Category: Legacy LA

Interview with a Highland Park Innovator

     Many believe the first step towards change begins with one’s self; this belief has proven to be more than just an idea to an extraordinary Highland Park resident. Chan Wing Lam has proven himself much more than just a loving husband and father, but also an innovator who has recently acted upon his lifelong interest in electrical engineering and the world of eco-friendly living.

     Born and raised in Hong Kong, China, Lam first found his interest in electrical maintenance when in high school. Moving to America in 1984, he began working long hours in a seafood restaurant and later as a BBQ chef. It was not too long ago that he began putting his time into solar powered apparatuses to help cut back the cost of his electricity bill.

     In 2013 he started his first solar panel project with broken glass windows and pieces acquired via eBay. Today he has several panels installed over the roof of his home and is even attempting to build a windmill. Each panel produces around 130 watts that go into one of his 3 inverters he has set up around his home. We got a chance to take a look inside his home and workshop to see for ourselves his mechanical endeavors.

     Within a day and a half, and given the right materials, Lam can build one of his solar-powered automatons all by himself. He has given no thought to passing on his knowledge of mechanical money-savers down to a new generation, but did seem intrigued when posed with the question. Although his legacy may end with him, it has influenced the way Highland Park residents think about conservation. With the sight of his home just across the street from Franklin High School, hundreds of students pass by noticing not only his solar panels, but also his front yard garden full of vegetation he grows for his family.

 

New Video: “Eye in the Sky” at Legacy LA

After completing our collaborative art piece with Legacy LA youth, RuckusRoots and a few of the participants presented ‘Eye in the Sky’ to members of the Ramona Gardens community at the Legacy LA facilities, where it will permanently be on display.

The event , called ‘Youth Teach In’ was orchestrated by third year members of Legacy’s Youth Council Program, where they presented and discussed some of the pressing issues facing Ramona Gardens today, such as air quality, safety and food access. The program is for youth between the ages of 14-18; they meet weekly to participate in social justice and political education workshops, learning strategies and skills to organize their communities.

After the discussion, participants from RuckusRoots’ TRASHformation at Legacy took the time to explain why they made the sculpture and what it meant to them, echoing the safety and surveillance issues the Youth Council addressed. The piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants. Our youth explained that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of being constantly watched. Our tree-shaped sculpture displays images the youth took, both positive and negative, and is then topped with a large paper mache eye, meant to evoke this theme of perception, both that of the police and of the actual community members.

It was great to see the participants present their work and then answer questions from a to a captivated audience. The sculpture, meant to be a statement piece, definitely made people take a second look and think deeper about an issue that’s important to Ramona Gardens.

We hope to get the piece displayed or presented to city council with some of the youth we worked with, to address the surveillance camera issue.

Legacy LA TRASHformation Complete

rr-spring-news-eye

A few months ago we began a TRASHformation program with a group of at risk youth from the project housing community of Ramona Gardens in East LA. The youth, who we met with at Legacy LA, a non profit dedicated to making positive interventions in the lives of young people by offering alternatives to gangs and violence.

This TRASHformation is a collaborative effort that reflects issues surrounding police-installed surveillance cameras in Ramona Gardens, since most of our participants sited the cameras as an issue that affects on a daily basis. Our piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants.

The Legacy youth told us that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of constantly being watched, and that their presence emphasizes only the negative aspects of their community. We decided to flip this idea on its head by arming each participant with his/her own disposable camera. The participants then used the cameras to capture daily occurances in Ramona Gardens, both good and bad, in an attempt to accurately portray their community. We collected almost 400 photos from the Legacy group. Together we built a sculpture in the shape of a tree and displayed the images on the trunk going from positive to negative and then topped the tree with a large paper mache eye. The iris and pupil of the eye are also created using photos and negatives taken by the Legacy youth, and the whole thing is stained brown to resemble a tree.

The sculpture is made from a collection of found chicken wire, repurposed wood, and recycled newspaper, then covered in pictures taken by Legacy LA youth. Thanks to Kyle McCullough for his paper mache instruction on this piece!

We hope to get the piece displayed or presented to city council with some of the youth we worked with, to address the surveillance camera issue.

A Tree Grows in East LA

Legacy LA TRASHformation Nearly Complete

Photo Apr 30, 5 04 56 PM

 We’re putting the final touches on the TRASHformation piece we’ve created with young adults from LA non profit Legacy LA, an organization that focuses on youth development. Its mission is to make positive interventions in the lives of young people by offering alternatives to gangs and violence.

RuckusRoots partnered with Legacy LA to create a TRASHformation sculpture with fourteen at-risk youth from the project housing community of Ramona Gardens in east LA. This TRASHformation is a collaborative effort that reflects issues surrounding police-installed surveillance cameras in Ramona Gardens, the housing project where most of the participants reside. Our piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants.

The Legacy youth told us that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of constantly being watched, and that their presence emphasizes only the negative aspects of their community. We decided to flip this idea on its head by arming each participant with his/her own disposable camera. The participants then used the cameras to capture daily occurances in Ramona Gardens, both good and bad, in an attempt to accurately portray their community. We collected almost 400 photos from the Legacy group. Together we built a sculpture in the shape of a tree and displayed the images on the trunk going from positive to negative and then topped the tree with a large paper mache eye. We are almost done with the sculpture, can’t wait to post final pictures next week!

The sculpture is made from a collection of found chicken wire, repurposed wood, and recycled newspaper, then covered in pictures taken by Legacy LA youth. Thanks to Kyle McCullough for his paper mache instruction on this piece!

Endings and Beginnings

Photo Apr 05, 4 14 34 PM

We love springtime here at RuckusRoots, and this year is no different. Our taxes are filed, we’ve moved into new offices, and we’re about to finish two wonderful programs that have kept us inspired and challenged for several months. The Legacy LA TRASHformation is well underway (see the beginnings of our sculpture, above), and the Nightingale D3 Lab TRASHformation will be completed next week. On Wednesday April 24th, we will transport our finished bird sculpture outside to its permanent home in the lunch area of campus. Several TRASHformers will give a presentation about how and why they built the sculpture…we can’t wait to share the details with you next week. Until then, stay tuned!

Photo Apr 04, 12 47 48 PM