Hundreds of South LA residents conferred, debated and strategized about how to improve South LA with their local elected officials at the first annual People Power Convention organized by Community Coalition on Sat. June 25 at Southwest College.
“This [on Saturday June 25] the movement was in full effect. Elected officials from all levels of government joined with residents in South LA to determine the solutions to the unique problems we are facing in our community,” enthused Alberto Retana, president of Community Coalition.
25 years of organizing by the Coalition as well as progressive officials such as Congresswoman Karen Bass, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson has produced a unique political opportunity to improve the quality of life in South LA.
“Today people came together to decide what we are going to fight for, and what we’re going to win,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
Workshops were held on justice reform, jobs, civic engagement, organizing, stopping pipelines to prison, artivisim and other important topics. High school students organized a heavily attended youth convening.
Community resident Harsaan McBroom said: “Participating in the People Power Convention changed the way I think about people in my community. I now know that there are people out there that care about the community just as much as I do. We have to have more events like this where powerful leaders come together to support the community.”
Hundreds of people took advances of the resource fair, learning about and gaining access to people and organizations that can improve their health, stop wage theft, deal with mental health issues, tenants rights, find jobs and other burning issues.
Participating organizations included the Black Workers Center, Inner City Law Center, Restaurant Opportunities Center and the Department of Mental Health. The elected officials had staff at their tables, ready to listen to and aid residents.
The St. Johns Wellchild and Family Center brought a mobile clinic at the event where they performed health services on site and linked them to further services and programs.
There were also numerous organized sports, art and other activities for children. LEAP coordinated activities for children under 5.
“After today’s event I feel more empowered to fight for the rights of South LA youth and my community,” said Jaquay Jones, 16.