WATTS — Tucked away in a park on a brisk Sunday morning, children are laughing and skateboarding at their community skate park because ensuring kids have safe access to skate parks is important to a 7-year-old girl.
Isabella Blue has a lot of people and organizations to thank for the skateboard facility at Watts Serenity Park, as well as a partnership between the Unite LA Foundation and local law enforcement agencies
Blue recites the list of people and companies that she wants to thank. Kind Home Lending, Karma Griptape, Blood In Blood Out Skateboards, Heady Shake Bearings, Raskullz Helmets, Krash Helmets, Asian Industry B2B, Justice For Murdered Children, DJ Junk Scribbles and his Assistant DJ Mama Liz, Cartoon, Lawanda Hawkins, Juan Guzman, Dee Dee, LAPD SLO Robert Yanez and LAPD Watts Division.
Together, they helped stage a learn to skate and community picnic event at Serenity Park and Monitor Avenue Skate Park. She also thanked her dad, Adam, “who is never out of the fight to protect children and keep them safe,” she added.
Children’s safety, especially in the skate parks, is important to Isabella
“If we abolish policemen who is going to protect children like me?” she asked.
A sponsored skateboarder at age 7, Isabella has her eyes set on the 2028 Olympics as a member of the women’s skateboarding team.
Watts Serenity Park is one of the many locations Unite LA Foundation hosts community skateboarding events with the support of the Los Angeles Police Department.
LAPD senior lead officer Robert Yanez has been in the Southeast Division since 1996, and began his assignment in Watts in 2005.
“We have worked really hard to improve the area, and during my time here, I have seen the area cleaned up, and now all of that hard work appears to be going in the wrong direction,” Yanez said.
He explained that the skateboarding events are ways for officers to interact with the community and provide a safe space to meet the residents.
“This isn’t about being ‘security,’ it’s about being in tune with the residents,” Yanez said.
As the children skateboarded, they were treated to the sounds of a DJ Dax, 9, who was a fan of Unite LA, and was asked to perform at all of their events.
“Dax watched Transylvania 3, which had a DJ battle scene and he got hooked,” said his father George Dang. “Dax taught himself watching YouTube and created the group Junk Scribbles, where his siblings will eventually join him, if they want.
“We are proud of Dax, who has only been doing this one year, but has performed at a 5K walk in Whittier, and through word of mouth, has worked many events on a volunteer basis,” Dang said. “It’s a great way for him to give back to the community.”
Like children around the nation, Isabella found herself on lockdown in March 2020, because of COVID-19. As a then 6-year-old competitive skateboarder, she found skate parks closed and skateboard competitions canceled. She and her mother Jennifer began to look for opportunities to utilize the downtime to help those impacted by COVID-19.
In June 2020, Isabella and her mom began a collaboration with internationally recognized philanthropist and skateboarding executive Micaela Ramirez and the Poseiden Foundation to launch the United We Sk8 campaign, one of the most visionary philanthropic campaigns in action sports.
It was focused on providing 100,000 skateboards to homeless, foster and high-risk children.
Since its inception, United We Sk8 has distributed close to 400 desks through the Poseiden Foundation, thanks to donations.
Earlier this year, Isabella and her mom created the Unite LA Foundation on the idea if they were able to bring people together to discuss topics of mutual agreement then perhaps a level of trust could be achieved to find solutions to areas of disagreement.
At many of her events you can find her showing attendees how to use the board. Most notably, Sheriff Alex Villanueva hopped on a board and supported Ladies Day at the Berrics, which was hosted by Poseiden and Isabella.
Isabella made a direct plea to Sheriff Villanueva to help make Venice Beach safe again so she could use the skate park, and after the cleanup, she looks forward to returning.
Isabella trains and hosts events throughout Los Angeles County and counts on support from law enforcement agencies to keep the kids safe.
She has resumed her training to lead the women’s Olympic skateboarding team to Gold at the 2028 Los Angeles Games, but will continue her philanthropic work to Unite LA.
Skateboarding made its debut appearance at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It also has been provisionally approved by the International Olympic Committee for inclusion at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
World Skate currently sanctions Olympic skateboarding.
United LA will host #VAXXnSKATE at the Hansem Dam on Nov. 21.
“Nothing is impossible,” Isabella said in a tweet announcing the event. “The word itself says ‘I’m possible!”
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.