UCLA welcomed an artist and three community organizers to campus on Jan. 31 during the 2023 UCLA Activists-in-Residence reception held at DeCafe in Perloff Hall.
This year, four activists were selected, making this the largest cohort in the program’s six-year history. Steve Diaz and Josiah Edwards will be working with the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, which has selected at least one activist since 2017.
Diaz is deputy director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) based in downtown Los Angeles, and Edwards is a youth climate justice organizer who grew up in the South Bay area of L.A. County.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center returns to the residency program after a pandemic-related hiatus to host Melissa Acedera. The daughter of Filipino immigrants to Los Angeles, Acedera is a founder of two community-powered food systems helping feed unhoused and food-insecure communities across L.A. and Orange counties.
New to the Activists-in-Residence program this year is cityLAB-UCLA, which selected Marlené Nancy Lopez, a public artist whose work focuses on serving communities through muralism, storytelling and multimedia. She was born and raised in the MacArthur Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Conceptualized as a sabbatical, the residency allows for time and space to reflect, envision new projects, and connect with UCLA faculty, students and staff. At the reception, each of the activists spoke briefly about their previous experiences and their plans for the next few months.
Find out more about the activists and their plans.
View photos from the reception on Flickr.