The Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles has kicked off its 31st annual King Week celebration with the announcement of City Hall WATCH, a collaborative effort of community leaders to monitor the hiring and employment practices of the City of Los Angeles, particularly as it relates to African Americans in city government, public service and appointed positions.
On the steps of City Hall, SCLC/LA President and CEO Rev. Eric Lee unveiled the initiative that calls for open dialogue and transparency. He was joined by Board Chairman Tyrone Freeman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, city council members and community activists, demonstrating a united front and commitment to the initiative.
“We want to help the City of Los Angeles and partnership with the mayor to create transparency in employment for all city employees here in LA,” he said. “We want to do that in a collaborative way, not in a confrontational way, but one which allows for the community voice to be heard.”
City Hall WATCH consists of community organizations like SCLC that focus on a mission to ensure equality and justice for African Americans, including The Brotherhood Crusade, 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, NAACP, Community Call to Action and Accountability, The African American Cultural Center, The Nation of Islam, The Los Angeles Urban League, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Southern California and the Community Coalition.
Members of the WATCH will engage in regular dialogues with organized groups such as Black firefighters and police officers, Los Angeles Association of Black Employees and Black Association of DWP. And, they will identify issues of inequitable representation of African Americans in management positions, unfair and unequal treatment of city employees, income disparities, promotion opportunities, inequitable resource distribution and the percentage of major contract offerings.
According to Mayor Villaraigosa, seventy-one percent of all the commissioners who have been appointed under the current administration are of color – the highest number in the history of Los Angeles. “Yet,” he said, “we can do better and we will do better working with City Hall WATCH.”
Members of the watch group will also engage elected officials each quarter to communicate and address the concerns of our communities, which will be published to ensure accountability of those elected and appointed officials.
If you have a concern or issue regarding the City of Los Angeles, contact City Hall WATCH, located in the SCLC of Greater Los Angeles offices at 4182 S. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062; call (323-290-4100); or visit www.sclclosangeles.org.
Other King Week events: