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What You Need To Know Today: Brown Girls Climb, Expansion of Prison Release Program, Best LA Sunsets

A picture of a group of women with a sign that says "Brown Girls Climb" at a rock climbing gym in Los Angeles, CA.
A photo of the Brown Girls Climb members at Hollywood Boulders in Los Angeles, CA
(Evan Jacoby
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Friday, October 7.  

Today in How To LA: Taking up space with Brown Girls Climb; Governor expands prison release program for mentally and terminally ill; plus share your favorite sunset in L.A. 

We’ve finally made it to the weekend, friends, and I have something a little lighter than yesterday’s heavy topic: rock climbing.

If you don’t know by now, I am a daredevil. Seriously. I’ve done some crazy things in my life, like jumping out of a perfectly functioning plane in the sky. And while what I am about to share doesn’t top THAT, it was still pretty thrilling. I went to an indoor rock climbing gym in Los Angeles with this really dope group called Brown Girls Climb.

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A group of women stand in a circle as one of the women talks about what they will be doing at Hollywood Boulders
Indira Orozco, one of the Brown Girls Climb leaders, starts introductions at a meetup at Hollywood Boulders in Los Angeles, CA
(Aaricka Washington
LAist )
A photo of a woman trying to climb rock structures while a boom mic is close to her face at an indoor rock climbing gym.
Associate Editor for How To LA Aaricka Washington tries to climb a rock structure with Brown Girls Climb at Hollywood Boulders in Los Angeles, CA
(Courtesy of
Brown Girls Climb )

So get this: it’s a group that aims to provide a safe, inclusive space for women of color. As the group describes on its website, BGC is for any climber who has ever been “impacted by patriarchal systems.” It offers mentorship, resource sharing, affordable climbing memberships and educational community events for everyone. 
As I mentioned in a past newsletter, it can be difficult to find community in such a large, spread out city like L.A.. Climbing with girls who look like me and hearing their encouragement made L.A. feel like home again. It was at one of their meetups where I got introduced to the BGC and I can definitely see myself going back and making those connections again.

I’m not going to lie though, it was intimidating when we started to climb. First of all, we were basically the only women in the gym. Secondly, there weren’t any ropes! Somehow, I still managed to successfully climb one of the obstacles! I was pretty proud of myself and the women around me.

“It's super empowering. You're just constantly solving a new puzzle," she said. "There's always something harder for you to work towards, right?"
— Indira Orozco, Brown Girls Climb L.A. Chapter Leader
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Now reading about this experience doesn’t quite do it justice. To really get a feel for how inspirational it is, and learn how you can even join in, you GOTTA listen to the latest How To LA episode here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding!

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that allows terminally ill and “permanently medically incapacitated" people in prison to be have their sentences recalled. This comes after an LAist investigation into the state’s “medical parole” program found patients were being sent to an uncertified nursing home
  • The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is once again on shaky ground as it moves back to a lower court in Texas. Now, a judge there will decide if the Biden-era rules are enough to keep DACA in place. 
  • Even though I missed signing up for the Long Beach Marathon this weekend, it's not too late to cheer on these super strong runners. Come out on Sunday with your big, eye-catching sign to encourage the marathoners to not give up on the last leg. 
  • COVID-19 is definitely still around and only5% of Angelenos got their booster a month after its launch. Public health officials warn things could get worse if people don’t take precautions in time for Thanksgiving. 
  • It’s time to check your mailboxes for your ballot in time for the L.A. County runoff elections. The L.A. County Registrar just started mailing ballots yesterday. Check LAist on Oct. 11 for the Voter Game Plan. 
  • Californians — both teens and adults — have had a hard time throughout the pandemic, according to a recent UCLA California Health Interview Survey. In 2021, almost a third of adults experienced “serious suicide ideation” compared to about 24% in 2019. And about 26% of teens said that they had not received the counseling they needed in the past year. 
  • President Joe Biden announced what could be a big push forward federally decriminalizing marijuana possession. On Thursday he said he would pardon people with simple federal marijuana possession convictions. He said in a statement that criminalizing people for having marijuana has “upended too many lives.”  
  • The Orange County Museum of Art is now open! Enjoy music, rooftop dancing, a Japanese tea ceremony and even fireworks at this FREE event on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. and ending on Sunday at 5 p.m. Check out more fun, family-friendly events for the weekend here.
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Wait! One More Thing...Where's The Best Sunset in L.A.?

The sun sets into the sea
A December Sunset at Venice Beach
(Megan Larson

Even though I’ve been back in L.A. for nearly a year, I am still looking for the best place to watch the sunset. Is it at a beach? A hilltop? Maybe from a rooftop? Sunsets can help you feel a sense of calm on a bad day. Sunsets can make you feel like this world is so much bigger than the problems we face. That’s why we dig them out here in this beautiful city!

I asked on Twitter whee i should watch the sunset and some people gave me their best recommendations like Griffith Park, Elysian Park, and the top of Mulholland Drive.

But my team and I want to know more. Click here to tell us about your favorite place to watch the sunset and why. Make sure to send us a picture and tell us a story about what that place means to you. Who knows? You might get featured in the How to LA podcast and newsletter down the road.

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