Plans by the City of Los Angeles to demolish the Venice Pavilion/Graffiti Pit are being resisted by local skaters who plan a peaceful demonstration in hopes of preserving the famous skate spot. LA currently does not have a public skatepark, and decade-old efforts of local activists to have the Pavilion designated as such have been resisted by local government. The Pavilion, a graffiti-covered concrete recreation area with benches and ledges, has appeared in several skate videos and ads, and is a favorite spot for skaters in the coastal Los Angeles area, as well as visitors from all over the country and abroad.
Organized by Heidi Lemmon of the SkatePark Association USA, an organization that provides liability and accident insurance to skateparks and skaters, the demonstration will illustrate to city officials that the Pavilion is valued by the community and the skaters who use it. Due to the reputation of the Los Angeles Police Department, Lemmon asks that demonstrators only exercise their Constitutional rights to assembly and free speech, and to cooperate with the LAPD if asked to leave the area.
In a bulletin being circulated on the Internet, Lemmon urges demonstrators to observe that “this must be a peaceful protest; do not bring drugs, alcohol or any substances that could enable the police to charge you with anything. Do not block paths or roadways–if the LAPD tell us to leave, we will leave in a peaceful way and walk/skate to another location (count on them telling us to leave).”
In anticipation of a confrontation with the LAPD, Lemmon has notified the American Civil Liberties Union of the event.
The demonstration will take place at noon on Saturday, April 22 at the Venice Pavilion, on the beach two blocks north of Venice Blvd. From Interstate 405, exit at Venice Blvd. Go west to the beach, turn right onto Pacific Ave. Go north two long blocks to Windward Ave.
Skaters who can’t travel to the Venice Pavilion are encouraged to organize demonstrations promoting skaters’ rights at their local city halls. Such events held on April 22 would demonstrate solidarity with the skaters of Los Angeles. For more information, contact Heidi Lemmon at SPA USA: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Gerr-i at Groundswell (310) 392-2179.