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Bikes, Health, Activism, and Gardening Galore Await You in South LA this Weekend

Summer is officially here and South L.A. is celebrating in style.

Tonight, the East Side Riders will host their Friday Night Ride. The low-key ride starts in the Watts area and heads in a different direction every week. Check out their event page for more details and look here for my story on the night ride we did to Long Beach a few weeks ago.

Get your hands dirty on Saturday with not one but TWO awesome gardening extravaganzas.

First up, Community Services Unlimited is holding its last Garden Gateway to Community Health workshop of the summer. They plan to celebrate by sharing a pot-luck of dishes featuring recipes from the workshop series as well as making dishes together with participants that feature summer produce. While munching away, you will learn about crop rotation, why it works, and ways that you can use it in your home garden. You will be offered seedlings for your own summer garden. CSU asks that you come prepared to attend the entire workshop, which runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at their Urban Farm. You are welcome to bring a dish to share at the pot-luck. Please RSVP to The EXPO Center/CSU Urban Farm is located at the corner of King Blvd. and Bill Robertson Ln. (formerly Menlo Ave).

L.A. Green Grounds, a cool group of folks that garden out of the sheer goodness of their hearts, will be holding their monthly dig-in on Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They will dig up neighbors Roberto and Sandra's front yard and re-sow it with edible herbs, vegetables, and fruit tree seedlings. They break mid-day for a pot-luck lunch, so bring something to share if you can. Meet up at 3820 S. Harvard Blvd. and come prepared to work hard (in a fun way, that is) with hat, sunscreen, and water bottle. Find more information about the event here.

Don't want to root around in the dirt on Saturday? Activists from SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education), the League of Young Voters Education Fund, and Cashmere Agency will be hosting Ignite L.A.: Uprising Remixed from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mercado La Paloma. The event seeks to highlight the innovative work of community youth organizers, cultural workers, and unsung civic heroes throughout the LA area. With an eye to the elections in the fall, the organizers will take stock of the issues facing South L.A. 20 years after the riots and engage area youth and residents on the role that L.A. can play in influencing national trends. If you can't make it in person, you can watch the livestream at

If you've had your fill of politics this week, head farther South to Watts where several organizations are reaching out to communities with messages of peace and wellness.

The East Side Riders (ESR) will be helping the Mayor's Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) with the Vibes for Peace event. Held at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), located at 10950 S. Central Ave., the event will feature a dog show, barbeque, skate competition at the skate park there, and water gun/water balloon fight. Members of the ESR will be on hand to help fix bikes for the community. The event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Watts Men's Health Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Watts Healthcare Corp. (10300 Compton Ave.) Get screened for cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, STDs, and other fun things. OK, maybe getting your prostate screened is not so fun but, hey, it's all FREE. After making sure your parts are all in working order, check out the car, motorcycle, and bike show.

Sunday, tour South L.A. with the Real Rydaz. Then stick around for the South L.A. Peace, Love and Family event at 86th and Vermont. Shuntain Thomas of the Rydaz and other members of the group We Are Responsible People (WARP) are shutting down the block for a party focused on health, community, and peace. Registration for the ride (which is free) begins at 8:30 a.m. in Exposition Park. Riders will roll out around 10 a.m. and head south on Vermont to El Segundo Blvd., before heading back up to the event site via Figueroa. More details on the event are here. More information on how Thomas hopes the event can inject hope and investment into the community is in my story here.

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