Back in January I spent some time with the founders of Connecting Compton at their homestead in the City of Compton. I had heard about these guys back in November when they began promoting their first cabalgata that took place in December. My connection to Connecting Compton began with my father. When I saw that CC was putting together something close to where we live I asked my father if he wanted to attend with me. Unfortunately that same week of this event, my brother fell ill to Covid and what further transpired was a roller coaster of events that changed my life for ever.
( Rogelio Diaz & Hector Gomez / Danny Zepeda (absent) )
When I connected with Rogelio Diaz from Connecting Compton, I felt a huge sense of my father's presence when we set up a time to meet. My father had passed away just a few weeks before I began this photo essay and in a way me connecting with these gentleman was a way for me to cope with my new reality.
In Compton there is a certain neighborhood that has roots in agriculture and farmland life. Over the year this community has began to get some recognition for upholding the only Agriculture and Farmland site in Los Angeles and its probably the only place in Los Angeles where you will see someone pull up to the neighborhood market on a horse. Many families in this area have livestock, freshly grown crops and horses on their land and some families depend on their farmland for income. But if you've cruised through the neighborhoods of Compton, you'd most likely encounter heavy traffic, pothole filled roads, and cops patrolling the city streets. Leaving this neighborhood to be boxed in and limited accessibility for safe passageways for land owners to enjoy a ride on their horses.
Connecting Compton is a community initiative put together by 3 friends who began talking about doing something for their community when they went and graduated from CSUDH, now 10+ years. During the settling dust from the rubble that 2020 has brought on all of us, Rogelio Diaz, Hector Gomez, and Danny Zepeda took it upon themselves to shine light on the community that has raised them.
On March 28th, 2021 they held their second cabalgata as organizers inviting over a hundred riders to enjoy a stroll through the streets of Compton. The cabalgata started at little park run way on Greenleaf and ended at Ellerman Park not before making a quick stop on Alondra at an empty landfill that Connecting Compton is working with the city for a communal site for all horse riders with in a 10mile radius. All while the ladies at Banda Las Angelenas played live music during the procession.
( Rogelio Diaz - Left, Danny Zepeda on his horse - Middle, Hector Gomez - Right )
During the ride we cut through some streets where neighbors chanted and supported the riders for taking on the heat of the sun, the turnout was tremendous with families enjoying themselves, now I can go on for hours about what more went down and what the next steps are for the Connecting Compton crew, but we'll leave this to be continued. The images in this photo essay were taken during the month of January and March.
To be continued.