22 May Community Coalition’s President/CEO Honored by UCLA’s Alumni Association
Paying tribute to Bruin policymakers, activists, and other leaders who have “catalyzed change and activated optimism for the greater good,” Community Coalition’s (CoCo’s) President and CEO, Alberto Retana, will receive the UCLA Award for Community Service.
On Saturday, May 21, Community Coalition’s President and CEO Alberto Retana received the UCLA Award for Community Service. Since 1946, UCLA has paid tribute to its most distinguished luminaries who have lit the way for UCLA’s brightest stars to shine. From larger-than-life legends to community heroes, UCLA Awards are bestowed upon Bruins who have brought great honor to the university and whose contributions impact the world.
“I’m humbled to receive this award from UCLA as it highlights the impact organizing can have on generating change. I love organizing — because it is rooted in the unwavering belief that social change is possible and that ordinary people have the power to be the architects of that change.”
Alberto graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He has pursued social, economic, and racial justice through community building and engagement. Alberto was introduced to organizing at UCLA. As a student activist, he joined with his peers to lead campaigns to defend affirmative action, lower student fees, and advance racial justice. He joined Community Coalition in 1998 as a youth organizer and played various leadership roles within the organization.
His accomplishments in that role include winning key public policy victories, developing a mass civic engagement strategy organizing over 190,000 African American and Latino voters in various state and local elections, and leading an initiative to enroll 6,000 South Los Angeles families into Obamacare. In addition, from 2009 to 2011, Alberto worked for the Obama administration in the U.S. Department of Education as Director of Community Outreach. During his time in D.C., he organized the Department’s first National Youth Summit. Additionally, he worked with thousands of community leaders across the country on turning around the nation’s “push-out” crisis.
As President and CEO, Alberto has developed initiatives to build Community Coalition into a mass-based community organization that involves thousands of South Los Angeles residents in the practice of creating change. Under his leadership, Community Coalition created the People First Platform–a comprehensive policy agenda informed by over 4,200 adults and youth–to equitably move resources to the highest need communities, re-imagine L.A.’s criminal justice system, and transform the built environment in South Los Angeles. Community Coalition is also working to develop a Center for Community Organizing to serve as a national hub for community organizing training and racial justice activism.
Retana has received numerous accolades for his work, including L.A.’s 500 Most Influential People, ACLU’s Educational Equity Award, Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Award, and the 2017 Frontline Soldiers Awards Wall of Fame.