Good morning and welcome to the weekend! Day 13 of our collab with artist Greg Edwards (@GregtheGrouch) features Amanda Gorman, who at 22 is the youngest entry of this series. Her story demonstrates the empowerment that comes with having a voice & creative outlet.

#BHM #thread Image
Poet and activist Amanda Gorman was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1998. She grew up with a speech impediment and has an auditory condition making her hypersensitive to sound.

Facing these conditions, Amanda did not despair. Writing in 2018, she said,

“I always saw it as a strength because since I was experiencing these obstacles in terms of my auditory and vocal skills, I became really good at reading and writing."

Amanda was raised by her single mother alongside two siblings. She started reading & writing at only a few years old, and by 5, realized “the voice I was reading on the page and writing on the page was the voice I really wanted for myself.”

At the encouragement of her mother, Amanda nurtured her interest in literature and writing. Her work often focuses on issues such as oppression, race, and marginalization. In 2014, she was chosen as Los Angeles’ first youth poet laureate.
Amanda published the poetry book “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough” in 2015, and in 2016 founded One Pen One Page, an organization dedicated to writing and leadership for youth. She went on to become the first and only National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

In 2021, Amanda became the youngest inaugural poet, having been personally recommended by Dr. Jill Biden. Beyond poetry, Amanda also authored a children’s book, won the prestigious Ozy Genius Grant, and graduated cum laude from Harvard. She has 3 books forthcoming.
West Los Angeles and #SantaMonica, the area where Amanda grew up, have historically been hostile towards Black residents and Black neighborhoods.
Along with #redlining, which prohibited African Americans to reside in much of the area, #urbanplanning decisions resulted in damage or even removal of entire African American communities.
For example, the construction of Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1958 wiped out Belmar, the first African American community in Santa Monica. Then in 1966, the Santa Monica Freeway decimated the neighborhood of Pico, one of the few African American communities on the westside.
We embody where we come from and the places we live. We are our history. And we still here.

Artwork provided courtesy of Greg Edwards.

@SoCalNOMA @ApaPbcd

#BlackHistoryMonth #Art #Housing #DopeBlackArt #LosAngeles #California
If you would like to bid on a 24 x 36 version of today's artwork or any piece that we have/will be sharing, please head over to Greg is generously donating all proceeds to our work de-segregating Los Angeles. Thank you!

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More from @AbundantHousing

15 Feb
We Still Here (day 15 of 28)

The queen of neo soul, Erykah Badu, was born Erica Abi Wright on February 26, 1971. She was raised by a single mother in #Dallas, #Texas. 1/

#BHM #HERstory #ShareBlackStories #threadstorytime Image
Badu started her training in the arts at age 4 and was a cast member at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in her youth. By 14, she was freestyling for a local radio station. 2/
Believing her original name was a “slave name”, Badu decided to spell it as “Erykah” early in life, incorporating the term “kah” which means “inner self”. Her adopted surname, “Badu”, refers to the 10th born child in the native language of Akan people from Ghana. 3/
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14 Feb
We Still Here (day 14 of 28)

Wishing you all a day full of love! Today's entry is a bit long, as we pay tribute to Prince's dazzling legacy, and commemorate the many Black struggles that took place in his hometown #Minneapolis, #Minnesota.

#BHM #ShareBlackStories #ShareTheLove Image
Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7, 1958. A well-rounded entertainer, Prince was a singer-songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, guitar virtuoso, & professional dancer. His eclectic, genre-bending music & flamboyant and androgynous persona forever imprinted on the world.
Born to musician parents with familial roots in Louisiana, Prince Rogers was given his father’s stage & band name and encouraged to explore interests in music. At 7, he wrote his first song, “Funk Machine”, with his father’s piano.
Read 23 tweets
11 Feb

Under state law, LA has to plan for 456,000 more homes by 2029. In October, @Planning4LA will finalize a plan (the “housing element”) explaining how they’ll achieve this ambitious goal.…
Of course, *how* we plan for more homes is key. Together with 19 other civic orgs, @AbundantHousing has called for an Equitable Distribution of housing, where *every* neighborhood, particularly high-resource areas, plans for strong housing growth.…
This aligns with the FAIR Plan that we developed with @PacificUrbanism, which estimates each neighborhood’s housing need, based on factors like median income, access to jobs, and access to transit.
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