Community Fights to Save Historic Black Church in Venice, Bonin Promises to Help

venice, ca historic church

Help Save the First Baptist Church in Venice

Native Venice residents (l-r) Naomi Nightingale, Pam Anderson, and Laddie Williams at the Love Not Hate Rally in Venice , CA on August 19, 2017 speaking on the need to save an important Venice landmark, the First Baptist Church that sits on the corner of Westminster and 7th Street in Venice.  The First Baptist Church, founded 109 years ago, is the first Black church in Venice. The property was recently purchased by Jay Penske (son of auto racing entrepreneur and former driver Roger Penske amid what locals feel to be questionable circumstances.  Currently, community advocates to preserve the historic landmark are still waiting for follow up from CD 11 Councilperson Mike Bonin who at the Love Not Hate Rally  promised to help save the historic church.

Community advocates have been trying to meet with the Penske family that purchased the property and have submitted their thoughts to former deputy Ezra Gale who as of recently no longer works with CD11 and are still waiting to connect with the new CD 11 Senior Planner.

This church has historical meaning to the Oakwood neighborhood and the fact that it was sold without a vote from the true parishioners  is diabolical.  This church is over 108 years old, and it should not be turned into a three lot tie with for an 11k square foot mansion. The First Baptist Church was the first sanctuary for African Americans in the city of Venice, its history cannot be destroyed.

The traditional community has met with Councilman Bonin on this matter and are also in the process of putting in the application to obtain historical status. The community is also hoping the real estate sector and Venice Chamber of Commerce inundated Venice Neighborhood Council respect the community’s efforts to save this historical landmark.

The community is asking that this item be pulled ASAP and understands that Robert Thibodeaux, the architect of the project and board member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, is disrespectfully pushing the project through the Venice Neighborhood Council without any community outreach or dialogue.

Contact Councilman Bonin Today.
Tell  Him to Keep His Word!

[email protected] 

  • Historical designation for the 109 year old church
  • No mansion! Respect Black History in Venice!
  • Take the First Baptist Church off the VNC agenda!


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Mike Bonin promises to join the fight to save the Church


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1 Response
  1. J.Van.S

    The sick, sad, stupid and sorry truth is… They don’t give a flying fat f–k about y/our History, y/our Black OR y/our Church.

    They want of every speck and clue of Blackness – “Historical” or otherwise, gone from Venice as quickly and ‘clean’ as possible. Once done, they will get to work on scrubbing the Brown… after that – who knows who will be next.


    If *They* want to be here so badly, let them pay you (and your Family for all future generations) to live in/on YOUR PROPERTY – in perpetuity (“Forever”).

    They are NOT buying your house, they are buying the future of your Family health, wealth, security and legacy right out from under you.

    … and the pittance they pay you will NEVER replace the future you give up. If it were not worth more than they pay… they would not buy.

    They would never, Could never and WILL NEVER pay you what your property is REALLY worth. Never.