Saturday, October 3, 2015

September and October Events

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are finally settling into the new semester.  Our first month's events have gone well and we had a lot of fun.  We had our first fundraiser at PizzaRev in Long Beach on Sep. 19 and everyone had a great time.  We raised $11.50, which was 20% of the $56 we spent in total.  Afterwards we all stopped at Ben and Jerry's for some ice cream.

GSA members at the PizzaRev fundraiser.
Our second GSA meeting was Sep. 22 and we once again enjoyed learning some trivia, playing games and eating food.  We also discussed our upcoming new club shirt design and finally picked a winner!  If you would like a shirt please email us at and specify size.  The price will depend on how many shirt orders we get - anywhere from $16, $14 or $9.

Winning shirt design!
There was also the Bolsa Chica Cleanup Sep. 26 and our last event for September, our exciting Cultural Night at Los Compadres in Long Beach.  We talked about food, looked at photos of food and ate good food.  It was a great  night.

GSA members at Cultural Night at Los Compadres.
Our first event for October was the Los Angeles Geographical Society's free public lecture at LA City College.  This month's lecture featured GIS projects by students from the Math, Science and Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High School.  These projects were part of Youth Participatory Action Research - service learning projects to better understand the student's community, specifically Boyle Heights.  Three different groups presented projects.  Here are some highlights from each presentation.

The first was on gentrification - "There is no replacement for displacement".
  • County of LA needs 4,000 units to meet current housing needs.
  • Most people pay too much for rent; sometimes as much as 30% or more of their paycheck.  This leaves little left to pay for other expenses.  
  • For Boyle Heights, the average annual income is $45,000 but the income needed to purchase a home is $90,000.  The average home costs about $200,000.
  • Those renting homes usually pay about$1,500 a month while getting about $3,000 a month, so some people can be paying up to 50% of their monthly paycheck on housing.
  • Renters make up about 76% of the population and rent has increased since 2010 (about 25%) and is predicted to continue to increase another 25% by 2020 while incomes stay the same.
  • Most affordable housing is not in Boyle Heights but instead in surrounding areas.  In Boyle Heights such housing units total 52 while 46 of them are for seniors.
  • Other predictions show many people moving out to Riverside and the mountain areas in search of affordable homes. 
The second was on Women in STEM.
  • This study ran into several limitations.  They originally wanted to use AP Calculus data but were denied access.  So instead they examined California Exit Exam math scores and also compared the female to male teachers ratio in classrooms.  They also examined Hispanic minorities.
  • They found that the amount of resources available affected students' performances and that areas with lower disparities between female and male teacher ratios (more female science/math teachers) were where girls tended to score better on exams.  
The third was also on gentrification but focused on local businesses within their community.
  • There are 35 vacant lots in Boyle Heights, which are an invitation to outside entities to come in and put up more expensive homes.
  • Local businesses are not getting enough business because people buy in other communities.
  • They did a survey of over 400 people, asking about their shopping habits and less than 40% said they shop regularly in Boyle Heights.  Thus the residents are not investing in their community enough.   
  • Part of the problem is that there are not enough of certain types of businesses that the people want/need.
  • They also found that in certain areas the high density of businesses decreased from 2009 to 2015.  Local businesses lost about 40% while corporate ones lost only about 14%.
  • They listed a few possible solutions, such as be aware of which stores you buy from and know the community's demands. 
Please join us for our next events!  (Possibly more to be added later).

October 11, Sunday: Bolsa Chica Restoration.  From 8 am to 12 pm.  Wear clothes for working outside.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA October Events.

October 17, Saturday: Wetland Warrior Cleanup.  From 10 am to 12 pm.  Wear clothes for working outside.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA October Events.

October 30, Friday: Cultural Night at Gen Korean BBQ.  From 7 pm to 9 pm.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA October Events.

We hope to see you at one of our next events or meetings!

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