L.A. Rooted is a grassroots summer youth program which aims to cultivate youth leadership in the areas of environmental stewardship, community empowerment, food sovereignty and self-care.
L.A. Rooted had its first summer youth program in July of 2013. It was started by Rio Contreras and Johanna Iraheta, members of a cyclists of color collective called Raices Roots. In September 2012 Raices Roots set out to reconnect with their Latin American ancestry and local autonomous communities in Mexico and Guatemala. L.A. Rooted is a manifestation of the trip’s goal to share the empowering experience of the trip with other low-income communities of color in Los Angeles. Our intent is to provide alternative knowledge and practices for youth, in order to address the conditions of growing up in unhealthy environments with unsafe choices and fractured communities.
Many low-income youth of color live and work in industrious locations infused with toxins from cars and factories. Youth constantly face the threat of sexually-transmitted infections and diseases, unwanted pregnancies, obesity, diabetes and heart-related problems. Our youth also live in communities fractured by nations, race, sexuality, gangs, class and gentrification. These divisions have inspired us to create decentralized radical education to support our youth leaders and foster unity in our communities.