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The First Baptist Church of Venice located at 685-687 Westminster Avenues in what is known as known as E.L Holmes Square is 109 years old. Established 45 years after slavery was abolished, it was the first and premier social and spiritual refuge for African Americans fleeing extreme racism dynamics in the South. This historical community landmark was fraudulently sold and is now under the danger of being reduced to a private home for a single multi-millionaire family. Venice, CA is in a state of "hyper-gentrification." The once vastly racially and economically diverse community is quickly becoming a homogeneous playground for the rich. Gentrification is not a force of nature. It is not the result of the natural ebb & flow of social migration. It is the result of coordinated policies and ingrained procedure. From restrictive covenants, redlining, gang injunctions, the crack epidemic of the 80s/90s, to selectively enforced broke windows policies, the Black and Brown community of Venice has endured many aggressions since it was founded in the early 1900s. We need YOUR help. We are working to have First Baptist Church property restored to its original function as a community serving space. We are asking and for Los Angeles CD 11 Councilman Mike Bonin to keep his word to save the church, and to also continue on to the second phase of the path set by former Councilwoman Ruth Galanter to designate the First Baptist Church of Venice/E.L. Holmes with historical status. Some Quick Facts The First Baptist Church of Venice space has been a community spiritual space, refuge, and institution for over 109 years. In 2000 the intersection of Westminster Ave & 7th Ave in Venice was designated as a permanent ceremonial location and named Bishop E.L. Holmes Square after the longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church of Venice. The church property was illegally sold by former pastor Horace Allen. The unscrupulous pastor then sold it to Jay Penske, son of automotive billionaire Roger Penske, and his wife. The congregation filed a lawsuit against pastor Horace Allen for the illegal sale of the First Baptist Church. The lawsuit is still pending. In August 2017 Councilman Mike Bonin promised to help save the First Baptist Church of Venice. To date he has been silent and a no-show in keeping his word to help us. Historical Designation Status for 685-687 Westminster Ave.Respect Black History in Venice!