We had the good fortune of connecting with Celia Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Celia, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Believing in myself more than anyone else (Inner thoughts and self talk is so crucial, especially when things get really challenging), Asking trusted colleagues to provide honest and thoughtful feedback on my work, Making sure to rest and actively stepping away from the work I do (Productivity is intentional and being productive means being intentional about rest), Being able to discern and build relationships with colleagues who believe in the values and vision of my business, Finding moments to affirm and thank colleagues and partners for their contributions, Finding enjoyment in my work, Initiating cold intros, follow ups and asks (You’d be surprised how eager people are to connect and build relationships), Being intentional about centering and working with historically excluded folx. (my work will ALWAYS be better for it and for my community), Making time to celebrate the wins!

What should our readers know about your business?
I created BLKLST. At the time, I didn’t realize I creating a business! It’s a nonprofit and I honestly just saw a need in my industry (performing arts, theatre specifically — but it’s a model that can be used in other sectors) and felt compelled to fill a gap that I saw. I created an anti-racist organization that holds Predominantly White Institutions (PWI’s) accountable to equitable practices while providing power and agency to Black & Brown people. There’s also an emphasis on the wellness of our community and dismantling supremacist practices (so we don’t fall into the same trappings that PWI’s do). It was not easy but I overcame challenges by making sure there was a team of us to take on this work, by focusing on the steady incline, googling a lot, and believing in the work we do (we believe it’s our duty to do this and that it’s legacy work too). I learned that dismantling white supremacist practices that strategy, community effort and a sense of humor!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooh, definitely check out El Chat Taco truck! Their the best tacos I’ve had in LA and have been a staple here for years. Hike at Kenneth Hahn. Drinks at one of the many rooftop bars. Pick up some vegan donuts at Donut Friend. There’s so much good sushi, so I would recommend checking out a bunch of places with varying price ranges, including just buying sushi from a Japanese market. BCD Tofu House for some great Korean food. Walking along Melrose Ave and checking out the fun shops. Picnic and tips of wine at Barnsdall Park and ending it by watching the gorgeous sunset.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Black Womxn! They deserve all the credit and the flowers. They are the backbone of our movements and communities. I dedicate my work to the Marsha P. Johnson’s, Celia Cruz’s, Angela Davis’, Josephine Baker’s, Madam C.J. Walker’s, Fannie Lou Hamer’s and so so many more.

Website: www.blklstcollective.com

Instagram: @CeliaMandela & @BLKLST_LA

Youtube: BLKLST Collective

Image Credits
1. Huebner Headshots 2. Ari Stultz

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.