These are some of the top stories that gripped the headlines of 2017. From natural disasters to a new medical center in the Crenshaw District, big news happened locally and nationally. Here are some of the stories in review.
In August of 2017, more than 11 trillion gallons of water poured over Southern Texas after Hurricane Harvey hit. The tropical storm created catastrophic damage leaving structural damage to buildings, some complete roof failure, and complete destruction of mobile homes. During this time, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner refused to evacuate the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods where Black people in poor communities who reside in flood risk neighborhoods.
Mass Shooting in Texas
Just months after Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey, a deadly mass shooting rocked the state leaving 26 dead and more than 20 injured. On November 5, 26-year-old white male Devin Kelley opened fire inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas during their 11 a.m. service. The event became the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history!
Mass Shooting Las Vegas
On Sunday, October 1, 64-year-old retiree Stephen Craig Paddock used a hammer-like tool to smash out the windows in his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino and fired away on 22,000 country music festivalgoers during the “Route 91 Harvest Festival.” Paddock who took his own life after his killing spree, left an estimated 59 people dead and 527 injured. The attack will be the remembered as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!
Kaiser Baldwin Hills
In November 2016, the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical (KPBHC) facility celebrated its topping off signaling the end of major construction. Then, in August 2017, KPBHC had an open house where thousands of community members came to view the new facility, which later opened to the public on Sept 7. The KPBHC facility is a cutting-edge, four-story medical office building complete with LEED Gold certification. The facility features world class providers, technologically advanced exam rooms, equipped with the ability to conduct real time virtual consults with other Kaiser Permanente providers throughout the region. The 100,000-square-foot building includes a conference room and outdoor event space that will be available to local community groups. In keeping with a healthy community, the grounds have incorporated a 2.5 acres of “green” space, including a contiguous, two-mile walk path. The Baldwin Hills – Crenshaw Medical Offices will be a part of the West Los Angeles Medical Center Service Area, which includes nearly 220,000 members.
Sexual Allegations and Misconduct
What could have arguably started with Bill Cosby in 2015, erupted in 2017 as sexual allegations took every corner of media by storm from the White House to the boardroom. The #MeTOO campaign empowered many to begin vocalizing their stories of sexual abuse, misconduct and rape. Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from Congress recently, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job in the torrent of sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation’s workplaces.
Three women and possibly more have come forward accusing music mogul, Russell Simmons, of rape.
Talk show host and author, Tavis Smiley has also come under the light of accusation of sexual misconduct. He has been accused of having “multiple” sexual relationships with employees with allegations that their jobs hinged on alleged sexual relationships.
Actor Terry Crews came forward as a victim of sexual misconduct accusing talent agent, Adam Venit, of making sexual gestures towards him and grabbing his genitals.
Three-time Olympic champion, Gabrielle Douglas came forward alleging she was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar. The list of sexual allegations and misconduct continue to grow and conversations about appropriate behavior in the work place are now under scrutiny more than ever.
Progress or Gentrification?
The South Los Angeles area, once an unpopular destination in the eyes of many, is now becoming a hub of new attractions, business and opportunity. From the new Kaiser Baldwin Hills to football stadiums, to new businesses popping up all over, the South Los Angeles area seems poised for progress—but there are some who disagree. Many in the area see the flags of gentrification being planted and wonder how much of their neighborhood will be left. The Baldwin, Crenshaw and Leimert Park communities are one of the largest, predominately Black, communities in Los Angeles. There are concerned residents who have questions for corporate developers, corporate landlords, and Wall Street speculators, who seem to be transforming the neighborhoods into high-priced markets at the expense of working-class communities. Multiple local organizations like the Crenshaw Subway Coalition try to keep the community informed and invite representatives of said corporate groups to speak with people in the neighborhood. Whether it’s gentrification or progress, only time will tell.
