Greens reach out at LA Lotus Festival
"Our experience here confirmed a pressing need for more Green Party literature and merchandise in multiple languages, especially Spanish."
By Lisa Taylor and Joe Crompton
The first Green Party presence at Lotus Festival, which attracts over 100,000 attendees, was achieved July 10-11. The Los Angeles and Arroyo Seco Greens locals shared a booth at the 27th Annual Lotus Festival in Echo Park, near downtown Los Angeles.
Our booth was a verdant Green beside Echo Park Lake nesting the largest lotus bed in the United States! While the festival celebrates the cultures of Asian and Pacific Islanders, the Echo Park neighborhood itself is predominantly Latino. For many, this was the first exposure to real live Greens.
The Lotus Flower is significant to Asian cultures as a symbol of rebirth, purity and life. The festival is held in July to coincide with the blooming of the Lotus Flowers. The radiant, joyful art underscored the great diversity within ethnic and minority communities. The food booths were spectacular, with an opportunity to sample numerous Asian and Pacific Islander cuisines. Dragon boat races on the lake, the island flower show and fireworks on Saturday night are festival favorites.
There was no shortage of questions ranging from the expected about Ralph Nader and the Green Party National Convention, to our position on the drivers' license bill and medical marijuana. We registered voters, took donations on merchandise, and distributed a significant amount of literature.
Our experience here confirmed a pressing need for more Green Party literature and merchandise available in multiple languages, especially Spanish. This is easier said than done; usually we don?t have enough bilingual volunteers, or people that can translate flyers. It would be helpful to all locals statewide if the state party could provide a button, bumpersticker, and the party platform in Spanish. People are interested in finding out what we have to say. In Los Angeles, any organization doing outreach must be multilingual to communicate its message.
On Sunday, the Arroyo Seco Greens coordinated the booth. They promoted the strategy of California as a safe state to vote for David Cobb and that Kerry supporters could vote-trade with Greens in swing states. Many people were interested when asked if they wanted to "help defeat Bush." This provided an opportunity to ask if they were Greens or Democrats and make the appropriate pitch for supporting Cobb or for vote-trading.
Thanks to Cathy McKnight, Lisa Taylor, and Danielle Mead (Los Angeles Greens); Johnny Lai and Amy Chan (Arroyo Seco Greens); and Joe Crompton, Jon Salenger and Dario Fernandez (Hollywood/Silverlake Greens) for making this event happen. Diversity is beauty and this festival is exactly the kind of event at which all Greens need to be visible! We definitely plan to make this an annual happening for Greens in Los Angeles County, as we?ve done with Sunset Junction Street Festival each August. Please join us next year!
Lisa Taylor is the Volunteer Coordinator of the Los Angeles Greens.
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