Community Coalition hopes to build on its major accomplishments from its 20-year history to broaden the impact of its policies victories in the future. The most notable victories are in the arenas of public safety, child welfare and education:
Public Safety * One of the Coalition’s first campaigns “Rebuild South Central Without Liquor Stores” led to national recognition and implementation of the Coalition’s public health model, which uses nuisance abatement and land use policy to improve public safety. After the 1992 Civil Unrest, this campaign led to the prevention of the rebuilding of over 150 liquor stores that were destroyed. Following this success, Coalition members helped author the citywide Nuisance Abatement Ordinance that was passed in 2008 with support from City Councilwoman Jan Perry.
Child Welfare * In 2004, South LA relative caregivers helped Community Coalition along with Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest provider of private foster care, secure and establish a kinship-care support center in South LA, the first ever in the region to combine services with advocacy and community organizing. Community Coalition’s Relative Caregivers have been one of the first organized and politicized constituencies in the nation to advocate around kinship-care policies and engage elected officials around providing relative caregivers public resources. Community Coalition has won significant and important victories over the years including reaching greater parity in the amount of monthly government payments compared to their foster care counterparts.
Education * The “Equal Access to College Prep” campaign achieved the landmark A-G Resolution in 2005, mandating that A-G college preparatory curriculum be made available in all schools in LAUSD. Coalition youth leaders recognized that the majority of South LA youth were not on track to graduate and were ineligible for college based on college pre-requirements. In this five-year effort, the Coalition trained student leaders to engage with elected officials and decision-makers. The Coalition also co-founded Communities for Educ
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1 Submitted Idea
- 2013 Grants Challenge
The Idea While crime is at record lows, there are many communities with concentrated poverty that continue to face higher levels of crime higher than wealthier parts of our city. This disparity falls along race and class lines, undermining the promise of equality in our great city and threatening our future vitality.
Our idea is simple. In areas with concentrated poverty, transform public spaces, which are traditionally danger zones – such as parks and schools – into community nerve centers for developing leaders, addressing public safety, and creating transformative social change. By organizing residents to reclaim public spaces, communities begin to transform their neighborhood, their relationships to each other, and are primed for increased civic engagement.
Previous Success Since 2008, Community Coalition has employed this strategy in the King Estates neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Residents identified Martin Luther King Jr. Park and the adjacent public library as a hub for change.
For many years, residents were afraid of using the park, and were concerned about the neighboring liquor store, recycling center, and blighted alley as a barrier to the usage of the park and library. Burglaries, assaults, theft, prostitution, and homicides were also of grave concern to the residents.
Community Coalition recruited residents to develop solutions. The community residents felt that to turn the violence and crime around in their neighborhood it would take an all hands on deck strategy. As a result they pushed for various levers of change including: pressuring City officials to increase park programming, enforce its powers to stop nuisance activity at businesses (such as loitering, selling single servings of alcohol and cigarettes, allowing on-site drug-dealing, etc.), and creating wrap around services and programs for young people at the park.
The strategy worked. Today, crime is down, and since 2008, the City has invested close to $1 million in physical improvements on what was once an ignored community. In addition, the City of Los Angeles now runs Summer Night Lights, a summer prevention program supporting youth. According to LAPD crime data from 2008-2010 crimes significantly declined after 2008. Property crimes declined 23% in 2009, and then an additional 7% in 2010. Violent crimes were also a significant occurrence at the park in 2008 but reduced by 23% in 2009, and an additional 3% the following year.
Our Proposal: Building Community through “Edu-tainment”
These investments and changes were not accidental. They came as the result of organized residents coming together to make a positive change in their community. However, not enough people know about how it happened, or that they can get involved to sustain the changes. With the support of LA2050 we plan on changing that.
Last year Community Coalition organized a summer concert called the “South LA Power Festival” at King Park. Over 1000 residents attended this all-day event to hear a dozen music acts and in the process Community Coalition successfully engaged hundreds of community members and provided education on the fall 2012 ballot initiatives. The concert served as a community celebration of change and mechanism for greater resident involvement.
This summer and fall, Community Coalition proposes to continue reclaiming public spaces by organizing a summer art walk and fall concert to: 1) Promote activism as a vehicle for increasing public safety, and 2) Recruit residents to participate in Community Coalition’s organizing activities to increase public safety.
Community Coalition believes it can build community ownership, promote social connectivity, and bring public attention to successful community driven efforts by organizing mass based entertainment events that draw positive media attention and bring thousands of residents to the space.
With the support of LA2050, we plan to build on our success in the King Estates neighborhood by expanding our “South LA Power Festival” – establishing it as a regular community function, and fortifying burgeoning community bonds. Resources from LA2050 will allow us to more than quadruple the size of our event – bringing 10,000 South L.A. residents together for a day of empowerment, entertainment, and the opportunity to connect with community leaders who are helping to transform South L.A.
Further, we plan to launch a new neighborhood organizing campaign in the Westmont neighborhood in South Los Angeles, utilizing the same tools we used to empower residents in King Estates. Resources from LA2050 will allow us to launch a South LA Art Walk in this community, helping to bring 1,000 residents together to build community bonds and get involved with Community Coalition public safety campaigns.