LACBC is excited to announce that Cesar Hernandez has joined our team as our new Deputy Director of Advocacy. Cesar comes to us from PFLAG National, where he served as Field and Policy Manager since 2009.
A Los Angeles native, Cesar earned his BS in Urban and Regional Planning out of Cal Poly Pomona. After graduating, Cesar interned at the City of Huntington Park before working as an Assistant Project Manager at Genesis LA.
I sat down with Cesar to ask him a few questions that would let the LACBC community get to better know him:
What was it like growing up in Los Angeles? How did you travel around your neighborhood?
Smog Alerts in the 80s… I remember smog alerts. Nothing says smog alerts like a yellowish tint in the sky and a good cough here and there. Oh, and having to deal with earthquake drills thanks to the Whittier and Northridge earthquakes.
All sarcasm aside, I really loved growing up in LA. I have fond memories of riding MTA bus line 187 with my grandmother to do some serious shopping in THE shopping oasis which was Broadway in Downtown LA. Broadway is and was a popular public space for many Latinos whether you were shopping for clothes, a quinceañera dress or jewelry–you can find just about anything.
I loved riding my trustee BMX bike all over SGV and LA. As I got older things like Grad Night at Disneyland, shopping on Melrose, discovering the Deep House scene in North East LA (before it was hip), and Hollywood / DTLA / WEHO nightlife became a way of life for me. Over the years, I found myself getting back to the things I loved especially my love for riding. Venturing from NELA by bike has been a great way to see the city and the coast.
The one significant event that stands out while growing up in LA was Rodney King beating and racial tensions that existed in the 90s. LA has always been a work-in progress in that regard, but I feel we have come a long way since then. The injustices that led to LA’s ‘92 uprising eventually paved the way for my passion in working in the nonprofit sector and for social justice issues.
What do you like about living in Los Angeles?
It is home to me. My family and friends live here. LA is rich in diversity, it has so many great neighborhoods where you can experience different cultures anywhere from Mexican, Central / South American to API to eastern European / Armenian communities. Riding and dining in these communities is a treat and a great way to experience and enjoy the diversity that LA has to offer.
You can’t go wrong with an area that offers beaches and mountains as a playground for those seeking very different experiences in our diverse urban geography. I also love the fact that LA is (slowly but surely) becoming an active transportation hub thanks to more transit options and safe/complete streets.
What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish as Deputy Executive Director of Advocacy at LACBC?
Bike and Ped safety is my number one priority. I have many friends with horrific stories of being hit by drivers i.e speeding, texting while driving, being hit by a drunk driver. I think we all know stories like this and it’s one of many things that needs attention and action.
I am also looking for ways of eliminating inequity in communities especially in parts of LA that have been overlooked. I look forward to continuing the work we are doing here to engage communities of color and figure out opportunities to make active transportation a reality. I know we can’t do this alone and I would like to continue to build efforts to find opportunities for intersectionality with the communities we plan to work in as well as other organizations doing social justice work.
Coming from PFLAG, what work experiences can you apply to LACBC’s work?
I have a high level of understanding in working with a membership/chapter organization. I look forward to sharing some best practices I learned at PFLAG to help build on the great chapter network here at LACBC. I also have a lengthy background working in the nonprofit sector and would like to create an environment here at LACBC that thrives on teamwork and passion.
Working in the Field and Policy department allowed me to truly understand complexities of campaigns and how to be effective in doing community engagement. It provided me with great examples of working in coalitions and how intersectionality can play a major role in advocating for issues that provide broader lens in scope that affect the LGBTQ community as well as other communities facing adversity. PFLAG is a great volunteer based organization and I hope to incorporate some of my knowledge in managing volunteers and inspire opportunities of engagement in the work we do here at LACBC.
When did you first ride a bike?
I graduated from training wheels by the age of 6. I remember taking 5-6 attempts on a two wheel street bike. After several attempts (fails / falls) I rode off into the sunset. A big thanks goes to Dad for having the patience and confidence in an ambitious six year old who wanted to tag along with his older brother’s cool bike squad. It was a freeing moment and I have been hooked ever since.
What are your favorite spots in LA?
Top four favorite spots/activities in LA:
Riding up and down the LA River.
There is something energizing about walking around the Griffith Observatory. They call it the gateway to the cosmos for a reason and the views from the observation deck are THE BEST.
Urban hike adventures at spots like Debs Park, Chantry Flat, Griffith Park and Runyon.
I love Venice beach, so when I can get out there I ride my bike down the coast.
Bonus: Taking my dogs to parks around my neighborhood of Cypress Park–Los Angeles Historic Park, Elyria Canyon Park, and Rio De Los Angeles State Park.
You can congratulate Cesar and email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org