CoCo In the News



“Community Coalition believes that people are the engines of change. By engaging residents of all generations, they are creating a movement in the South Los Angeles community that will help build a more prosperous future for all.”

Low Income Investment Fund Annual Report, November 17th, 2016. Read more here. 


“LAPD needs to change their reputation in my community,” 19-year-old Alfonso Aguilar [Community Coalition Member] of South Los Angeles told the commission.”

Southern California Public Radio, November 15th, 2016. LAPD Report Finds Racial Disparity in Approval and Trust of Police


“Voter education enables Community Coalition to provide jobs and help the community.”

Our Weekly, November 9th, 2016. Read more here. 


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The sound was turned down on the huge television screen showing the 2016 presidential election returns just outside the Community Coalition’s headquarters. Instead, music blared from the Latin band that was playing on stage. This was a party after all.”

Los Angeles Wave, November 10th, 2016. Election night block party brings South L.A. residents together


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The Community Coalition several community leaders and raised $450,000 for its organizing efforts in the community Oct. 27 at the 16th annual People Power Progress Awards at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live.”

Los Angeles Wave, November 4th, 2016. Community Coalition honors activists at awards program


“Community Coalition discusses the propositions that greatly affects South Los Angeles, which includes marijuana, criminal sentencing, and taxes for education.”

Los Angeles Standard, October 31st, 2016. There is more to this election than Clinton and Trump


“Power Fest Brings Music, Arts & Voting Power Back to South L.A.”

L.A. Sentinel, September 4th, 2016 Find out what happened at this year’s South L.A. Power Fest!


“On Saturday, more than 1,200 people attended a community festival in South Los Angeles that paired voter registration with live music”

KPCC, September 4, 2016. A South LA Festival with music, dancing, and voter registration


” U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris on Tuesday called for new national policies to reduce recidivism by felons released from prison and to make data on crime and police actions more accessible to the public. Harris, California’s attorney general, made the comments during a roundtable discussion on criminal justice at Community Coalition in South Los Angeles. ”

Los Angeles Times, September 1st, 2016 Kamala Harris calls for measures to end ‘crisis of confidence’ between police and the public


“A social change advocacy group will host what they are calling “healing circles” Saturday night in six South Los Angeles parks parks. The events are follow-ups to protests that occurred after the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, both of whom were shot by police officers earlier this year.”

KPCC, August 21st, 2016. Can healing circles help address police brutality?


“At 19, San Francisco State University sophomore and political science major Timothy Walker is the youngest member of California’s newly established Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board.”

SF State News, August 19th, 2016 Sophomore appointed to California’s racial profiling advisory board

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“During a panel entitled Opportunity at the Intersection, Alberto Retana, president and CEO of the Community Coalition, said reimagining opportunity means moving from the possible to the probable. Becoming president of the U.S. is not probable if conditions in your community have not improved, he said.”

Daily Democrat, August 17th, 2016. Read More Here!


My skin does not define me, my knowledge does.

– Samone Urasia Wade, 13

KPCC, August 8th, 2016 How kids at a civil rights summer camp have absorbed this summer’s racially charged news


“The people mentioned at a townhall on violence held July 30 at the Community Coalition, (CoCo) in South Los Angeles represented both individual family tragedies and staggering community losses. There was Laura, a stay-at-home mother of five who wanted nothing more than to be a mom and take care of her family.”

Our Weekly, August 4th, 2016. Community talks about how to combat violence in L.A.


“More than 150 people filled the Community Coalition for a discussion with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on gun violence.”

LA Sentinel, August 4th, 2016 Congressional Dialogue on Gun Violence


“La inmigrante mexicana Adela Barajas, quien ha vivido toda su vida en el sur de Los Ángeles y perdió a su cuñada Laura Sánchez en 2007 en una balacera, dijo que hacen falta recursos para mantener ocupados a niños y jóvenes después de la escuela para prevenir y parar la violencia por las armas.

