Council President Herb Wesson (3rd from left on stage) join Crenshaw Manor residents (from left) Kim Williams (in front), Darius Farrelly, Pat Patterson, Earlene “Cookie” Anderson (kneeling), Aritha Graves, Bridgette Flewelen, Aneetha Rajan, Janet Hawkins, Sheila Bernard (kneeling), LAPD Captain Darnell Davenport, Natalie Powell, Brian Lauter and Clarence Lutcher. (Gena Murph photo)

Crenshaw Manor residents united May 19, for their 4th annual block party by focusing on emergency response and safety awareness.

The afternoon event, which attracted more than 300 people, featured presentations and information from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Department and Water and Power, Kaiser Permanente, ADT Security Services and the EANET, PC law firm.

L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson, whose 10th District office donated tables, chairs, a stage and port-a-potties, was also on hand to greet constituents, listen to concerns and perform a few dance steps. In addition, Crenshaw Manor neighbors contributed a range of food and desserts and former resident Darius Farrelly, founder of NPO Youth Entertainment League, provided the music.

The party’s emphasis on safety and preparedness stemmed from suggestions by two residents who had participated in the Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) offered by Wesson’s office, said Aneetha Rajan, event co-organizer along with Earlene “Cookie” Anderson.

“We thought it was really important for neighbors come together to learn about safety prevention and what to do in the event of a natural disaster,” explained Rajan.

“So, we applied for a grant from the West Adams Neighborhood Council and they approved our application, which gave us to raise enough money for [emergency response] backpacks and to hire students from the Dorsey High School Culinary Arts Program to work the tables and register people who attended.”

Students from the Dorsey High School Culinary Arts Program serve the wide range of food donated by Crenshaw Manor residents. (Gena Murph photo)

Everyone who registered was entered in a drawing offering gifts courtesy of retailers from the Crenshaw Baldwin Hills Mall and local businesses. Other supporters included Watt Companies, Community Health Councils, City National Bank, Fred Leeds Properties, RING and DF Enterprizes.

Crenshaw Manor is a small community bordered by Crenshaw Blvd. on the east, Potomac on the west, Exposition Blvd. on the north and Martin Luther King Blvd. on the north.

The complexion of the area has changed considerably over the last 10 years, leading Wesson to remark, “Take a moment and look in the faces of your neighbor and the people on the stage. Aren’t we just a wonderful variety?

“We look like the way the world is supposed to be, where people are not judged by the color of their skin. They’re judged by their deeds and their actions.”

Sharing similar comments, resident Bridgette Flewelen said, “It’s actually amazing because the diversity of the community has changed so much.

“But, it’s great that we can get together and realize it’s everyone’s neighborhood and we have to learn how to live together,” Flewelen added. “I think that’s really important moving forward.”