Local woman empowers neighborhoods one empty lot at a time

Vacant lots are an an eyesore in many low income communities. 
 
They’re a place where people dump their trash and often use drugs.
 
Viviana Franco says, “If you live in these communities, you know how demoralizing they are.” Viviana grew up in a
neighborhood with a lot of vacant lots.
 
“We called it the lot. We played baseball, all kinds of games and it wasn’t until I went to high school in a more affluent area that I saw they didn’t need to play in vacant lots. They had all kinds of parks and gardens and beautiful grocery stores and that’s when I questioned why. Why not my Latino community? Why can’t we have the same things. We all pay our taxes, we all want opportunities to have healthy lives.” 
 
Fed up with it, Viviana decided to do something about it. She convinced city officials to let her transform vacant lots into parks and community gardens. She says, “We all deserve a quality of life that’s gonna help us thrive. 
 
Viviana started the non profit 'From Lot to Spot'. In the last 9 years, Viviana has built 3 parks 5 community gardens, and a bicycle trail. 
 
Viviana says social justice motivates her.  Her advice to anyone who wants to make a difference is simple. “Be persistent, don’t let folks tell you no. We get no all the time. And... absolutely organize your community.”
 
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