Thursday, July 28, 2016

Creating community, one stride at a time.

Note: This guest post was written by Carlos “Los” Desroses of BlacklistLA, an organization aiming to connect people through community, art, and running.

When looking at BlacklistLA, a run organization with community, art and running rooted in our DNA, we can be seen as the antithesis to the “LA lacks community” narrative. We prove that spirit of community is alive and well in this city. By bringing people together to discover art, engage in physical activity, and embrace public transportation, we’re working on making the streets more fun and safer for all. Did we mention that we hold LA’s biggest birthday celebration?

Turning the clocks back to September 2013, BlacklistLA began as a way to discover the city’s eclectic street art not by driving in a car, but by running. Where the only requirement for running is a pair of sneakers, this made our mission easily accessible. Since then, we continue to meet every Monday night at 10pm. We’ve ventured into Downtown LA, Culver City, Echo Park, East LA, Venice, among other neighborhoods around the city, soaking in each location’s unique art, culture and energy along the way.

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Since 2014, Wednesday nights has been home to the “Metro run,” where runners meet at a local Metro station to board a train/bus, then run a 5-8 mile route back to the original meeting point. By running and traveling as a group, many have been introduced to Metro’s transit offerings for the first time through us. We also host Saturday’s runs, which are used for longer distances.

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All of our weekly running events fall under our program titled “Project 42/42.” Spanning 36 weeks out of the year, the program trains runners for the LA Marathon, a select half marathon, as well as our own Happy Birthday LA 5K. Project 42/42 is complimentary for all, providing accessible training for any and everybody, regardless of their level. Moving forward, through programs like Project 42/42, we will continue putting our best foot forward towards improving the overall health of our community.

Every September 4th, we celebrate the birth of the City of Los Angeles with the Happy Birthday LA 5K. With the inaugural race featuring over 500 participants, it stands as the largest known celebration of the city’s anniversary. Click here to register and for more info.

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Our organization spends so much time on the streets. We consider it a responsibility to work towards making those streets as safe as possible. We are aware that LA tops the list of pedestrian fatalities. The dream is to turn that alarming statistic upside down. The larger we grow, the larger and louder our voice becomes. Data we provide on the condition of the city’s sidewalks and the flow of traffic along the same streets we run along will provide insight on how to make LA’s streets better for all.

When it comes to community and Los Angeles, sky’s the limit. BlacklistLA will continue to strengthen the community by running and intersecting physical activity with art and public transportation. Through this unity, we intend to make the city more accessible for runners, and infinitely safer.

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New policy brief identifies 4 key strategies for creating healthy, equitable land-use across Los Angeles

by Investing in Place

How LA County’s Transportation Agency Became a Leader on Improving Access to Transit for All

by Jessica Meaney