CoCo In the News

OUR HIGHLIGHTS THROUGH MARCH 2021

March 6, 2021

At Jesse Owens Park, Corey Matthews, the chief operating officer of Community Coalition, said the group had managed to book vaccination appointments for more than 1,200 people, mostly from South L.A., in less than two days. That’s a real feat in a county where residents of wealthy neighborhoods have higher vaccination rates than those in poor neighborhoods of Black and Latino essential workers who have been hit hard by COVID-19.

LA Times: Column: California’s vaccine distribution has been chaotic. It could get worse with Blue Shield

March 4, 2021

Marsha Mitchell, communications director for the Community Coalition, an organization that works to "transform the social and economic conditions in South L.A.," called for funding community intervention workers, investing in programming for young people and giving neighbors a seat at the decision-making table.

LA Patch: 'Shots Fired,' LA's Other Emerging Epidemic

February 25, 2021

“People are dying and we’re concerned about whether we can eat dinner inside,” said Leslie Cooper Johnson, the vice president of organizational development for the South L.A. organization Community Coalition. “It feels like economic interests are being prioritized, and it’s really impacting our communities in devastating ways.”

Capital & Main: Missteps in L.A.’s Pandemic Response Left Disadvantaged Communities Behind

February 22, 2021

Alberto Retana, who heads the South L.A. nonprofit Community Coalition, said the city has failed to make a real investment to address anti-Black racism and questioned Garcetti’s statement that he had fulfilled his pledge. “It looks like to me that they’re trying to rationalize an investment,” Retana said.

LA Times: Garcetti pledged $250 million to communities of color. Did he deliver?

February 19, 2021

Although the tactic was officially banned under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, disparities persist; activists now call it food apartheid, a term that gained traction in 2008 when the Community Coalition of South Los Angeles campaigned to slow down the proliferation of fast-food franchises in low-income neighborhoods.

New York Times Magazine: The Activists Working to Remake the Food System

February 17, 2021

  • The Community Coalition, which seeks to transform social and economic conditions in South L.A., released a statement decrying the reinstatement of investigative stops.
  • “It’s been tried and it’s still truly ineffective, in addition to being an entryway to the harassment, abuse and murder of Black and Brown people in communities like South Los Angeles,” the statement reads. “It is extremely disappointing and infuriating to see the LAPD surreptitiously return to this criminalizing strategy of ‘investigative’ vehicle stops that’s been proven with concrete data time and again as largely ineffective and harmful to residents who’re pulled over under the guise of ‘reasonable suspicion.’”
  • The coalition maintains that the only way to address the increase in violence is to fund community intervention workers who have the trust of the community.
  • LA Daily News via City News Service: 300+ homicides: Council presses LAPD on ‘dramatic’ rise in violent crime

    February 8, 2021

    “I cannot wait to begin,” Wesson said at the beginning of a committee meeting. “Because I truly believe… that we’re going to send a message throughout this country.”

    That urgency, Leslie Cooper, Vice President of Organizational Development at Community Coalition told WitnessLA, appears to have evaporated.

    Witness LA: LA City Council Sitting On Motions To Reimagine Public Safety, Community Groups Say

    January 21, 2021

    "It came to a point to where, every time my phone would vibrate — it's almost like conditioning: Oh Lord, what has Trump done now?" said Corey Matthews, Chief Operating Officer of Community Coalition in South L.A. Reflecting on the end of the Trump presidency, Matthews said Black and Brown communities in L.A. experienced collective trauma over the past four years — from the effects of racist rhetoric, punitive immigration policies, and the fear brought on by a scattershot COVID-19 strategy and the accompanying economic uncertainty. "I think I was able to finally breathe today," Matthews said." And I hadn't realized how much I had been holding my breath."

    LAist: With Trump's Exit, Angelenos Breathe A Sigh of Relief — And Prepare To Hold Biden Accountable

    January 1, 2021

    Lee has a master’s degree in social welfare from UCLA and is a doctoral candidate at USC. He served in the Air Force and California Air National Guard, was an organizer for the South Los Angeles-based social justice organization Community Coalition and an environmental justice fellow at the social justice foundation the Liberty Hill Foundation.

    My NewsLA: Filing Period Begins Monday for State Senate Special Election

    OUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2020

    December 29, 2020

    At Crenshaw high school in south Los Angeles, Kamarie Brown, 17, said that as school president and the student representative on the district’s board of education, she had been fielding messages all year from peers who have been struggling to cope.

