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The Eastside Café is an autonomous space founded by El Sereno residents for the purpose of creating and transforming self-reliance by using the arts, education, cultural awareness, and health.

The Eastside Café represents the initial phase of a long-term community development plan committed to supporting an active engagement and renewed community identity that is continuously working towards building a better future.

As an independent organization, the Eastside Café relies on its members and the community for monetary support and participation in whatever capacity you are able. The Eastside Café is an autonomous space for the people, by the people.


We are a group of Zapatista inspired, El Sereno residents that co-facilitate a multi-disciplinary, autonomous space. We are dedicated to rebuilding, reconstructing and reclaiming our communities by creating sustainable projects and collectives to empower one another. WE strive to build citywide multiethnic autonomous networks to represent the initial phase of a long-term communal development plan. We are committed to supporting an active citizenry and renewed communal identity that is continuously engaged in planning for the future through self-determination, education, cultural arts and community dialogue.


The Eastside Cafe is committed to the belief that all people and all communities have the right to self-governance and self-determination and that we possess within our own communities all the knowledge and power to make this a reality. We are not involved in a struggle for power-we possess the power already and are working to create a positive alternative to the struggles our communities face.


• We believe another world is possible only if we, the bottom, the majority, play a key role in building it.
• We believe in community -based organizing that is interdependent, pluriehtnic and asset based (as opposed to deficit based). We rely on who we are and what we can do.
• We believe that we are all equal because we are all different and difference is essential to our unique contribution.
• We believe in Participatory democracy and will strive to use consensus for our decision-making process• We believe building participatory democracy is rebuilding respect, solidarity and mutual self-help.
• We believe that government laws, while they can help at times, don’t make us free- we are the only ones that could free ourselves.
• We believe that we all have the obligation and ability to lead in something and therefore shouldn’t be no special status or privileges given to leaders. We are all leaders. We are all special.
• We believe in developing an autonomous, alternative moral economy that allows for dignified development of the human potential.

Artistic Intent

The Eastisde Cafe provides free cultural arts programming and events in a multi-purpose space to engage people of all ages. We promote cultural performances, visual arts and provide a space to volunteer artists who genuinely want to share their artistic skills as well as promoting a do-it-yourself spirit that intersects with social justice issues addressing our community.

Community Context

The Eastside Cafe opened its doors to the residents of the El Sereno Community in 2004. We continue to engage with all residents that give shape to the El Sereno Population. We serve the immediate community to understand who WE are, without involving residents we could NOT function. We also open our doors to outside communities that work towards social justice and has become home to many families, professors, artists, activists, day laborers, musicians and students.

photo credit: Eastside Cafe