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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

Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation summer classes

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn something new, make new friends & discover new talents! In-person/virtual classes begin May 30

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – LA County Parks is here to help you create lifelong memories this Summer. Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill or language, pick up a hobby or instrument, or simply be more active, we offer a class for everyone!  
 
Sign up for a class with friends at a park near you or join a class virtually from the comfort of your own home. Choose from a variety of special interest classes for the whole family. 

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn something new, make new friends and discover new talents!

In-person and virtual classes for all ages begin May 30, 2022

REGISTER ONLINE
 
Check out some of these class options and join our vibrant community today! 

  • Martial Arts including Family Kung Fu, San Do Kai Karate, Tai Chi Chuan for Seniors  
  • Exercise and Fitness including Kayaking, 60 Minute Pedometer (Steps) Challenge, Zumba, Dancerobics ️  
  • Performing Arts, Music and Dance including Acting, Musical Instruments including Violin and Piano/Keyboard, Dance Classes including Ballet, Line Dance, Tap, Afro-Brazilian and Ballroom 🎭💃  
  • Arts and Culture including Art and Drawing, Hand Sewing, Watercolor Painting 🎨 
  • Computers and Technology including a Father’s Day Robotics Workshop amd  RoboPets Robotics Camp 👾 
  • Sports including Tennis, Badminton, Baseball, Table Tennis🎾
  • Health and Wellness including Sound Bowl Healing Meditation, Yin Yang Yoga, Seven Steps to Being your Best 🌱 
  • Special Interest Classes including Chess, Food Composting, Exploring Ecology and Native Plants in Los Angeles, Knitting & Crocheting

BROWSE ALL CLASSES & SIGN UP TODAY!


Our quick and easy 24/7 online registration system Active Net allows you to manage everyone’s schedule through a single household account. Sign up for Summer Classes for yourself, partner and children from your smartphone or computer. To learn more about Active Net, visit parks.lacounty.gov/reserve.

Follow LA County Parks on social media: Facebook @parks.lacounty.gov and Twitter/Instagram/TikTok @lacountyparks. Share your experience using #LearnSomethingNew at #LACountyParks.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

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Community Services - PSA

MASSIVE bonus announced for LA County Lifeguards!

Lifeguarding has historically been a well-paying job by paying over the federal & state minimum wage, with a current pay rate of $18.27

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Office (CEO) has recently announced a bonus of up to $4000 for all current and prospective pool lifeguarding staff in LA County for the remainder of 2022. The $4000 is a cumulative amount that is based on total hours worked (100 hours – $1,000, 300 hours – $1,000, 500 hours – $1,000, 1000 hours – $1,000). 

$4000 IN BONUSES AWARDED TO CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR THE 2022 YEAR! CLAIM YOURS TODAY!

This offer is extended to not only pre-existing lifesaving staff, but to all lifesaving staff (Cadets, Lifeguard, Senior Guard, Pool Manger) who join during 2022. Even lifeguard cadets who started in 2022 qualify from the date their training started. All other staff will begin accumulating hours towards the bonus on June 1 (start of 2022 summer season) and the program will end through the end of the calendar year. 

SWIM TEST DATES AND LOCATIONS


pool buoy
Photo Credit: County of Lo Angeles

Regional Recreation Director for Aquatics, Joseph Goss said, “This massive endowment adds just another to a long list of reasons to join the LA County Aquatics team. Lifeguarding is a wonderful way to start and grow your career in emergency services, sports medicine, nursing or to climb higher and higher in LA County’s own Aquatic department.

Lifeguarding has historically been a well-paying job and continues to do so by paying over the federal and state minimum wage, with a current pay rate of $18.27. Additionally, lifeguarding provides a flexible schedule that understands that employees also have responsibilities to school and other jobs.”

For those interested, LA County Parks is still looking to hire for the Summer 2022 season for its over 30 pools and aquatic centers across LA County Parks. Interested parties can visit governmentjobs.com/careers/lacounty to apply today. 