La Opinión, August 1st, 2016. Read More Here!


“More than 100 South Los Angeles youngsters — from third graders to high school graduates — crammed into a USC lecture hall, their eyes transfixed on the speaker. Clad in a tie-dye Metallica tee and flower-embroidered jeans, he wasn’t a typical lecturer. Pharrell Williams, the musician behind the hit song “Happy,” took to the lectern on Monday to inspire his audience to reach for the stars.”

USC News, July 27th, 2016 Pharrell Williams brings ‘happy’ message to South L.A. youth at USC

Alumnos de Freedom School, entre 8 a 18 años de edad son animados todos los días en preparación para aprender a leer y luchar por justicia social.

“When it comes to reform for urban school systems, effective community organizing is crucial. Community Organizing for Stronger Schools: Strategies and Successes takes an in-depth look at the practice and how it affects schools.”

Thomas B. Fordham Institute, July 27th, 2016. Stronger schools through community organizing


“The Community Coalition is holding its inaugural People Power Convention, which organizers hope becomes an annual event. Experts will be on hand to dispense training on topics of health, civic engagement, mass incarceration and the economic crisis so residents can take the quality of the community into their own hands and create sustainable solutions.”

The Wave, June 24th, 2016 People Power Convention gives residents a chance for civic engagement


“State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has given Los Angeles Unified a one-year reprieve from a ruling requiring the district to spend potentially hundreds of millions of additional dollars on English learners and low-income children to comply with the state’s new school funding law.”

EduSource, June 19th, 2016. State delays forcing LA Unified to spend more on high-needs students


“The Community Coalition, an organization that works to influence public policy and tackle the causes of crime, poverty and violence plaguing the South L.A. area, announced that the combined efforts of more than 55 clergy labor and community leaders throughout the state have resulted in the state legislature’s budget conference committee allocating more than $28 million in additional funding for Prop 47 programs, bringing the proposed budget for Prop 47 programming to $67.3 million. ”

The Wave, June 16th, 2016 Community Organizations Secure Additional Funding for Prop 47


“Community Coalition, a South L.A.-based advocacy group, sued the district last year and filed a complaint with the state Department of Education, accusing L.A. Unified of misusing money on students with disabilities instead of giving direct services to the targeted students in the other groups.  “

Los Angeles Times, June 14th, 2016. Read More Here!


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A section of South Los Angeles stands to benefit from federal grants to improve issues related to poverty as it received a designation as a Promise Zone on June 6, making Los Angeles the only U.S. city to have two such zones within its boundaries.”

The Wave, June 9th, 2016 South L.A. receives Promise Zone designation


“After several unsuccessful attempts, a swath of South Los Angeles won a hard-fought battle to receive “Promise Zone” designation, a move that pushes the neediest neighborhoods to the top of the list when applying for competitive federal grants to tackle issues related to poverty.”

Los Angeles Times, June 6th, 2016. Read More Here!


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Community residents called for more public spending for youth-oriented services and activities and additional funds to remove blight and other public nuisances from local neighborhoods. Those were the responses by those attending a town hall meeting called by the leaders of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of South Los Angeles that was conducted June 30 at the Community Coalition’s offices on Vermont Avenue.”

The Wave, June 7th, 2016. More funds needed to curb alcohol, drug abuse


“The area of South Los Angeles designated as a Promise Zone encompasses Historic South Central, moves east along important rail and bus corridors to the Crenshaw District.”

Streets Blog LA, June 7th, 2016. South L.A. Celebrates State-Z’s Promise Zone Designation; Prepares to Roll up Sleeves and Get to Work


“State officials have ordered the Los Angeles Unified School District to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, with the goal of benefiting students who need the most academic assistance. The action won the praise of advocates who had filed a complaint with the state, while L.A. Unified officials said that complying with the order will hurt students.”

Los Angeles Times, June 3rd, 2016 Read More Here!


