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Danica Roem seeks 3rd term in Virginia State House

Roem in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S.

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Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) speaks to supporters (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

MANASSAS PARK – Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) launched her 2021 re-election campaign Tuesday, promising to continue the work she’s started. Roem in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. 

Roem said she has pushed for LGBTQ equality, helped pass Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and led efforts to provide school meals for thousands of kids across the state since she took office. She said she is running for her third term in order to continue pushing for progressive change in her state. 

“I’ve been working to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth since my first campaign,” she said in an interview. “And we’ve got a lot to show for it but we still have a lot of work to do. That’s what my campaign is going to be about—continuing that work.”

Democrats in 2019 took the majority in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time in decades. This allowed the party to pass progressive reforms like the Virginia Values Act, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination protections. 

One of Roem’s focuses through her first and second term was increasing access to food for children through Virginia’s schools. When the pandemic hit in March, she fought, and ultimately won, a battle to change a USDA policy that required students to come in-person to pick up free meals during school closures, arguing that the rule was endangering children with compromised immune systems. Roem has also sponsored legislation to make free and reduced-priced lunches and breakfasts more accessible for students. 

“My goal going forward is really making sure we are addressing systemic inequality and systemic barriers to access when it comes to food security throughout Virginia,” she said. “I’m a 36-year-old Italian stepmom—I want to feed everyone. I want to continue to prioritize giving food to those who need it.”

Roem also campaigned on Medicaid expansion in 2017 and in May 2018, the legislation passed, allowing more than 400,000 Virginians to get healthcare through Medicaid. Now for her re-election campaign, she said she is going to continue to advocate for expanded healthcare options. Roem also spearheaded legislation to require insurance companies to cover essential procedures for trans patients.

She has been able to be so productive in office, she said, because of her ability to work with other delegates in a bipartisan manner. But to critics who accuse her of over-compromising, she said they just need to look at the policies she’s put in place during her tenure in office. 

“You don’t carry a transgender health bill through if you’re letting the conservatives run rampant,” she said with a small laugh. “You don’t have to compromise your integrity and your values to work with someone of a different party on some stuff because odds are, you can probably find some common ground.”

On a national scale, Roem has led and inspired a wave of other trans candidates to run for public office. In the 2020 elections, eight openly trans and gender non-conforming candidates were either elected or re-elected to their state legislatures. 

But in a country that often seems more divided than ever, Roem said she focuses on doing her job to serve her community. 

“I’m a proud Democrat and I represent all of my constituents, regardless of whether or not they voted for me,” she said. “Every time I do my job well, people can say, ‘My delegate is transgender and they’re really good at their job.’ Not ‘but’—‘and’. I don’t have to defend who I am to anyone. I acknowledge who I am and I’m good at my job.”

However, Roem said that vicious transphobic attacks by her political opponents have followed her since she announced her first campaign. When she took office, Republicans ended a 400-year tradition of referring to each other as “gentlemen” and “gentlewomen” and changed it to address themselves as only “delegates” to avoid acknowledging Roem’s gender. 

One memorable moment, Roem said, was when members of the Westboro Baptist Church staged protests outside of the capitol building in March 2019. The church members were met by a crowd of counter-protesters, armed with kazoos to drown out the church’s hate. 

After the protest, Roem raised more than $34,000, using the hashtag #westborobackfire to spread her message around social media. 

“You turn it into money, and you turn it into votes,” she said, referring to the hate. “I’ve been dealing with bigoted bullshit for almost four years now. If you’re a trans candidate running for office in any other state, look at what we’ve done. Flip the script on their bigotry, make it work for you.”

Following President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s election, Roem said she is hopeful the nation is moving in the right direction to begin healing. 

“We are at the very least going to stop the bleeding,” she said of Biden taking office. “What’s the first rule of getting out of a hole? Stop digging. On Jan. 20, we are no longer going to be digging.”

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks should be your destination this Fall!

