The groundbreaking February 29, 2020 was truly one for the history books. Over 2,000 community members of all ages, from our grandmothers to our sons and daughters, from business owners to construction workers, came together to break ground on #DestinationCrenshaw. The event featured activities for residents of all ages, including artmaking stations, workshops for aspiring construction professionals, and free food provided by Black-owned vendors.
Destination Crenshaw isn’t just placemaking; it’s placekeeping and community building. Our community is coming together to create a vibrant public space that will unapologetically display the significant contributions of Black L.A. Thank you for joining us for the groundbreaking of this unprecedented project.
About Destination Crenshaw
When Metro decided to run the Crenshaw/LAX Line at-grade up the spine of the Black community, many residents feared it would jeopardize the survival of the last remaining Black-owned business corridor in the city. The train line was initially planned without any stations on the world-famous Crenshaw Boulevard, a sign to residents that our neighborhoods were simply a pass-through. Neighbors organized to make their concerns heard, resulting in Metro agreeing to add Leimert Park station at 43rd Place.
However, the train would remain above ground. Historically, capital investments like these have ushered in the rise of cultural erasure in historically black communities across the country. Understanding the real threat of losing our culture and history, I embarked on a mission to listen to residents about their visions for our neighborhood. My team and I met with stakeholders face to face: block club by block club, neighborhood council by neighborhood council and at various community events. Collectively, we decided that if you’re going to run a train at-grade through our neighborhood, every passenger needs to see, hear and feel our stories! We also needed to ensure residents and businesses would benefit from new investments in the area.
The result was Destination Crenshaw, an outdoor museum serving as an economic incubator for residents and legacy businesses. This historic project aims to preserve the culture and contributions of Black Los Angeles by increasing a sense of community ownership to combat cultural erasure.