Sunday, September 15, 2019

UNWomen-LA chapter Annual Assembly from Newsletter

Date: Monday July 22
Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Place: Meet in front of Bibibop Asian Grill
           1401 3rd Street Promenade
           Santa Monica, CA 90401



Dear Members and Friends,

Safe Cities LA (SCLA) brings the global work of UN Women home to Los Angeles. It is our local initiative to further all women’s direct participation in creating inclusive and equitable cities. SCLA was launched in 2014 at our second annual assembly. Below are some of our Safe Cities LA projects since 2014;  
Annual Assembly 2014: Safe Cities LA
SCLA Safety Walks + Toolkit (2014-ongoing)
SCLA Safety Metro Rides + Toolkit (2014-ongoing)
SCLA Transit Forum (2015-ongoing)
SCLA Twitter Chats (2016-ongoing)
SCLA Forum: Gender Parity and the LA Experience (2017)
SC Self-Defense Workshops (2017-ongoing)
SC Women and Mobility Survey (2018)
SC Transit + Design Thinking Workshop (2018)
SCLA Forum: The Transgender Urban Experience (2019)

At this year's Safe Cities L.A. 2019 Annual Assembly; Displacement and Belonging; Uniting Heads, Hearts, and Hands over 300 people gathered to collect the stories and wisdom of strong and inspired change-makers who have made passionate commitments to counter division in their communities.

Displacement is half of this year's theme. Why Displacement? Because while we recognize that the experiences of being a refugee, an immigrant and a person living without housing are distinct, displacement as an experience is connected in that it is constructed through division - through the process of othering i.e. patriarchy. Displacement is happening at our border. It is experienced inside our homes and felt inside our bodies. It happens in corporations, in schools, in public spaces, and on public streets. We all have experienced displacement. Displacement is endemic. And it has reached a fever pitch under our current president. Hurt people often hurt others. Displacement, when not processed, creates more distance, disconnection, and division - creating a vicious circle. Thankfully this way of being is not a foregone conclusion, especially as we act with agency. 
My own experience of displacement has taught me to be open and empathetic. It is my access point to the displacement suffered by others in the world. Because, if the displacement of all types, at its very core, is the “othering”  and the lack of empathy, then through opening ourselves to empathy, we turn away from the experience of displacement and pivot to belonging; the other half of this year’s theme.

Creating a shared belonging requires us to practice deep empathy and compassion. It necessitates true listening. It compels us to ask the questions “What if, instead of destroying, we restore? Instead of dividing, we include? Instead of displacing, we engage? It asks us to have the courage to be vulnerable as an act of resistance. We are all creative catalysts in the making of a shared experience of belonging. In the same way, that displacement is deliberate; so too must we deliberate in meaningful discussions on belonging and what it means to each of us, with the hope & possibility of co-creating a shared vision of belonging.

I am deeply grateful to the many members and volunteers who worked on the event. Your amazing energy and generous efforts made our 2019 Annual Assembly a memorable experience of belonging for all.
A special thank you to Suhasini Gupta, Safe Cities L.A. Coordinator and the event assistant producer. Suhasini worked tirelessly on our Safe Cities L.A. programming and the Annual Assembly. As a recent UCLA graduate, she has moved on and is currently in Boston striving to fulfil her goals. We wish Suhasini all the best!

Congratulations on a successful event and many thanks to the entire team: Suhasini Gupta, Yao Jin, Kathleen Hernandez, Faiza Riaz, Jessica Gomez, Celeste Frank, Narelle Norris, Tricia Leskiw, Patricia Natalie, Alexandra Korba, Gorkem Hayta, Jennifer St Clair, Kim Tillman, Carla Truax, Matthew Donovan, Melissa Tillman, Dominique Pinon, Heidi Gaudet, Maria Camila Pava, Hannah Jiang, Beth Mathews, Beth Tyson, Niku Kashef, Jennipha Lauren Nielsen, Mame Mbaye, Soraya Fallah, Swati Srivastava, Hareg Assefa, Christina Kflom, Julie Heifetz, Deepa Paral, Sean Hill, Evie Lee, Glenda Turner, Elham Zare, Brooke Scott, Jessica Gomez, Savannah Downey, Sasha Shapiro, Sharon Nat, Brenda Cruz, Jessica Saldana, Amy Ho, Faria Tahir, Su In Lee, Annika Anderson, Elisabeth Tuttass, Rachel Feng, Hanan Al-Malssi, Daniela Xitlaly Sandoval, Isabelle Ortiz-Luis, Maritza Nat, Melissa Oskouie, Marisa Martinez-Rodenbaugh, Jenna Welsh, Ashley Fleming, Sierra Ryanisrael, Ariana Diaz, Miriam Admasu, Juliette Oliver, Angelina Quint, Chloe Levian, Mackenzi Greene, Safa Saleem, Aelita Arshakyan, Paola Lopez, Marisela Lopez, Delilah Ngayan, Savannah Minassian, Ashley Arias, Brianna Angulo, Veronica Mkhsi-Gevorkian, Nayiri Artounians, Christine Almadjian, Taylor Fairless, Deepa Patel.
It was an honor to work with all of you! Here's to future collaborations towards achieving greater belonging in Los Angeles and beyond!
Warmly, Cathy

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