An audiovisual storytelling project by Boyle Heights Beat that aims to connect Boyle Heights youth with the community’s elders has been named one of 25 finalists in the citywide My LA 2050 Grant Challenge. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in each of five categories and winners will be chosen by popular vote.
The Beat’s Voices/Voces proposal – to create an audio and photography storytelling project in which our youth reporters will engage with some of Boyle Heights’ most vulnerable yet most experienced residents, our Seniors – is one of five finalists in the “CONNECT” grant category.
Winning the top $100,000 prize would allow Boyle Heights Beat and its sister podcast, Radio Pulso, to document and archive the rich and valuable stories remembered and told by an often forgotten and isolated population, many of whom live in poverty and other precarious conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened these situations for many of Boyle Heights’ elderly, giving Voices/Voces special urgency today. Youth reporters will safely engage with elders conducting interviews in person or via digital media, as protocols allow.
The project will set up storytelling recording stations at Senior centers, libraries, churches and other community spaces accessible to our target community. With additional photography and video elements, Voices/Voces will be reproduced in print and online, displayed at public places and archived for posterity. Long term goals include creating an intergenerational network, and relationships which benefit both young and old.
The 2020 My LA2050 Grants Challenge, is an open call for ideas to make Los Angeles the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live. Five finalist organizations will compete in each of the five categories. Anyone can vote once in each of the categories, beginning on July 13.
Boyle Heights Beat is the only Eastside organization that was selected as a finalist in the “CONNECT” category. Another Eastside group, Las Fotos Project, is a finalist in the “CREATE” category. If funded, Las Fotos Project intends to open a youth-centered photography studio in the heart of Boyle Heights, where teen girls can build up their professional skills and earn an income by providing culturally relevant services for the community.
Boyle Heights residents would be able to vote for both Boyle Heights Beat and Las Fotos Project – two organizations that work with area teens. In the past, several of our youth reporters have trained as photographers with Las Fotos Project at its Lincoln Heights base.
Grant winners will be announced following public online voting.