LA Rooted sprouted after Raices Roots, a collective bicycle tour group that incorporated multimodal transportation to Guatemala in 2012.

For ten years, Rio Contreras knew they wanted to visit Guatemala on their own terms. An experienced bike tourer, Rio set an intention of taking a journey via bicycle to the country of their parent’s birth & upbringing. By 2012, six more cyclists made up a people of color bike touring collective planning a journey to Guatemala by bike, and named themselves Raíces Roots.

Raíces Roots set out with an intention of making connections with the land, people and history of our ancestors, as well as learning from sustainability, permaculture and resistance efforts throughout our journey. We intentionally sought out people, groups and programs that were doing amazing work in the realms of political justice and environmental work, sustainability technology and permaculture practices. We connected with family members that many of us had never met prior to this journey. We reconnected bridges for communication between members of our own family – bridges that broke from the history of forced migration our families experienced.

Our ultimate goal was to return to Los Angeles to share what we learned along the way.

When Rio Contreras and Johanna Iraheta found themselves back in Los Angeles at the beginning of 2013, they wanted to create a transformative education program in order to manifest the goal of sharing the experiences learned as Raíces Roots.

They started making plans for a radical summer youth program, and thus was born Los Angeles Rooted.

The Raices Roots Collective a few days after leaving Los Angeles. Baja California, September 2012. From left to right: Jacquie, Johanna, Deepa, Brenda, Rio, Woody, Miguel.
The Raices Roots Collective a few days after leaving Los Angeles. Baja California, September 2012.
From left to right: Jacquie, Johanna, Deepa, Brenda, Rio, Woody, Miguel.