“U.S. Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was welcomed with open arms at South L.A.’s Community Coalition (COCO) on May 24.”

LA Sentinel, June 1st, 2016. Hillary Clinton addressed foster care on L.A. campaign trail


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Hillary Clinton’s mother began supporting herself as a housekeeper at age 14. At 8 years old, her parents had sent her away to live with her grandmother because they just did not feel like being parents anymore. The presidential hopeful related her personal story of familial abandonment to staff of the Community Coalition during her visit here May 24.”

The Wave, May 26th, 2016.  Clinton voices support for foster care programs


“I know how to hide money,” he told a gathering of residents and activists at the Community Coalition in South Los Angeles recently. “I know how to block budgets.”

Los Angeles Times, May 18th, 2016.  Governor Brown is lowballing the savings from Proposition 47


“More than 140 residents gathered at the Community Coalition recently to urge legislation to oppose the Governor’s slashing of the Prop. 47 in the state budget in the upcoming May revise. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is the Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee.”

LA Sentinel, May 11th, 2016 Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer pledges to increase Prop 47 savings


“Alberto Retana wants a very specific kindergarten experience for his 4-year-old son: a dual-language Spanish and English immersion program, close to home near View Park-Windsor Hills, with a diverse student population and a track record of preparing students well.”

Los Angeles Times, May 7th, 2016.  Read More Here!


“On May 2, the Community Coalition dedicated its youth center to county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ late grandmother, Sylvia Thomas. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, recognized not only Thomas, but current relative caregivers, which the organization believes are the unsung heroes of the community.”

The Wave, May 6th, 2016 Community Coalition’s pre-Mother event recognizes guardians who care.


“Community Coalition, a nonprofit in South Los Angeles, is among those pressing local leaders to demand more state funding for the services, including the Los Angeles City Council, which backed a resolution earlier this week asking Brown to reconsider his funding plan.”

LA Sentinel, April 9th, 2016.  Read More Here!


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Parents, students and educators told new Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King that their schools were under funded during a town hall meeting March 30 at the nonprofit Community Coalition.”

The Wave, April 7th, 2016 Residents tell new superintendent their goals for South L.A. schools


“More than 150 South LA parents and students gathered at the Community Coalition headquarters on Wed. March 30th for a Town Hall with LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King. Leaders were disappointed that Superintendent King did not sign onto a pledge for South LA, but are hopeful for a future partnership.”

LA Sentinel, April 7th, 2016.  Read More Here!


“LOS ANGELES — The City Council backed a resolution March 1 urging Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers to increase the amount of funding proposed for drug treatment, mental health, re-entry and other services promised under Proposition 47.”

The Wave, April 4th, 2016 City backs resolution for more Prop. 47 funds


“SOUTH LOS ANGELES — More than 100 residents gathered at the Community Coalition headquarters here March 19, calling upon city officials to address the inequity in city services.”

The Wave, March 24th, 2016.  Coalition cites inequity in city services.


“La meta de la Proposición 47 es disminuir la población presidiaria para cumplir con órdenes judiciales que declararon inaceptable el nivel de hacinamiento, reducir los castigos para ciertos delitos no-violentos, de drogas que no son serios o contra la propiedad, y crear un fondo para tratamiento de enfermedades mentales, adicciones, para prevenir la deserción escolar para centros médicos de emergencia, entre otros.”

La Opinión, March 3rd, 2016 Read More Here!


“On what would have been Trayvon Martin‘s 21st birthday, Tidal announces that they’re donating $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter.”

E! Online, February 5th, 2016. Read More Here!


Relative caregiver article pic

“It was grandmothers and aunts who, as they struggled financially to raise their relatives’ children, banded together to lobby for help. They joined with the local nonprofit, the Community Coalition of South L.A., to bring their issues to decision-makers in Sacramento.”