    The Guardian: How California went from a leader in the Covid fight to a state in despair

    December 23, 2020

    The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) continues to respond to the COVID-19 emergency with essential services and donations for the most vulnerable Angelenos throughout the holiday season. Longtime Dodger partner Chef Barbara Batiste helped LADF provide 7,500 meals to the Boys and Girls Club of Metro LA, Boys and Girls Club Ramona Gardens, A Place Called Home and Community Coalition.

    Dodger Insider: The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation offers holiday support

    December 19, 2020

    This past week, Alberto Retana, the chief executive of Community Coalition, a South Los Angeles-based group that Ms. Bass started in the wake of the crack epidemic in the early 1990s, organized a petition that was delivered to Mr. Newsom on Friday. “As Latinx community leaders, we must lead with our values, not with our demography,” the group wrote in the letter. “It is imperative to a multiracial democracy that we center this decision on advancing racial, gender and social justice. This will be accomplished by appointing a progressive Black woman.”

    New York Times: Who Will Replace Kamala Harris? It’s About More Than a Senate Seat

    December 17, 2020

    During her career she has been a strong advocate of child welfare and reforming the American foster care system. And prior to becoming a Congresswoman, Bass was active in her Los Angeles community in the 90’s. Through her organization, Community Coalition, she worked to curb the drug and violence epidemics that plagued the city.

    BET.Com: OPINION | Do We Really Need Yet Another Man In The Senate?

    December 14, 2020

    Meet Guadalupe Romero. He is not a famous actor, nor is he a social media influencer with notability equivalent to remembering what you had for dinner last Wednesday. No. Lupe Romero is a man of substance, humility, grit, and kindness. And he best puts this forward through his work as Lead Driver for CoCo.

    LA Taco: A Ride Along With a Delivery Driver Who Delivers Essential Items To South Central’s Most Marginalized Communities

    December 10, 2020

    The Case for Karen Bass

    We have an opportunity to continue a legacy of transformation with Karen Bass. Whether through inclusive grassroots organizing and coalition building as a founder of South LA’s Community Coalition, which has flourished in its 30 years of operation because of her leadership and governing principles: to listen to the people most affected by a problem and implement solutions that dismantle the problem at its root led by the community.

    L.A. Sentinel Newspaper: https://lasentinel.net/the-case-for-karen-bass.html

    December 14, 2020

    LADF addresses the digital divide in Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, along with Inner City Struggle and Community Coalition, has pulled together to address the magnified economic and social disparities that exist in South and East Los Angeles. LADF invested $10,000 in Brotherhood Crusade to provide internet access and technology hardware for 5,000 low-income families in South and East Los Angeles

    Dodger Insider: https://dodgers.mlblogs.com/ladf-addresses-the-digital-divide-in-los-angeles-aed06c2b9016

    December 8, 2020

    "The legacy of racist health inequities, zoning discrimination, racist land use policies and lobbying from alcohol and tobacco companies have created an environment with social health determinants that has put South L.A.'s health and immune system at a great disadvantage during COVID-19," says Carlos Leon, a Community Organizer with CoCo. "We applaud Mrs. Yang's willingness to become a business that contributes to a better quality of life for South Los Angeles residents and endeavors to keep the community safe."

    KCET: Liquor Stores, Dispensaries and Smoke Shops: Our Neighborhood Is Killing Us

    On Tuesday evening Westbrook’s WhyNot Foundation partnered with the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, and PolicyLink to conduct a virtual educational forum that was aimed towards inspiring the youth who are fighting for racial justice in Los Angeles. The forum featured community leaders from the Youth Justice Coalition and Community Coalition, who provided intel on pivotal ballot measures affecting youths in Los Angeles and across California state-wide.

    On Tuesday evening Westbrook’s WhyNot Foundation partnered with the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, and PolicyLink to conduct a virtual educational forum that was aimed towards inspiring the youth who are fighting for racial justice in Los Angeles. The forum featured community leaders from the Youth Justice Coalition and Community Coalition, who provided intel on pivotal ballot measures affecting youths in Los Angeles and across California state-wide.

    Fansided, October 21, 2020. Rockets’ Russell Westbrook hosts voting event for LA youths

    Los Angeles Community groups reflect on the proposition, which would generate revenue for school systems and local government through a change in commercial and industrial property tax assessments. Community Coalition wrote that they see the proposition as a means of improving education inequity and ensuring that more public school students can utilize their education to escape poverty.

