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Empowering South LA

URBAN PERSPECTIVE - Last week, South Los Angeles residents gathered for an intimate community dialogue about politics and South LA. Councilman Bernard Parks’ Chief of Staff, Bernard Parks Jr. and Central Area Deputy, Kenn Webb; and Greg Akili who is running for the 59th Assembly District attended and participated in the discussion.
This informational session was geared toward giving people knowledge of what is happening in the political arena and how communities of color may be impacted by population shifts, redistricting, and political focus.

Unlike many community forums where people come for information and then leave with material in hand, this meeting of the community focused on empowering people to learn the political landscape.

“The purpose of this dialogue is to educate residents in our community about coming changes in their political representatives, as well as laws that impact the quality of life of us all. However, the greater mission of our effort is to inspire our people to take back control of our neighborhoods,” said Koyaki Kwa Jitahidi of MA’AT Institute for Community Change, one of the organizers.

This forum is the beginning of such forums to be held before important 2012 and 2013 elections. Each will be informational and educational sessions to ignite and engage civic participation. The organizers have three goals: increase voter turnout, create better informed voters, and hold political representative accountable.

Jitahidi pointed out, “2012 will be full of elections and candidates making promises to get our vote.
We can no longer sit by and accept the fact that only 10% generally shows up to vote for candidates we don’t know. We can no longer accept that candidates in areas like South LA receive over 90% of their campaign funding from outside interests.”

More mobilization efforts are underway. The organizers plan to have other candidate and legislative forums to keep the community engaged.

(Janet Denise Kelly offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at –cw

Tags: South LA, politics, elections, 2012 elections, Bernard Parks Jr., Greg Akili

Vol 9 Issue 97
Pub: Dec 6, 2011