Community activism can start at any age. People of all ages want a safe community, but to see a passionate person pressing the need for change at a young age is surprising at times. With the support of her family’s non-profit, the Unite LA Foundation, young Isabella Blue, 8-years-old, is leading the charge in changing the Watts community and all of L.A.
With the recent shootings, Adam Loew, the president of the Unite LA Foundation, has made it a priority to engage communities about gun violence and reduce its occurrence.
“We have focused on community engagement and have been working on reducing gun violence and violence in general since last year,” Loew said. “The recent school shootings have opened the mission of Unite LA to create safe communities at large, but also within those communities to create safe schools.”
The Unite LA Foundation started in 2020, and it was in response to Blue’s request to involve her classmates in a philanthropist project. From there Loew started thinking of ways to support her daughter, and they came up with the idea of hosting victims of Domestic Violence at the West LA skate space.
As the family was walking through the park, they noticed an abundance of homeless people and needles in the area and decided to clean up the skate park. The turnout for the cleanup event included 150 people, with Sheriff Alex Villanueva also joining in support.
From there, Loew and Blue were invited to various skate parks, including Pedlow, Venice, and Watts Serenity Park, and held more cleanup events.
Blue started her community activist career at a young age, and her father describes her as a “propitious person who is very concerned about her community.”
“She has been able to travel around to different places, and when Isabella looks at her community, it makes her question things,” Loew said. “These questions spark conversations my wife and I have with her, and one thing we learned is she hates graffiti.
“Isabella’s dislike for graffiti made us focus on cleaning and teaching her how to keep things clean,” he added. “This has led to her leading the charge on community cleanups, and having the sheriff as her mentor has advanced her understanding of law enforcement and public safety.”
Loew and Isabella have devised the “District-wide Safety Plan” because of the recent school shootings in Texas and at Grant high school in Van Nuys.
“We know that tougher gun laws aren’t necessarily the answer, but they are important to the solution,” Loew said. Our superintendent suggested we have safer routes to school, but with so many schools and kids, that seems unrealistic. So Unite LA came up with the solution to fix the communities surrounding schools in hot zones.”
“We recognized that many of the law enforcement facilities and other security organizations do not talk regularly when it comes to providing safety. We need to get all these organizations to meet and talk about security measures for the communities and schools,” he added. “We are advocating to have public safety officers in the school, not police officers. We want these public safety officers to create trusting and responsible relationships with students, which will help students feel more safe and confident in reporting dangerous activities.”
Loew also wants to advocate for more support of after-school programs that include sports, music, computer programming, and other things. He feels if you keep kids active from Sunday to Saturday, they are less likely to be involved with dangerous activities. Loew is advocating for the school board, superintendent, and other school officials to listen and work with student leadership.
The Unite LA Foundation will bring its plan to the attention of school officials before this fall, as the 2022-2023 school year begins and ask that students and parents become more involved with Unite and the Gate student leadership school program. Visit unitelafoundation.com to learn more.