This school year, hundreds of students from Ánimo Watts College Preparatory Academy and Ánimo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School can now safely cross over Avalon Boulevard, a five-lane thoroughfare, with the assistance of a full-time crossing guard and a new signal crosswalk.
United Parents and Students (UPAS), our long-standing community mobilization initiative, advocated for this pedestrian installation near our campuses, which are adjacent to the newly renovated Magic “Earvin” Johnson Park. Los Angeles County Public Works, Magic “Earvin” Johnson Park, the Office of Violence Prevention, the LA County Sheriff’s Department, and the LA County 2nd Supervisorial District funded the signal crosswalk that will help improve pedestrian safety for students, families, and the neighboring community.
The community engagement coordinator for UPAS, Ivette Diaz, shared her gratitude for the installation at a community ribbon cutting ceremony. “It makes me so happy to be here in person, and to be celebrating a pedestrian safety victory that was a long time coming,” Diaz said. “Our Animo Watts and Mae Jemison parent and student leaders made their voices heard around safety and organized for months to get this crosswalk completed!”
Claudia Inglesia, a parent of an Ánimo Watts senior, is thankful for these safety efforts. “As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, I would like to recognize that our school community has only become stronger and more powerful,” Inglesia said. “My son Joshua is in class right now, but I want Josh to know that mom attended many late night institutes, focus groups, house meetings to get this crosswalk completed! I may not have much to offer but I learned how to be an agent of change by using my voice. It makes me proud to say that I am leaving footprints behind for Josh to follow.”
At Green Dot Public Schools California, we know that empowering our communities is the first step in preparing all students for success in college, leadership, and life. We will continue to expand our community partnerships to ensure that our families have ample opportunities to build stronger communities and bring about lasting change.