SACRED GROUND

Since 1988, Compton Junior Posse has been a safe haven for at-risk youth, and an unexpected breeding ground for a new generation of horse enthusiasts. 

THIRTY YEARS AGO, WHEN Mayisha Akbar moved to an agriculturally zoned area of Compton called Richland Farms, her dream was to raise her kids with horses in their backyard. Soon her small ranch became a safe haven for children around the neighborhood, and in 1988 she founded the Compton Junior Posse. Akbar's mission was simple: Keep kids on horses and off the street. Her dream blossomed into a year-round equestrian program for inner-city and at-risk youth, instilling her riders with the confidence that comes from learning to work with and care for horses.

As a lifelong horse-lover, I was inspired by the work being done by the Compton Junior Posse when I was introduced to it in 2015 by Olympic gold medalist show jumper Will Simpson, who regularly volunteers there. I contacted friend and photographer Melodie McDaniel, who shared my enthusiasm, and together we have spent the last three years documenting the people that come together at this incredible organization. The resulting portfolio, “Daring to Claim the Sky,” debuting in part here, will be shown in full on April 20 at Hollywood’s Space 15 Twenty. “This is a unique and special story,” says McDaniel. “No one really knows about horse riding in Compton!”

 

Consider the secret out.

  

© 2017 Amelia Fleetwood.  Ojai, California 

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