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AD62 Youth Leaders
Issue 50

Speaker's Note

Happy May! In this month's R-Guide, we discuss the real story behind Cinco de Mayo and the importance of protecting habitats and endangered species. We also highlight the City of Lakewood's Veterans History Project in honor of Memorial Day. Finally, I share some of my favorite April moments from my Instagram, @Rendon62nd.

Endangered Species Day - The LA River

The LA River

Every third of May, we celebrate Endangered Species Day.

Led by the National Wildlife Federation, the day is used to share the importance of wildlife conservation and restoration efforts for all threatened species. It's a time to learn and celebrate the advancements made to protect wildlife since the Endangered Species Act of 1973. A place close to home where we can see the impacts on wildlife is the Los Angeles River. In the early 20th century, the LA River was home to and supported a diverse ecosystem. As the city grew, the river became more problematic and as a result of many devastating floods, a lot of the river's ecosystem suffered.

This article showcases LA River species that have become endangered:

In 2015, I successfully led the effort to get AB 530 signed by the Governor. This bill allowed for us to create a coalition of community partners to create an LA River Revitalization Plan, which has led to efforts to envision habitat revitalization. Habitat is an important part of the river and its function. Habitat provides food, shelter, and rest space for the birds, reptiles, and small mammals living in the LA River watershed.

One of the first projects to come out of this bill was Parque Dos Rios. Parque Dos Rios is a 7+ acre habitat enhancement and rest stop project located along the Lower LA River at the connection of the Rio Hondo and the City of South Gate. This project includes river and habitat overlook, shade structures, trash receptacles, raptor perches and much more. It's set to begin really soon! Read about the Parque Dos Rio project here: www.wca.ca.gov/parque_dos_rios.

I'm glad to see these efforts. Habitat restoration and the creation of new habitat in the river, parks, and even in our backyards can enhance biodiversity and be a home for plants and animals. All of which allows for our community to reap the benefits of these natural areas.

This Endangered Species Day, I hope that you take some time to learn about the species and ecosystems that live in or near our communities. Also take some time to go visit the LA River, a national or wildlife park or simply take a walk to see who you can find.

Memorial Day - The Lakewood Project

Happy Memorial Day

I'm wishing everyone a peaceful Memorial Day!

If you didn't know, when Lakewood was founded in 1954, many of its residents were veterans and their families. The city's appreciation and support for the military has been strong since. In 2015, the city laid commemorative bricks around the Veterans Memorial Plaza to honor veterans with a connection to Lakewood.

They have also created an online Veterans History Project where stories of Lakewood veterans are shared for generations to remember.

Please take some to read some of their inspiring stories this Memorial Day!

military jet plane on display

Cinco De Mayo: Celebration of Mexican American

Cinco de Mayo

Representing a highly Latino district, I find it important to share with others the history, culture, and values that are significant to many in our community. In May, the Mexican American holiday, Cinco de Mayo, gives us the opportunity to shed light on common misconceptions attached to the holiday and allows us to share the real history.

Cinco de Mayo is more than just wearing a sombrero or drinking cheap margaritas. A survey by NationalToday.com has found that only 10% of Americans know the true reason behind the holiday.

In 1862, during the U.S Civil War, the French Army led by Emperor Napoleon III traveled towards Mexico City. The goal was to take over and establish a second Mexican empire that favored the French. This would serve as a "station" in the New World to replace all the French land that Emperor Napoleon's uncle decided to sell to Thomas Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase.

He continued on his mission and sent a fleet to attack Veracruz and head to Mexico City. He failed quickly. Before he reached Mexico City, at the City of Puebla a young Mexican general named Ignacio Zaragoza beat back the French troops in battle.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that honors this battle, the first battle of Puebla. Here in America, it's become a time to enjoy Mexican culture, but it should not be an excuse to simply party.

This Cinco de Mayo holiday, I hope you take time to celebrate by honoring Mexican American culture, heritage, and history.

@rendon62nd in April

CalTrans District 7 staff

Thank you to CalTrans District 7 for inviting my district office staff to your clean-up event near South Gate in honor of celebrating Earth Day!

AD62 Youth Leaders at The Beach collage

AD62 Youth leaders at The Beach collage

I was excited to see our AD62 Youth Leaders spend their day exploring and learning at The Beach on Earth Day!

Have an idea or topic for a future R Guide?
Send your suggestions to Julian.Gonzalez@asm.ca.gov!