All posts by sjpeyton

A Deputy in the Field

Ana Gomez has been a Field Deputy for 2 years with the office of Councilmember Cedillo. Her days usually last 12 hours, with special events or dinners about once a week keeping her out until 10 or 11pm. She often works 6 days a week.

On any given day, she drives all over the city to attend various meetings and speak with workers in the Westlake/MacArthur Park, Pico Union, Koreatown, University Park and Temple Beaudry neighborhoods. For example, a day recently involved a site visit to a location that will be the future site of a small beautification project in the Westlake Neighborhood, a stop by City Hall for a small stop sign installation ceremony in Pico Union, a meeting with a non-profit Executive Director about building renovations, picking up permits at the Department of Water and Power, and that was all before she headed back to the office for paperwork. Her office work spans from presentations for Neighborhood Council meetings to running logistics for event planning movie nights, parades and clean ups.

Gomez’s main responsibility is to be an advocate. She is a sounding board for her communities and receives residents, businesses, volunteers, workers, and stakeholders’ complaints and concerns. She has gained the trust of people in her community and often extends her workload to ensure communication. “Some of those issues are easily resolvable so those are generally qualified as casework…I sometimes handle that casework on my own because people know me and they will always refer back to me on their issues.” For one community in particular, MacArthur Park, Gomez is attending to public safety, cleanliness and programming by helping organize multiple departments to work together: Sanitation, Recreation and Parks, and the LAPD.

Gomez says she has an “interesting” relationship to MacArthur Park. “Being an immigrant I have a great passion for the immigrant community. I loved the work that I did in Boyle Heights, but it is nothing like the challenges that people face living in MacArthur Park. The number of people and activity is incomparable.” She has particular drive around the homeless community, and has done extensive work to reach out and provide resources for them. That community in particular, she says, is the source of a lot of chaos in the community. She works at length with Neighborhood Council members, non-profit organizations, city and county agencies that provide services to the homeless, while working with angry business owners who are inherently frustration with the presence of the homeless in the community.

Gomez can name the challenges of MacArthur Park, noting range and variety of the resident as the biggest one . Attributing to this, she says, is the “general understanding that MacArthur Park is a pit stop in Los Angeles. The different needs and points of views and the sheer number of residents are some of the biggest challenges. ” She notes the fast changeover in the population, but also gains pleasure in knowing many long time residents.

Courage in a Second Language

Courage in a Second Language

“I keep chasing what I like.”

Few people can move across cultures. It requires courage to take yourself out of cultural context. On a subconscious level, we borrow familiarity in geography, language, friends and family. Ruoran Wang is one of those few.

She is a 26 year old student from China in USC Annenberg’s master’s program. English is Wang’s second language, and she leaves her family, friends and boyfriend a 15 hour plane ride away. About her choices, Wang says, “All the decisions I made are hard and need lots of encouragement.”

Chinese government restrictions on the number of children per family had not yet relaxed by 1989, and Wang is an only child. Her idea of family is opinionated, and disagrees with China’s child restriction policy. Initially, her mother wanted her to stay in China. She relinquished and gave her blessing eventually.

Wang is close with her two younger cousins and considers them brothers. Wang has close relationships with her family. This closeness, she says, will eventually bring her home to China, but for now she plans to stay in the states beyond graduation and gain work experience.

Wang’s closest friends are in her hometown of Shijiazhuang Shi, the largest city in the Hebei province of China. When together, they shop and sing karaoke. She’s had these friends since she was a very young girl.

Wang’s boyfriend, a filmmaker working on a project Wang cannot divulge about, is based in Beijing. They’ve been in a long distance relationship for three years. She wouldn’t mind being in the same city she says, but for now they are pursuing different life experiences.

Dissatisfaction with her country helped fuel Ruoran’s trip to the United States. She has journalism experience via several positions in Chinese institutions but restrictions on journalists have kept her from feeling fulfilled.

She wants to study video and documentary work, perhaps challenging the censorship of media by the Chinese government that has been an increasing issue, as noted by world organizations as a breach of human rights. “I like to be a journalist in the war field…People there need to be known by others in the world.” Ruoran wants to learn the digital and documentary skills to investigate and tell any story that needs to be told. “I don’t expect to change the world because it is too big and I am too small. But I would like to do something good to the world…”

Ruoran Wang Infographic

Courage in a Second Language

Courage in a Second Language

There are few people that can move cross sectionally in culture. Taking yourself out of context is a danger to the identity reiterations that we as individuals are accustomed to utilizing for comfort. On a subconscious level, we borrow familiarity in geography, language, friends and family to give us a leg up in our daily efforts to either be better people or function well as human beings. Few people have the courage to take themselves out of context.

Ruoran Wang is one of those few people. She is a 26 year old student from China in USC Annenberg’s prestigious Master of Science in Journalism program. She literally crossed an ocean to get here. English is Ruoran’s second language, and she leaves her family, friends and boyfriend a 15 hour plane ride away.

Chinese government restrictions on children per family had not yet relaxed by 1990, and Ruoran is an only child. Her mother was initially not supportive of Ruoran leaving China. She relinquished her blessing eventually. Ruoran is close with her two younger cousins, and considers them brothers. Her idea of family is opinionated, and disagrees with China’s child restriction policy. According to Ruoran, she has very close relationships with her family. It is this closeness that will eventually bring her home to China, but for now she has plans to stay in the States beyond graduation and gain work experience.

Dissatisfaction has been fueling Ruoran’s trip to the U.S. She already holds journalism experience from several positions in Chinese institutions but according to her, the restrictions of journalism have kept her from being fulfilled. She wants to study video and documentary work. The censorship of media by the Chinese government has been an increasing issue, noted by world organizations as a breach of human rights. Ruoran wants to learn the skills in digital and documentary studies so she can investigate and tell any story that she feels needs to be told.

Ruoran’s closest friends are in her hometown of Shijiazhuang Shi, the largest city in the Hebei province of China. When together, they shop and sing karaoke. She’s had these friends since she was a very young girl. Ruoran’s boyfriend, a filmmaker working on a secret project, is based in Beijing. They’ve been working out a long distance relationship for three years. She wouldn’t mind being in the same city, but prioritizes that they are both wanting certain life experiences.

During this time of courage, Ruoran plans to mitigate her stress through sports. She loves basketball and long distance running. To her, the best parts of exercise are physical exertion and the opportunity for growth – building something week by week into progress. That sounds about on par with what defines the rest of her identity.

Crossing Two Nations to get an Education…

Profile: Ruoran Wang

Crossing Two Nations to get an Education…

Ruoran Wang doesn’t mind a couple hurdles to get where she wants to go. Polite and genial in manners, her outward disposition does not quite summarize her ferocity to reach her goals. A sociable person, Ruoran connects with an average of at least one person a week. As a Taylor Swift fan, American pop-music aficionado and a young woman with a big it’s-my-time-to-take-the-world smile, she appears to be your average incoming journalism graduate student. Except, she crossed almost half the world to get here.

Ruoran, known affectionately as “Koka” hails from Shijiazhuang Shi, the largest city in the Hebei province of China. Her drive to pursue higher education brought her to Hong Kong to study at City University of Hong Kong. It is from this institution that the Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism at USC recruited her.
Her propulsion to the digital age is indicated by her immersion into a multi-media and multi platform digital curriculum, and her affinity for science fiction television shows. Surrounding herself in life and imagination with humans and computers, the television show “Humans” is the one series she must tell the world she loves.