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Saturday, May 18, 2-4:30pm at the Skid Row Museum

We’ll Come Together for 8 presentations by WALK THE TALK nominees Michael Hubman, Queen Mama Tabia, Young Mi Chi, Matt Harper, Tom Grode, Sean Gregory, Al Ballesteros and Matt Horns – presented by Ray Lewis and Mr. Pancake.

The afternoon is part of the Walk The Talk project, which honors Skid Row community members whose initiatives are making a difference in people’s lives every day, and a prelude to the Walk the Talk parade, which will happen on May 25, 2024.

COME TOGETHER: Using a community presentation format conceived by Harrell Fletcher, eight individual “presenters” are chosen to briefly present about their work in Skid Row.
* They will be introduced by their nominators with a 3 minute introduction
* give 7-minute presentation in any form, e.g., a performance, a demonstration, or a lecture.
* After the presentation there will be 5 min. for the audience to ask questions.
The presentations happen back-to-back, combining the insight and passion of both selectors and presenters. 

This years presenters are:

HONORING: Matt Horns an amazingly knowledgeable gardener, guitarist. Matt was a biologist. He worked for the state wildlife agency –monitoring endangered species. He donated to the Skid Row organizations that he loved. And he participated in the work of LA CAN. He made music with Franc Foster and others. He passed way too young.

PRESENTED by: Ray Lewis – leader of the Ase Ashe drummers. He has been in the community for over a decade and participates in LA CAN actions, is a fellow with Street Symphony, and performed in LA Poverty Department’s performance, “I Fly!” (at REDCAT Theater) and the Festival For All Skid Row Artists since its inception in 2010, where he now leads the festival’s ‘house-band’. He’s also a victim of police brutality. He has studied African healing techniques and shares this with the community in workshops at community events. He was initiated in Kundalini Reiki and share this Cosmic Energy in the world and Community in workshops and in everyday communication.
And George Herod aka Mr. Pancake – a soldier and a part of most events in Skid Row. He is warm and loving and he blesses people with his singing. Pancake has a song or a smile for everyone he meets – he doesn’t have to know you, even better if you are a stranger. He is one of the bold few who are out in the street waving people into the organic market on Thursdays at LA CAN, dressed as a cucumber and it’s 85 degrees! Pancake also has a religious side to him, and he meets people wherever they are at. He is a soldier for the community.  You’ll hear “BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE” ringing of the buildings of the Historic Core. Pancake is the guru of Skid Row: a healer and spiritual giant.

PRESENTER: Michael Hubman  Hello I ‘am Michael “Waterman” Hubman. I am the founder of` Watercorps and Right To Share Food. With Watercorps I began my 14 years of service, providing bulk drinking water to the homeless people of Skid Row, Los Angeles. During most of the 14 years I also lobbied the city on behalf of the human and civil rights of Homeless people and the underclass. As a part of the lobbying, I reacted when some of the political leaders of LA, attempted to restrict the sharing of food. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of my 14-year journey is how this service came to be. I worked as a fabric buyer for my fiancé’s custom bridal shop. While not thinking about service, I took a curious interest in the homeless people of the LA area. I also found inspiration form the humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Soon after the tsunami, came Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I volunteered at Emergency Communities kitchen and disaster response in greater New Orleans. Since 1999 I have been a Rainbow (Rainbow Family of Living Light) Since becoming a Rainbow, water has been my focus. In response to Katrina, the Rainbow Family did something that they had never done since their founding in 1972. They mounted multiple organized responses to the hurricane. This motivated me to start up a disaster response organization. Instead of waiting for a disaster to happen; It occurred to me in a revelation, that I knew of an ongoing disaster. On October 16, 2006 I brought my first water to Skid Row Los Angeles.

INTRODUCED BY: John Malpede founding director of Los Angeles Poverty Department.

PRESENTER: Queen Mama Tabia (QMT) – painter, photographer, musician, writer, zine maker, don’t event start describing Queen Mama Tabia Salimu. Cuba, African diaspora, New York, Los Angeles. The list goes on. Black mother, grandmother, friend, collaborator. Outspoken about living with mental illness, making art and writing about it and chipping away at stigma for herself and others. Historian! also, a person who likes to have a floor to ceiling living history of photos, artwork, clippings on her apartment walls (you should see her apt walls!). A most wonderful human being. This woman has been contributing to many spaces and places in Skid Row neighborhood for over 20 years. A lot of people know her, and everyone who knows her, loves her. “Tsfu tsfu tsfu,” to ward off the evil eye, as my grandmother would say. Queen Mama Tabia has the most soothing presence, while also being absolutely real, absolutely honest, and absolutely open.

