In Los Angeles, an arts conservancy in a Latino neighborhood becomes a hub for climate resilience and climate justice

On November 13, 2021, Climate Resolve, the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory (BHRC), the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA), representatives from the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, and local community leaders hosted a community day at the BHRC, located at 2708 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave. in Los Angeles, California.

The organizers of the community day are striving to raise awareness for the Conservatory’s coming transformation into a “Boyle Heights Resilience Hub.”

Photo of BHAC building courtesy of USGBC-LA.

A partner of the US Sustainability Director’s Network (USDN), Climate Resolve has worked to adapt their national resilience hubs model to fit the needs of communities in Los Angeles. As a Hub, the BHRC will provide essential information and resources year-round, but its services would be particularly vital during climate emergencies.

This resilience hub will supply backup power for up to 72 hours, allowing for charging and the refrigeration of medicine. The hub will also host meetings and events, provide water and essential supplies, and even offer childcare.

Climate change affects us all, but its impacts are unequal,” said Chase Engelhardt, Climate Resolve’s Policy Analyst & Organizer. “Resilience hubs are a crucial opportunity to scale climate justice by bringing resources to BIPOC communities for resilience that can be designed and tailored by those communities themselves.

In 2020, Climate Resolve conducted physical and social vulnerability assessments in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood that is among the most vulnerable in Los Angeles due to local hazards like poor air quality. The organization also performed a study on the Conservatory’s capacity for solar by completing a microgrid feasibility assessment.

In addition, Climate Resolve worked with youth to conduct a 300-person survey in order to engage the Boyle Heights community on their experiences and what they’d like to see at the resilience hub. This data has been valuable in shaping the project.

It was great to see such an overwhelming amount of participation from our community,” said Joey Rodriguez, a Youth Coordinator at the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory. “This survey really allowed our Boyle Heights community members to express their needs and concerns. The bilingual version of the survey also allowed for there to be a true reflection of the diversity of Boyle Heights.

At the state level, Climate Resolve has worked in partnership with California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), and other organizations to successfully advocate for $200 million in state funding for resilience hubs.

The funds secured in Sacramento are massively important investments, and will help scale resilience hubs up-and-down the state,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve. “These hubs will create a really important shift in how we prepare for climate impacts and other threats.”

The many partners behind the Boyle Heights Resilience Hub are aiming for the permanent project to ultimately serve as a model for many more resilience hubs of the future.

In the meantime, Climate Resolve and partner organizations are looking forward to Saturday’s community day. At the event, speakers will illustrate how community resilience can be built and the partner organizations will engage members of the Boyle Heights community with climate-related activities, including clean-ups, tree giveaways, preparedness activities, and air quality monitor installations.

Climate Resolve is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that builds collaborations to champion equitable climate solutions. They work to connect communities, organizations and policymakers to address the global challenge of local action.

They inclusively develop practical initiatives that reduce climate pollution and prepare for climate impacts. Using their collective power to tackle climate change, they are creating a thriving California and inspiring others to act for a just and resilient future.

Featured photo courtesy of NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures).

See Climate Resolve website.

See Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory website.

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