Recognizing the ‘Best of Best’

By Nancy Martinez, EGP Staff Writer

Every Sunday for the past year Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has recognized acts of kindness by an individual or positive impacts by a group in her district that often go unnoticed. Now, the assemblywoman will pay an extra tribute to the “best of the best” in the 58th District.
From a man who picks up trash along the riverbed to an environmental justice group fighting a toxic polluter, every week constituents in her east/southeast area district — encompassing the cities of Artesia, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Norwalk and Pico Rivera —vote online for the nominee to be recognized by Garcia’s #Pride58 Community Recognition Program.
“It was really important for us to tell our own story, not what was drawn out by the negative publicity in our area,” Garcia told EGP, referring to the corruption scandals in southeast communities that at times dominated news headlines.
The assemblywoman hopes to end the year honoring the community’s favorites. A special dinner gala will be held in mid January at the Bell Gardens Bicycle Casino Hotel to announce and recognize the #Pride58 “Best of the Best” award recipients.

The Commerce-based nonprofit East Yards Community For Environmental Justice is one of the recipients of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s #Pride58 award.  (Office of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia)

The Commerce-based nonprofit East Yards Community For Environmental Justice is one of the recipients of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s #Pride58 award. (Office of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia)

Constituents were allowed to vote once a day until Tuesday for a recipient in in each of the following categories: Helping Hand, Outstanding Community Impact Award, Leaders of Tomorrow, Honor Roll and Partner of Progress.
“We are looking to recognize the positive work being done in our community often behind the scene that is improving the lives and the conditions of our neighbors and fellow citizens,” Garcia said.
#Pride58 awardees in the running include Daisy Gomez, 25, of Montebello who opened an outlet store and often provided her extra sweaters and blankets to the homeless. Robert Lopez of Montebello was also honored earlier this year when he was nominated by a neighbor who saw Lopez walk along Bluff Road every Saturday picking up trash and mowing down weeds.
“I’ve lived on Bluff Road most of my life, and I can honestly say, Robert Lopez is the only person I have ever seen who cares enough about our neighborhood,” said his neighbor De Anne Susino.
Pastor Richard Jarman of TouchPoint Church was recognized for his work at the Bell Gardens faith-based council. Jarman has been providing food, clothing and beds for needy families and children in foster care. He also worked with the Southeast Community Development Corporation to coordinate and establish a computer lab at the church.
Commerce-based East Yards Communities for Environmental Justice, an organization that advocates for a safe and healthy environment was one group recognized earlier this year. EYCEJ brought environmental and air quality issues to the forefront in Commerce, Bell Gardens and the Eastside.
Mark Lopez, Director of EYCEJ, told EGP the award demonstrates the local assemblywoman is in in touch with what is happening on the ground. He considered the recognition an important part of relationship building and an invitation to work together, he added.
“A lot of times we don’t get recognized,” Lopez explained. “Corruption in the area will get attention but the good community building taking place often does not.”

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December 31, 2015  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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