10 Apr PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles Makes History- Hosts 100 Dinners on Race, More than 2,000 Angelenos to Participate in Dinners over Five Days
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2018
For Council President Wesson
For Community Coalition:
Los Angeles Makes History- First City to Host 100 Dinners on Race
More than 2,000 Angelenos to Participate in 100 Dinners over Five Days
LOS ANGELES – Today, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson hosted the first of three city councilmember led luncheons in Los Angeles as part of embRACE LA, a citywide initiative launched during fall 2016. The initiative is aimed at unifying Angelenos and empowering communities to challenge and change racial inequities.
Together with Los Angeles City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian and Angelenos representing the diversity of Los Angeles, Wesson led participants at host venue Homeboy Industries. Their conversation kicks-off embRACE LA’s 100 Dinners campaign, an effort to spark a citywide conversation about race and racism, build relationships and advance public policy solutions. All 15 councilmembers will participate in a lunch this week.
“Los Angeles is igniting a national conversation on race and equality,” Los Angeles City Council President Wesson said. “If you want to change the world start by changing yourself. You’ll change your family, your family will change the community, the community will change the country and the country will change the world.”
In recent years, racial tensions have escalated across the country, including in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, racial hate crimes comprised 46% of all hate crimes reported in 2016. Conceived and launched by Wesson and Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, embRACE LA seeks to dig into those tensions to foster greater understanding, healing and growth for the City of Los Angeles.
Community Coalition, a social justice organization based in South Los Angeles that works with residents to build a prosperous and healthy inner-city with safe neighborhoods, quality schools, and a strong social safety net, is the lead community partner.
“Racism will not be eradicated by turning a blind eye,” said Community Coalition President & CEO Alberto Retana. “Starting today, we must choose whether we continue to let race and racism be a wedge that fractures our city, or if we’re willing to have difficult conversations and address race in meaningful ways that challenge systemic inequities and build strong communities for all, not just some.”
As race and racism continue to be topics at the forefront of political and social divides, Wesson and O’Farrell committed to building upon the embRACE LA initiative with intimate conversations between city residents. To this end, from April 16th-20th, the city will host 100 free dinners, for which more than 2,000 Angelenos have signed-up to participate in. The selected dinner participants were chosen via a lottery system.
The dinners will be held across the city—spanning all 15 council districts—where 10 participants, led by trained facilitators at each dinner, will engage in a thoughtful dialogue centered on race, one of the most important topics of our time. An inclusive range of local chefs representing different geographic areas and cuisines of the city were selected to cater the dinners. Dinner hosts are volunteering their homes, but are provided with all the supplies and food needed to facilitate the event.
“The City Council has a responsibility to lead on issues concerning race and equity. Fostering open, honest dialogue with residents, institutions and advocates from across the city will give us a deeper understanding of the obstacles that divide us. This process will lead to data and tools to help us become a better and more inclusive Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.
Los Angeles is a city of diverse people who speak more than 200 languages and come from more than 100 different countries. The diversity that Los Angeles represents cannot be ignored, nor can the divisions it has created. embRACE LA is creating a pathway forward for critical conversations that allow Angelenos to acknowledge their differences, embrace shared experiences, learn from each other and build a bright future for Los Angeles for generations to come.
“This initiative is not only about breaking bread with neighbors, but about breaking down barriers,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez. “That means having open, honest conversations about what divides us and how we can bridge those differences. Diversity is one of Los Angeles’ greatest strengths. This endeavor will help build on that by bringing Angelenos together around the table.”
“I’d like to thank President Wesson for his leadership on this issue. There has never been a greater need to bring people together to talk about our differences, and more importantly, see our similarities. Los Angeles has always been and continues to be a global city that celebrates its diversity. Let us break bread together so that we may get to know our neighbors and start building community,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo.
“There is no replacement for face to face, heart to heart conversations in the effort to resolve our most vexing differences. I’m glad the City Council and Community Coalition led this effort to cause us to break bread together and begin a long, tough and ultimately fruitful set of conversations,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
“The embRACE LA initiative is so important for our city at this time,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “While some of our national leaders are encouraging polarization and discord, Los Angeles is doing the opposite by providing a way for people from different communities to come together and find common ground. I appreciate the vision of Council President Wesson for launching embRACE LA and look forward to seeing it flourish in my San Fernando Valley district and across the city.”
Revolve Impact is the co-dinner designer and The Todd Group selected the chefs and is overseeing the dinner planning.
ABOUT embRACE LA
embRACE L.A. is unifying Angelenos and empowering communities through a citywide conversation about race and racism to challenge and change inequities. embRACE LA uses a multidimensional approach that focuses on changing narratives, building relationships and advancing public policy solutions. Through a wide-variety of programs and strategies, the initiative is an unprecedented partnership between government, organizations and residents.
The 100 dinners initiative is building and strengthening relationships between L.A.’s communities by fostering honest, open and meaningful conversations around the dinner table. embRACE LA is led by Community Coalition and the City of Los Angeles. Learn more at embracela.org
Herb J. Wesson, Jr. has served as the President of the Los Angeles City Council since November 2011 and has represented Council District 10 since 2005. Wesson is the first African-American to hold the position of Council President in the city’s history and has been re-elected three times to lead the city’s legislative body. According to a report by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, under Wesson’s leadership Council District 10 has the second highest private employment growth rate in the city, is setting the trend for mixed-use developments citywide and boasts an increase in local business activity. Council President Wesson has been happily married for more than 35 years and is the proud father of four sons and a grandfather to three grandchildren. Learn more at herbwesson.com.