Los Angeles Allocates $500k For Diversity-Themed Dinner Parties ‘To Save The U.S.A.’
The City of Los Angeles has partnered with labor unions and several activist groups to unify the community, allocating $500,000 to organize dinner parties where residents will break bread with a table full of diverse strangers to discuss race, ethnicity, and inclusion.
The new program, called EmbRACE L.A., “seeks to foster understanding, healing and growth,” improve race relations, and “develop transformative social, political and economic policies” for a city where more than 200 languages are spoken, according to its website.
“We are all one race, the human race,” said L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson, who co-created the initiative. “What is more important than us fighting not only to save Los Angeles but to save the United States of America. That’s what we are doing.”
100 dinners for 1,000 Angelenos will take place in volunteers’ homes next Monday through Thursday. Each gathering will last approximately three hours, consisting of a diversified composition of ten neighbors. Trained facilitators will keep the conversation centered “on fear, dreams, personal aspiration and our collective future.” The meals will be alcohol-free, and “catered by a diverse group of local chefs and restaurants representing different cultural backgrounds and styles of food,” planners say. Menu options will accommodate vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free diets. Attendance is free for L.A. residents who met last weekend’s registration deadline and are selected to participate.
Councilman Wesson launched the program along with the Community Coalition, an activist group whose stated mission includes “building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.” It engages in several criminal justice reform efforts in California.
Wesson’s office told The Daily Wire that a litany of other community-based organizations and unions have also partnered with the city to help execute the diversity-themed feasts. They include local branches of the SEIU, AFL-CIO, and an intersectional sample of progressive groups advocating on behalf of homeless people, transgender individuals, unlawfully present immigrants, organized labor, prisoners, and youth of color.
“EmbRACE L.A. is about sexuality and gender and race and class and things that often tend to pull us apart, which we know really are commonalities and strengths that make Los Angeles so great,” Alberto Retana, President and CEO of the Community Coalition, recently told Los Angeles Magazine.
The publication also reported that the dinner dialogue wouldn’t be limited to race, but “will address other issues around equity in Los Angeles in the future.”
The 100 dinners program is nearly three years in the making. Wesson introduced a motion in 2015 instructing the city’s Human Relations Commission to devise “a plan to engage in conversations and activities throughout the City of Los Angeles with regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, diversity, and multiculturalism.” He justified the need for inclusivity discourse by citing reports that showed an increase in hate crimes targeting black people, Jews, Latinos and transgender women in the region.
“When you look at the rise of hate crimes in this city then there is without a doubt a need for us to do something,” Wesson said after introducing EmbRACE L.A. “As a child of the ‘60s, I know what it’s like to turn a community around, a city around, a state around, a country around, and you do that by having an uncomfortable conversation about what is going on.”
Next week’s dinners will take place throughout all 15 Los Angeles council districts.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @Near_Chaos.