I’m a believer in being the change and positive force that you want to see in the world,” Juliann Miles says. From serving as an L.A. County foster parent to teaching English to immigrants in Burbank to running the L.A. Marathon, she brings that spirit of determined action to everything she does — and especially to her work with the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council (GTLNC).
“I genuinely love Toluca Lake. It’s my home, the first place my husband and I have owned property in,” says the seven-year resident, who finds the neighborhood’s warmth, friendliness and small-town feeling reminiscent of the Midwestern community where she grew up. “I think it’s awesome that the City of Los Angeles put the neighborhood councils together and allows us to have this much influence over our local area. To me, the chance to participate in that capacity is amazing. This was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up.”
That’s why Miles first ran for a spot on the GTLNC, and in her four years of elected office she’s been a member of the Land Use & Planning and Governmental Affairs committees, board secretary, and co-chair of the Environmental Affairs Committee. In the latter capacity she directed the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Taste of Toluca/Earth Day celebrations, and she notes that participating in these and other local events — including neighborhood cleanups, the Pancake Breakfast, the Move-a-Thon and the Holiday Open House — has been a high point of her public service, offering “the ability to work with such devoted and passionate people who consistently go the extra mile to preserve this community while improving the quality of life for its residents.”
Now, Miles’ talent and dedication are taking her to the next level as the new vice president of the GTLNC. Furthermore, she’s the first Black woman to hold the position, which has particularly deep resonance at this moment in history. For Miles, the full meaning first sank in when her mother and sister called to congratulate her after the election. “My mother is the youngest of 18 kids from a small town in the deep Jim Crow South,” she explains. “She was the daughter of a sharecropper and a housekeeper. She spent a career working as an equal opportunity officer. I feel like I’m living up to the hard work and sacrifices she and her family made for my generation. My oldest sister told me, ‘Dad would be so proud of you.’ That comment really struck me. My father passed away from cancer when I was a senior in high school, and I know my sister is right. He’s looking down on me, smiling and proud.”