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DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – In 2005, Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust was founded as a community-based initiative aiming to stabilize neighborhoods south of downtown Los Angeles, where rising property values and rest have forced many long-term residents to relocate.

Known today as T.R.U.S.T. South LA (T.R.U.S.T. - Tenemos Que Reclamar Y Unidos Slavar La Tierra), the non-profit continues to empower community control over that land and local residents' participation in future decision-making and development of their neighborhoods. Those efforts, which Executive Director Edgar Campos helps lead, are why Campos was recognized recently as the Rams' eighth "pLAymaker" honoree.

"Being recognized as a playmaker in Los Angeles is important, because we take great pride in making sure that our community is well," Campos said. "And I value the Rams as a winning organization, as a thriving organization, I value the team as a winning organization. And so for me, I just want my community to do much of the same, to thrive, to win and to reach its potential. Yeah, every day, we can't win a Super Bowl, because we're not a team, but we are a community, and every day, we can have great schools, we can eat, we can have shelter, and we can have a quality of life worth living. And I think that for every single human being and family, it's worth as much as a Super Bowl."

Along those lines, Campos said the organization's chief goal is to ensure there's enough affordable housing for everyone to live in.

The rising prices in the housing marketing is causing community members who are working class, immigrant, Latino, intergenerationally, as well as poor Black residents to be displaced. Campos said they want their neighborhood and schools to be better and with amenities everyone else has, but not at the expense of their neighborhood changing.

"Gentrification happens sometimes in certain neighborhoods, and we don't want that for ours," Campos said. "We want our community to be better, but we don't need it to be a different community."

For Campos, inspire change means to try your best to be a role model.

"You don't promise that you're perfect, but you promise that you try," Campos said. "You promise that there's a willingness about you, an urgency about you, to strive for excellence. And I think people nowadays, with all the transparency, with all social media, don't expect you to be perfect. They expect you to be courageous. And that's something to value – to try. To try to will progress, to try to will winning as a team, to try to will having Angelenos living in a city that affords them a quality of life worth living."

And when it comes to inspiring change in one's own community, Campos said one doesn't have to be a perfect example.

"I think we inspire change in our own communities by not acting perfect," he said. "By being the role model, but in turn showing the blemishes. Being able to tell people the mistakes you've made, being able to share with them the road you took to get to where you are. Demystifying your career, demystifying how you get to some version of excellence for yourself even if it's not theirs, demystifying the many obstacles they will encounter and helping them troubleshoot through them. So for me, it looks like helping, mentoring and rearing others to do the same."

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