Monday, September 15, 2008

getting FED!

On September 3, 2008 I had a BBQ with Dan Pressberg, a local community activist and member of North Long Beach Community Action Group.  I nervously arrived at his beautiful historic home in North Long Beach.  I have met Dan before at large city meetings.  I have to admit, I was very intimidated by him.  I heard about his work in North Long Beach and knew that he was a mover and shaker in this city.  Here I was at his door step with an intern in tow.  He opened the door wearing a casual button down shirt and bright blue hawaiian shorts.  He was talking on the phone with several city leaders about politics in his boisterous voice.  His home was filled with beautiful antiques and photos of Long Beach way back in the day.  You can tell just by his home, his passion for history.  Right off the bat he said that you need to know your history before you start anything.  And let me tell you, he sure does know his history.  We met with Dan with the intention of learning about the history of North Long Beach, but we kept on going on tangents about all of Long Beach.
I could not imagine North Long Beach as a cattle farm, as it was in the 1900s.  Then it was made into sheep farms.  Eventually the land was split and sold.  During the 1930s there was a boom in housing development and North Long Beach was home for many workers.  In the 1940s the theaters were built.  In the 1960s and 80s the demographics greatly shifted due to immigration.
We continued to discuss the history of North Long Beach as we ate our yummy hamburgers.  He told us about the past, present, and near future of North Long Beach.  Dan shared his heart for Long Beach and that's when my nervousness melted away.  Dan was just another neighbor in North Long Beach that wants the best for it.  Rosie, the community development interns, asked how can churches change their involvement in North Long Beach.  Dan advised the church needs to feed the people, physically and spiritually.  He said whenever he meets with someone he always shares a meal with them, to create an equal level with each other.

So thank you Dan Pressberg for feeding me!