A community in action.
New Sincerity contributing writer Nicole Nordstrom is a student at UCLA. She recently went down to Gladys Park in L.A.’s Skidrow to check out NS partners Eayikes and Skidrow Coffee in action.
As soon as I entered Gladys Park, I was greeted with a warm hug by Alex Yoon. Alex is one of the founders of Eayikes, an organization activating young people to take ownership of, and instill positive change in, themselves and their community. After our hug, I was quickly taken to meet local community organizer working with Eayikes that day. His name was Manuel—or ‘OG Man’ as he’s known on the Row.
OG Man’s spent the last 25 years serving as a community organizer on Skid Row bridging the communication gap between the residents and the City of Los Angeles. He took me, along with a group of high school students from Eayikes, on a walking tour of Skid Row. OG Man wasn’t hesitant or apprehensive. He greeted everyone, whether they were peeking out of tents or riding bikes through the street, with a handshake and a hug—a genuine example of what radical love looks.
Before I left, OG Man imparted one last piece of wisdom. He told me to go out into the world and be a good waiter. I looked at him, puzzled. He explained that a good waiter sticks around, asks the people what they need and brings it to them.
The conversation stuck with me after I left. It made me think about how often I fall into the pattern of living life inside my comfort zone, and about our media that celebrates ‘me culture’. But spending a day with Eayikes gave me a glimpse of what the world might look like if serving others was mainstream. And how it can change if we band together to show radical love to people we would normally avoid, lift others up instead of labelling them, and find satisfaction and fulfillment in working for mankind instead of seeking likes and followers.
It is true, our world will not change overnight, but as for me, I will be of service. Because like OG Man says, we all have the capacity to be of service, it just requires us to grab an apron and ask the community what it needs.
Read our piece on Skid Row Coffee.