REMAP: LA Cultural Equity Summit Challenges Angelenos to Explore the Role Individuals Play Toward a Shared Future
By: Miranda Ynez
On April 17th, over 400 cultural leaders, artists, grantmakers, and community members across Los Angeles (and the nation) gathered at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Centers, Aratani Theater, to attend REMAP: LA Cultural Equity Summit hosted by ArtChangeUs, an initiative of the California Institute of the Arts.
The Summit asks: What role do we each play in moving towards a shared future? The day long summit featured panels discussions by city arts agencies in major cities, cultural community anchor leaders, national and regional philanthropic leaders, traditional arts roundtable, and grounding tours of Downtown Los Angeles murals of Winston St. and exploring historic sites of Little Tokyo. These conversations focused on addressing racial justice and cultural equity; such as how major city arts agencies are moving research into action; how cultural community anchors steer leadership transition located in neighborhoods experiencing gentrification and change; and methodologies for transformative cultural practices.
During the summit Self Help Graphics was represented by our Executive Director, Betty Avila, who participated in the Our LA panel, which brought together 11 cultural community anchor organizations that have been the driving force of transitional leadership in terms of sustainability, representation, and cultural equity.
Avila created a conversation about how long-time cultural anchors in communities provide creatives spaces as a key tool to uplift surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, she shared how community cultural anchor organizations engaged in creative placemaking before the term had even been coined. It was important for Avila to bring attention to the power dynamics these critical community organizations face when it comes to funding to survive, grow and the need for accessible economic tools to affirm these organizations’ sense of identity as a safe space in our communities.
The LA Cultural Equity Summit is important because equity and racial justice matters in Los Angeles. This conversation has been going on for years and it’s time to use the intersectionality lens as a driving force to reimagine possibility in the public sector. The vision and impact should go beyond the organization and sustain into the future.
Another panelist part of Our LA, Tamica Washington-Miller from the Lulu Washington Dance Theater, said it best, “Will these be the generation that’s generous enough to bring [cultural equity] to the table?”. I believe that we are. It’s time to stop engaging in conversation and start making permanent change for steps toward a shared future.
“It’s a new day. It’s a new dawn” - Nina Simone
Miranda Ynez is a Self Help Graphics & Art Project Manager and an Arts Management professional committed to increasing participation in the arts and culture through our local communities.