By Daniel Gomez, Chair of DSC Communications
The day Young people “ganged-up” on Palos Verdes. This was the title in the main page of the newspaper El Mundo, a Spanish print newspaper with a circulation of 64,000 copies weekly. The Palos Verdes community is located between Flamingo Rd & Twain, and Paradise & Swenson. The street Palos Verdes runs right down the center of the neighborhood. On Saturday, February 16, residents of Palos Verdes came out to join forces with METRO police officers from the Convention Center Area Command, staff from the Cambridge Recreation Center, employees from Tao Bistro & nightclub, and a bus load of young adult participants of Relevance X.
With work gloves and trash bags distributed to everyone, the first groups of volunteers were dispersed throughout the neighborhood. Rakes, shovels, and hoes were given to individuals who were assigned to specific areas (streets and alleys) and instructed about the presence of needles and broken glass.
Shortly thereafter, a busload of young adults from the Relevance X event arrived with the North District Superintendent Candace Lansberry and Superintendent Gary Kennedy of the Central West District. As the bus opened its doors, we were pleasantly surprised to see the first passenger coming out of the bus was our bishop, Bob Hoshibata. He immediately proceeded to prepare himself with the assigned gloves, trash bags, and a rake. Many of these young adults were quite surprised that such a neighborhood could exist at a “stone’s throw” from the Las Vegas Strip area. Excited and eager to work in the cleanup, they proceeded to their assigned work areas.
As the day progressed, many more area residents were joining the efforts of beautifying their community. Residents were taking pride in their own neighborhood and quite amazed that young adults from outside of Las Vegas would bother to spend their time in Las Vegas participating in a community wide cleanup instead of doing sight-seeing in other more attractive areas of the strip. They asked why police officers were interested in picking up trash within their neighborhood. “Why are they spending their time having conversations with our children and teenagers?” Individuals would ask, “Why is the United Methodist church concerned about our neighborhood?” So many conversations were taking place as the community wide cleanup efforts were underway. Surely, residents will remember the day the “young adults” stormed upon their community. They will remember that the United Methodist church is concerned about them and very interested in having conversations with them. They will remember that community has a new definition when local law enforcement, local businesses, and the Church come upon their neighborhood. It allows opportunities for a new dialogue to begin – about us in community with Christ, with one another, and in ministry to the world (our local communities). We are the people of the United Methodist Church!