The Azusa Initiative (Standing Rock 2.0)

The purpose of the Azusa Initiative is to help facilitate the healing of the land so the land will help facilitate the healing of humanity.

Azusa is the City of Azusa, and the Azusa Street Revival in Downtown Los Angeles. Azusa Street and San Pedro Street was the site of the Azusa Street Revival in 1906, number 68 in the 2001 Time-Life Special Edition, 100 Most Important Events in One Thousand Years, 1000 to 2000AD. The Azusa Street Revival birthed Pentecostal Christianity.

Coma Lee was a teen-age Tongva faith healer given the name Azusa by a Chief miraculously healed through her prayers. Azusa is usually translated as Blessed Miracle or Healing.

Her purity and humility in power carried through her adult years as she became known in all of California. Her story, as well as the story of the Tongva people, is not well known. A short booklet was recently found in the City of Azusa Public Library. Published in 1937, the 50th anniversary of the City of Azusa, it tells the detailed story of Coma Lee as a teen-age healer. Julia Bogany, Cultural Director for the San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, features Azusa in her book written for fifth graders, Tongva Women Inspiring The Future.

Native belief emphasizes a respectful and harmonious relationship with Mother Earth. Quantum Physics shows life exists within what we with Western thought call inanimate objects.

The Los Angeles Food Policy Council is a nonprofit created by Los Angeles City Hall to deal with food issues in Los Angeles on a systemic level. The Food Policy Council consists of several Working Groups. One of them is the Urban Agriculture Working Group and within it is the Land Use and Policy Committee.

The Land Use and Policy Committee recently gave bullet points on a Powerpoint slide to the Urban Ag group to let them know the current emphasis. Here are the bullet points:

* State of Urban Agriculture in Los Angeles

* “Percent for Public Art” for Urban Agriculture

* Open space requirements for Urban Agriculture, particularly

in affordable housing developments

* Influencing Community Plans and other planning documents

Regarding influencing Community Plans, DTLA 2040 is the name of the process for updating the Community Plan for Downtown. Community Plans play a key role in setting Land Use policy for a community including the zoning tools to implement the policy.

Skid Row is a major focus of the DTLA 2040 process. Skid Row Now and 2040 is a coalition engaging City Hall to insure the desires and needs of Skid Row residents and other Skid Row stakeholders are reflected in the new Community Plan.

The Urban Ag Land Use and Policy Committee is working with Bryan Eck, who heads up the Department of City Planning team for DTLA 2040, so that Urban Agriculture in all forms plays an important role in future land use policy and decisions.

The Land Use and Policy Committee sent a Letter of Support to Bryan Eck advocating for increased Urban Ag possibilities in Downtown/Skid Row that would support the work of Skid Row Now and 2040.

Anastasia Butler, environmentalist and attorney, is part of Land Use and Policy. She recently initiated the Los Angeles Wildflower Project. In 1952, the Bird of Paradise from South Africa was chosen as the City official flower by a Chamber of Commerce committee. The purpose of the Wildflower Project is to consider a Native Flower as a new City Flower in light of the current statewide emphasis on the environmental and historical/cultural benefits of Native Plants. This new City flower would be chosen through a public process illustrating the racial/ethnic and socio-economic diversity of Los Angeles.

While Blessed Miracle and Healing are the most well known translations of Azusa, another translation is Sweet Water. A July 27th article — Indigenous Voices Missing In LA River Revitilization Plans — describes the lack of participation of Los Angeles indigenous tribes in the planned restoration of the LA River.

Los Angeles County is updating the LA River Master Plan with the City and Army Corps of Engineers. The first update since 1996 will be finished by 2020. Tribal leaders and advocates are concerned about the lack of Native participation in the update process with time running out.

The purpose of the Azusa Initiative is to help facilitate the healing of the land so the land will help facilitate the healing of humanity.

(One way the Initiative will more forward is in the form of Projects. Here is the first Project).


Biomimicry is “the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes”.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is all about developing the world of green technology. LACI is located in the Arts District, neighboring community to Skid Row.

The 2.0 in Standing Rock 2.0 means bringing biomimicry/green technology into the relationships begun with Native Americans and environmentalists at Standing Rock.

The goal of this project is to build relationships to focus on the difficulties of folks living on the sidewalks of Skid Row as a “heat island”.

The premise of Standing Rock 2.0 is Mother Earth is kind and compassionate and so desires to reduce her temperature.

Skid Row artist and activist