Santa Monica’s Pico Neighborhood Association, in collaboration with the Pico Youth and Family Center and Saint Anne’s Catholic Church, plans to celebrate Santa Monica diversity through a second annual Pico Block Party.

This year’s block party, “Celebrating Our Community’s Diversity,” is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 8th, on 22nd Street between Delaware and Virginia Avenues, across from Virginia Avenue Park in Santa Monica.

“Our intention is to bring the community together to celebrate our community’s diversity and to promote the unity of youth and families in Santa Monica,” said Wes Thompson, co-chair of the Pico Neighborhood Association.

The event will feature a block party-style cookout with food, awards for community leaders, games for children, moon bouncing, music and entertainment, sports tournaments and a presentation from City of Santa Monica staff on the opening of Virginia Avenue Park.

“The Pico Neighborhood is the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Santa Monica,” said Maria Loya, co-chair of the Pico Neighborhood Association. “This diversity is being threatened daily by market forces and decisions that lead to less employment and affordable housing opportunities for working class families.

“The residents of Santa Monica want to sustain this diversity and we need to work together to ensure that Santa Monica’s future is inclusive.”

Aside from food and games, this year’s block party will offer an opportunity for Pico Neighborhood residents to voice their opinions about community programs at Virginia Avenue Park.

Santa Monica city officials will present proposals on the park and residents can tell officials the types of services and programs that are needed at the park.

“Virginia Avenue Park is a tremendous resource for the community,” said Oscar de la Torre, executive director of the Pico Youth and Family Center. “The Pico Neighborhood is home to the highest number of youths and low-income families.

“We must all work together to ensure that the park is inclusive in its programs and services and that no one group is marginalized.”

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