My name is Elmo Gomez with AFSC’s “Roots for Peace” Program in Los Angeles. After participating in the Global Youth Peace Indaba (dialogue) in post-apartheid South Africa It is clear how the truth and reality around post-segregation America is not that far. Capetown, South Africa was a Strategic location to hold these conversations with people from around the world.
The reality and the consequences in the lack of investment in the peoples’ long term needs is reflected in places like across my street here in Los Angeles and nationwide. To see the structure change but to see on the ground how conditions are still familiar and how black and brown working class members still resist impoverished, heavily policed and colonial conditions is parallel.
The conversations held at the Indaba clearly detail what the results of investment can recreate in the aspects of healing, rebuilding, and moving forward towards a better future. People shared their experiences and expressed their right to self-determination and what it meant to retain their identity even while being continuously occupied and colonized, became an educational experience for many. As the conversations go on about how to bring peace to a community and resist all forms of oppression, we continue that work here in our soil through gardening and education in AFSC’s Los Angeles’ “Roots for Peace” program.
The Roots for Peace program, is a form popular education in Los Angeles has run a as developing model for the past 6 years to support the communities’ long term needs. We see how Land, Identity and Food play a large role in self-sustainability. Nevertheless when including Social Justice and the communities’ right to self-determination as leading factors, we must shift the paradigm of the praxis daily, knowing that Theory and Practice will bring the cycle of struggle-unity-struggle full circle to address the communities’ long term needs. Praxis is the overall creating of a structure of communication, planning and maintaining different forms of dialogue which evolve to meet the very needs of the community and not the goals. As we do here in Mar Vista Gardens.
Written: 20th November 2014