First off, thanks to all supporters who’ve stuck with us throughout the ups and downs of the past few years. As of August 2020, the fight for the reclamation of this historic space known as the First Baptist Church of Venice (FBCV) turned three years. There’s been a lot of action over at E.L. Holmes Square the past few months which I will briefly cover here.
On October 15th National Geographic ran an exclusive article on the FBCV fight based on photographs and interviews with core FBCV defenders by photographer Rachel Bujalski a few months earlier. Rachel took some amazing photos of all the “FBCV All-Stars”. The article narrative was pretty ok but articles about the FBCV by more mainstream publications always fall short in my opinion. Suffice it to say this was a super great blessing and window of exposure that we are very thankful for.
Suspiciously, on October 22nd,about a week after the Nat Geo article, someone set fire to the backside of the Church edifice. It is understood that it was set by a suspicious unhoused person who moved on to the property shortly before, and left directly after, the fire was set. This alleged unhoused culprit used the accumulated garbage in the north parking lot to start the fire. The damage was not extensive but did do significant damage to the electrical and gas infrastructure in the corner of the property. This fire incident garnered a handful of media articles including major publications. While very concerning ultimately we felt it as a blessing in disguise.
Frustrated with the deliberately unkempt grounds of the FBCV’s 7 lots and concerned about the mass dry overgrowth during fire season, on August 23rd we initiated a guerilla cleanup of the church grounds. On October 11th we commenced with a second cleanup, this time tackling the perimeter of the southside FBCV parking lot. On October 24th, just a couple days after the fire, we had an emergency cleanup of the northside FBCV parking lot. It was a great turnout and it was then that we realized the fire to be a blessing in disguise. Finally, on November 29th we turned again to tackle the inside of the southside parking lot and it was another great, sunny, and fulfilling day of service to our space and for the spirit of our beloved Venice.
On November 10th,2020 L.A. City Council unanimously approved CD11 Councilperson Mike Bonin’s motion to re-initiate cultural monument status to the First Baptist Church of Venice. This becoming move by Bonin is a stark contrast from what we felt were his previous unhelpful action and inactions. While garnering a lot of attention many in the public thought the historic designation was complete because of this motion passing, but is not. What this means is that it gets re-submitted for consideration but this time with the added support of Bonin’s office. Bonin’s office expressed commitment to assist us with creating an enhanced and more comprehensive submission. We are confident that the FBCV will achieve Historic Designation status. We would like to thank Mike Bonin for his becoming support and hope you will thank him and encourage him to follow through as well ([email protected]). Even when we achieve the historic designation status for the FBCV it is not the end-all be-all. While a highly significant win that grants us much leverage there is still finding the way to recover the 7-lot FBCV property back to the community. Which brings us to..
We’ve been talking about this for the last 6 months or so and now it’s complete. This non-profit status will allow us to be a better conduit for receiving financial support for many things, but most importantly to get the FBCV properties back by any creative means necessary. Please stay informed at our website: SaveVenice.ca and our social media channels, IG/Twitter/FB: @savexvenice