    USC Annenberg Media, October 21, 2020. The Intersection Between Proposition 15 and Impacted Communities

    In South Central Los Angeles, now-Congresswoman Karen Bass and Chicana civil rights activist Sylvia Castillo developed a youth program, South Central Youth Empowered thru Action (SCYEA), as part of the Community Coalition.  With support from community leaders and movement giants like Cheryl Grills, Denise Fairchild, Mary Lee, Bob Wing and the late Tom Hayden, SCYEA started intentionally organizing young people in 1994 to address social conditions that provoked interracial violence between Black and Latinx youth.

    In South Central Los Angeles, now-Congresswoman Karen Bass and Chicana civil rights activist Sylvia Castillo developed a youth program, South Central Youth Empowered thru Action (SCYEA), as part of the Community Coalition. With support from community leaders and movement giants like Cheryl Grills, Denise Fairchild, Mary Lee, Bob Wing and the late Tom Hayden, SCYEA started intentionally organizing young people in 1994 to address social conditions that provoked interracial violence between Black and Latinx youth.

    KCET, October 21, 2020. On the Shoulders of Giants: The Lineage and Growth of California’s Intergenerational, Multiracial Youth Movement

    The two Americas that Dr. King spoke of over 50 years ago still exist and the COVID-19 crisis has made the divide even greater … Alberto Retana is President of Community Coalition. Austin Beutner is Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Charisse Bremond-Weaver is President of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade.

    The two Americas that Dr. King spoke of over 50 years ago still exist and the COVID-19 crisis has made the divide even greater … Alberto Retana is President of Community Coalition. Austin Beutner is Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Charisse Bremond-Weaver is President of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade.

    Los Angeles Daily News OpEd, October 7, 2020. Proposition 15 is necessary to boost school funding

    Alternatives to police will only succeed if properly funded and available in every neighborhood

    “Alternatives to police will only succeed if properly funded and available in every neighborhood,” said Pastor Byron Smith with Community Coalition. He added during public comment he’s concerned about a “slow-walked” piloting process. “When police are called to a mental health crisis, they are operating outside of their scope of practice.”

    LAist, October 2, 2020. Another Step In LA’s Vow To Reduce How Often Armed Officers Respond To Non-Violent 911 Calls

    Police must be removed from mental health responses. Because they’re operating outside of their scope of practice.

    Pastor Byron Smith with Community Coalition called in to the special meeting to voice support:“ Police must be removed from mental health responses. Because they’re operating outside of their scope of practice.”

    LAist, October 2, 2020. City Council Committee Backs Pilot Program For Unarmed Crisis Response

    On Oct. 1, NBC4 Anchor Colleen Williams hosted NBC4's virtual community forum to discuss the voting process for this year's general election on November 3, 2020. The discussion covered important dates and deadlines to be aware of; details on how, when and where to vote; and viewers had the opportunity to ask questions during the livestream. Williams was joined by Marilú Guevara, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles; Dean Logan, who oversees the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk; and Marsha Mitchell, Director of Communications at Community Coalition based in South Los Angeles.

    On Oct. 1, NBC4 Anchor Colleen Williams hosted NBC4’s virtual community forum to discuss the voting process for this year’s general election on November 3, 2020. The discussion covered important dates and deadlines to be aware of; details on how, when and where to vote; and viewers had the opportunity to ask questions during the livestream. Williams was joined by Marilú Guevara, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles; Dean Logan, who oversees the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk; and Marsha Mitchell, Director of Communications at Community Coalition based in South Los Angeles.

    NBC, October 1, 2020. NBC4’s Virtual Community Forum ‘Your Vote Counts’

    The breakdown in trust occurred long before this year, said Patricia Guerra (no relation), director of organizing at the Community Coalition. For years, she's worried whenever her brothers come see her.

    The breakdown in trust occurred long before this year, said Patricia Guerra (no relation), director of organizing at the Community Coalition. For years, she’s worried whenever her brothers come see her.

    “This is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed. It’s beyond, like, the individual police officer,” Patricia Guerra said. That’s why many activists call for defunding the police — or at least shifting large amounts of money from law enforcement to social and other services to help homeless and mentally ill people (who are often arrested for quality of life crimes or behavior considered anti-social).

    LAist, October 1, 2020. ‘I’ve Never Seen This Before’: Police-Community Relations Are At A Low Point