May 20, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

13th Annual Communitas Awards Handed Out By Santa Monica’s Church In Ocean Park:

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of September 11, a more optimistic anniversary was celebrated with the 13th Annual Communitas Awards on Saturday night, given by Santa Monica’s Church in Ocean Park to individuals who have contributed to the community.

The honorees were Judy Abdo, former Mayor of Santa Monica and a longtime community activist; Reverend Sandie Richards, activist and former pastor of the Church in Ocean Park; Bill Bronner, a high-consciousness comedian and activist (and Richards’ husband); and Mike Temple, a musician and special education teacher.

Abdo was introduced by former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, a longtime friend and colleague, who explained how the young Judy Abdo made a conscious decision to become involved with the Church in Ocean Park after she accidentally found a torn flyer on the street, announcing an event at the Church.

‘From that moment of fate—after 40 years, she has taken actions that have made her not only a central and significant part of the Church but of Santa Monica, the state of California, and every person she’s touched,” said Kuehl.

Abdo’s involvements over that 40-year span have included teaching with a specialty in early childhood education; the founding of Sojourn, a center for battered women; the founding of the Ocean Park Community Organization (OPCO); work for the Pier Restoration Corporation, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights; and election to the Santa Monica City Council.

Abdo stated: “I want to say how important it is to organize the community. If we just sit back and not do anything, it will be hard. But if we work together, beautiful things can happen.”

Richards and Bronner were introduced by two young people, their son Woody Bronner, and Anna Pack. They told of how Bill Bronner, a lifelong “funny guy,” grew up in Tennessee, worked as a waiter while developing a stand-up comedy act, and began organizing his co-workers and demanding equitable treatment for all workers. He became a political comedian, with a show called “The Free Speech Show” which played at the Church in Ocean Park and enabled him to meet his future wife, Sandie Richards.

Bronner noted that he had not come to the Church with the thought of winning an award—and he felt humble compared to the achievements of Judy Abdo. “But I never felt judged here,” he added.

Richards was a self-described “troublemaker” who protested dress codes at school. Her early activism led to teaching Sunday school and then to the ministry. When she took over the ministry at the Church in Ocean Park, the building was in need of repair and the church was “fearful for its future.” But she led the church into better times. Her activism has included participating in the Living Wage campaign and working with Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism. After leaving the Church in Ocean Park ministry in 2005, she became minister at First United Methodist Church in downtown Los Angeles.

While Richards is credited with the creation of the Communitas Awards, she expressed modestly that while the awards had grown out of the “roasts” that she organized beginning with the Church’s 100th birthday in 1998, she believes that the awards really “belong to the community.”

Molly Temple introduced her father, Mike Temple. Her best memories of him included the home-cooked meals they would have after his band finished practicing, and the times he took her on road trips in his van.

“Every time I find out something about him, he becomes cooler,” she concluded.

Temple, also known as “Mike Tempo” professionally, has played drums and percussion over the years with numerous groups and artists including Burning Sensations and the Bonedaddys.

Since 1999, he has worked as a substitute teacher and eventually received teaching credentials to work as a teacher for disabled children. As a member of The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) he teaches language/communication, math, and social skills to people with disabilities, through art and music.

Temple admitted that he had “lost” the words to use to express his gratitude for the award. But he noted that the Church in Ocean Park, while not traditionally “spiritual,” has given real service to society.

“I feel I am among very important people,” he said.

Contact Lynne Bronsein: Lyn@smmirror.com

Follow The Mirror on Twitter: twitter.com/SMMirror

Follow The Mirror on Facebook: facebook.com/SMMirror

in News
Related Posts

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...

The price of gasoline in Los Angeles County Has Experienced The Largest Increase Since February

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Gasoline prices in Orange County Have Also Increased By Dolores Quintana Regular self-serve gasoline in the county of Los Angeles...

Santa Monica Travel Summit Of 2022 Returns To Take On Tomorrow

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

The Event Was Held At The Jonathan Club On Santa Monica Beach By Staff Writer The 2022 Santa Monica Tourism...

City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program: Santa Monica Beat – May 16th, 2022

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program * Santa Monica High School Students...

1221 Ocean Avenue Complex Sold For Record Price

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Sold for a record price of $330 million. By Dolores Quintana The Irvine Company has sold 1221 Ocean Avenue to...

Office Construction Is Starting To Rise In Los Angeles

May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022

Property vacancies are still affecting growth.  By Dolores Quintana In March, the Los Angeles Metropolitan area had 3.2 million square...

Santa Monica City Council Selects Doug Sloan as New City Attorney

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

At its meeting this week, the Santa Monica City Council appointed Doug Sloan to serve as Santa Monica’s next City...

Landmark Theater Closing in Former Westside Pavillion

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Theater will close at the end of month By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Pico theater at the former Westside Pavillion...

Community Policing at the Heart of Beat Four

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

The Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) Program thrives through community involvement and collective work. Today we hear from Officer Aaron Alpert...

Santa Monica High School Among Top-900 Schools in Country

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

SAMOHI ranked 829 out of over 18,000 total schools By Staff Writer Santa Monica High School is among the top...

Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space: Santa Monica Beat – May 10th, 2022

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space* Grunion Fish Seen...