Demand Our Dollars

“Demand Our Dollars is about having our tax dollars work in our community. We live here. We cannot move to another state. Our main goal is to make our community a better place to live.”

– Pamela Riley, Community Coalition Member 


California is the richest state in the wealthiest country in the world. Its economy is the sixth largest in the world. But, there is another California—the other California. It is the poorest state in the nation and encompasses approximately eight million people living below the poverty line—one in five of which are children. South LA is the part of the “other” California, suffering from chronic disinvestment by state and local governments. The current social and economic conditions derive from a barely existent transit infrastructure, the departure of over 70,000 manufacturing jobs between 1978–1982, and the deliberate indifference of local politicians that has allowed the region’s development and services to slow to the snail’s pace.

This two-sided California, once home to the best public education system in the nation, is now ranked 41st in the country for K -12 per student spending. The current social safety net, needed to strengthen the poorer side of California, is plainly unable to counter poverty and adequately offer services for housing, re-entry, and healthcare. Furthermore, the existing service providers are on the verge of closing their doors as traditional funding options evaporate.

CoCo Victories

The activism of the Community Coalition’s members and community residents has almost solely stimulated economic recovery in South LA for decades. In the last ten years, South LA voters have become a vital bloc for economic recovery by overwhelmingly supporting revenue-generating initiatives such as Proposition 30’s “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education.” At the same time, residents have electorally rallied to support justice initiatives (Prop 47 & 57) that have reduced state spending on incarceration practices in favor of greater investments in public education, youth development, and health and human services. CoCo youth and adult member leaders have also fought for hard won dollars through the courts including major victories that have reallocated billions of dollars to South Los Angeles schools.

Demand Our Dollars Requires: