatic lessons, as we evolve LA:RISE, an innovative employment program. It was truly a rewarding event to produce and witness people rise up for the call to action to continue to cross-collaborate for the greater good of our community. For details on the agenda and speaker list, please reference the event website.

B THE CHANGE

“BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.” ~ MAHATMA GANDHI

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GOOD NEWS: There are dynamic people that have a passion and use business as a force for good! I was fortunate enough to breathe these leaders’ air at the Champions Retreat on September 16-18, 2019 in L.A. hosted by B Lab. Shout out to the B Corporation community!

Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.

By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.

FAIR CHANCE

“EVERYONE DESERVES A FAIR CHANCE TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET, AND WHEN THEY DO, EVERYONE BENEFITS.” ~ HILDA SOLIS

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L.A. launched the Fair Chance Hiring Pledge and Engagement Campaign focused on giving justice-involved individuals a chance to rebuild their lives; at the same time building awareness around benefits available for employers who take the Fair Chance Hiring Pledge. On September 9, 2019 during the press conference at Grand Park, Stairs of Hall of Administration, the community was re-engaged on the county’s incentives and support for businesses that hire people with a criminial record.

“We challenge employers to think outside the box when making their hiring decisions,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who authored the motion to establish the Fair Chance campaign and co-authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“Studies clearly show that hiring rehabilitated people with past (criminal) records is a smart business move. They work harder, stay longer and promote faster than other employees.”

HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT

“THERE CAN BE NO FAIRNESS OR JUSTICE IN A SOCIETY IN WHICH SOME LIVE IN HOMELESSNESS, OR IN THE SHADOW OF THAT RISK, WHILE OTHERS CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE IT.” ~ JORDAN FLAHERTY

On July 24, 2019 The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce hosted an Economic Briefing: Housing Supply & Affordability at the Fields. I fervently want to understand the most viable solutions to our housing crisis. There is immense potential to address economic prosperity in LA that involves all sectors! I am inspired to learn more about the housing landscape in California. A great resource is a report called California’s Housing Future: Challenges and Opportunities. Final Statewide Housing Assessment 2025. The lack of supply and rising costs are compounding growing inequality and without intervention, much of the housing growth is expected to overlap significantly with disadvantaged communities and areas with less job availability.

ADDRESS COMMUNITY ISSUES

“THE SMALLEST ACT OF KINDNESS IS WORTH MORE THAN THE GRANDEST INTENTION.” ~ OSCAR WILDE

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There’s something exhilarating when you can exchange best practices and resources with nonprofit leaders doing good in the world! I’m a huge fan of giving one’s time to support community issues via skills-based volunteering, just like on July 22, 2019 at the California Community Foundation for Pro Bono Speed Consulting.

May you explore Taproot Foundation’s opportunities or another organization you are passionate about, to share your expertise to benefit their mission. A little effort goes a long way!

KEEP HOPE ALIVE!

“THE FACT IS THAT PEOPLE ARE GOOD, GIVE PEOPLE AFFECTION AND SECURITY, AND THEY WILL GIVE AFFECTION AND BE SECURE IN THEIR FEELINGS AND THEIR BEHAVIOR.” ~ ABRAHAM MASLOW

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On June 25 and 27, 2019, L.A. community members learned about housing options, with an emphasis in serving people experiencing homelessness at Goodwill SoCal at Fletcher Square. Let’s keep focusing on sharing knowledge and resources with each other, as we address the housing crisis and the homeless epidemic. There are commendable efforts in the county from various nonprofit, corporate to government sectors. Keep hope alive and focus on solutions. More importantly, advocate for more affordable and permanent supportive housing!

IF YOU DON’T IMAGINE, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN

“WE NEED TO IMAGINE THINGS TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN.” ~ MUHAMMAD YUNUS

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Individually we imagined doing meaningful work to address various social issues. Collectively, as part of the employment social enterprise sector, we make things happen in our communities nationwide!

We gathered in Boston, MA on June 10-13, 2019 to share best practices and make meaningful connections. If ever in the Boston area, please look up and support outstanding organizations like More than Words, UTEC and Roca! Social enterprises build community, create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work. Raise your hand to join the movement!

WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

“THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT WE, AS WOMEN, CAN ACCOMPLISH.” ~ MICHELLE OBAMA

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It’s always an invigorating time when I contribute and attend the West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference. On May 11, 2019, I was honored to moderate the economic empowerment panel to discuss the importance of women having the ability to succeed and advance economically.

Dynamic panelists Elisabeth Caren, Editorial, Advertising & Fine Art Photographer and Heather Hope-Allison, CEO TIL Events & Street Food Cinema were humble and bright sharing their personal stories and thoughts on the power for women to make and act on economic decisions.

Simply put: Empowered women, empower women!

LET’S BUILD A JUST AND SUSTAINABLE WORLD

“I AM OF THE OPINION THAT MY LIFE BELONGS TO THE WHOLE COMMUNITY, AND AS LONG AS I LIVE, IT IS MY PRIVILEGE TO DO FOR IT WHATEVER I CAN.” ~ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

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You just never know where change agents are gathered in the nook and cranny of the 4,751 miles that make up L.A. county. On April 21, 2019, I was honored to deliver a keynote for Impact Hacks at UCLA, an event that brought together passionate students to develop solutions to social problems prevalent in L.A.

Net Impact inspires and equips emerging leaders to build a more just and sustainable world. I love being around people committed to positively changing the world. George Bernard Shaw captures my sentiments best, “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

STILL I RISE

“YOU MAY write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt, But still, like dust, I’ll rise.” ~ MAYA ANGELOU

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Your past may shape you, but it doesn’t define you. Own your story, know your worth! It was an honor to provide the keynote for the LA:RISE graduation at the Downtown Women’s Center on April 1, 2019. Ladies, I see you-you are worthy!

If ever in the skid row area, please stop by MADEbyDWC to purchase some beautiful items at the store/café. Your purchase goes toward ending homelessness for women in Los Angeles. I just bought my “Diversity Is a Gift” t-shirt by Los Angeles based-street artist Meg Zany. I love the message, design and the fact that proceeds support programs and services at DWC.