Thursday, May 25, 2017

“See you again soon!” A Letter from John Guevarra

Friends and colleagues,

It’s been my pleasure serving as Investing in Place’s Communications and Research Director these past 14 months. I’ve grown as a friend and professional — I continue to learn so much from you all.

Starting next month, I will continue my advocacy for stronger families and neighborhoods in First 5 LA’s Communities Department as a Program Officer in the Built Environment Team. My portfolio will focus on two things: 1) Transportation planning that promotes health, opportunity, and mobility for those families with young children and without access to cars, and 2) Policies that improve neighborhoods with the greatest need for affordable, safe, and reliable transportation linkages to jobs and essential services.

At Investing in Place, we’ve accomplished so much together. From helping to pass Metro’s Active Transportation Strategic Plan, advocating for Measure M, pushing for a definition of transportation equity in Los Angeles County, and jump-starting the Completing Streets and #JustGrowth work groups.

These experiences at Investing in Place have affirmed my three beliefs about how we can better improve our neighborhoods in Los Angeles County — and these are experiences I will take with me and apply at First 5 LA:

  1. When making policy decisions that directly impact the lives of the most vulnerable, everyone should have a seat at the table and a platform where they can tell their story — community members know what their issues are and it is important to connect people to persons of influence and resources.
  2. We need to continue to learn from and document the stories of our most vulnerable people: our children and youth, older adults, individuals with disabilities, and low-income folks. It can start with as simple a question as “What are the issues affecting your family?”
  3. We need to be investing, more than ever, in building capacity, skills, and training for residents and community advocates. Organizing, storytelling, shifting policy, and building dialogue with our decision-makers takes time — and there’s no better time to start than now.

Big shout out to the Investing in Place Advisory Board and the two inspiring leaders that have kept me grounded: Jessica Meaney and Amanda Meza. (Personal note: I will miss you both dearly; I’ll miss our coffee talks, chocolate/pie/ice cream/gummy bear breaks, museum walks, and working in the same office just so I can absorb a little bit more of your smarts, tenacity, and passion. Nonetheless, I look forward to working with you again soon.)

To be clear, this is not a farewell but a “see you again soon!” I hope we stay in touch. You can reach me anytime at johnedward.guevarra@gmail.com or my cell (310) 619-5611.

My best,

John Guevarra



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