I need your help, I can came to Los Angeles as a high school graduate in 1968 thinking I was coming to the golden state land of opportunities but instead I was met by Jim Crow. Since then I joined The Strategy Center through the Bus Riders Union and have made a transformation into the political being that I am today. The Strategy Center and I are committed to building a democratic, internationalist, left-wing social movement and challenging the ideological, economic and political domination of transnational capitalism.
It breaks my heart to see the disappearance on Black people from Los Angeles–In 1970 there were over 750,000 Black people in Los Angles and now there are only 350,000. I have raised my children and have seen my grandchildren grow up to the age I was when I first came to South LA and I now immediately recognize that the systemic racism and disinvestment in Black and Latino communities is more prevalent now than when I first arrived. I was fortunate to be introduced to the Strategy Center by way of the Bus Riders Union that challenged my own internalized oppression.
Now 20 years later as Associate Director of the Labor Community Strategy Center I am carrying out that same tradition at our new Fight for the Soul of the Cities community office located at The Strategy and Soul Movement Center on King and Crenshaw.
I and we have organized on the buses and trains building an international movement with an alliance of Black and Brown people here in the U.S and around the world for over 25 years. It took us a while but now we are here in heart of South LA where most of our organizing has taken place for the last 20 years. We are building our center as a center of Refuge, Resilient, and Resistance. We took great care in creating a place that the community as well as others on the ground organizing can come learn, teach, and move into action. Currently at Strategy and Soul we have a state of the art movie theater–where films of empowerment are shown for an audience of the top organizers in the city. We co-host the Pan African Film Festival’s Volunteer Film Festival yearly. We partnered with Community Coalition to bring Delores, the film about the life of Chicano Organizer Dolores Heurta to Strategy and Soul. Our Revolutionary Book Store provides an opportunity to get acquainted with other movement authors including Kelly Lyle Hernandez, Author of City of Inmates, Komozi Woodard, Author of Nation within a Nation, and Victor Wallis, Author of Red-Green Revolution just to name a few. We have Strategy and Soul Food that has been in full operation during special occasions. We are planning to partner with neighborhood vendors for pop-up food shops and catering and for members to learn and participate in becoming their own chef, and learning how to run an institution.
Over the past year I have been organizing in South LA door to door in the neighborhoods, on buses and trains, at neighborhood councils at service centers around our campaign for Free Public Transportations, No Police on Public Transportation, No Police in LAUSD Schools and have received great responses. People in the neighborhood stop by Strategy and Soul asking: since you are for civil and human rights can you help me with…; I’m being evicted can you help, I’m a surviver of domestic violence, or my kids have been harassed at schools. While we ourselves are not service provider we want to do more than just refer them to organizations that are directly involved but partner with those organizations and bring some of those services to where we are. Your support and donations can help us continue and expand the scope of our work, please give generously.