89.3 KPCC, September 10th, 2015  Click here to learn more about the struggles and victories of relative caregivers.


“On Monday, hundreds of residents gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included speeches from Mayor Eric Garcetti, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a former Community Coalition leader. Philanthropist and music mogul Russell Simmons and Robert Ross with the California Endowment presented sizable donations to help pay back the loan on the repairs.”

 Los Angeles Times, August 3rd, 2015. Community Coalition’s South L.A. headquarters get a welcome face-lift. 

ABC 7 coverage of community coalition

“The Community Coalition in South Los Angeles celebrated their 25th anniversary. They marked the occasion with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at their new community center.”

ABC 7 Los Angeles, August 4th, 2015  Community Coalition in South L.A. Celebrates 25th Anniversary.

La opinion article pic

“Comminity Coalition, entre Vermont Avenue y W. 81 St., reabrió sus puertas con instalaciones completamente renovadas y listas para trabajar con la comunidad latina y afroamericana en contra de la violencia, a favor de más programas de salud y educación, la unión entre culturas y el poder cívico.”

Hoy Los Angeles, August 3rd, 2015. El activismo renueva y abre sus puertas en el Sur de Los Ángeles.

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“The Community Coalition Headquarters has been a safe haven for teens in South Los Angeles. Jeff Nguyen reports.”

CBS News Los Angeles, August 4th, 2015. South LA Community Center Reopens After $5M Makeover.

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Community Coalition’s president Marqueece Harris-Dawson commended local residents for pushing for change. “Everybody involved in this took a stand against the status quo,” he told a crowd of 30 residents and activists gathered outside. “The status quo says our communities don’t eat fruits and vegetables so it’s not even worth bringing it to them.”

Huffington Post, April 7th, 2015. Here’s What Happened When A Troubled Liquor Store Also Started Selling Fresh Produce.


“Get more resources, as far as counselors. You can’t have one counselor for a 1,000 students. Get more teachers that are kind of ready to teach students that look like us.”
-Timothy Walker, SCYEA Leader

The Wave, May 15th, 2015  Click here to hear more from Tim!

SCYEA leader Christian Molto fielding questions from the press.

“These courses [A-G] need to be reimplemented in order for us to have a chance”,
– Christian Molto, SCYEA Leader, speaking to ABC-7 about the need for well funded A-G courses in South LA.

 May, 14th, 2015   View Christian’s full interview with ABC-7.

Why Latinos Should Stand Up for Black Lives

I am Latino and I stand in support of members of the Black community seeking justice for their children and families. It’s time that we, as Latinos, boldly speak out in support of justice.

Huffington Post,  May 7th, 2015            Read more here!


León, de 32 años, dice que su madre lo trajo de la capital mexicana a Los Ángeles cuando tenía 9 años. “Yo era feliz, no me daba cuenta de nada, pero después sospeché que había algo raro, que era indocumentado cuando quise trabajar como otros menores durante el verano, y mi madre me dijo que no podía porque no tenía un número de seguro social,”, relata.

La Opinion, May 3rd, 2015                                     Read More Here!


Relative caregivers are the disrupters of the foster-care-to-prison pipeline. They are the uncles, aunties, grandmothers, grandfathers and older siblings who take on the task of caring for youngsters who would otherwise end up in the foster system.

Our Weekly,  May 7th, 2015                  Read More Here!           


Providing healthy alternatives is only the first step, says Neelam Sharma, director of the nonprofit Community Services Unlimited, which runs the produce stand. The more difficult part is getting people to adopt these alternatives, she adds – to change their own relationship with food.

KPCC, April 16th, 2015                             Listen to the full article!

In South Los Angeles, for example, Karen Bass, now a member of Congress, started the Community Coalition 25 years ago as a way to battle substance abuse. Now its agenda includes improving failing schools.
Over the years, Community Coalition has forced neighborhood liquor stores to clean up or close, advocated for children in foster care and pushed the Los Angeles school district to spend more money on maintenance, offer more college-level courses and stop suspending so many students at schools in South L.A.