APPLY TO BECOME A LIFEGUARD TODAY!

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Community Services - PSA

It’s park time! Make LA County Parks your destination this summer

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

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Summer is just around the corner! Get ready to create lifelong memories with your family through LA County Parks activities, programs and events. From sports, recreation classes and aquatic programs for all ages to nature center offerings and overnight camping, there’s something for every body this summer. Join the fun starting May 30, 2022.

LEARN MORE

Check out a few of our upcoming programs!

SPORTS FOR ALL
July 9 – August 27
Times vary based on location
Program availability may vary by location
Pre-registration is required; register HERE

Youth Sports for All clinic is an 8-week skills development clinic that meets once a week for basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, table tennis and other sports. Clinics focus on building foundational skills, self-confidence and teamwork. Maximum group size is 15-youth, and a minimum enrollment of 12 youth is required for each group. Age groups are as follows: 6-8 years old (1 hour), 9-12 years old (1 hour).

EVERY BODY PLAYS DROP IN SUMMER ADVENTURE
Mondays – Fridays; 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
June 13 – August 15
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! Children can enjoy lunch and snack at the park with their friends and family before joining the fun at select parks, lunch will be from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm daily via a grab-n-go service delivery and snack between 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  The program provides children ages 7 thru 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!

AQUATICS

LEARN TO SWIM
Monday – Friday, Saturdays
June 13 – August 20
Times may vary by location, level and session
Pre-registration is required; register HERE 

LA County Aquatics’ Swim Lessons teach core swimming skills including water safety, floating and stroke technique while developing a lifelong love for the water and a lifetime of healthy habits. 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. Additionally, 400 Learn to Swim scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis to bring free swim lessons across LA County. Scholarships are open to youth ages 5 – 17 years of age. For more information and assistance with applying, visit the Learn to Swim Pools and Information to contact our aquatics offices Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. For more information on youth aquatics scholarships, visit the DPR Scholarship page of our website.

EVERY BODY SWIMS
Monday to Friday 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM; Saturday from 12:30 – 4:00pm
Begins June 11
Free drop-in program; No registration required


Recreational Swim is a fun and positive way to beat the heat, practice new skills, be physically active and de-stress. Rec swim also provides an opportunity to socialize and make new friends. Rec Swim starts June 11th and is Monday to Friday from 12:30pm to 2:00pm and Saturdays from 12:30pm to 4:00pm.
For a full list of additional Aquatics offerings and programs, visit our AQUATICS page.

NATURE CENTERS

SUMMER NATURE CAMPS
Dates and times vary by location
Pre-registration required. Register HERE

Summer Nature Camp provides an opportunity for outdoor adventure and exploration for youth. Camps are supervised by trained staff and children are kept in groups while practicing physical distancing and other COVID19 safety guidelines to ensure campers have fun while staying safe. Activities include nature related crafts and games, hiking adventures, cultural arts, natural history, and conservation. This camp experience is designed to promote teamwork, making new friends, building self confidence, and developing an appreciation and connection to nature.

EVERY BODY EXPLORES
Tuesdays – Fridays  11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Free drop-in program; No registration required

The Every Body 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.

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

Each Saturday our Superintendents welcome you to Nature Center Discovery, where you’ll learn about the natural habitat around you, even meeting Animal Ambassadors native to the area!  Find a Nature Center near you HERE.

ESTEAM SUMMER CAMP
June 13 – August 19
Pre-registration required. Register HERE

LA County Parks, in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Beaches and Harbors, and Los Angeles County Public Works, is proud to announce the return of ESTEAM. Campers will connect with the outdoors and explore ESTEAM topics, all with curriculum that is inclusive and supports the development of students. ESTEAM provides campers will have fun learning through group games, arts and culture, technology, field trips, guest speakers, and project-based learning.

SUMMER CONTRACT 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 to help you and everyone in your family achieve your summer goals.

…AND MUCH MORE!

VIEW SUMMER PROGRAMS

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