5th Generation Venetian and Spiritual Activist
Standing next to a tree altar my great grandmother erected about 20 years ago at our home.
My name is Mike Bravo, I am a 5th generation Venetian, Indigenous Spiritual Activist, and lead coordinator of the Four Corners Spirit Run. The Four Corners Spirit Run is an annual spiritual run (since 2004) in West Los Angeles which provides the Indigenous American/Native Mexican youth and others in West Los Angeles with culturally relevant programs as well as to promote the development of positive Indigenous identity & values. I am also a current board member of the Venice Neighborhood Council and also served on it 2014-2016
I have spent the majority of my 47 years of life living, going to school, and working in Venice, Santa Monica, and Mar Vista/Del Rey areas. Currently I am a digital designer and internet marketer for various youth oriented non-profits and family law firms on the Westside. I have been doing this work for the past 13 years.
As a fifth generation Venetian born and raised in Venice, CA and surrounding communities, I am very aware of the social and historical dynamics which give way to the social ills that have manifested and displaced most Black, Brown, and working class communities of Venice. Issues such as gentrification, “homelessness,” gang violence, police brutality, and racism are created and reinforced by ignorance and oppressive policies.
In 1983 at the age of seven I lost my father on this earth walk to the intense drug and gang violence that plagued West Los Angeles at that time. After many years of being confused, taking wrong turns in life, and lacking culturally relevant healing & guidance from society, I eventually became empowered and enlightened by Hip Hop culture, my Indigenous (Meso-)American identity, and Indigenous Spiritual Traditions.
My work over the past 22 years has focused on bringing Native-Indigenous traditions to the forefront of youth education programming and social value culture via community events (ceremonies) and educational digital design projects. For the past 20 , and with permission, I also advocate with on behalf of the Tongva/Kizh nation who are the original caretakers of the Los Angeles basin. I am also an active defender of endangered Sacred Sites in Los Angeles and throughout the country, protecting them from the destructive and ever shifting expressions of colonialism (like gentrification) and modern day “indian removal” acts.
Venice Neighborhood Council Achievements
As one would guess I am very passionate about what goes on in Venice. I was the only active person of color on the VNC during my two years on the VNC (2014-2016.) I have a long record of always putting the people and land first and have arguably been the most outspoken local advocate for authentic inclusivity, equity culture, and accountability from our city and neighborhood’s institutions, leaders, and social culture.
During my 2014-2016 term as a VNC Community Officer I created a successful motion to release the Brendon Glenn video I also led Venice to adopt and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, a motion which inspired the current L.A. City Council to adopt the holiday in August 2017.
I bring the unique dynamic of representing the experience and perspectives of 5 generations of Venetians into the political discourse and decision making processes of Venice. My representation is critical especially in these times of calculated and endangered diversity in Venice’s decision making forums. The current homogeneous gentrification and real estate sector dominated Venice Neighborhood Council is a good example of the gross representational imbalance plaguing our town.
About This Website
This site is dedicated to:
- authentic inclusivity
- giving voice to those most marginalized by agents of displacement; namely Black, Brown/Indigenous, Unhoused, and Spanish speaking peoples.
- demanding much needed financial and racial equity policies lacking in our community
- correcting the defeatist and gentrification apologist narratives that plague our local political discourse and media
- demanding acknowledgement and incorporation of Black, Native-Indigenous, and other non-Eurocentric histories and perspectives into the Venice narrative.
- true respect and celebration of Venice’s inclusive culture and doing away with the current trend of exploitation and tokenism
- challenging racism, classism, and all agents, values and concepts targeting, contributing to, and reinforcing displacement of Venice’s traditional community and culture.
The current plague of gentrification and police violence we are witnessing in Venice is only the latest form in the colonial pattern of displacing Native peoples for “progress” and profit. This site is also dedicated to advocating for social justice and respect for the Tongva Indian peoples and their land we are visitors to #LandBack. It seeks to provide elixir from the inundation of gentrifier narratives and status quo activism currently dominating Venice decision making circles and dialogue forums.