Make LA County Parks your destination this fall as you explore, engage and connect through our exciting programs!

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Summer is coming to an end soon, but the fun doesn’t stop here! LA County Parks presents an exciting slate of fun programming for the whole family this fall! Join us to create lifelong memories with your family. From recreation classes and nature center programs to sports and aquatics, there’s something for every body to enjoy. 
 
Check out some of our new programs, as well as community favorites that are back for another season! Join the fun starting September 6, 2022.

Fall22

LEARN MORE

Check out a few of our upcoming programs!

SPORTS FOR ALL
Days and times vary based on location
Program availability may vary by location
Pre-registration is required, register HERE

Sports for All clinic is a youth sports clinic is an 8-week skills development clinic that meets once a week for basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, cheer and other sports. Clinics focus on building foundational skills, self-confidence and teamwork.

EVERY BODY PLAYS DROP IN RECREATION ADVENTURES
Mondays – Fridays, 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Free drop-in program; No registration required

Every Body Plays is a positive space with a curriculum that is youth centered and designed for fun! This FREE drop-in program launches September 6, 2022 and runs until May 26, 2022. Children can enjoy a snack with their friends at select parks from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM. The program provides children ages 7-17 with access to caring and trained park staff who serve as mentors and lead an array of programs and activities, ranging from sports, fitness, arts and crafts, STEM, group games, story time and so much more. Every day is an adventure in LA County Parks!

FREE SNACK PROGRAM
September 6, 2022 – May 26, 2023
Mondays – Fridays; 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM 

Children and youth under 18 years of age are invited to receive a nutritious grab-n-go snack that includes vegetables, fruits, seeds and healthy dairy products like milk, string cheese, and yogurt. Created to help reduce the growing percentage of young people in the United States challenged by obesity or lack of consistent access to wholesome meals, the program aims to provide a healthy alternative for children when school is out. There are no meals served on County observed holidays.

NATURAL AREAS:

EVERY BODY EXPLORES
Tuesdays – Fridays,  2:30 PM – 5:30 PM & Saturdays 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Free drop-in program; No registration required

The Everybody Explores program provides participants of all ages an opportunity to check out a Naturalist field backpack they can use to complete self-guided activities, make observations and explore the park.

NATURE KNOWLEDGE NIGHTS
Dates vary by location, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Free drop-in program; No registration required

Spend an evening getting to know the beauty of the natural world at a Los Angeles County Nature Center. Activities vary based on topic but may include group activities, ESTEAM fundamentals, community science, nature hikes, guided tours or animal ambassador experience.

NATURE CENTER DISCOVERY
Every Saturday at select Nature Centers, 10:00 AM – Noon
Free drop-in program; No registration required

Each Saturday you’ll have an opportunity to meet our Nature Center Superintendents and learn about the park, history and the natural habitat around you, even meeting Animal Ambassadors native to the area! Find a Nature Center near you HERE.

You can also participate in our Saturday Morning Discovery Tables, where you and your family can explore table exhibits and “ask a naturalist” about the flora and fauna all around us. These exhibits will take place from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM.

FALL RECREATION CLASSES
Dates, times and locations vary by class
Registration required. Register HERE

We teamed up with some of the best instructors in Los Angeles to bring you hundreds of classes for all ages, levels and budgets. Take a class at your local park for some fresh air or join virtual classes from the comfort of your own home! Whether you’re looking to be more active, learn a new hobby or take up a new skill or language, we have just the class for you and everyone in your family.

TRICK-OR-TREAT VILLAGE 
October 25-29, 2022 at several LA County Parks 
Dates and times vary by location 
Free; No registration required 
 
Join us for a fantastically spooky time at a park near you this October to enjoy free activities. Costumes are encouraged! More information coming soon. 
 
HARVEST FESTIVAL 
November 15-23, 2022 at several LA County Parks 
Dates and times vary by location 
Free; No registration required 
 
Families are invited to enjoy cultural celebrations that include food tasting, dancing, music, crafts and family activities. More information coming soon. 
 