INTRODUCED BY: Hayk Makhmuryan is an Armenian artist, arts worker and community organizer living in occupied Kizh/Tongva land (aka LA region) and has worked in LA’s Skid Row neighborhood since 2008.

4. PRESENTER:  Young Mi has been conducting free arts workshops throughout Skid Row for over 10 years. She began volunteering at Studio 526 back in the day when it was called the “LAMP Arts Program”. With a few other volunteers and artists she met at Studio 526, she started Creative I, a grassroots artivist collective to bring art workshops to spaces and events in Skid Row. Without any infrastructure, she just goes out and does it. Amazing grit, kindness, and persistence. Young Mi is a professional graphic designer-–and does an amazing job designing the Skid Row Art Zine.

INTRODUCED BY: Henriëtte Brouwers associate director Los Angeles Poverty Department.

PRESENTER:  Matt Harper has been a live-in community member with the Los Angeles Catholic Worker for the last 7 1/2 years where he is co-editor of their newspaper, Catholic Agitator. Through the LACW, he is part of the Skid Row Now & 2040 Coalition. Additionally, Matt also organizes white people in the Los Angeles area into strategic and accountable anti-racist action with White People for Black Lives, the local affiliate of Showing Up For Racial Justice. 

INTRODUCED BY: Jeff Dietrich joined the L.A. Catholic Worker six months into its founding and met his wife, Catherine, there just a year later.

PRESENTER:   Tom Grode – No one is more involved in Skid Row activism and trying to promote all that’s good in the Skid Row community than Tom Grode. Through direct, committed involvement in the numerous community organizing efforts and staying informed, Tom has championed many issues. It will be a difficult to name all the efforts that Tom has been involved with. He is like an ephemeral weaver of sorts, listening, involved, participating from the local to linking to macro historical perspectives and stories and causes. Tom is involved in political and artistic, cultural life and development in Skid Row community through Los Angeles Poverty Department, Skid Row Action Plan, Skid Row Now & 2040, Urban Voices Project, Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot with the Skid Row Community Improvement Coalition to list a few. He is an honorary member of the Gabrielino-Tongva, one of the major Native tribes in Los Angeles County.  Tom is the co-founder of Skid Row Cooling Resources. 

INTRODUCED BY: Danny Park a Korean American who grew up in the Skid Row community where his parents have owned the Best Market on the corner of 5th and San Pedro since 1992.

PRESENTER:  Sean Gregory a long-time Skid Row community resident, activist, and artist. He was initially introduced to Skid Row during the Occupy LA movement. From there, he became an intern with the Los Angeles Community Action Network, where he helped organize membership meetings. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of Skid Row residents. I support the work of UCEPP, am involved with the Skid Row Artist Festival, and work at the Refresh Spot to improve access to hygiene. The spirit of Skid Row and the most significant recovery community clearly shines on Sean. He is currently working with Venice Community Housing, a permanent supportive housing site in West Los Angeles. In his off time, he also golfs and cooks. Getting to know Sean means getting to know his energy, his anger at injustice, and his goal of giving more every day.

INTRODUCED BY: Steve Diaz – Skid Row Activist and former Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network an A native Angeli­no.

PRESENTER: Al Ballesteros President & Chief Executive Officer of JWCH Institute, Inc., a Los Angeles based non-profit, Federally Qualified Community Health Center. As CEO of Wesley Health Clinic, his work is throughout the county, but he has a heart for Skid Row and Wesley is expanding its services to Skid Row. Al is one of the nation’s foremost leaders on healthcare reform and federally qualified health care centers. Growing up, Al experienced and witnessed the disparity and lack of quality healthcare for some of the most vilified segments of society. That’s led him to use his position and capacity to create a model system that provides hope for the most vulnerable; regardless of your ability to pay, nobody gets turned away.

INTRODUCED BY: Christopher Mack – JCWH Health Institute – literally walks the walk, talks the talk and thinks the thoughts which made him a 2016 Walk the Talk recipient.