Our Athens

Kristin Sakoda dances with Vanessa’s Positive Energy Dance Troupe at the Book Launch Party.  Photo by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas celebrated the launch of Our Athens, the latest in a series of books documenting and celebrating unincorporated communities in Los Angeles County’s Second District.

Creative Core LA, with guidance from the County’s Arts Commission, photographed more than 65 community leaders and members for the book, which will be distributed at various events and community centers in Athens.

Representatives of the West Athens / Westmont Task Force at the Book Launch Party. Photo by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors

“Let it be known near and far that Athens has a rich history and an even more dynamic present, and our mission was to have the book capture as much of that as we could,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said during the book launch, attended by more than 100 people including several who were featured in the book.

Members of the West Athens Taskforce, Vermont Manchester Collaborative andSouthwest Community Association also celebrated the launch of the book, together with representatives of local schools, youth centers, churches, businesses, senior centers, and others.

Athens has 40,000 residents spanning an area of 3.2 square miles. Among the neighborhood’s landmarks are Chester Washington Golf Course, where the book launch was held, and which was the home course for the great African American pro golfer Charlie Sifford. Other local destinations are Jesse Owens Park and Washington Prep High School, which had a movie made about its transformation in the late 70s, starring Denzel Washington.

Athens has seen more than $400 million in investments since Supervisor Ridley-Thomas was elected in 2008. This includes new affordable apartments; a renovated library; façade improvements for small businesses; transportation and street improvements; new and improved parks, walking paths, and a community garden.

“We are not done yet,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Our goal is to continue to ensure that there are high-quality assets in Athens, worthy of the civic vitality that is ingrained in this community.”

Our Athens is the latest in a series of books highlighting the Second District communities of Florence-Firestone, Lennox, Willowbrook and East Rancho Dominguez.

Left to Right: (Top) 88th Street Temple Church Pastor Anthony Williams, Southwest Community Association Director Henry Porter, West Athens Westmont Taskforce Founder Bruce McCall (Bottom) Washington Prep High School Principal Dr. Dechele Byrd, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Create Core LA Co-Founder Gennia Cuo, LA County Arts Commission Director Kristin Sakoda. Photo by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors