The Institute for Urban Initiatives in partnership with Los Angeles Councilmember Ed P. Reyes - District 1, Office of the LA Chief of Police, the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), and Mama's Hot Tamales celebrated Tamales de la Paz on April 28th. Tamales de La Paz is a show of community solidarity that highlights the changes that have helped change MacArthur Park each year from a crime-filled park into a fun and family filled park.
Seventh Street between Alvarado and Lake Streets was closed to traffic and filled with booths, tables and chairs as hundreds of persons came to talk about the positive changes that have made the MacArthur Park neighborhood a safer community. Los Angeles Councilmember Ed P. Reyes - District 1 and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck highlighted the constructive changes and pledged continued support of such efforts.
Each year there are recipients of the “Top Hot Tamales” award, which is given to individuals whose efforts have helped bring about economic, educational, recreational, and social revitalization to MacArthur Park. This year Kenyon Price, Community Redevelopment Agency/Los Angeles, and Silvia Beltran, Los Angeles Council District 1, were honored as the Top Hot Tamales. Past year recipients included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Ed Reyes, and Police Chief Charlie Beck.
In addition, Mama’s Hot Tamales, which is known as the “Tamales Capital of the World” and for uniting the "tamales of the world into a force of change" by several media, served a “16-foot Tamale de la Paz” that everyone shared as an expression of community solidarity to help bring more positive changes to the MacArthur Park neighborhood.
Tamales de la Paz is an event that was initiated by the Institute for Urban Initiatives in 2008 one year after the May 1, 2007 confrontation between immigration rally and march supporters, media, police, and others in the park. Each year pledges are made by community leaders to ensure that such confrontations will not happen again. Urban Initiatives has also provided leadership that has helped reverse decades of neighborhood disinvestment in the MacArthur Park area.
The Office for Urban Initiatives and the Nazarene Cohort Program at Fuller Theological Seminary hosted an evening with Jeff Carr, Chief of Staff for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who oversees all aspects of the Mayor’s staff operations. He also holds direct oversight of the Mayor’s offices of Homeland Security & Public Safety, Gang Reduction & Youth Development, Budget & Finance, and Strategic Partnership.
Besides being an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, Rev. Carr previously served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff of the $5.5 million non-profit Sojourners/Call to Renewal in Washington, DC, a progressive Christian social justice organization. The purpose of the event was for him to share about “Churches Engaging Society for the Common Good.” More than 100 representatives of various faith-based organizations attended the event.
The workshop provided information to faith and community leaders concerning loan foreclosure and modification scams in order to prevent scam artists from preying on homeowners who are at risk of, or facing, foreclosure. The event took place at Fuller Theological Seminary in Payton Hall Room 101 and was co-sponsored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection and the Office for Urban Initiatives, Fuller Theological Seminary. A panel was moderated by Ray W. Brewer, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Field Office Director, Los Angeles, and Acting Field Director, Santa Ana and panelists included: Jennifer Brennan, Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission; Heather Peters, Deputy Secretary for Business Regulation and Housing - California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency; Lori Gay, President and Chief Executive of Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services; Dawnnesha Smith, Supervising Investigator - Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs; and Greg Smith, Staff Attorney - Public Counsel.
On Friday, April 16 an Appreciation Luncheon was given in honor of the more than 60 student volunteers from Fuller Seminary that helped complete the City of Pasadena 2010 Homeless Count and Homeless Survey. Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard presented a Certificate of Recognition to Fuller Seminary President Richard Mouw that expressed the City’s appreciation of the student’s efforts. Other City officials and community leaders expressed their appreciation as well.
Fuller News Article: Luncheon Honors Work of Homeless Count and Survey Volunteers
Pasadena Star News Article: Pasadena, seminary carry out annual homeless count. Tally helps cities get HUD relief funds.
The Office for Urban Initiatives and the Office of Alumni/ae and Church Relations at Fuller Theological Seminary hosted the 2010 Court-Clergy Conference at the seminary in partnership with the Los Angeles Superior Court on March 4, 2010. Approximately 150 clergy, lay ministers, as well as faculty and students at the seminary attended the all-day conference. Presiding Judge Charles (Tim) McCoy presented remarks that introduced Richard J. Mouw, President of the seminary, who offered a theological perspective on his address to the audience entitled, Justice and Restoration: Challenging Clergy, congregations and civil society.
Dr. Mouw’s address was also attended by the Mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard, Theresa Lamb-Simpson, Field Deputy for Congressman Adam Schiff, and Tahra Goraya, District Director for Senator Carol Liu. There were a total of four panels and each panel presented on practical and realistic situations that are important to clergy and congregations, particularly in light of the imminent release of inmates from California State prisons. The first panel was moderated by Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, which presented an overview of the Courts and the criminal justice system. The rest of the panels elaborated on criminal and juvenile proceedings, Drug Courts, and issues related to Family Court. Judges, clergy members, police officers and community leaders participated in presentations during the conference. Conference attendees also had the opportunity to interact with Judges from the LA Superior Court in Pasadena during the lunch time.
The Office for Urban Initiatives at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Los Angeles Superior Court held a Focus Group on December 15, 2009. Selected Fuller faculty, administrators, and clergy from the Los Angeles faith community were invited to participate in the group in order to inform the content of the Court-Clergy conference scheduled for March 4, 2010 at Fuller Theological Seminary. The purpose of the group was to inquire about topics of interest for clergy as well as to how to inform clergy of court procedures in light of the upcoming release of inmates from California State prisons