LA Times, March 3rd, 2015                                  Read More Here!

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, David Oyelowo portrays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a scene from "Selma." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Atsushi Nishijima)

It’s an opportunity for people to be in communion with one another,” said Joseph Devall, a program director at Community Coalition who hadn’t yet seen the film but believed “‘Selma’ should only help to heighten interest and awareness. If it results in people wanting to read a biography or find literature on the topic or some of the figures who played key roles those are all good things; those are all positive.

Daily News, January 1st, 2015                             Read More Here!


“I believe that having Russell Simmons engage the urban youth is a powerful thing. We don’t always get the opportunity to hear from leaders who are heavily involved in the movement for change for all black and brown communities”, said Christian Moton, a youth leader at Dorsey High School.”

KNBC, February 4th, 2015                    Watch the NBC clip here! 



Before the training, “I was very, like timid,” said Aguilar, whose earnestness and presence held the attention of the 40 or so of his fellow students assembled in a classroom at Fremont High during lunch one day last spring. “Now I’m actually comfortable talking to you guys and letting you know why I think what I’m doing is

EdSource, Nov. 16th, 2014                                    Read More Here!


The $3 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s REACH Program, is designed to improve participatory approaches to identify, develop, and disseminate affective strategies for addressing health disparities across a wide range of at risk health priority areas.

The Sentinel, Nov. 13th, 2014                               Read More Here!


“I’m part of a low-income community, and a lot of people around are people who are being pushed out of school. They do petty crimes that [get] them that felony that will probably get them to jail,” Aguilar said. He said he has family members and knows other families who have been affected by this, adding, “It’s tearing families apart.” Aguilar, who has worked with Community Coalition all through his high school years, said he took a break from his college applications to come to the rally.

Intersections South LA, Oct. 14th, 2014         Read More Here!


“Dejaron a la comunidad sin empleo. La mayoría de los que trabajaban en esas compañías ganaban buenos sueldos”, dijo Aurea Montes, vicepresidente de crecimiento organizacional de Community Coalition. “Al parecer se perdieron unos 70 mil empleos entre los años 1978 y 1984-85”, añadió.


La Opinion, Sept. 24, 2015                                   Read More Here!


It actually felt like we were in the Caribbean’s with the heat, while listening to the sounds of Las Cafeteras. The group provided additional Latin grooves with a Social Awareness message. This engagement featured some special guests on the tunes “Ya Me Voy,” “This Land Is Your Land,” with a Latin twist, “El Chuchumbe,” “El Zapateado,” and “La Bamba Rebelde” for an encore.

EURWeb Oct. 14th, 2014         Read More Here!


Several organizations were involved in the march. They wanted to give students the opportunity to voice their frustrations with how they feel police treat those in neighborhoods just like theirs, and a lack of justice. “Please think and please feel the pain and the anguish some of these families are going through, and that a lot of other families have went through the same thing, and please don’t let it be yours next,” said Gabriel Hercules with Brotherhood Crusade.

KABC-7, August 21, 2014            Watch Scenes From The Rally!


KCAL-9/CBS August 14th, 2014        Watch Our Youth Here!


“It’s all about encouraging them to build their critical thinking skills to give their opinion and really preparing them to engage in the classroom the way most of us don’t learn until we get to college,” Sandra Hamada, director of Youth Programs at the Community Coalition told LA School Report.

LA Schools Report, July 23, 2014                   Read More Here!


“We’re trying to push the district to be smart about how they invest resources and be bold and courageous about advancing justice by targeting schools with high needs,” said Alberto Retana of the Community Coalition.

LA Times, April 7th, 2015                         Read More Here!


Protest organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president of the Community Coalition, said the district’s spending plan is too vague and does too little for kids who need help the most. “We think voters deserve an accounting that says, ‘Here are our highest-need students and here’s what we’re doing to fund them’,” Harris-Dawson said.

Daily News, April 7th, 2015                                Read More Here!