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Where is Sidewalk Vending Criminalized in California?

  As we enter our 5th year of advocating and organizing for a comprehensive, equitable permit system for sidewalk vending in Los Angeles, we are often reminded that although progress in policy development is often incremental in nature, unique opportunities for broad-sweeping changes do emerge from time to time. We witnessed one of these unique … Continued

Entrepreneurism and the Case for Equitable Capital

The above featured photo is of one of LURN’s Semi’a Fund borrowers, José. Who was able to purchase a new fruit cart with capital and coaching from LURN. Many low-income individuals often become entrepreneurs because they are disconnected from, and unable to, integrate into the formal economy. For many of the same reasons as to … Continued

Credit is King

  On September 8th, the second largest credit bureau in the world, Equifax, reported to the public that its digital security was compromised and that the personal information of millions – possibly in the range of 140-150 million – was stolen. As the details slowly emerge and we learn more about what, or who, may … Continued

Yerevan, Los Angeles and the Culture of Public Space

  Last month I travelled to Yerevan, Armenia for two weeks. Each day was filled with dance and music, delicious food, and lots of walking and exploring; it was a true opportunity to recenter and reconnect with my homeland. As both a proud Armenian and a proud Angeleno, traveling between my two “worlds” is a … Continued

The ‘Hood is Changing: What is Next for South Central?

  (Photo credit: Joey Zanotti) (Muralist: Dario Canul of Tlakolulokos Activos)   South Central Los Angeles is the last community bordering Downtown Los Angeles that has not been gentrified. We have an opportunity to do something different in South Central. For years, I have been telling anyone that will listen, that we must prepare residents … Continued

Property Ownership Barriers: SpeedLURNing Recap

  Last month, we brought back what was one of our first events as an organization and one that was instrumental in helping us inform our current work in the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign – SpeedLURNing! If you missed it, SpeedLURNing is an event that brings people together to discuss important community issues and … Continued

A Rant about Income Inequality, Small Businesses, and the Need for Radical Solutions

  Lately, I’ve been on a mission to find resources to replenish LURN’s Semi’a Fund, a low interest loan fund that caters to street vendors and other low-income entrepreneurs who do not qualify for capital from nonprofit lenders or banks. It’s been a bit challenging and I’ve learned a lot about how capital flows (or … Continued

Evicted, A Book Review

  The latest book we’ve read at LURN was Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. For me, it took me on a roller coaster of emotions. Set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the author depicts the experience of tenants and describes the impact eviction has on individuals. Here’s a review of the … Continued

Our Position on Measure S

  On March 7th, voters will decide whether or not we should build more housing in Los Angeles. As we’re sure many of you know, Measure S (formerly the “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative”) is a proposed measure that would impose a TWO YEAR moratorium on any new developments, which are not 100% affordable housing and require … Continued

The Empathy Gap, The Empathy Trap, or Empathy Burnout?

  This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy. That pesky, intangible human emotion that clouds our judgement, often at the hands of our innate biases and even has the power to overwhelm our senses and stress us out. Simultaneously, empathy helps us resist modern trends of individualism and self-interest, allowing us to transcend … Continued