Crenshaw District Needs A Digital Library & Youth Rec Center!

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In South Central Los Angeles, youth within the community are born with the odds are stacked against them. Blacks and Latinxs within the community experience a lesser quality of life when compared to non-minorities due to a combination of generational poverty, gang violence, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, schools with reduced access to resources, etc.

Race Counts illustrates socio-economic disparities within Los Angeles:

  • Blacks (17.6 per 1,000 people) and Latinxs (3.8 per 1,000 people) are also more likely to become incarcerated than whites (1.9 per 1,000 people).
  • The median income for Blacks ($43,476) and Latinxs ($47,206) is significantly less than that of their white counterparts ($72,062).
  • Blacks (4.2 per 1,000 people) and Latinxs (4.4 per 1,000 people) are less likely to own a business than white (19.8 per 1,000 people) residents.

More than a safe alternative to the violence and influence of street life, South Central Los Angeles youth also need exposure and access to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) to triumph over their external limitations and compete in today's workforce.

As technology and innovation drive the nation forward, 40% of jobs may disappear within the next 15 years because of artificial intelligence and automation. The wealth gap will only widen if we fail to act now. As a community, we need to ensure our children are equipped with the tools they need to adapt and thrive.

To achieve this, STEAM LA is committed to delivering a Digital Library and Youth Recreation Center to the Crenshaw community. The digital library will emphasize media literacy. Library programming aims to dispel internalized limitations while encouraging democratic participation by providing motivating tools for national news and information comprehension. The youth recreation center will serve as a hub to explore passions and contemplate their own businesses and will have access to the center’s computer lab, podcast and sound engineering studio, performance theater, in-house garden, and various multipurpose rooms to facilitate code-a-thons, robotics contests, workshops, onsite courses, and more under appropriate guidance. Free and minimal cost programming will allow existing nonprofits to reach youth in new ways and even supplement neighboring school curricula as a recurring field trip destination.

STEAM LA has received support from the City of Los Angeles and is eventually seeking city-owned land to build this new development once the project is fully funded. The STEAM LA Digital Library and Youth Recreation Center will offer a safe space for youth to become competitive in today's workforce and skilled entrepreneurs. But more than that, the center also serves as a symbol of hope and the possibility for a brighter future. 

Not only does it directly impact the disadvantaged youth and their families, but the project also provides community members with potential employment opportunities as well as a space to produce and attend empowering events. Long-term benefits will be felt throughout the nation as participants grow into innovative, contributing adults.

It's time we invest in our community, and it starts with signing this petition. If you want to see a change, let's make it happen--together! Help STEAM LA demonstrate that we're ready to see change.