Our Story

    Our Beliefs

We believe people are the creators of change. We believe we are more powerful united as a community than when acting alone. That’s why we bring community members together to build leadership, launch action campaigns, and create a unified voice for South L.A. Together we are transforming our schools, strengthening families and building a thriving community.

     Our Mission

Community Coalition works to help transform the social and economic conditions in South LA that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty by building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.

Our Beginnings

In 1989, a group of activists in Los Angeles huddled together in a living room. Gathered by Congressmember Karen Bass (at that time an emergency-room physicians assistant), the group was haunted by the raging health crisis that had enveloped their community. Every day the devastating impacts of the crack-cocaine epidemic had become more distressing – loved ones would go missing, helicopters circled the community at all hours, and residents put up bars on their windows to prevent break-ins.

Even more troubling to the group was the way elected officials had responded, introducing more punitive laws for drug use and giving law enforcement full reign to use increasingly violent tactics. A scared public went along as they grasped for solutions to bring peace to their community.

The activists knew that criminalizing addiction would only make matters worse. They believed the South L.A. residents most affected by the crisis needed to be included and heard in creating real solutions for their community. It was from this vision that the idea of a community-driven organization was first born.

From these auspicious beginnings, Community Coalition began to address pressing community issues — such as nuisance liquor stores and motels — by advocating for policy solutions that built up the community, instead of tearing it apart.

For the past 25 years, Community Coalition has continued with this groundbreaking approach. We elevate the voices of our members, shift power to the community, and tackle the root causes of poverty, crime and violence. Together we are creating a more prosperous, safer and healthier South L.A.