Residents Envision Their Perfect Mecca

Jun. 20, 2012 / By

Workshop participants designed and created their perfect Mecca using construction paper, blocks, plastic items, miniature figures and ribbon. Community members will have the opportunity to participate in similar workshops tomorrow in Coachella. PHOTO: Johnny Flores/Coachella Unincorporated

By Johnny Flores,
Coachella Unincorporated 

Mecca, Calif. – Community members shared their collective vision of their perfect Mecca at Building Healthy Communities’ Transportation and Mobility Taskforce Community Workshop on June 15 at the Boys & Girls Club.

Participants were encouraged to design and create their perfect Mecca using construction paper, blocks, plastic wheels, miniature figures and ribbon.

“We created this event to see how people articulate their ideas and show creativity,” said James Rojas, who led the workshop for BHC. “What is their ideal city and how abstract is it? We want to see all these things.”

This event is the first of a series of workshops held by BHC on this topic. Community members will have the opportunity to participate in two additional workshops tomorrow in Coachella. The first will take place from 9-11 a.m. at Eleanor Shadowen Senior Center, 1540 7th Street; the second is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. at Boys & Girls Club, 85350 Bagdad Street.

“There are no wrong answers, only right ones,” said Rojas, when explaining the directions for this project. “We want to see what you believe the perfect Mecca should look like.”

After 20 minutes of building their vision, attendees were given one minute to explain their perfect Mecca. Their ideas were compiled on a large poster board titled Mi Comunidad Mejorara Cuando, which means “My Community will Improve When” in Spanish.

“My perfect Mecca is one with more apartments for those who work in the fields. Not expensive, but affordable, so they have somewhere to sleep at night. My perfect Mecca also has a park with seats so that people can enjoy the scenery around here. I also have a market, one with more affordable produce and meat than the ones out here,” said Mecca resident Ofelia Satianelles, 40, in Spanish.

Satianelles is one of many people who want to see changes in Mecca.

“I want to see a hospital here in Mecca,” said Gloria Quintanilla in Spanish. “All these medical centers are in Palm Springs and Palm Desert. That’s too far for people like us. We still make the trip because we seek the medical attention, but how can we in the coming months when gas prices keep rising?”

The event concluded with attendees collaborating on one giant abstract piece of art.

For more information on the workshops, contact the BHC Office (760) 972-4628 or email [email protected].





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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.