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Meet Gerren Kelsaw, Sara Hernandez and Anthony Bejarano of DTLA Strong in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gerren Kelsaw, Sara Hernandez and Anthony Bejarano.

Gerren, Sara and Anthony, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
DTLA Strong is an independent advocacy group of downtown residents building community influence through grassroots organizing. We started as many good ideas do, a group of friends wanting to make an impactful change in their neighborhood. After our first gatherings at a bar in Spring Street Arcade, we used the existing platform of DTLA First Sundays, a community brunch party, to expand awareness of our efforts.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Nothing worth achieving comes easy. As a group of volunteers, we operate with little to no budget on every endeavor we have undertaken. With our foot beat initiative, the three of us took a lot of time out to meet with the City Council office, the mayor’s office, LAPD Central, and LAPD Command all in order to advance the desires of the community for more public safety presence on the streets.

At the end of 2019, we hosted a City Council debate for District 14, completely executed by donations and volunteer work. We love that we can bring the community together around a cause but none of it is ever easy.

Please tell us about DTLA Strong.
Part of the reason we started DTLA Strong was is because there were no other entities aiming to do what we do. As a group our lives are rooted in this community, we are residents and stakeholders, focused on how to make DTLA more livable and enjoyable for all. As our neighborhood has grown exponentially we need to ensure the city and county recognize this incredible influx with matching resources to support.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We try to make our luck by putting ourselves in a prepared position to achieve. Sure there are speed bumps that arise, but what we believe is that when you’re properly prepared, you can handle all the pitfalls that come your way.

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Image Credit:

Gerren Kelsaw

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