Written by Adela Villalba '21, a member of the 9th/10th grade team spending the year learning (and doing!) something about accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as a form of alternate housing in Los Angeles. Thank you to Renee Dake Wilson for the invitation and to LA Más for hosting.
Above: Ilan (SIP faculty facilitator), Crystal '21, Adela '21, Renee Dake Wilson
On November 1st, Crystal, one of my peers, and I attended LA-Más’ 4th Annual Hootenanny Fundraiser. I had no prior knowledge of this event but RJ, Sequoyah’s Director of Social Innovation had recommended it because the evening’s program involved ADUs. I was not disappointed. Not only were the honorees making a change with their plan, but they were extremely empowering and genuine—from the diverse female panelist that gave me, as a Latina girl someone to look up to who came from communities similar to my own, to the amazingly real and powerful words they spoke. I always found homelessness to be problem that is not just in the hands of the government but in the hands of each and every community. Hearing these same beliefs vocalized so incredibly by these panelists made me ecstatic to be apart of this. The people who spoke came together out of the goodness of their hearts because they wanted to make a change. Each and everyone of them had a different story to tell about how their work came to be.
As soon as they all finished speaking, my head was left filled with speeches that each and every audience member was blessed to hear. The most impactful to me was the words Ms. Tamika Butler spoke. She spoke the truth about the severity of homelessness and didn’t sugarcoat it. She talked about where she came from and how these people on the street are people that come from communities similar to her own, if not her own. She talked about how hard it was to survive out here in the real world and the fact that no changes will be made if we sit back and wait for larger corporations to begin improving the homelessness crisis. She talked about how while we wait, while we say we want to change the situation but don’t take action, that people are dying. That is the realist truth and the one we all need to realize