Taste of Soul
For 12 years, Taste of Soul has continued to bring the community together for a day of brotherhood, fun and entertainment. This year, Taste of Soul Nation joined members of Bakewell Media and Mothers In Action on Crenshaw Blvd., at what is the largest street festival in Los Angeles city & county. Taste of Soul partners make the historic festival possible – the Sentinel, Brotherhood Crusade, city of Los Angeles, county of Los Angeles, 102.3 KJLH, 94.7 the WAVE, CBS2/KCAL 9 & AAUC. This year may have been the best Taste of Soul yet with returning vendors and new ones added, four stages, all with stellar line-ups and a notable list of sponsors, including Hyundai, McDonald’s and Bank of America. The event, once again, wrapped up at 7:00 p.m. on the boulevard without incident.
For the first time ever, Hyundai Motor America in partnership with Taste of Soul (TOS) gave away a brand new 2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL as part of its Hyundai Better L.A. contest. Earlier this month, married couple, Daniel and La Mikia Castillo were announced the winners of the contest during a ceremonial check presentation at the L.A. Auto Show.
Dr. Dre Donation
In June of this year hip-hop legend Andre “Dr. Dre” Young made a 10 million dollar donation towards the Compton High School performing arts center. The center will have approximately 1,200 seats, state of the art technology, and small sdio rooms for producing, instruments, and photography. According to Compton Unified School District, there will be a joint agreement with the city of Compton that will allow members of the community to have access to the center outside of school hours. The estimated completion date of the project is four and a half years.
Libya Slave Trade
Recent discovery of slave trades in Libya broke after CNN released footage of their investigation on the heinous slave auction. The evidence caused hundreds of West African migrants to be returned to their homes. The backlash inspired the African Union to return at least 20,000 migrants from the North African country by the middle of January. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) including CBC foreign affairs and national security task force co-chair Karen Bass have rallied for the freedom of the slave trade victims, who were refugees trying to escape their own countries to reach Europe by way of Libya. The CBC also introduced a resolution in the House to address slave auctions and met with the Libya ambassador.
The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, took office on January 20, 2017. His presidency aside from former president Barack Obama, has been one of the most controversial presidencies in U.S. history. During Trump’s presidential reign, his ties to Russia have been a major concern of many political figures, as well as the American people. Since he has taken office, he has enforced a travel ban on six mainly Muslim countries, threatened to get rid of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and renew the war on drugs. Additionally, he sought to roll back the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare and encouraged police officers to be rough when arresting people of color. “Meals on Wheels” was also in danger of being removed. Lastly, White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK reemerged during and after his election resulting in an increase in hate crimes.
Measure H/ Prop HHH
Both measure and prop were approved by voters in March to help fight the homeless epidemic in Los Angeles County. Measure H, also known as the Los Angeles County Sales Tax for Homeless Services and Prevention, adds a quarter-cent sales tax to raise an estimated $355 million a year for 10 years to help homeless people transition into planned affordable housing, officials have said. The Proposition HHH Permanent Supportive Housing Loan Program (Prop HHH) is designed to develop permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness throughout the city. The program emphasis is on reducing homelessness by creating safe and affordable housing units, and increasing accessibility to a variety of necessary services and treatment programs.
Charlottesville (Unite the Right)
The Unite the Right rally (also known as the Charlottesville rally) was a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, from August 11–12, 2017. Its stated goal was to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. Protesters included white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and various militias. Some of the marchers chanted racist and antisemitic slogans, carried semi-automatic rifles, swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Muslim and antisemitic banners, and “Trump/Pence” signs. Some residents wanted the statue removed as part of an effort to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces in the wake of a mass shooting at a Charleston church in 2015. Nine African American members were killed by White supremacist Dylan Roof.
Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his intent to run for California’s next governor, and was recently shown in the polls as gaining on front runner Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. “I’m running for Governor to do big things—starting with rebuilding our middle class by investing in our schools and repairing our infrastructure,” Villaraigosa said.
“But we’re never going to make this state work for us again unless we give voice to the people who are all too often not heard in Sacramento.
“That’s what my campaign is about—giving voice to everyone. That’s what my service as governor will be about—making sure the people are heard in Sacramento and their priorities are addressed…”