*Introducing a monthly opinion article from the Chair of our Board of Directors and other select guests.
Los Angeles, arguably – leads the nation in imagination. Certainly, if not the undisputed leader in creative capital, it’s in the running. Our identity, civic pride, our bragging rights are based in large part on our cultural bona fides. Film, television, music, tech, diversity, weather, our otherness … gives us cache’ and a mystique the world over. It makes Los Angeles sexy and to some a desirable, if not enviable place to be. Of course, it’s all subjective and borderline absurd. A civic conceit that’s much too elusive to prove. More importantly, who cares? I do. Here’s why.
I love Los Angeles. Earthquakes, income inequality, drought, housing shortages, police challenges, and maddening traffic aside, Los Angeles is the place to be. You may disagree, but this is my opinion piece and I think Los Angeles is dope. No, I’m not high and I’m not delusional. I’m also not giving the city, myself, or you a pass. We live in a city where only 1 out 10 Angeleno’s voted in the last city-wide election. Apparently, we think our input is insignificant on how our dollars are spent, or what issues are prioritized. I guess it means we’re cool with families living under freeways overpasses; and we’ll deal with this “living wage” stuff when it becomes our reality. Do our kids, despite where they live, really need green space and arts education to lead robust, healthy lives?
So what if getting from point A to point B is a cardiac arrest inducing adventure. It’s LA. All good. Should we pause on the fact that the number of people in Los Angeles who volunteer (20%) to help others ranks Los Angeles 45 out of the top 51 cities in the United States? Cool huh? We still have the Grammys, Oscars the Emmys … BET Awards. I’m dreaming of a different reality. I’m imagining a city that says we define cool – success – our humanity by a different standard. I’m imagining a city that volunteers. Why? Because we’re LA. We’re cool. We know that our collective quality of life is linked – from the most crowded apartment to the biggest mansions. We simply can’t imagine it would be any other way. www.laworks.com = Volunteer. Join the party.
Bob Johnson is the Co-Founder of L.A. Works and the Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is an entertainment attorney and longtime volunteer. The opinions expressed are his alone and not L.A. Works.