More than 25 organizations across Los Angeles County to host free community-centered events
to inspire connection, healing and improve health outcomes
LOS ANGELES – April 28, 2022 – WE RISE 2022, the annual community-driven initiative to advance health and healing across Los Angeles County, is back with a month-long series of free cultural events during Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Youth mental health has been disproportionately impacted in the last several years, and WE RISE continues to prioritize positive programming that connects youth ages 14 to 24 and those who love them with community resources that support mental health and wellbeing.
WE RISE programs amplify the community’s collective strengths to imagine a better future that advances wellbeing and healing for all. This year, WE RISE is partnering with more than 25 nonprofit and community partner organizations across Los Angeles County to support programming in May that addresses the root causes of poor health outcomes created by systemic racism and underinvestment in communities which can significantly impact mental health.
Through these hyperlocal, community-led programs, residents can engage in culturally relevant, art-forward and healing-centered activities that encourage reflection and inspire connection. Additionally, Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles will serve as a hub for connection throughout May by bringing together the partners and people at the heart of WE RISE 2022 through healing-centered activities and a special community art installation. Grand Park will be bathed in green (the color associated with mental health awareness) lighting as a vibrant reminder to care for and celebrate ourselves and our communities.
“WE RISE is a month-long celebration of wellbeing, connection and healing throughout Los Angeles County that is designed by our community for our community,” said Holly J. Mitchell, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair and Representative for the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission. “The WE RISE artistic celebration recognizes that we must invest in and expand our cultural understanding of mental health. This approach strengthens our communities from within by tackling the stigma, shame and silence that too often keeps people from knowing how to reach out for help and healing.”
“I’m honored to be able to support and co-curate WE RISE 2022 where such incredible groups are using creativity to provide essential services, distribute food, provide diapers to mothers and families and more. Through WE RISE, the recovery efforts in LA are culturally relevant and incredibly creative,” shared Robin Garcia, Community Co-Director, WE RISE 2022. “It’s been a privilege to curate and learn more about the diversity of community-driven work in LA County. I’m inspired every day by how communities are building connection, belonging, finding solutions, and envisioning the world we so justly deserve,” added Anu Yadav, Community Co-Director, WE RISE 2022.
WE RISE 2022 will highlight and support vital community-centered work taking place in neighborhoods across Los Angeles County with programs including ancestral healing workshops, art exhibits, youth-centered workshops, a film festival and more. A selection of WE RISE programs are listed below, which are free and open to the public. Visit werise.la for the complete events calendar.
Bridging Wellness hosts Toe Fo’i: The Return art exhibit
Date/Time: May 1-31, 2022
Location: Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, 695 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802
Toe Fo’i: The Return is a community exhibit in collaboration with five Pasifika artists that builds upon a series of story-circles. The project reminds visitors that the stories of those lost to COVID-19 are the stories of those who survived. Toe Foʻi: The Return is anchored to the role of artists as healers who move us collectively through the hurdle of misinformation, fear, mistrust and entitlement.
LA Commons hosts Creating Our Next LA
Date/Time: May 3-31, 2022
Location: Grand Park: 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
This community art installation at Grand Park comprised of 72 live oak trees will serve as a visual manifestation of community reclaiming their own wellness and a participatory act of healing. Visitors can participate in this interactive exhibit that provides a space for reflection and captures the public’s ideals and aspirations for our shared future. Watch this magnificent public space transform and evolve over the course of May as people from across LA County contribute to the exhibition as an essential aspect of healing and civic participation. A series of art activations will gather stories from community members, which will be transformed into art hanging in a forest of our own making on display in Grand Park. The public is invited to sit and walk among the trees and imagine what it would mean for humans to be, once again, situated within multispecies entanglements that will define our only viable future. We hope to continue to learn from and with Tongva elders to imagine this future – our Next LA.
Levitt Pavilion and Cultiva LA host Garden Block Party
Date/Time: May 7, 2022, 11-4 p.m.
Location: Westlake Community Garden, 599 Columbia Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Join Levitt LA as they share the joy of music at the annual CultivaLA Spring Health Fair at their Westlake Community Garden. Their mission is to transform healthy food access and wellness through people, social enterprise and environmental justice. This free, all ages event will offer access to resources and bring people together in community.
Esperanza Community Housing hosts South Central Film Festival
Date/Time: May 20-21, 2022
Location: 3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90007
This two-day festival is dedicated to empowering narratives that inspire healing and radical change by uplifting Indigenous, Black, Brown, LGBTQIA2S and immigrant voices in cinema. Youth ages 14 to 24 will have the opportunity to participate in filmmaking and storytelling workshops.
Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore hosts the 17th Annual Celebrating Words Festival
Date/Time: May 21, 2022, 2-7 p.m.
Location: Vaughn G3 Academy, 11200 Herrick Ave., Pacoima, CA 91331
The Celebrating Words Festival provides an accessible and dynamic book drive featuring readings, poetry, performances and art installations. This is an outdoor event for all ages.
Community Coalition hosts Cultures Cures: Community Re-Activation & Healing
Date/Time: May 14, 21, 28, 2022
Location: 8101 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90044
Culture Cures: Community Re-Activation & Healing is a four-week festival for South Los Angeles residents to reconnect through arts, healing and civic participation to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles Civil Unrest. The events will feature workshops, exhibits, a bike tour, entertainment, resources and an art walk.
SBCC Thrive hosts a Youth Art Festival
Date/Time: May 20-22, 2022
Location: 140 Commerce Center Dr., Lancaster, CA 93534
SBCC will curate an Art Festival that will amplify the creative voices of youth who experienced isolation during the pandemic. With a focus on the healing power of art, SBCC’s Art Festival will encompass a variety of hands-on workshops, courageous conversations and art galleries that will enrich the way communities look at art. Programming will support participants in sharing their creative gifts to heal from trauma.
“When we lean into essential community supports that facilitate access to resources for mental health and wellbeing, we ensure that our Los Angeles County family stays connected to community,” said Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. “WE RISE does just that by emphasizing connectedness through community-led, heart-forward activities that are central to healing and wellbeing. None of us are well until ALL of us are well.”
Originally incubated at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, WE RISE 2022 is evolving into an independent, grassroots, community-driven initiative that receives widespread support from multiple partners, including philanthropic and corporate sponsors Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, Health Net, and Kaiser Permanente, and Prop 63 funds designated for public education by Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. WE RISE 2022 is facilitated by Cause Communications, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that works with community organizations to advance justice and equity by using communications for good.
To learn more about WE RISE events in May across Los Angeles County and to get connected to free resources that promote health and wellbeing, visit werise.la and follow @WhyWeRise on social media.
To access the WE RISE 2022 press kit and visual assets, visit whywerise. la/news.
About WE RISE
WE RISE 2022: BY US, FOR US is a series of community-led events that support health and healing across Los Angeles County. A collaborative impact initiative, WE RISE 2022 invests in local organizations, artists and leaders to strengthen community wellbeing. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month in May, community partners provide access to resources and opportunities for connection through art installations, cultural experiences and other community engagement projects. For more information, visit werise.la and follow @WhyWeRise on social media.