Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let's get this movement started!

We have drafted a letter template that you can send to the LA Archdiocese. Sign it, add to it, modify or write your own. Let the LA Archdiocese and Roger Mahony know how you feel about what they have done to Self Help Graphics and the impact it will have in the community they are a part of as well.

Send (either in email or snail mail) to the LA Archdiocese at:

Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202
213 637 7000

Dear Cardinal Mahony,

I am writing to express my outrage that the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese secretly sold the mosaic building that is home to Self Help Graphics & Art. After its founding by Catholic nun Sister Karen Boccalero more than 35 years ago, non-profit organization Self Help Graphics & Arts was notified that the L.A. Catholic Archdiocese sold the building to a private real estate and investment company. We had no knowledge of the sale or pending sale. Why did the Archdiocese keep this sale secret? Why not give us the benefit of the doubt that we could rally the community and our leaders that so value our service to help us purchase the building? Given our years of service to the community and carrying on the legacy of our beloved founder Sister Karen, we deserve an explanation.

As long as the organization continued to fulfill the mission of advancing Chicano and Latino art and developing local and emerging artists, the Sisters of St. Francis, Mount Alverno agreed to allow Self Help Graphics & Art to use the building. With record-breaking print fairs, community festivals such as its iconic Día de los Muertos celebration which draws thousands of attendees and artists – both emerging and veteran – flocking to the organization as a place to cultivate their art, Self Help has been undergoing a renaissance. Last Fall Self Help board members were told that the building was not on the list of sites to be sold as part of the Archdiocese’s attempt to raise funds to pay the settlement to individuals who successfully sued the church for sexual abuse. When the Sisters signed the deed over to the Archdiocese for sale this year, you had an obligation, if not legal, at least a moral obligation, to notify us.

A spokesperson for the Sisters of St. Francis alleges that Self Help Graphics & Art failed to secure a grant to purchase the building, leading the sisters to transfer title to the archdiocese. They also allege that the organization was struggling financially. Who looks more desperate for money than the Archdiocese with a secret sale? Sadly, the tradition of deception to the community continues.

Despite a sagging economy and fight for non-profit resources the organization has thrived. Sales for prints from some of the nation’s leading Latino artists and up-and-coming artists have been booming.

Again, we ask for an answer. You created this mess. What are you going to do to help us solve this?


gc said...

I am printing off the letter now and will send! This can't happen...

gc said...

I just sent this as an email to the address you listed above. I got this message:


Unfortunately, Cardinal Mahony is unable to handle correspondence via e-mail. If you'd like to send him a signed letter by postal mail, please include your full name and postal mailing address and send it as follows:

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202

Thank you.

James R. Celoni
Applied Technology
Archdiocese of Los Angeles