Story by Melina Paris/Opinion editor/@parismelina
Photo by Juan Galvez/Staff photographer/@jc_images1
Hawaiian Gardens city council member and LBCC senior administrative assistant, Myra Maravilla says she is intent on bridging gaps and creating positive change in her community.
Maravilla, the youngest member elected to the city council in November 2015, serves on both the Planning Commission and the Law Enforcement Committee in the same city where she was born.
Maravilla came from an academic high school with one ethnic peer group.
Entering LBCC, its diversity was refreshing and what she embraced most, she said. The alumna said her class experiences and down-to-earth way her professors viewed the world broke barriers between students and teachers.
“I saw them in a different light and not as formal,” Maravilla said.
“It clarified many things for me, that I was on the right path and my way of thinking was correct. I feel my world view was expanded here.”
The progress reinforce who she was and made Maravilla feel comfortable talking to authority figures and fully expressing herself.
Working hard at bettering her community, Maravilla said she wants to readdress how her constituents are treated.
Many residents feel intimidated or they don’t know English, she said. Being bilingual, Maravilla has been able to bridge that gap. She is working with colleagues to create a gang-injunction removal process.
“I know there were a few residents on the verge of being placed on the gang injunction and I stepped in and said, ‘No, we need to give our young residents an opportunity to flourish.’
“Technically, a gang injunction is like a life sentence, it never goes away and will always be on your record,” Maravilla said.
A gang injunction is a restraining order against a group, lapdonline.org explains. It’s a civil suit that seeks a court order declaring a gang’s public behavior a nuisance and asks for special rules directed toward its activity.
“It’s important to be diligent and persuasive to make sure the needs of our community are met,” Maravilla said. “I want to create a pathway for them to succeed and have a second opportunity because if we don’t advocate for them, nobody else will.”
Her advice for people seeking work in public service is to give it 110 percent and create a community of support.
“It’s important to work hard because you never know who’s watching and you never know what doors can open for you, Maravilla said. “As long as you have a very positive outlook in things, it will end well.”