Pictured from left to right: Ms. QC (resident), Lori Gay (CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services), Richard Parks (resident and President, Redeemer Community Partnership), Sucha Ghaman (resident), Lillian Marenco (resident), Ivan Palencia (resident), Tori Kjer (Executive Director, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust), Rev. Bob Gay (Board Chair, Redeemer Community Partnership). Photo Credit: Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times, provided to the 11th Hour Project by Richard Parks.

More than 10 years after first organizing against a neighborhood oil drilling site in their South LA neighborhood, Energy Program partners at Redeemer Community Partnership are now deep in the work of ensuring something generative and nurturing is built in its place. A recent piece in the Los Angeles Times explains how this project, which will transform an old oil drilling facility into a park, community center and affordable housing, “marks a new chapter in a persistent and community-led fight against the oil drilling site.” The 36 oil wells at the Jefferson Drill Site, some just feet from neighbors’ bedroom windows, were odorous, noisy, and spewed chemicals known to cause serious health impacts. Redeemer and their allies in the STAND-LA coalition worked to shut down the site in 2018, before pushing the City Council to ban new and phase out existing oil wells in 2022. The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust recently purchased the 1.86 acre site, and Redeemer is among the community partners involved in plans to build 70 units of affordable housing, a park, and community center.

While an industrial polluter was an unacceptable neighbor, so too was a development that pushed out the neighborhood’s long-term residents, so Redeemer has been laser-focused on advancing a vision for enriching – not further extracting from – the Jefferson community. “Because we knew if we did not do that, that the toxic violence of oil extraction would be replaced by the violence of displacement,” Redeemer President Richard Parks said. “Developers are coming in, they’re tearing down homes, they’re building up student housing, they’re driving out longtime residents, and we didn’t want to see that happen.”

To celebrate their shared vision of a more healthy, hopeful future coming to fruition, Redeemer Community Partnership is hosting a community celebration in partnership with Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County on February 24, 2024. The event, which is sure to be full of laughter, play, and connection, will hopefully be one of many joyous celebrations to come for this South Los Angeles neighborhood.

For more on this story, read the full Los Angeles Times piece, or visit Redeemer Community Partnership.