Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (center) meets with (L to R) Greg Irish, Charisse Bremond-Weaver, Timothy Watkins and his assistant.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, working with a recommendation from the Community Development Department (CDD), has taken the bold step of funding a myriad of agencies whose work focuses on much-needed services in communities where unemployment runs rampant.

With the summer fast approaching, focusing services on out-of-school summer youth is critical, notwithstanding the already-high school dropout rate.  It is all part of a comprehensive program that was funded for out-of-school youth in 2011 and it seemed to have had a measure of success; hence the will to continue its funding. 

According to from the CDD, the intent of the system will be to prepare young people to be college and career ready, and to re-engage out-of-school youth with school and/or work, improve student retention and bolster academic proficiency through effective and efficient case management.  CDD also considered a number of factors in preparing funded recommendations to ensure that the objectives of the proposed program/system are met.

Some of the organizations/institutions and agencies that met the requirements for funding include: Brotherhood Crusade, Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), Youth Opportunity-Watts, Youth Policy Institute, Chinatown Service Center and Los Angeles Harbor College.  Most of the aforementioned agencies were each funded in the amount of $900,000.00.

The president and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade (Charisse Bremond-Weaver) and WLCAC (Timothy Watkins) recently met with the Mayor and his staff at City Hall where announcements were made.  Both the Brotherhood Crusade and WLCAC have been in existence, serving and servicing the community for over 40 years.

The Brotherhood Crusade was founded in 1968 by Walter Bremond and a distinguished group of Black social activists and it has become the largest and most successful Black independent funding source in the nation.  It was  designed to further the concept and practice of self-help and Bremond-Weaver is continuing its long standing tradition of self-help, dignity and respect.

WLCAC was founded immediately after the 1965 Watts Revolt and it founder, Theodore (Ted) Watkins used the organization not only to help the residents of Watts primarily, but to showcase and shine a positive light on the South L.A. community like no one was able to do.  And today WLCAC (along with the Brotherhood Crusade) is one of the few organizations of that era that has survived and continues to grow while serving the people.  The organization and Ted Watkins was instrumental in securing the construction of Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital among other achievements and accomplishments.  Today, Timothy “Tim” Watkins leads WLCAC and carries on the work that began nearly a half century ago.