2016 May Have Been Rough, But This Photographer Believes People In His ‘Hood Are More United

Photographer Jason Cordova, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, loves to explore different parts of his hometown. Cordova looks to capture the energy, love, and pride within his community through each of his photos. Here’s a glimpse of his amazing story and empowering message.

From the very first time he laid his hands on a camera, Cordova says he was excited about the creative possibilities it represented.


A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“There’s never truly been any conscious direction as far as where I wanted to take it. I was always very fluid with letting the camera sort of be my director.”

“I’ve been shooting seriously for going on about 5 years. I’ve always been somewhat creative whether it was with a camera or music. As an early teen in Los Angeles, I would take my little film camera down to various areas and yards in L.A. and take pictures of all the graffiti that would influence me.”

With every new spot in L.A. that he visited, he also met new people.


A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“That’s the recurring theme in most of my work — it’s getting more involved with the people that I’m capturing and the people that make up the scene that I might be involved in,” Cordova told mitú.

Cordova spent many of his early years shooting photos at the Venice skate park.

Just another Sunday in #venicebeach #veniceskatepark #hvns/la all day….

A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“It wasn’t enough for me to take a couple pictures of the skaters and be done,” explained Cordova. “I wanted to be sort of a silent participator in the subject, so I can catch the actual passion and energy involved in whats going on, instead of just being a spectator.”

Cordova’s photography opened his eyes to areas of L.A. that were completely unfamiliar to him.


A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

His favorite shots became those of abandoned places. Cordova says he gets a sense of hope from an abandoned building. “L.A. is interesting. Growing up in L.A., we’re very segmented in our neighborhoods. If you live in Inglewood, you might travel to a few surrounding areas, but mainly we stay in our areas,” Cordova told mitú. “The camera and the community of photographers that I’m involved with has pushed us to go further and further until I’ve traversed and explored every little nook and cranny in this city, looking for new angles and new ways to capture the city.”

After becoming intimately familiar with Los Angeles, Cordova says he strongly believes there’s beauty everywhere.

#kingofthestreets #onewayhydraulics #individualscc

A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“That’s one thing thats always been important for me to show — that this is a beautiful city, not just a sprawling, desert metropolis.  It’s just a matter of how you’re choosing to look at it and how we’re choosing to present it,” Cordova said.

When Cordova had first started taking photography seriously, he was focused on getting cool snapshots of cars. Now, it’s the people that matter most.

Energy… #LAsundays #fastlyfe #lynchmobb #deptv

A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“You see young people, you see older people, you see many different generations, many different gang affiliations,” Cordova told mitú. “Everybody puts everything on hold on Sunday, to come together and celebrate those cultures.”

With every single one of his weekends spent out on the streets of L.A., Cordova explains the powerful sense of hope that he has both felt and witnessed with every picture he has taken for the past five years.

Happy Cinco de Mayo…

A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“As I’m out there on a Sunday when the crowd is at its peak, the one thing I always see and feel, overall, more than anything else, is a feeling of hope.”

And all of this hope stems from the unity of the people, which is beautiful.

#LabikeLife #takeover #DepTv

A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“For a few hours every week, everybody can come together. All the negativity and all the struggles of everybody’s week before that and week after that suspended for those moments. And there’s a hope that you can gain from that.”

Cordova says he felt L.A. was more united than ever during the 2016 presidential campaign.

#fucktrump #unity #cashmoneycustoms

A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“Since Trump started spewing his messages of hate, that caused a major movement,” Cordova said. “I’m hoping that the silver lining is that it forces people to put their bullsh*t on hold and stay together.”

Even with the elections over, the sense of unity and familia remains. Cordova feels that the people of Los Angeles will continue coming together, and that’s what he’s ready to capture with his camera.


A photo posted by Jason Cordova (@jsun217) on

“If we can come together on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, we can come together on Tuesday. We can come together on Wednesday. And we can come together all the time,” Cordova told mitú. “And it doesn’t need to be something that’s segmented into days of the week. We can come together and be united all the time.” ✊?♡

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Digging Jason’s dope art? Hit the share button below!

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman


Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

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mitúCares: Babes Of Wellness Wins Grant To Help Domestic Violence Survivors Heal Mentally And Physically

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mitúCares: Babes Of Wellness Wins Grant To Help Domestic Violence Survivors Heal Mentally And Physically

As our community works to beat and recover from the Covid pandemic, mitúCares wants to help those helping our community in this time. We asked all of you to nominate people who were making our community better with their work and you delivered. mitú is proud to announce that Babes in Wellness is one of two winners for the mitúCares grant program.

Babes of Wellness is more than a fitness business.

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Founder Kat Novoa started Babes of Wellness with a vision to help people achieve wellness as well as physical fitness. Novoa started Babes of Wellness in South LA as an extension of her work as a domestic violence advocacy.

“I became a domestic violence advocate back in 2016 and in volunteering in these shelters and providing complimentary fitness classes for the survivors of violence that were at these shelters, I realized that fitness wasn’t enough for them. Once I introduced them to mindfulness practices like meditation, journaling, just affirmations, I really noticed a change in them and a shift in their mindset.”

Novoa noticed that the fitness industry was not a place that allowed for the mindful healing that can happen while engaged in physical fitness. The male-dominated industry wasn’t built to help with that kind of work.

“Women have been stigmatized for so long and sexualized because of our bodies,” Novoa says. “There’s not really an emphasis, especially in a male-dominated industry like the fitness industry, to take care of and tend to our emotional needs, our spiritual needs all in one place.”

The fitness professional wanted to make sure she helped the community that made her.

Novoa grew up in South LA and there was nothing the community like Babes of Wellness. She saw this as an opportunity to bring something to her community that will help people heal and grow, especially after 2020.

The pandemic has devastated low-income communities and communities of color. Our community has experienced the disproportionate impact of Covid with mounting deaths and financial losses. Unemployment surged and hospitals filled with our loved ones leaving a lot of damage and trauma from which we still need to collectively heal.

“Me, myself, I recently lost my dad due to Covid and I think that for me now that my business and the mission has really changed in the last few months for me,” Novoa recalls. “Now, more than ever, I feel even more passionate about helping our community and really teaching them these principles where they haven’t been taught. They’ve never had access or resources to someone who looks like them that cares about them and knows their struggles.”

Novoa plans to use the same skills and tools she uses to help survivors of domestic violence to find peace to help others heal. The boutique fitness studio is a place where people can find peace while working up a sweat.

Knowing that her work is helping people is the most important part of her day.

Novoa is moved by every client that tells her how much they get out of the work they do with her. Her plan is to make sure that everyone can get to their goals while enjoying the work.

“There was a girl that followed me on Instagram for a really really long time. Years. Prior to me going into this industry though mutual friends,” Novoa recalls. “She saw my journey and she thought 1) she looks like me 2) she’s female in a male-dominated industry 3) she’s Latina 4) she works with survivors of violence. She was a survivor of violence herself. She was overweight and she was really really insecure and she never thought that in her life she could look and feel and be the way that she is.”

Two years later and Novoa is still working with the client.

Congratulations, Kat!

READ: Domestic Violence Victims Have Been Using Code Words At Pharmacies To Escape Abusers During Lockdowns

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