December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 36

Author Robert García
greets President
Barack Obama at the
dedication ceremony.

ment the management plan as a county supervisor and wrote the California
statutory definition of environmental
justice as a state legislator.
The struggle for green justice continues. No sooner had the president
designated the monument than the
L.A. Times argued that he didn't go far
enough by protecting only portions of
the San Gabriels. The Times editorial ignores the practical and symbolic
value of the president recognizing the
San Gabriels are not just a land use
but a civil rights issue. The president
also acted because Congress is not
likely to act soon on the legislation for
the national recreation area.
Partisan critics argue President
Obama abused his power by taking executive action, but the value of protecting the San Gabriels transcends politics
and time. Republican presidents have
protected the San Gabriels for more
than 100 years. Benjamin Harrison
created the forerunner of the Angeles
National Forest in 1892, Teddy Roosevelt transferred the land from the Department of the Interior to Agriculture
in 1905, and Calvin Coolidge divided
the Angeles and the San Bernardino
National Forests in 1926.
34	 Parks & Recreation

National monuments play an important role in supporting local economies, according to the White House.
Jobs and apprenticeships for youth, and
diversification of government contracts
to involve local workforce, can promote
economic vitality for all. Forest Service
crews have already been out enhancing
lands and improving trails and recreation sites. Almost 200 jobs and educational experiences have been created
as the Forest Service hired youth crews
from the Youth Conservation Corps,
California Conservation Corps and the
San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps
in the past two months. Economic vitality also requires addressing gentrification and displacement by increasing
home ownership and support for small
businesses as communities become
greener and more desirable. Otherwise,
lower-income residents will no longer
be able to live or work nearby.
Grassroots groups are vital in the
struggle for the San Gabriels, but
mainstream environmentalists receive
vastly more funding. They are in a
gold rush to seek funding from the
greening of the San Gabriels and the
L.A. River. Increasing the number of
people of color in mainstream environmental organizations is important,
but it's still not enough. Government
agencies and foundations must ensure
equal funding for local environmental
justice and grassroots groups, or diverse values at stake for the community will not be represented. Funding
for organizations where conservation,
health and social justice are integral to
their values and culture is key to enhance the San Gabriels, and to transform the environmental movement
to reflect the new California and the
critical electorate of Latinos, African
Americans, young people and single
mothers. California surveys show
that Latinos, African Americans and

| D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

Asian Americans have been the biggest supporters of park bond measures, and the most concerned about
the environment.
The City Project has been working to
diversify access to and support for the
San Gabriels since 2001, working with
nontraditional partners and SGMF.
We will continue to support (1) implementation of a national monument
management plan, (2) proposed legislation for a national recreation area,
and for wilderness and wild and scenic
river designations, and (3) compliance
with environmental and health justice
laws and principles, including Title VI
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 12898 on environnental
justice and health.
President Obama has designated 13
national monuments, and has personally traveled to designate only two: the
San Gabriels and the Cesar Chavez
National Monument. Cesar Chavez
is the first national monument in the
U.S. dedicated to a Latino born after
the 1700s, according to NPS. The president has preserved 3 million acres of
public lands.
President Obama spoke eloquently in
the San Gabriels: " My commitment to
conservation isn't about locking away
our natural treasures; it's about working
with communities to open up our glorious heritage to everybody - young and
old, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native
American - to make sure everybody
can experience these incredible gifts. "
That is the promise of the San Gabriel
Mountains with green justice for all.
Robert García is the Founding Director and
Counsel of The City Project and an Assistant
Professor, Community Faculty, at the Charles
Drew University of Medicine and Science. He
served as a keynote speaker at the 2014 NRPA
Congress (rgarcia@cityprojectca.org).
Michelle Kao, UCLA '15, is an Intern for The
City Project (mkao@cityprojectca.org).



December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

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