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Rides, Garden Workshops, Beautification Projects, Art, and Film in South L.A. this Weekend

The family of slain rider Benjamin Torres gather around the ghost bike posted up in his memory during the Ride for Safety and Justice held by the East Side Riders (photo: sahra)

Rejoice! We shall not die at the hands of a rogue asteroid next week. Which means you make plans to can cleanse your body and feed your spirit by helping out the community in South L.A. this weekend.

Saturday, Feb. 9:
Community Services Unlimited (CSU) will hold Garden Gateway to Community Health workshop focused on Removing Toxins From Your Soil and teaching you about Foods That Cleanse.

To prevent toxins in the soil from being passed on to your plants and you, CSU will teach simple techniques to identify and remove potentially harmful toxins from your garden soil. Once your soil has been cleansed, you can move on to ridding your body of the vestiges of holiday indulgences. CSU will help you prepare simple recipes that can help you get healthy. Attendees will not only take home information and ingredients to make recipes at home but also supplies for their home garden. They suggest you dress warmly and appropriately in clothes and shoes you don't mind getting dirty -- this workshop is hands on. They also ask that you arrive on time and plan to stay for the entire workshop. RSVP to

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at their Urban Farm (located at the corner of King Blvd. and Bill Robertson Ln.) Check out their website for more information about events, their fresh produce stand at Mercado La Paloma, and their Produce Bag program.
Starting at noon, the East Side Riders Bike Club will be at it again with their annual Ride 4 Love.

The ride has a twist this year. The ride will incorporate the route followed for the Benjamin Torres Ride for Safety and Justice. Torres was killed while pedaling to work several months ago in a hit-and-run that left his family devastated (for more on his case, click here). Upon learning about the case, the ESR pledged to hold monthly rides to the site where Torres was run down to bring attention to the case. They have stayed true to their word, braving the bitter cold that marked the last two months' sunset rides.

Their dedication to the cause has meant a great deal to the family, who are only now emerging from their grief to ask questions about why the investigation has moved so slowly and to think about pooling together their own money to offer a reward for information leading to the driver that killed a beloved husband and step-father.

The ride will begin at noon at the WLCAC  in Watts (10950 S. Central Ave.) and ride through Gardena, stopping at the site where Torres was killed and Gardena City Hall before returning to the start point. The route map is available here. ESR t-shirts will also be available for sale.
The mayoral candidates will face off yet again this weekend. This time the hosts are African American Membership Organizations and the site will be Crenshaw High School (5010 11th Ave.), one of L.A.'s more poorly performing schools where parents fear the impending reconstitution will be destabilizing than beneficial. The forum will be held from 2 - 4:30 p.m.
Finish off your very full day with a stop at the William Grant Still Arts Center. This South L.A. cultural gem is celebrating the opening of an archival exhibition of the work of Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1914) with a reception and tribute concert. For more information about the exhibit, click here. To RSVP, click here. The event runs from 3 - 6 p.m. at the Arts Center, located at 2520 W. West View St.

Sunday, Feb. 10:

Community Coalition (CoCo) wants your help gardening, painting, and beautifying at Fremont High School in South L.A. from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

For this effort, CoCo is teaming up with Leo Baeck Temple to beautify the school they, social service partners, the school district, parents, and students have worked together to help turn around this recently reconstituted school. Thanks to all their efforts (including CoCo's Freedom Schools summer school program), graduation rates are improving, and a new community health clinic and wellness garden are under construction at the school. The beautification effort is part of the drive to keep that momentum going.

Organizers suggest you wear clothes you don't mind getting a little dirty, bring your own gloves or work supplies if you have them, and bring extra drinking water. Lunch will be provided. Fremont is located at 7676 S. San Pedro St. For more information, click here.
Recover from your hard work with another set of free screenings from the Cultural Continuum "L.A. Rebellion" Series being held at Mercado La Paloma. The series is an outgrowth of an “Ethno-Communications” initiative at UCLA in the late 1960s that was designed to be responsive to communities of color. The initiative recruited artists of color to the film school and resulted in the production of a series of films, now referred to as the L.A. Rebellion, with a unique cinematic aesthetic. The films being shown this weekend are "Bless Their Little Hearts" and "To Sleep with Anger."The screenings are free and will be held from 4 - 8 p.m. at 3655 S. Grand Ave.

Speaking of film, the Pan-African Film and Arts Festival runs through February 18th this year, with 154 films from 34 countries. For a write-up of the event, see Intersections' report here. For more information about the festival and the schedule of events, please click here.

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