At least three dozen community members joined youth reporters, editors and contributors at Boyle Heights Beat’s first community meeting of the new year on Saturday morning at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center.
‘Café de olla with the BHB News Team’ was an opportunity for residents to meet the staff of youth reporters and share story ideas they would like to see covered in the newspaper and website.
The sweet smell of cafe de olla filled the air as introductions from co-publishers and founders Michelle Levander and Pedro Rojas began. Youth reporters Lesly Juarez and Brizette Castellanos led the meeting, inviting other reporters to share details about their stories from the last edition, and talk about their current stories.
About an hour into the meeting community members were invited to comment on stories they’ve read in the paper and offer story ideas for future editions. Some of the ideas shared ranged from police brutality to more coverage of the arts.
Neighborhood Council President Edward Padilla suggested the Beat have a section of the paper dedicated to spotlighting important people who have come out of Boyle Heights and their contributions to the community.
A former Boyle Heights resident, Telemundo news producer Paula Gonzales, said she came to the meeting because she wanted to congratulate reporters and “remind them to keep an eye out for the little things which affect the community.”
Gonzales pointed to last week’s house fire in Boyle Heights that left an elderly couple critically injured. The couple had no working fire alarms and security bars on windows that violated fire codes. Gonzales said the situation illustrated the problem many elderly living on their own faced in the community.
A student from Roosevelt High School expressed she wanted to see more coverage on the education budget crisis that has caused many of her teachers to be riffed. Information on immigration issues, land use and changes at Roosevelt were also ideas shared by those in attendance.
Other community members and organization leaders encouraged partnerships and stressed the importance of getting out information to the public.
The meeting concluded with a raffle, where names of Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council members Edward Padilla and Sierra Jenkins were drawn for gift certificates for Artic Hot Spot Bakery and Cafe, and Ford Elementary School teacher Maria Perez won a Boyle Heights Beat t-shirt.
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