10985541_792952430775781_5956806994867886195_nShe lives in an old, rundown apartment in downtown LA, in a tiny studio with no kitchen, a window facing a brick wall, and nasty carpet retaining the stains of dark memories of past tenants. It’s all too common to find dead bodies in the apartment, some by suicide, and others because they lived alone and no one checked on them. Her neighbor is a drug dealer, and has customers coming and going throughout the night. And yet Lorinda is grateful to have a place to live. Not too long ago she was homeless. Her life path has been difficult, but she faces each day with a smile and her faith gives her the strength to make it through. She was a victim of domestic violence, her husband at the time nearly killed her. She had no place to turn, so she ended up in Skid Row in one of the shelters. Unfortunately, it was not easy for her to find transitional housing because she is not a recovering addict or have mental illness. After a long struggle, she was able to finally get housing. Her experience down in Skid Row made her want to be an advocate for the community down there. 10388074_792952237442467_4713691275593648396_nThrough her love for the arts, she joined various theatre groups in Skid Row to share stories of struggle, hope, and dignity. “Part of what has been extremely healing for me is sharing my story. Having a background in theater I know how incredibly cathartic the arts can be. I have a passion for giving a place for those who have no voice to have a voice.” she said. So Lorinda organized special events at a park focusing on giving a voice to victims of domestic violence. Her mother always struggled with her health, and died tragically in Lorinda’s arms. So she values the importance of health and having access to good, wholesome food. So she wants to start a food pantry and a community garden in Skid Row, that will provide healthy, organic food options for the poor and homeless. She calls it “food justice.” She hopes that places like Trader Joes and Whole Foods will one day donate food to the pantry. I had a chance to have dinner with Lorinda, and almost every few minutes someone would walk by and say hi to her. It was obvious how much the community loves and appreciates her. She is definitely a woman who shines brightly, and brings light to a dark place.

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