Bakewell Legacy of Community Service In Good Hands
Taelor Bakewell represents a strong voice for the Black community as the newly commissioned board member for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). Bakewell pulls strength and motivation from her loved ones and incorporates that support into bigger strides for improvement within the City of Los Angeles.
With previous career milestones as senior crisis management specialist and official spokesperson for Southern California Edison (SCE), head of public relations for Taste of Soul, and digital director for L.A. Sentinel, Bakewell is looking to apply her experience towards her new role in HACLA.
HACLA was established in the 1930s, stemming from a local directive (No. 1241), and now has become “the nation’s largest and leading public housing authority, providing the largest supply of quality affordable housing to residents of Los Angeles.”
Familiar programs under the HACLA umbrella include collaborations with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), such as the HACLA annual Capital Fund, the annual operating subsidy, Section 8 administrative fees, and rent from the public housing residents. The annual budget according to the HACLA website is more than $1 billion.
Additional programs HACLA provides includes, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), the Homeless Program, Homeownership Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA), and many more.
The mission behind this community-based firm is to preserve, enhance, and expand deeply affordable housing and improving of life for Angelenos; their focus is on the “people, place, and pathways to opportunity.”
Those principles are completely aligned with Bakewell’s vision; she is set on empowering the people around her. Commissioner Bakewell was appointed to HACLA’s Board on May 25, 2021. As HACLA looks to remedy concerns for those living below the poverty line, Bakewell will provide a balanced voice to amplify the needs of the community.
The newly commissioned board member reflected on her role and stated, “It is such an honor to be a part of this commission,” Bakewell continued, “The body of HACLA does amazing critical work and I am so honored to have my voice in the conversation in supporting the needs of the underserved.”
Bakewell was raised to embrace and be involved in her community. Following her upbringing, Bakewell became ignited by the improvements seen across her community and decided to follow that lane set by the Bakewell family name.
As senior crisis manager for SCE, Bakewell had to face strenuous circumstances directly. Through her experience, she has developed an energy of resolve and ingenuity to get through various circumstances that some perceive to be beyond repair.
Prior to joining SCE, she worked in her family-owned businesses, which are also pillars in the Black Community. Bakewell earned her role as lead public relations for Taste of Soul, the largest street festival west of Mississippi. In addition, Commissioner Bakewell headed the development of LA Sentinel’s digital media department.
For most of her life, Bakewell understood what her contributions mean to the rest of the community. She is part of the next generation of her family’s legacy and mission, making a difference for people in the Black community. Bakewell contemplated the impact of community involvement in her earlier stages of life. She stated, “I come from a background where civil rights and community involvement is really important and I have a lens that allows me to look at this from a holistic perspective—like Black people being impacted by housing.” According to the L.A. Times, the unsheltered population reaches over 66,000 and over 25 percent of that community is Black.
The Commissioner of HACLA continued, “I think I’m coming from a really unique perspective; one that is ingrained in the community. I really want to make an impact in this space.”
Bakewell elaborated on her family’s footprints in the community; that is what fuels her love for what she does as commissioner. She stated, “Working at the Sentinel, you get people from all walks of life—so, I think that really prepared me to be a commissioner for HACLA and to have such a well-rounded perspective—to really observe and understand the way different people live and how this city can impact how people live their lives.”
As a Black woman lending her perspective to HACLA, Bakewell reflected on all the strong women who molded her for this moment. “I have a really strong family. I look to my grandmother, Aline Bakewell, my mother, Tana Bakewell, my aunts, of course, my dad and grandfather, “she said. “Like I said, I have a really strong family that supports me in everything that I do and have always allowed me to be myself. When this opportunity came, they were incredibly supportive and told me they couldn’t think of anyone better to do the job.”
Bakewell stated that she is regularly researching and talking with her fellow board members to receive a “360” view of her projects and vision. She has attended several board meetings since her appointment. Bakewell explained she meets with members of the organization regularly. So far, she has felt extremely welcomed at the HACLA organization. She also shared her gratitude for Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti in seeing that Bakewell was seamless fit for the job.
Bakewell is a L.A. native who graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Communications and Lusk School for Real Estate Development, in addition to also receiving her credentials in California realty. This prepared her to work on major real estate projects in the heart of South Los Angeles, Compton, and parts of Pasadena and up the coast of California.
As a strategist and business woman of color, Bakewell’s priority is to be an advocate for the collective culture, pulling from her roots of community-oriented organizations, such as the Brotherhood Crusade and Mothers in Action. The goal for Bakewell is to form a pathway for more resources to be available for improved quality of life for all.
Bakewell stated her mission, “I want to make an impact. I want to move the needle—and so, it takes that little bit of legwork but the support of my family and friends, along with seeing the impact on the community I love, gives me all the confidence to know that I’m the best person to do this.”