EDDIE HEREDIA BOXING CLUB 
The Eddie Heredia Boxing Club has reopened! Do have what it takes to be a world class boxer? The Eddie Heredia Youth Boxing Club offers a variety of boxing classes geared to teach youth who are just beginning to learn the sport, to advanced classes for youths who are ready to spare and participate in competitions on a local, regional, and national level.

AQUATICS:

LEARN TO SWIM
Monday-Friday, Saturdays 
August 29, 2022 thru December 23, 2022
Times may vary by location, level and session
Pre-registration is required; register HERE

Swim Lessons teach core swimming skills including water safety, floating and technique for the four core swimming strokes. The program is designed to provide swimmers with a positive learning experience while steadily progressing through the core skills and strokes.  All levels are in alignment with the American Red Cross’ “Learn to Swim” Program.

EVERY BODY SWIMS
Saturday from 12:30pm – 2:00pm; 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Begins September 3rd, 2022

FREE Rec Swim is a fun and positive way to practice new skills, be physically active, keep your heart rate up, reduce stress and build muscle. Rec swim also provides an opportunity to socialize and make new friends.  Rec Swim starts September 3 and takes place on Saturdays from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM and 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM.

SENIOR PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
Dates and times vary by location Free; No registration required

LA County Senior Centers, Programs and Activities are a great place for adults ages 60+ years to stay fit, active and to meet new people. Activities promote physical and mental well-being, socialization, nutrition, life-long learning and volunteer opportunities. Lean more HERE.

OUR SPOT
Monday to Friday 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Free program; Register HERE

FREE daily after-school program that supports positive youth development by exposing teens to caring mentors, social justice projects, leadership and artists experiences, early career exploration, substance abuse prevention, sports and physical fitness, and other opportunities meaningful to youth.  Teens participate in park advisory groups and contribute to the planning of field trips, events and social action projects.

… AND MUCH MORE! 

Follow us on Facebook @parks.lacounty.gov and Twitter & Instagram @lacountyparks!

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Community Services - PSA

Public help sought identifying patient at County-USC Medical Center

Anyone with information on the patient’s identity is asked to call Clinical Social Worker Cesar Robles at 323-409-6884 or 323-409-5253

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LA County-USC Medical Center

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services asked the public for help Tuesday in identifying a possible juvenile who has been hospitalized for nearly two weeks.

According to a news release the young male who could be in his late teens was dropped off at LA County-USC Medical Center on July 22. The patient was described as a male Hispanic between 16 and 20 years old. He is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 154 pounds.

The Medical Center described him as having a thin stature with short dark hair and brown eyes. The patient also has a tattoo of a cross under his right eye and another tattoo on his right hand.

No further information about the nature of the injuries or the condition of the patient was released.

Anyone with information on the patient’s identity is asked to call Clinical Social Worker Cesar Robles at 323-409-6884 or 323-409-5253.

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Community Services - PSA

LA LGBT Center & Public Health host virtual townhall on Monkeypox

Topics will include a situational update, vaccine eligibility, & preventative measures. The town hall will also include a Q&A with residents

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles LGBT Center will host a virtual town hall for the public on the topic of Monkeypox. Topics will include a situational update, vaccine eligibility, and preventative measures. The town hall will include the latest updates and a Q&A with residents.

WHEN:

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

6:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Visit:  lalgbtcenter.org/monkeypox to view the livestream.

Submit questions ahead HERE to have them answered during the livestream.

WHO:

  • Sonali Kulkarni, MD, MPH, Medical Director in the Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP) at the Los Angeles County (LAC) Department of Public Health
  • Nava Yeganeh, MD, MPH, Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician and Medical Director of the Vaccine Disease Preventable Control Program
  • Robert Bolan, MD, Medical Director of Research and Education, Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • David Herman, MD, Medical Director of Primary Care, Los Angeles LGBT Center
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